March 31, 2020

What Is SEO and Why Does Your Website Need It?

Small Business
Ronald B. Allen

If your business does not have a website, it should. The benefits include more effective advertising, ease of access for new customers, readily available product and service information, savings on advertising costs, an expanded market, and much more. A simple one-page website can contain contact information as well as a clear description of who you are and what you do. When you hand out business cards they will have your website address as well as your phone numbers and email address. But, you want people to be able to find you online without having to recheck the business card. That requires SEO. So, what is SEO and why does your business website need it?

SEO Stands for Search Engine Optimization

Anyone who looks for information on the internet is using a search engine. Far and away the most commonly used search engine is Google followed by Bing, the Microsoft search engine. Others include Yahoo, Ask, and AOL. If you want people to find your website with an internet search you want to “optimize” your site so that it ranks the best it can on a Google search as Google carries more than 90% of all internet searches.

Google Algorithm

Once upon a time in the infancy of the internet all your business had to do to rank on the first page of the search engines was to use terms like Kansas City area insurance, optometry practice in Kansas City, or health care practice in Overland Park and simply repeat these terms many times within the content on the site. This was SEO or search engine optimization in its infancy. Getting a high “page rank” was relatively easy but a lot of junk received high ranking. Google has been addressing this issue over the years with an evolving set of algorithms to determine the relevance of internet content. In short, the more relevant your content is (as determined by the current version of the Google ranking algorithm) the more likely you are to find yourself on the first page of a Google search. This is a benefit to Google users because they are more likely to find useful content with their searches. Why your company needs SEO is because you, obviously, want to be found on as many searches as possible by likely customers.

Basics of SEO
Content

Because Google’s algorithm focuses on relevance, the content on your website is of greatest importance. The content on a given web page needs to relate to what your business does and needs to include the search term which you hope folks will enter in order to arrive at your website. In this regard, you still need to use terms like Kansas City area insurance, optometry practice in Kansas City, or health care practice in Overland Park but you will only repeat them a few times, not twenty times. And, Google has gotten good at checking grammar and spelling, so make sure to check your work before publishing. At Exigo Business Solutions we use an online tool called Grammarly to make sure that simple spelling and grammar errors do not reduce page ranking.

Also, Google is not impressed by plagiarism. It is really easy to copy content from the internet and paste it into your website pages. If you get ideas from elsewhere on the internet you need to rewrite it or the intelligent computers at Google will catch on and punish you with a lower ranking. At Exigo Business Solutions we use an online tool called Copyscape to make sure that our content is not replicated elsewhere on the internet.

Use headings (H1, H2, H3) to help organize your content and add content to your site on a routine basis.

While you need to use headings because Google likes them and need to repeat the keyword phrase a few times because Google likes that too, you really want high-quality content. As the Google algorithm gets smarter and smarter it recognizes good content that was written for the user rather than content that was written to impress the search engine. This is good because once your upgrade the SEO for your website, people will show up and read your content. What you really want is for them to take the next step and click the contact us link to inquire about your products and services.

Links, Meta data, and Alt Tags for SEO Purposes

When you put an image in an article Google cannot “see” the content of the picture. But it can read the “alt” tag of that image. Make sure to put your keyword search term in the alt tag.

When your prospective customers arrive on your website they will be happier and more likely to stay if it is easy to navigate the site. Having a well-organized site is good. Having logical connections from your content to related content via links is even better. Google knows that this feature is good for the user and rewards your SEO efforts with a higher page rank.

Meta data is what you put in the HTML of the webpage to provide information about the title, description, and keywords for each and every page. The reader does not see this information but the Google search engine does and it should be relevant to the search and to what your business does and who you are.

Do You Build or Buy Your SEO?

If you have a knack for the written word and like writing, you are the best person to write for your website. However, many business owners are not great writers and do not have the time to create web pages. On top of that, writing for SEO requires an additional skillset so that all of the links, Meta data, alt tags, and links make sense and are optimized as well. If you are sold on the idea of optimizing your website for Google searches, but are not sure where to start, contact us at Exigo Business Solutions. One of our many services to our clients is providing written content for websites and hooking you up with someone who knows the ropes of SEO and can present you with a game plan for better search engine ranking.

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