If you’re a business owner you might have heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When people search for a keyword on a search engine they get a page of results that contains a list of relevant websites. SEO is the process of making your website be listed higher on results pages when users search for keywords related to your business. Ranking high in Google or Bing is important because nobody is going to sift through 5 pages of results to find the product or service they’re looking for. Being visible in search results and driving more traffic to your website is critical for growing your business organically.
On-page SEO is exactly what it sounds like, adding information the actual webpage that optimizes it for search engine results. Adding the right information to your website helps search engines like Google or Bing understand exactly what your website represents, which causes your site to rank higher for relevant keywords. A website with a greater amount of relevant on-page SEO will end up ranking higher than a similar site that contains less amounts of SEO work.
A website might even be penalized for having poor on-page SEO. Your website’s visibility could be hindered if it doesn’t load quickly, isn’t responsive on mobile phones, contains too many ads or popups, or has any errors or duplicate content.
Schema Markup Data (link)
Header tags, image alt tags, and keyword placement
Having proper 301 redirection in place
Being responsive on mobile devices
Loading quickly, using less computer resources, and having web caching in place
Being free of site errors, broken links, and duplicate content
An SEO campaign is an ongoing process of building your website’s reputation and increasing search result rankings. On-page SEO lays the framework for increasing your ranking in Google or Bing, but getting your website to the first page or the first spot does not happen overnight. Your competition is running or have run SEO campaigns of their own and overtaking them takes time and consistent marketing. But with the right SEO strategy and goals in place you will achieve tangible results and increase your organic online traffic.
To build your search result ranking you must build your reputation with search engines. Websites that are more credible to Google or Bing will rank higher in their results page. So how do these search engines determine your credibility? On-page SEO aside, the quantity and quality of the backlinks and citations that point to your website determine your website’s potential ranking.
Backlinks are simply links to your website from other websites, and citations are listings of your business name, address, and phone number (referred to as NAP) in online directories and webpages. To rank high you need good sources of both; the process of building these sources is the meat of an SEO campaign.
Building quality sources, however, takes time and effort. For a local business, citations are marginally more important for ranking in Maps and Local Search results, but backlinks are just as important for ranking in organic search results. To make matters more confusing, more is not always better and having citations or backlinks from shady websites will end up hurting your ranking. This means that constant management of your link sources is important.
If you’ve searched Google then you’ve seen paid ad campaigns. They’ll appear at the top of search results with a little green box that says AD next to them. When you click on the link that business (or person) will pay Google a small fee for your click. This is known as pay per click ads, and because they drive traffic to your website they naturally have a good ROI. The key to running a good paid ad campaign is by targeting the right keywords (more common keywords will cost more for clicks than less common keywords).