Business Owner’s Guide to SEO

SEO, SEM, PPC – The world of digital marketing can seem a bit like alphabet soup. And like all good soups, it begins with a strong base – your business’s website. A search engine optimized website is a strong foundational element of any annual marketing plan. Just like your business plans and marketing tactics, a basic understanding of SEO practices and common objectives will make them work more efficiently for you.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of building your website so that it will be found by search engines.  This process involves both technical elements, like coding and structure, as well as creative elements like design and copy.

The majority of website traffic comes from the major search engines. Think of the last time you needed a new product or service – odds are, you went right to Google.

A search engine optimized website will:

– Be better recognized by major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.)
– Have improved rankings
– Drive more traffic to your website

SEO should not be an afterthought to your website, but rather something you consider from day one. There are multiple factors that influence your website’s rankings – approximately 200 in fact. But some factors do have more of an impact than others.

Content

You may have heard the phrase “content is king.” For websites, content is considered all of the media on the page, from text to images to videos. Today’s best websites even leverage different media types as part of their SEO strategy, but the most basic of content, and most powerful in terms of SEO, remains the text on the page.

Keywords

A website’s content should focus on the phrases that your consumers are searching for. Many companies fall into the trap of using technical language or industry jargon, rather than the simplified terms that the average person would use. Knowing your audience’s mindset and researching those most highly searched phrases related to your industry is the first step in successfully optimizing your website.

Static Pages

After keyword research is complete, it’s important to be abundantly clear what subject your website is about. Static page content best practices have changed significantly over the last five years alone. There is a delicate line between writing content for search engines and writing content for website users. A strong SEO consultant can find that balance between keyword placement and a natural flow of language.

Updated Content

Search engines like to see that websites are being updated on a semi-regular basis. Fresh content signals search engines that the site is being maintained and that the business is still active. Whether adding a page to promote a new product or adding a blog that features niche key phrases, regular updates benefit your users and your rankings.

User Experience

In the SEO world, user experience has been the driving factor in change. User experience involves much more than just the visual design of the site. The best optimized sites have the following characteristics:

– Easy to use and navigate
– Provides content relevant to the searcher’s question
– Delivers high-quality, credible content

That last point – high quality, credible content – continues to be an ongoing struggle for many sites. In 2008, Google indexed 1 trillion web pages. In 2014, that total leapt to 30 trillion. As more and more content is created, it is crucial to create quality content that will stand out from the noise.

External Signals

In addition to on-page considerations for your website, there are external signals that help Google determine the rankings of websites.

Directory listings

Some focus on providing the most relevant, local business. In this case, complete listings on online directories like YellowPages, Manta and Yahoo! Local will help improve your website’s ranking. Consistent and updated directory listings are an essential part of the search engine optimization of your website and should be maintained. It’s important that your company’s information appears consistent across each site for both users and search engines.

Backlinks

Backlinking – when another website links to yours – is also a common practice that can help improve rankings. For example, if AdWeek linked to a King Media blog in one of their articles, that backlink would be extremely valuable. As an industry leader with a trusted brand and a high domain authority, AdWeek’s credibility would be passed along to our website. Backlinks, like so much of SEO, are about quality over quantity.

A firm grasp on the basics of SEO helps business owners make decisions about their website. While it’s encouraged to consider SEO from the first stages of web development, it’s never too late to make improvements. After all, a strong base, whether in websites or soups, sets up your entire project for success.

If you’re ready to truly leverage your website as an efficient marketing tool, contact King Media for SEO consultations, copywriting or website design and development.