What is SEO?

So what is SEO?  SEO stands for search engine optimization.  The basic idea behind SEO is to make your website more desirable to the search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Now before your eyes glaze over and you slip off into a spectacular dream, hang with me for a minute.  I will attempt to make this explanation as simple as possible. ​ SEO is made up of several parts.  The first, and arguably the most important is what is called On-Page SEO. On-page SEO includes original content, use of keywords, page titles, headline titles, URL with keywords, image alt-text, and frequency of posts, meta tags, and meta descriptions.

The most difficult part of on-page SEO is probably researching the keywords that people will use to find your site.  While you can always make changes to your website and redo content to target different keywords, it is much easier to get it right the first time.  They are several different software programs out there to help with keyword research or you can use Google's Keyword Planning tool through AdWords for free.

​Off page SEO is more about backlinks.  These can be from websites referencing your content or something as simple as leaving a comment on a prominent blog with a link back to your site.  In either case, this is important to your overall rankings.  Another strategy that has been used is publishing articles into article directories.

Again, there are several programs available to make this task a little easier, but the bottom line is that it just takes work.  Some of you maybe thinking, is it really worth it?  The answer is pretty simple, is it worth it to you to have an extra 10-15 customers (or 30-40) a month visiting your business just because you have what they need?

Another important part especially in local SEO has to do with your business listings in multiple databases.  There are literally dozens and dozens of local listing databases for businesses.  Of course the more known ones are Yelp, Facebook, and Google Places, but there are many many more.  Most of the time, customers add your information to these databases without your knowledge.  Did you know that if there are multiple listings with incorrect information this can actual hurt your rankings?

While you can go out and manually check and modify all of your listings, there are several services that will monitor and insure that all of your listings are accurate for a monthly fee.  We have partnered with a company that can provide this service for our customers.

The last part to the question, what is SEO has to do with social media activity.  It also plays a role in how well your site ranks.  Whether people are tweeting your blog post or "liking" the content through Facebook, it all plays a part.  Even in your social media posts you could help your off page SEO by the use of keywords as anchor text to like back to a page or post on your website.

So when asked what is SEO, you should be able to give a brief explanation as to what is SEO.  Of course most of these items that we have mentioned above can get into much greater detail, but if you intend to handle your own web design and SEO, you will want to take some online courses and increase your overall knowledge.  Lynda.com has some good courses if that is your interest.  For the average small business owner, I recommend hiring a professional so that you can focus on building your business.

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