The term “SEO” can be used to describe a slew of different techniques and strategies used to make your website appear more appealing to search engines. When someone tells you they’re going to “Do SEO” for you, clarify what exactly their plans are, an inexperienced marketer can actually do more harm then good. The first step is to get informed. In order to know how to optimize your website for Search Engines you need to know how search engines work.
How Search Engines Work
Search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo act as the librarians of the internet, they scan and index every word on every page they can find. They each use a set of rules (their algorithm) to decide which pages should appear when someone searches certain words.
For example, When you type the phrase “SIC Digital” in to Google’s Search, our website appears #1 in the search results, viola! Google has indexed our website and decided that when someone types “SIC Digital” in the search, they’re probably looking for us. To appear first in search results is easy for things like business names, since they tend to be unique there’s little competition for the 10 spots available on Google’s first page.
For broader or more valuable keyphrases (things lot’s of people are searching) like “Lawyer Miami”, there are literally thousands of pages competing for these 10 spots. Everyone want’s to be “First on Google” and reap the traffic benefits of being so visible.
I can’t tell you the number of times a client or prospect has asked if we can make them “Number One on Google”. It’s holy grail of any web marketing campaign, high rankings in search engines can prove to be very valuable. Like a spotted unicorn, the fabled number one spot is both a familiar and elusive creature. The honest answer is “it depends”. Competition for search results can make ranking in the top 10 for something like “Miami (Realtor, Doctor, Lawyer, Web Design)” involve hundreds of hours of content creation, strategy, refinement, and re-refinement. Still, there is never a 100% guarantee you can overtake the competition for the keywords that you really want, but with a little creativity and research it is possible to find keywords with less competition that can still bring quality visitors and potential customers to your site.
This video by Common Craft is one of the best explanations of SEO I’ve seen.