SEO Basics: Not just another internet acronym

by | Sep 8, 2016

There are certain marketing concepts that every business needs to know. One such concept, search Engine Optimization (SEO), is something you’ve like been familiar with for a long time. It’s all about getting as many visitors possible to your website.

SEO is everything that goes into maximizing traffic to your site. Every marketing department should devote resources to come up with an SEO strategy, regardless of budget or company size. You want to make sure that your information is present and glaring when a potential customer embarks on an Internet search hoping to find a solution that you can provide.

Achieving at top Google ranking involves both creativity and science. Companies devote a considerable amount of time and money to ensure that their websites pop up prominently in peoples’ Internet searches. And, they focus on this placement for good reason. The Internet today has approximately 30 trillion websites. And, with nine to ten websites on each Google search results page, no Internet user has time to comb through every page of search results. Furthermore, multiple studies have shown that most people don’t even click to the second page of Google results. To really make sure your site isn’t overlooked, you want your website in the top three spots of search results for certain keyword searches.

With those statistics, and observations that certain ways of advertising (think: television) are nowhere near effective as they used to be, it’s easy to see that Search Engine Optimization is important. Don’t be discouraged if your marketing budget is all accounted for, either. There are affordable, small-scale ways to both kick start and refine an SEO strategy, and it all starts with local SEO – making your brand recognizable and accessible to the consumers geographically closest.

Local SEO in recent years has become hugely important with the massive shift of Internet users from traditional computers to phones and tablets, which rely on local networks. So, approach your website with this mindset. Start thinking about local SEO, and a sound strategy that starts with:

Keeping Users (and Crawlers) in Mind

First and foremost, realize that when it comes to the Internet, Big Brother is always watching. But, really…

Search engines like Google use computer programs called crawlers to validate information and links on sites all over the web. If the Internet is the information super highway, then the crawlers are the cartographers deciding whether or not you’re worthy of being mapped.

Masterminds created the web crawlers with users in mind, so you should, too.  

Put your contact information and keywords in obvious places– both for the benefit of users and crawlers. Think where most eyes will automatically go when looking to pick up a phone or send an email. In most cases, this is the footer of the website.

Remember that crawlers are just robots, and they will de-Index a site if they can’t information on what it represents. And, when Google de-Indexes a site, it means that it no longer shows up any search. So, always err on the side of visibility.

Accuracy

Your name, address and phone number – collectively referred to as NAP data – must always be accurate. This plays a significant role in Google rankings, most especially when it comes to local traffic. Studies show that address, phone number and proximity of company location to the user are consistently in the top three things that people are looking for.

Then, properly format that NAP information so that crawlers can digest it. Use schema.org to help you out with the text.

Also, utilize clear and current images. Add photos of your business – a picture of your local office, headshots of your Executive team – to Google My Business, so that when someone does type your name into a search engine, a concise profile consisting of NAP data and images appears on the first page of their results. It’s like you’re initiating a virtual handshake!

Beyond keeping the listed information accurate, know that any link that your site either hyperlinks or references must route properly. Dead or incorrect links are justifications for the crawlers to de-Index you.

Lastly, accuracy is also key on local online business directories and other third party sites. As important as it is to appear in these directories, a highly-viewed resource is only useful to you if you’re listed so that people can reach you.

Local Websites and Area-Specific Social Media

Companies multiple geographic locations should set up individual websites, as well as unique social media pages, for every office location.

Any site you have with local information is going to help you out with your positioning in search engine results. People use social media to interact with each other, so, of course Internet users can most easily and casually interact with your business if you have a homegrown social media presence.

Explore the social media you use and pursue the simplest way to branch out your social media strategy. Use parent pages on Facebook and company pages on LinkedIn, for example.

Don’t just regurgitate information, either. Make sure that the content both on each website is specific to the area it serves. The same goes for social media: posts on local channels should unique to the location. Exclusive content can include newsworthy information or, perhaps more enticing, local offers.

Presence on Third-Party Sites

For SEO purposes, the more you’re listed without duplicating information, the better your positioning.

Make sure you’re listed in online directories and make sure you’re being discussed – positively, of course –on recommendation platforms like Yelp and Local.com.

For a comprehensive list of both directories and recommendation platforms, you can, well, just Google them.

Keeping Mobile Friendly

We mentioned the role of mobile devices in the growing importance of local SEO strategy, so this one may seem obvious. In a 2015 study, Google found that more than half of searches came from mobile devices. SEO is moving away from the once-King desktop, so your website should be focused on both.

While it would be convenient for website data to translate perfectly to the small screen, it does not automatically do this. If you don’t have a mobile site in production, then make sure that your website is phone friendly.

For any questions on local SEO, SEO in general, or on any of the specific suggestions we mention here, contact SiteStr today.