In the midst of 2 trillion annual Google searches, SEO has seen and determined the placements of the gleaming blue titles our eyes have been trained to look for. By now, you’ve probably heard of the phenomenon, and may even know what it stands for, but much like the hokey pokey, is that what it’s all about?
To anyone running a business, search ranking is a crucial part of one’s online presence. Think about it- have you ever clicked through several pages to find what you’re looking for? Have you ever made it to the bottom of a Google results page? Unless you’re a leisurely browser, you probably click on the first few links related to your search and go about your online journey.
If SEO intimidates you, this blog is for you. With a few helpful tips, you will hopefully see that SEO is something you can tackle rather than it tackling you.
What is SEO?
To source dictionary.com, SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO is “the methods used to boost the ranking or frequency of a website in results returned by a search engine, in an effort to maximize user traffic to the site.”
Google and Bing send bots to crawl pages of your (and everyone else’s) website, indexing everything as they go. Algorithms then take the information from said index and organize them according to certain signals and ranking factors; and eventually, the page results are generated. It’s important to note that paid ads are not the same as SEO; you can’t pay to get higher organic rankings.
To elaborate more on paid vs. unpaid ads, the first few results you see, depending on what you search, will have “Ad” bolded beside the title. Those can be extremely beneficial if you target the correct demographics pertaining to your services. An organic (unpaid) way to rank higher is by adding and claiming your business on Google Maps, encouraging customer reviews, and adding pictures.
How can I implement SEO without spending money?
That’s the universal question for most things, isn’t it? Which brings me to the universal answer: hard work.
There are two paths within SEO: on-page and off-page. An example of on-page SEO would be this blog you’re currently reading. Something you typed in your respective search engine has led you to this page (and we’re so happy you’re here). Aside from a blog, building content on your site includes incorporating keywords, posting frequent and relevant content, and ensuring your titles and metatags are well-written.
Off-page SEO is done by optimizing content not necessarily on your site by earning backlinks (links a page from one website to another). For example, if you’re posting something on your site with a YouTube link, that would be considered a backlink. Remember a few paragraphs ago when dictionary.com was cited? Effortless backlink.
When will I see results?
This is a tricky question to answer correctly, but most experts will say it takes about 4-6 months to see any tangible results. The biggest tip we can give you is to target human audiences, also known as “white hat SEO.” This is done by posting relevant content, complying with HTML standards, and including relevant links and references.
“Black hat SEO” can yield quick results, but can get you blacklisted just as fast. This method is done by posting duplicate content, stuffing keywords, and linking irrelevant pages. Google is known to penalize sites that do this, so like most things, it’s best to be ethical.
Although this is a great starting point, please keep in mind that this barely scrapes the surface of SEO. Good things take time, and if this is still overwhelming, let us take care of your SEO needs!
To quote Lightning McQueen, “With a little bit of [SEO best practices] - and an insane amount of luck - you too can look like me. Ka-chow.” Happy searching.