What is SEO and why it’s important to your business
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s how your website gets traffic—for free—from the results pages on major search engines. When someone does an online search, you want your business to list as high as possible on the search results page so you can get more clicks and get more customers. SEO is the key to making that happen.
This guide provides:
- A landscape overview: Information about how Search Engine Optimization works
- A checklist: A list of practical tips for getting started with SEO
- Best practices: Helpful advice for achieving great SEO results for your business
This guide will give you the tools you need to help your business appear better in search results. Since most consumers research online before making any purchases, it’s essential that your business’ online presence is optimized for search engines
Most web traffic is driven by the major commercial search engines—Google, Bing and Yahoo—so you have to guarantee that your website is listed in their database. Your site will get some important traffic from your social media sites and local listings, but it’s no secret that most users navigate the web via search engines. If search engines can’t find your site, most people won’t either.
Search engines crawl the web so they can build an index of all of the pages, files, news stories, videos and other media you’ll find online. So when you search for something specific, the search engine will scour its database and return only the results it deems most relevant. The list is then ranked from most popular, at the top, to least popular, at the bottom. This is because search engines assume that if a site is more popular, it’s probably due to the fact that the information on the page is more valuable. Relevance and popularity are determined using mathematical equations called algorithms which contain hundreds of variables called ranking factors. The search engines keep their algorithms a secret so people don’t cheat the system to get better results or garner more traffic. But we’re here to give you all of the SEO tips and tricks you need to get your website ranking better.
TOP 5 REASONS YOUR WEBSITE NEEDS SEO
1.)It helps people find your website
Your website is your first point of contact with your online
audience. It can generate leads, qualify prospects and
attract new prospective customers or investors. But that
won’t help you if nobody can find it.
Compared to other forms of online marketing, like pay per
click advertising, purchasing leads for an email marketing
program or social media marketing, SEO provides the best
return on investment. More than 77% of searchers never
look past page one of a search results page, so making
sure your website will be found up top is the best business
move you can make. So don’t think of SEO as a cost. Think
of it as an investment.
3.) Your competitors are doing it
Almost 90% of customers search online and read reviews before making a purchase. If they
don’t find your business, they’ll find your competition instead.
4.) It builds trust
SEO makes your brand stronger because it makes you recognizable. If you’re one of the first
results for a search of your industry on Google, Bing or Yahoo, people will automatically
believe that you’re the best at what you do.
5.) It’s measurable
Every element of your SEO can be measured, assessed and tweaked, so you can instantly
see your return on every SEO dollar you invest.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH SEO?
Start a blog
The best way to get SEO working for you is to constantly provide users with updated content on
your site. There’s only so much you can do when it comes to your static website, so launching a
blog and updating it weekly with insights on your business and industry helps ensure your site
TIP! Make a list of the top questions you get from clients on a daily basis. If they’re calling or
emailing in with those queries, you can bet they’re searching for those same questions
online. And if you’re answering those questions, the search engines will do the rest for you.
Get on social media
Connect with your audience in a relevant way on social media sites. Engaging your customers
and starting conversations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn is the best way to get
business. It’s also one of the ways Google decides to push content up to the top of its search
results: The more an article is shared, the more relevant it is to searchers. So link to specific pages
on your website as well your blog posts. This strategy exponentially multiplies the number of
places visitors will view your website’s URLs.
TIP! Don’t post the same content across all social media channels. Each should have its
own individual voice.
Get a free local listing
By advertising your business with a local listing on YP.ca, you’re adding yet another way for
people to find you online. So when they’re searching your industry on Google, Bing or Yahoo, they’ll
not only find your website, but your local listing as well.
Figure out your best keywords
Head over to Google AdWords, a free service that allows you to type in a word and get a list of
keywords and phrases that are most commonly searched in that category. Click Tools, then
Keyword Planner. You don’t have to be #1 for a keyword. You just have to be better than your
Add meta tags
Go to your website, right click and select View page source. Another tab or page will open with a
whole whack of code. Look for the meta tags—anything that starts with <meta>— and make sure
they include a great description of what it is your business does so search engines will find it.
Scope out your competition
It’s always good to see what your competition is doing online. Go to their website and do the
same thing you did with your own to see their meta tags. Check out how they use keywords
by going to Google, typing in the keyword you want to know about followed by “site:
www.yourcompetitorsite.com.” This will limit Google’s search results to only search the
site you’ve listed.
BEST PRACTICES FOR GETTING STARTED WITH SEO
Start with good content
The best content is the kind that does the best job of supplying the largest demand. It should be
well-written, to the point and unique. Plus, it should be fresh, so make sure to update your site on a
weekly basis (daily is even better).
Think of every page as your homepage. Every page on your site has to have real
content to rank well on search engines.
Start by choosing 50 to 100 key words most relevant to your products, services or target
audience. The more those words appear on your web pages, the higher up your site will appear in
results for those searches. Use these appropriate and descriptive keywords all over your site, from
titles to page headers to body content to URLs to image text. How can you choose the best
keywords? Think about how someone looking for information on this topic would search for it and
match keywords to what users are searching for.
Don’t overdo it. You’ll be flagged by search engines as a spammer
Include linkable content
Even the best content in the world won’t do you any good if search engines can’t find it. If no one
can link to it, because it’s hidden from public view or protected using a password, search engines
won’t rank it and it won’t drive traffic to your site. Every page on your site should be reachable from
a static text link: don’t hide links in an image, video or Flash animation.
Boost traffic to the individual pages on your site by including internal links to other pages
on your site. But, just as with keywords, don’t be excessive.
Tag your titles
Title elements are meant to be a precise description of the page’s content. Always make them
unique while at the same time accurately describing the content of the page.
Keep your titles under 55 characters so they’ll display properly.
Work on URLs
Make sure your URLs use words instead of a string of numbers, letters and symbols. And organize
your directory to make it easy for visitors to know where they are on your site.
Describe your content
Make sure you’re clearly and accurately describing your content in your meta tags and alt
text for images.
Link to other sites
Develop relationships with other websites and link to them on your site. Then ask them if they’ll
return the favour. That way, your audience will see their site, and their audience will be introduced
to yours. It’s a win-win.
A page with a lot of links coming to it looks good to search engines. And links from
more trustworthy sites get more weight.
Create a sitemap
Include a page on your site that links to all of the major pages on your site because it guides and
allows search engines to crawl the site more intelligently.
Monitor your results regularly
You won’t know if your SEO efforts are working unless you’re checking and re-checking your search
standings. Use tools like Alexa and the Google Toolbar to keep an eye out on your standings.
IMPORTANT SEO MISTAKES TO AVOID
1.) Keyword stuffing
Don’t repeat words or phrases just because people are
searching for them. You won’t manipulate your site’s ranking
on search engines. In fact, you’ll do the opposite: By labeling
yourself a spammer, your site will drop on the results pages.
Don’t link to a page that doesn’t exist anymore. They’re
annoying to users and give you a bad reputation with
search engines. If you’re not sure about the status of a
page, you can check for broken links using
Google Search Console.
3.) Copied copy
The content on your site has to be unique to your site. If you’re plagiarizing other sites, Google
might not just push you down in the rankings – it might remove you from the index altogether.
4.) Complicated navigation
The navigation on your site doesn’t only have to be clear, logical and easy to use for your
customers; it has to be simple for search engines too.
5.) Not optimizing for mobile
Google recently announced that its algorithm now favours sites that are optimized for tablets
and smartphones over those that aren’t. So you better make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
6.) Using Flash
Every page on your site should be reachable from a static text link, so don’t use Flash. It
might look pretty, but it does nothing for SEO because you can’t link to any single page.
7 .) Cloaking
Don’t present different content to search engines than you do to users. The practice
commonly known as cloaking will fool human editors, but not search engine spiders.