WHAT IS SEO?
I’m sure you’ve heard the term SEO before. You probably know it means search engine optimization. But what the heck does that mean? And why is it so mysterious?
Let’s break it down into simple terms.
SEO is any activity that is done to get your website seen by the people who are searching for it, more specifically by the people you want to see your site and the people who want to see your site. When it’s done well, it’s win-win. There are a lot of different activities that come under the heading of SEO that break down into two categories: technical SEO and content SEO.
Let’s break it down further.
This is all the “behind the scenes” stuff that you don’t want to know about. As a business owner you’re a little too pre-occupied with running your business to learn a whole new language and a dozen technical skills. This is why you hire a web-guy. But you should understand what this means because technical SEO is kind of step 0 in having an online presence. If you really don’t care, then skip to the next part about content SEO.
Technical SEO means making your website readable by the “Google Bots” (and bots for other search engines, but no one really worries about those). “Bots” are computer programs that scan the Internet continuously in order to gather the data of what is out there so that when you type in a search term you get the right result.
Though these bots are getting smarter all the time (the robot uprising isn’t far off I’m sure), they are still nowhere near as smart as a person. If you showed them something like a Garfield comic they would have a very hard time understanding it, and they certainly wouldn’t find it funny. I, however, have been laughing at Garfield since I was about 8 (no word yet on when I will stop finding them funny).
Because of this certain website designs might look nice to a person and be understandable, but they are completely incomprehensible to a bot. They therefore would not show up in a relevant search.
An example would be a website for a bakery that had a picture of a fresh-from-the-oven loaf of bread with a caption that said “serving the Vancouver area for 25 years.” Google would have no clue what you were serving to Vancouver. You have to go “backstage” and add something called an “Alt-Tag” to the photo. The alt-tag is a description of the image using words that you never see but can be read by the Google Bot. (Fun fact! Alt-tags were originally created for the visually impaired and only later used by search engines.)
Other totally thrilling technical SEO activities include submitting a site map to Google (a description of the layout of your site) and ensuring you have the right ratio of computer code to actual visible text. I know, it’s exciting, calm down.
This is why I said you don’t want to know this stuff. So let’s move on to what’s more interesting…
Content SEO means creating articles, videos, photos, etc. that people actually would like to see and will search for. It’s kind of like how TV shows are free because they want you to see the commercials. If you make a good TV show people come to watch it and you can sell them stuff.
But it actually has to be good content!
The way you do this is you figure out what things your customers want to know. For example if you’re a roofing company you might find your customers are always asking about the differences between certain types of shingles. Well, you could write and article about that or make a video.
Or if you owned a print shop your customers might ask for tips about creating good-looking business cards. So you create content about that.
There are certain technical points in creating this content, for example you want to do some research on what words or phrases people are searching for. And you want to structure your article in such a way that the keywords are featured in the right places.
But Google’s search bots, who are as I said becoming increasingly smarter, are getting to the point where they can tell good writing from bad. So the thing to do is not to worry about how you structure it and to just write natural sounding, easy to read articles that contain useful information.
The more you update your site with useful info, the higher you will rank in the search pages.
IT’S WORK. SORRY.
So getting to the top page of Google takes a lot of work. But it can be done. You have to get your technical SEO in place before you do anything else. Once those basics are in then you can start to speak to your audience, which personally I find much more fun.
If you have any other questions or need some SEO work done for your small business, feel free to get in touch with us.
Call today for a complementary consultation.