SEO 101 – What Is It and Why Should I Know About It?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which, according to Moz, is a “set of practices designed to improve the appearance and positioning of web pages in organic search results. Because organic search is the most prominent way for people to discover and access online content, a good SEO strategy is essential for improving the quality and quantity of traffic to your website.”

There are several elements to a whole marketing strategy. As we break apart different segments of a strategy on our social media posts, we will also blog about them as well. This blog will focus on SEO services. These services consist of a combination of things. There is not a magic button that someone can push that says optimize my keywords, make my website rank higher than my competitors, or show my images on page one. Rather, SEO is a combination of a variety of services. The biggest thing to always remember with SEO is that there is no one-sized-fits-all approach. It’s important to address SEO services with your marketing team or agency, but as a leader, it is also important to be aware of what SEO is, how it can help your business, and then make sure you are paying for only services that are addressing your SEO needs and not for a “bundle” of services you don’t need.

Let’s just skim the top of SEO so that you can have a basic understanding of what it is. If there’s more you’d like to learn, contact our team and we can dive deeper into it with you.

What is a Search Engine?

Search engines are sites like Google, Bing, Yahoo. DuckDuckGo, etc. There are so many different search engines that can be used, but according to Joe Barker, all search engines consist of three parts:

  1. A database of web documents
  2. A search engine operating on that database
  3. A series of programs that determine how search results are displayed

Professionals argue over which is the best search engine and why. Even our team has a difference in opinion. It is a major science that goes into creating a search engine. And it is even a science of figuring out how to manage SEO for clients. 

Google is typically the dominant search engine in the world, but there are reasons why some users won’t search through Google, including the theory of information being withheld. Sites like DuckDuckGo are said to be best for users who have privacy concerns and want to keep their browsing information personal. This list could go on and on as to what search engine is best and why, but it typically boils down to personal preference and where the information wanted can be found fastest.

What is Organic Search?

There are two kinds of search results:

  1. Paid results
  2. Organic results

It is easier to understand paid results – basically it is results that populate because money is behind that result. Organic search results happen because of strategy! These results then lead to organic traffic, which then hopefully leads to whatever the conversion goal is. 

Here’s where it can get confusing and tricky. Organic search results differ from search engine to search engine. It just depends on that search engine’s algorithm. Figuring out that algorithm is a lot of work, research and patience because it is ever changing! There’s never a guarantee that anything will rank in a particular position. The good news is that Google Analytics expert Avinash Kaushik once determined that around 86% of search engine users prefer organic search results. We have been accustomed to scrolling past the ad to get to the first section of results. 

How Do I Ensure I Am Optimizing Search Results?

The best advice when it comes to SEO is to write for what humans want to read first – SEO second. Like previously mentioned, the “rules” for SEO are constantly changing. So whether you are writing website copy, a blog, social media posts or whatever, write to your audience, post what they want to see, and then think about SEO. After you have your content written, think about keywords. Go back through your text and see if your keywords are there. If not, add them! Not sure about keywords? There are SEO tools to help with that!

If you are building a website, build it for the user, not the search engine. There is nothing worse than a website that is hard to navigate. User experience ranks higher in our book than SEO factors. SEO can be a second thought in this situation as well. Build your website to you and your target audience’s liking, then address headings, sub folders, mobile friendliness, links, and so on. Test the website to make sure it loads quickly. If not, take care of whatever is slowing it down because that will hurt your SEO. If users are jumping on and then off of your website because it loads too slow, that will hurt your rankings.

And as always, constantly research, improve and update your content, website, whatever it is you are working on. There really is no finish line to this work since it is always evolving. Whatever it is that your competitors are doing, search engines changes, and even your own business/personal changes are always going to happen. A strong online presence gives your business credibility, a professional image, and an improved customer experience. Our team can review your brand through your online listings, SEO scores, social media presence, website speed and more. We can also compare how your business performs online compared to your top competitors. Then we can discuss what the plan should be moving forward if you’d like! Take us up on this opportunity!

Google My Business – What Is It and How Does It Work?

Launched in 2014, Google My Business became a business’s best friend for online searching. Google My Business is an online business directory that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. If you skip out on using Google My Business, you potentially will miss out on customers and sales. Why? Well let’s dive a little deeper into what is Google My Business and how it works.

What is Google My Business?

In simple terms, it is a business profile within Google. But it is not just your Business Profile, rather a tool by which you enhance your Business Profile to boost its visibility and effectiveness. Business Profiles appear in Google Maps and in the local results of Google search. A listing on Google My Business can be an amazing marketing tool for search engine optimization (SEO). Obviously Google has some power on their search engine, but now it has allowed businesses to have their search space as well.

All that Google requires within the business profile is the business name, location, and category. Once it is confirmed that the business is not a duplicate, Google will create the business profile for that location. You can have multiple location profiles per business if you have separate addresses. For example, a doctor has two offices. The doctor can have two business profiles for the business with two separate locations. 

Is Google My Business Free?

YES! And it isn’t a scam. Google doesn’t charge to create a Google My Business profile. Plus, Google My Business does not operate on a pay by service level, like free, super, premium, etc., business model. This means that your business has the same level of access as your competitors. However, this could all change and it could become a paid service and eventually upsell the account levels. But for now, June of 2021, it is free.

Why Should I Use It for My Business?

Google always favors Google My Business profiles with extra information and user engagement, especially recent engagement. If your profile is up to date with a business image, hours, location, and services/products, Google will know that it is relevant information and will know to show it to someone searching for something similar. 

Additionally, your business profile is open to people to leave reviews, add their personal pictures, ask questions and even answer others questions. Google might also populate your profile for you from information that it finds online. Of course that can always be edited to make it fit to your business standards. You know your business best!

How Do I Set Up A Google My Business Profile?

Yay! Glad you’ve made it to this point of wanting to set up a Google business profile. It is the right thing for your business. 

To get a Google My Business account, go to google.com/business and click “Manage now,” which will take you through the steps of creating an account. Enter all of your information. Google will then need to verify the business location is actually yours. You’ll be sent a postcard by mail that will have a code on it to confirm it is yours. 

In the meantime, optimize and nurture your profile. Add your business hours, ask your best customers to add in some pictures and reviews, add your own pictures and make sure the other business information like location and contact information are correct.

Now What Do I Do with My Google My Business Profile?

Post to your Google My Business listing at least once a week. Think of it as an additional social media post. Make the Google My Business post something specific to your business and link to your website. Hashtags won’t matter for this post. If you have an image that you took, post that instead of one that you create and is just a general image. When you use a picture that you took at the business, it has location tags within the file that Google will recognize. We don’t have to get deep into how that works. Just think of it as picture magic!

Being active on your listing is always a good idea. Manage reviews, good and bad, add events that are happening for your business, add a new picture of a product or someone doing your service, or add in an offer that you want to share with your potential and current customers. If Google releases updated information grabs, a new item where it already shows the things mentioned previously, this should be posted about. At the time of this blog (June 2021) there is a Covid-19 update area where businesses can post Covid updates, like if they are closed or the rules have changed. There is a good chance that this particular information will be ranked better than others. Update your profile to match whatever Google is suggesting. 

Good luck with your Google My Business profile! If you have any questions or would like help setting up or managing your profile, contact us.

Google’s Newest Core Update and First Since COVID-19

Google has just released its second core algorithm update of the year, but the first since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Google releases many algorithm changes a year, but these are minor fixes, whereas the core algorithm update is, “a core update is a tweak or change to the main search algorithm itself.” (Search Engine Journal)

When Google rolls out the core algorithm updates they generally take about one to two weeks for the update to fully rule out.

With the pandemic, people are changing the way they are searching. They are searching more about what’s happening in their area, instead of traveling and tourist destinations. Google stated that many searches were about sheltering and resources for COVID-19 in their area. (Twitter: Google SearchLiason).

Google does not release what is included in its updates, but it is always advised to continue to focus on quality content for SEO purposes. Those that have original content, resources, and research will rank better.

Please reach out if you have any questions or need help with SEO: