understanding seo

Searching for things on the internet is something we all do every day.  Now that you can just visit google and type in a question, searching for information is getting even easier.

I’m guessing that you even used some sort of search find this article!  There’s a reason Yahoo, Google and Bing have all the power (and all the money) on the internet today- people need an easy way to find information.

The slippery slope about internet marketing is that if you’re looking for information, no matter how specific it is, you can find it instantly- but if you want to BE found by those folks searching for your product, service, or company, it’s just not quite as easy as you might think it is.  There are billions of pages on the internet today, and if you want people that are searching to find you, it takes skill and understanding of Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, to help you rise above the noise and get noticed.

Let’s dive into what SEO actually is, and why it’s so much more than just adding keywords to your site.

What Are Keywords Anyway?

Keywords are one of the things that you can use to be found on a search engine.  Without them, you’re going to have a hard time helping a prospective customer or client find your products, services, or companies.  You might think this is a difficult task, but in reality, keywords are everywhere.

Think about your local supermarket.  What do you use to find your favorite cereal?  If it’s the first time you’ve been to that store, you probably used the aisle signs to find it.  All the words on the end of each aisle are keywords, and are based on extensive research by the supermarket to figure out which general categories people recognize as a category for thousands of items.

Sports are also full of keywords- most of them so specific that only the experts understand them.  Every sport has specific terms that define an action or defines what creates a positive or negative result.  If you can easily define Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP), you’re one of the few.

SEO uses keywords to make your site visible for people looking for specific things on the internet.  You use these keywords to optimize your site or your paid search campaign to make it easier for people to find you.  They can use broad match terms (like the aisle signs in the supermarket) that cater to a large audience, or long-tail keywords (just like detailed sports statistics) to make sure you’re visible to that select group that wants exactly what you offer.

Using a mixture of both types of keywords based on detailed research, you have the building blocks to implement a successful SEO strategy.

Fighting Misconceptions about SEO

We hope that this article has helped you understand keywords and their importance to SEO.  One of the most difficult things that online marketing experts come across is what SEO is, and how it works.  At a high level, SEO seems pretty easy- pick a few words that relate to your business, put them all over your site, and sit back and wait for people to find you.

Let’s face it- SEO isn’t really that easy.  Figuring out what keywords you can use to help people find you is the easy part.  Several different things need to be researched, analyzed, and maintained to ensure you get consistent, measurable results.  To get the most out of SEO for your business, you have to have make sure you have all the pieces of a solid SEO strategy working together, including:

Keyword Research

It’s important to remember that you might not be your target audience.  You shouldn’t pick keywords that you think people will use.  In the shredding industry, it might be easy to think that ‘paper shredding near me’ is one of the best keywords to go after.  It’s specific, includes exactly what you do, and it shows an immediate need.

But after extensive keyword research, you might find out that people are searching for ‘document shredding’ or even a specific service you offer twice as often as ‘paper shredding near me’!  Use information gathered from trusted sources, historical data, and trends for people searching on line to set your business up for success.

Updated Meta Data

Meta data is the information you put ‘under the hood’ of your website.  It provides a guide to the search engines about what is each and every page of your site.  In fact, it’s one of the first things that people see on any search engine after they type in a keyword phrase.  Check out this image- the highlighted section is just one part of the meta data:

meta data and seo

If the meta data is missing, then the search engines and potential visitors can’t figure out why they should click on your site!  It’s a critical piece of SEO.

Link Early and Often

Linking between pages and creating logical paths from another site to your site is another powerful tool.  It makes your site easier to use, and leads people to what they are looking for or what you would like them to do.

If you want someone to sign up for mobile shredding, you should have a link from your services page that describes all your services to your contact page.  If you write a blog about how secure your shredding business is, have it link to your services page and your contact page.  You build SEO value by creating these paths- and your visitors will have an easy way to find exactly what they need.

Use Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and other social media outlets that help create awareness and conversations about your site and content are important for search engine results.  These conversations create quality links back to your site that are valued by every search engine.  Use it regularly- it will help your site move up in the rankings.

Be Patient

SEO isn’t your online saving grace, and positive results just don’t happen overnight.  You might see some of your pages show up immediately, but it takes strategy, planning and implementation to create organic traffic, see consistent positive results, and maintain them.

As you can see, SEO might not be as easy as some people say it is, but if you have all these items in place and you update them regularly, you’re on your way to consistent, positive results for years to come.