Have you seen the books titled “_____for Dummies” on every topic you can imagine? Well they‘re the inspiration for this blog post. As I was thinking through how we feel when we don’t have background knowledge or basic vocabulary on a subject, we tend to feel like a “dummy” even though we are brilliant in other areas. We all have expertise in one area or another, but there are also those topics we know very little about. If you own your own business or are a leader in a small company you may not have much experience with or background knowledge in SEO services for small business and that can make it very hard to follow a conversation or take the next sales call. If this feels familiar, then this post is for you!
What is SEO and why do I need SEO services for my small business?
Great question--and a question many small business leaders are asking. If your business has a website and you are trying to market your business online, you may have heard about the need for SEO services or even had an agency approach you with the SEO services for small business they can provide. If you are left wondering what it all means, read on...
Well, I am not supposing you to be a dummy, but I am supposing that this isn’t your area of expertise. Sometimes we are afraid to ask the questions we need answers to, especially if we feel we should already know the answers.
When someone is searching for your website or the content contained on your website and they don’t know your exact URL or website address, they are going to type in “keywords” into the search bar to find websites related to their topic. Ideally you want your website to come up in the search results as a top source of relevant information so that these “searchers” (otherwise known as online traffic) will come to your website to fulfill their need and find answers to their questions. The higher up on the search results your website is, the more traffic your website will receive.
What does all this new vocabulary mean?
"I feel like I am learning a new language!" Well...you are!
For you novices and beginners, or for the leader of a company who just needs to understand the process, here is a quick guide to SEO terms and the high level steps for SEO services:
SEO Services Vocabulary:
Search Engine Optimization- the process of optimizing a website to show up at the top of online search results for the keywords people are searching with.
Search Engine- a system that indexes individual pages inside websites. The more popular search engines are Google, Yahoo! and Bing. Here is a great basic video by Matt Cutts explaining how Google works and how searches are performed:
URL- an abbreviation of Uniform Resource Locator, which is a global address for resources and documents on the World Wide Web. Basically it is the address of the website so you can be found! There are no two URLs that can be exactly the same.
Search Engine Results Page (SERP)- this is the search results page that comes up after you enter your keywords in the search bar.
Page Rank- The position of a website on the SERPs. This is always changing and not consistent from one search to another as well as one searcher to another.
Keywords- The “key” words or terms typed into the search bar. Search engines use the keywords to search for relevant web pages that contain the same keywords or terms. One the on flipside, SEO services for small business use keywords on your website to show your content is relevant to these search inquiries so that your website ranks higher on those SERPs.
Meta Title/Page Title- the text that appears at the top of your browser when you visit a website or page and this is also the piece of text that appears as the title of the webpage on the SERP when a search is made.
Meta Description- the small description of each page that sits within the HTML code. The main use for this is to be the source of the description search engines use for their results and pulls this description for use under the Page title on the SERP.
Here is a quick example of how these terms connect with search results for the keywords "search engine optimization":
Image Alt Tags- the text used to label an image on a website. Because search engines cannot tell what is in a photo or image, you need to tell them by labeling the image with alt text. Ideally your pictures will relate to your keywords so you can use them in your description. The Alt Tag should describe what the picture is while including your keyword.
Fresh Content- the content on your website that is kept up-to-date and relevant to what website traffic is looking for. Websites with outdated content will find their rank slipping. One of the best ways to add new relevant content to your website is through a blog or news section.
Backlinks- a hyperlink that links a webpage back to your own webpage (For us novices, this is sometimes in the form of text that is clickable and highlighted so when you click on it, you move to a new webpage).
Link Building- the process of exchanging links with other websites to increase your own website’s backlinks.
So, now that you have the basic vocabulary hopefully you can have a conversation about SEO services for small business. If you ever need a quick reference for other online terms, Webopedia is a quick source to use!
High Level SEO Services process in 3 basic steps:
Keyword Research/Competition Analysis- the first step in the SEO process and a big indicator of the future success of your SEO efforts. This is the step in which you decide which keywords you want your web pages to rank for. Your decision should be based on what people are searching for, what you want your web pages to be found for, as well as what your competition for those keywords is. In this step you want to use good quality SEO services for small business and software that will give you the best advice as to which keywords your website should focus on.
On page SEO- the process of optimizing your website for the search engines to “crawl” and search for relevant content. This step includes work in adding keywords to the page content, the meta titles and descriptions, and image ALT tags.
Off Page SEO- the process of promoting your website through gaining “popularity” online. This is done by creating backlinks and social network sharing. Basically you want others who are online to be connecting to you, pointing traffic to your website and promoting your content.
Many of the tasks involved in SEO services for small business are ongoing as your content is updated and you continue to share your value with others. The search engines will notice (when you have the pieces working properly) and your page ranking will increase. As your website page ranking increases, you will see your website traffic increase and ultimately get more customers for your small business.
So, now that you have the basic vocabulary hopefully you can have a conversation about SEO services for small business and not feel like a "dummy."