SEO (Search Engine Optimization) 101 – The Basics

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) 101 – The Basics

“SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience”.

Wikipedia

Search Engine Optimization or SEO in short, is a set of rules that can be followed by website owners to optimize their websites for search engines and thus improve their search engine rankings. Did you know that, according to Hosting Facts, 2.9 billion Google searches are made every day in 2016?

As Webopedia defines it, SEO “is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine — including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines”. It is the ongoing process of uncovering and discovering non-branded keywords that are driving organic search traffic and conversions, then publishing content optimized for those keywords. Sounds important for your small business, right? Well, it really is. Word Stream found out in a research they recently made that an impressive 72% of all people who performed a local search ended up frequenting a store that was within five miles of them.

SEO is about a prospect discovering a brand’s content and web presence through search and social, and the owner of that content being able to understand who consumed the content and the impact of the content across the organization, therefore SEO is the outcome of a content marketing strategy that makes use of highly converting keywords that your target audience is searching on. Ok. That said, the first basic truth you need to know to learn SEO is that search engines are not humans. While this might be obvious for everybody, the differences between how humans and search engines view web pages aren’t. Unlike humans, search engines are text-driven. Although technology advances rapidly, search engines are far from intelligent creatures that can feel the beauty of a cool design or enjoy the sounds and movement in movies. Instead, search engines crawl the Web, looking at particular site items (mainly text) to get an idea what a site is about.

Why is SEO important for your small business? Alex Chris (a digital marketing consultant and author) mentioned in an article for reliablesoft.net a few specific reasons why your business should start using SEO today as an essential part of it:

  • The majority of search engines users are more likely to choose one of the top 5 suggestions in the results page so to take advantage of this and gain visitors to your website or customers to your on-line store you need to rank as higher as possible.
  • SEO is not only about search engines but good SEO practices improve the user experience and usability of a website.
  • SEO is also good for the social promotion of your website. People who find your website by searching Google or Yahoo! are more likely to promote it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or other social media channels.
  • SEO can put you ahead of the competition. If two websites are selling the same thing, the search engine optimized website is more likely to have more customers and make more sales.

Although the basic principle of operation of all search engines is the same, the minor differences between them lead to major changes in results relevancy. For different search engines different factors are important. There are many examples of the differences between search engines. For example, for Yahoo! and Bing, on-page keyword factors are of primary importance, while for Google links are very, very important. Also, for Google sites are like wine – the older, the better, while Yahoo! generally has no expressed preference towards older sites and domains. Thus you might need more time till your site gets mature to be admitted to the top in Google, than in Yahoo!. Business 2 Community detected in a research they developed that when using organic SEO techniques and a PPC campaign together, you can expect to receive 25% more clicks and 27% more profits versus using just one or the other, while the top Google listing still gets about 1/3 of all clicks, the organic results earning the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th spot now receive the other 63% of the clicks, leaving only 4% of clicks for anything lower.

It seems that the time when you could easily top the results for a one-word search string is centuries ago. Now, when the web is so densely populated with sites, it is next to impossible to achieve constant top ratings for a one-word search string. Achieving constant top ratings for two-word or three-word search strings is a more realistic goal. For instance, if you have a site about dogs, don’t try and optimize for the keyword “dog” or “dogs”. Instead you could try and focus on keywords like “dog obedience training”, “small dog breeds”, “homemade dog food”, “dog food recipes” etc. Success for very popular one-two word keywords is very difficult and often not worth the trouble, it’s best to focus on less competitive highly specific keywords.

As WebConfs explains, after you have chosen the keywords that describe your website and are supposedly of interest to your users, the next step is to make your website keyword-rich and to have good keyword density for your target keywords. Keyword density although no longer a very important factor in SEO is a common measure of how relevant a page is. Generally, the idea is that the higher the keyword density, the more relevant to the search string a page is. The recommended density is 3-7% for the major 2 or 3 keywords and 1-2% for minor keywords. Although there are no strict rules, try optimizing for a reasonable number of keywords – 5 or 10 is OK. If you attempt to optimize for a list of 300, you will soon see that it is just not possible to have a good keyword density for more than a few keywords, without making the text sound artificial and stuffed with keywords. And what is worse, there are severe penalties (including ban from the search engine) for keyword stuffing because this is considered an unethical practice that tries to manipulate search results.

Remember that MI Group provides an excellent SEO service for small business and companies in general. Contact us today! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @MIGroupJamaica @MIGroupUSA @MIGroupBahamas @MyDealsToday

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