SEO. Three little letters that you hear all too often if you’re looking to make it easier for customers to find your business online. But, for most business owners, the world of internet marketing often feels like you’ve been transported to a strange and unfamiliar land with its own language and rules. And, making your business findable on search engines such as Google can seem like it’s accomplished with some sort of dark magic by mumbling wizards with long, gray beards and dirty robes.
Well, rest assured no unholy spells are used to magically make your business get noticed, however there is some sorcery at work: The sorcery of SEO. (Also, SEO wizards tend to speak quite clearly and are prone to wearing khaki shorts and really cool t-shirts that are almost always clean.)
So, what exactly is SEO?
It’s great that you’ve asked, otherwise this would be a really short guide.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a fancy way to say, “doing stuff to make your website rank higher on Google searches.” Essentially, SEO is taking a piece of online content like a blog or web page and optimizing it so search engines (like Google) show it towards the top of the page when someone searches for a related word or term.
Say, for example, your website sells magic beans. When people are looking to buy legumes of the enchanted variety online, they’ll likely type “magic beans” or maybe “how to grow a giant beanstalk” into a search engine. The best outcome for you is for a page of your website to appear ahead of your bean-selling competition in the search results.
To decide which page appears first, the search engine will look for the content it considers as the leading information when it comes to the word or term being searched. Not a simple task. It takes research, creativity, some tools of the trade and some patience but someone already searching for magic beans is far easier to sell magic beans to than someone who isn't!
Okay, how does SEO marketing actually work?
Ahhh, you want to have a peek at the SEO spell book, do you? See how to conjure up better search rankings yourself? Okay, well you may want to keep this list of mythical internet marketing terms open.
Of all the words in the Marketing Magic Dictionary, the most magical of them all is “content.” And for good reason. Content is extremely important for SEO; without it search engines wouldn’t have much information to decide how to index your web pages correctly and where you rank on specific keywords or terms.
Not all content is created equal and there are two types of content you should be working on for improved SEO: On-site content and off-site content. On-site (or sometimes called on-page) content is what’s on your business’s web pages. This content needs to be well-written, updated regularly and contain the appropriate keywords. Your titles and metatags on things like photos should likewise also be keyword rich. Off-site (or off-page) SEO involves building relationships with other websites that have related content and earning links back to your website by creating content, like blog articles, that people want to share.
In Part 2 of this guide, we’ll show you the secret magic of creating content that search engines will rank.