Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is certainly a buzz term in Online Marketing. You can Google "SEO" and literally find millions of results – everything from companies offering to "rank" your company website, to those guaranteeing to skyrocket your SEO so that you are #1 on Google.
If you're new to digital marketing, you may be wondering what it all means, if all of it's snake oil, or perhaps how you can utilize SEO tactics for your business to help you get discovered online. Obviously, we are here to help you with the latter, because SEO is indeed of considerable value, but before we identify where we can help we want to help you understand what SEO is all about.
The Two-Part System: Technical versus Content
The Technical Side of Your Website – Design and Functionality
This is often what is thought of when the term SEO is used: how well your site performs on simple things like page load speed and mobile accessibility, to meta tags and indexing. The technical side of SEO revolves around how well your website functions (think of it like the performance of your car; if it's in need of a tune up, you're not going to get great gas mileage, and you won't be keeping up with others -- competitors -- on the road, or in this case, search rankings), as well as how easily and accurately it can be indexed by search engines.
This is referred to as “crawling and indexing,” and it is the process of search engines scanning your website and determining if your site is legitimate, and how valuable it could be to potential visitors/customers. This, in part, influences your site’s “rank" or position in search results. In fact, if your site is very poorly designed, has sub-par hosting, isn’t linked to from other quality sites, or contains some sloppily-written code that blocks search engines from accessing it in full, customers won’t have much luck locating your site's pages through search. That's why it is imperative that you have a well performing, user friendly website, not only for your visitor's satisfaction, but to ensure you can be found in the first place.
To have a technically proficient website, it is crucial to optimize your meta tags (these provide the information to search engine bots about the content found on your site) for your targeted keywords, use compressed formats for coding and images to avoid bloating that hinders page load speed, and consider small things like ensuring there aren’t broken links on your site that lead to nowhere.
All these aspects (and more) can hamper your company's website right out of the gate, especially if you are a new or small business. If this seems a little too complicated, or you want more information on how to utilize these technical elements in your favour, contact us today.
Content – Value, Breadth, and Relevance
Obviously, a functioning website is important, but if you don’t have valuable content on your site that's written for search engines --- scrap the writing style that was drilled into you during college or university --- you won’t rank well either. Content (information!) is what your prospective customers are searching for and it is how they will find you if you've done a good job at creating value-added content on your website that matches their search intent. If your site has a breadth of content describing your services, and the benefit those services provide, your site will over time rank higher in search results.
That said, not all content is created equal. Simply providing information without first considering a strategic approach to the way you develop that informative content isn't enough. Your on-page content (service or product pages, blog posts, etc.) should contain a healthy density of keywords and their long-tail keyword variations applicable to your industry, which will in turn increase your domain's relevance on the subjects that are most relevant to your business within your geographic region.
But, just like your customers, the indexing bots are smart and can recognize spammy content. You cannot simply just have your business name, services, and relevant keywords typed over and over again across your site and expect an increase in your search performance. In fact, indexers such as Google often penalize this behaviour --- it's commonly referred to as “Keyword Stuffing”. What will help your business’ website thrive is organically written, useful content that is relevant to your business’ sector – blogs are great vehicles for this.
If generating effective, valuable content that improves organic search visibility was easy, every website would be full of amazing information and easily found. But, of course, there is an art to not only establishing a significant amount of relevant content for your business, but utilizing keywords in an effective manner to drive qualified traffic to your website. Ranking in position #1 of Google search results for “best contracting business”, or the “top real estate brokerage” may be your goal, but these may not be the most effective keywords to focus your content efforts toward at your current stage or location.
At Park House Solutions, we have built a business on knowing what are effective keywords to drive local customers to your site. We specialize in dealing with new, as well small to medium businesses in Grey and Bruce County and the surrounding area. We know how to market to consumers in this area because we are from this area. We'll work with you to achieve your goals within the local setting that we both know and love. Feel free to contact us today to learn more about what we offer or to setup a consultation so that we can develop a plan that is right for your business.