Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Intro – What Is SEO?
Today’s video is going to cover 2019 SEO basics – just a quick introduction video to show what SEO is and what different components decide what affects those rankings. So first of all, SEO or search engine optimization is basically a term to show exactly what Google’s algorithm uses when you search a keyword.
A keyword can be one word or eight words, any combination of words or single word search is referred to as a keyword. If you’ve ever wondered how Google decides which websites to show on the first page and how they order those, this video and post will give you a quick intro to how that is performed.
The example used in the video is when you search for the term “CPA Phoenix AZ”. Let’s say that you’re a small business owner located in the Phoenix, AZ area and you’re looking for the best local accounting firm that can help you with business taxes. As displayed in the video, when you type in the search term (after scrolling past the first few links that say “ad”) you will come to the organic results.
With the popularity of Google’s search engine, it’s easy to understand that if your business website is ranking on the top page and on the first few results for a popular search term (such as “CPA Phoenix”), that can have a huge impact on your business. Unlike other forms of more traditional marketing that takes on a scattered approach, SEO is extremely targeted. Your website ranks for EXACTLY the type of customers you’re looking for. With our example, if you’re the first result you will get calls and emails from potential clients who need a CPA and are located near you in Phoenix, AZ.
This post is going to cover the two basic elements that SEO is comprised of – on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-Page SEO – Making the Most Out of Your Business Website
To keep things as simple as possible, think of on-page SEO as any edits and adjustments that you can make to only YOUR website that will impact the SEO rankings. This includes 3 basic components – the structure of your website, the content on your website and the page speed of your site.
On-Page SEO Factor 1: Website Structure
Starting with the structure of your website, the main focus here is to structure your business website in a way that’s Google friendly and won’t run into any issues with the way that Google prefers websites to be created and indexed. A really simple example of this one is whether or not your website is mobile friendly and is responsive for different devices (phones, tablets, desktops, etc.).
All thing’s being equal if your website is NOT mobile friendly and your competitor’s website is, their website will rank higher than yours every time. Google wants to promote content that is mobile friendly as that helps with the user experience for those searching from their phones.
On-Page SEO Factor 2: Website Content
Next up is the content on the website. This deals with the actual text on your business site and the strategic positioning of keywords that you want to target that describes your business. Take a look at your site and ask if the content accurately reflects what your business does, if the information is accurate and updated, and if you’re included strategic positioning for keywords that describe your business (such as including “Scottsdale CPA” somewhere in the heading text at the start of your homepage if that’s what you’re trying to target customers for).
An excellent example of this concept is let’s say you haven’t updated your CPA firm’s website in 3-4 years and now one of the main services you are offering is bookkeeping. How is Google supposed to know that you made that change if you’re making it as difficult as possible for yourself? Updating your own content is critical and making it as simple as possible for Google helps your business get the results it deserves.
On-Page SEO Factor 3: Website Speed
Finally, we will take a look at page speed. Google’s main objective is to give their users the best possible user experience when they make a search. Naturally, if your website is slow and glitchy, Google’s algorithm is going to punish your website rankings. Our post linked here explained how to use GTMetrix (free tool) to test your website’s speed. The rule of thumb is anything less than 2.0 seconds is fantastic and more than 4.0 seconds needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
When you engage with a firm like Norba Design that provides monthly SEO packages to get your business the online leads you deserve, the first few months are spent really optimizing on-page SEO to ensure the foundation is set in place to make the most out of your business site. Next up, let’s take a look at off-page SEO and how that’s going to impact SEO rankings.
Off-Page SEO – Showing Google The Value of Your Online Content
In the past, search engines would ONLY look at on-page SEO and this led to a very frustrating user experience. How could a search engine optimize the entire Internet to tell them what’s the most relevant and highly-valuable content for a given search?
This is where Google came in and took over the search engine space, as they started incorporating off-page SEO to leverage other website’s to know how to provide the best user experience possible. Let’s go back to the main goal of Google’s search engine to really understand why off-page SEO is such a value add in this space – Google wants to show the user the most highly relevant and useful content for their specific search.
Off-Page SEO: Backlinks and Link Building
The main component of off-page search engine optimization is a term known as backlinks. What is a backlink? It’s simply when another website links back to your business site. For example, if you write an article for the NYTimes and they put a quick author bio about you and include a link that says “click here” that links back to your site, that would be a backlink.
For a quick example, you have two different websites for two companies that both offer wealth management in Scottsdale AZ:
Company 1 – ABC Wealth Management: they currently have 3 websites linking back to them
Company 2 – XYZ Wealth Management: they currently have 10 websites linking back to them
All things being equal, XYZ’s website is going to outrank ABC’s site every single time. However, it isn’t just as simple as the number of backlinks that a website has. Relevance of the source and the quality of the source website is substantially more important than just the basic number of backlinks.
Using the same exact example, let’s say all of the 10 backlinks for XYZ’s website are from spammy websites that have nothing to do with financial services or wealth management. Those backlinks are not going to help bump up the SEO rankings for their website as they are low quality and have no relevance. If all 3 of ABC’s backlinks are for well-respected websites in the financial services or business space, Google is going to highly promote the SEO rankings as it’s confirming that these trusted websites trust in ABC’s site and their content and they are validating them.