You’ve probably heard the term SEO mentioned many times during the past few years.  But what does it mean and why does it matter?

In the marketing world, we’re guilty of using a lot of buzz words and jargon, so this article will cover the very basics of search engine optimization (SEO) and how you can use it to improve your website.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO refers to the steps and best practices that help your website rank higher in organic search results. When your website ranks high organically, you are more visible to people who are looking for your products or services.

When we search the web, think of it in terms of looking in a very large book with an extensive digital index.  When the search results appear on our screen, the most relevant pages appear at the top, and then descend in relevancy.

We want to make our website pages as relevant as possible to web searchers, and SEO helps to accomplish this.

There are many components to good SEO that include things like website content, title tags, meta descriptions, image attributes, internal link structure, inbound links and more.  We’ve grouped these items into four main sections:

4 Components of Good SEO

  1. Coding
  2. Fresh Content
  3. Directory Listings
  4. Links

Coding for Strong SEO

The coding of your website refers to how it’s built.  It addresses items such as URL structure.  Remember that giant digital book we’re search through? You want your URL structure to be clean and easy for search engines to follow.

The coding also refers to title tags and meta descriptions.  We don’t want to get too technical here so we’ll keep it simple.  These are items that search engines and people scan to see if your page is relevant.

Much of what we’re talking about in this step occurs “behind the scenes” on your website, but these technical steps are very important.

As you’re setting-up these components, you’ll also want to consider what keywords or key phrases your target market might use to find your website.  You’ll need to use these keywords and key phrases here, and in the next step.

Fresh Content is important for SEO

You’ve heard it before, and we’ll say it again.  Fresh and original content matters!

Typically, fresh content takes the form of blog articles, although it can also include video, white papers, eBooks, podcasts and more.  When you create quality content that is appealing to your target market, these potential customers will make their way to your website using those keywords and key phrases.

Once they’re on your site, you can start to engage with them, build your credibility and start converting visitors into leads.

Directory Listings for Local Search

Although directory listings have become less important over the last few years, they still have some value.  The most worthwhile directory listings are ones that are in your niche and are local.  Consider the directories that are relevant to your industry, and start there.

Links that Build Authority and Credibility

The easiest way to think of a link to your website is to consider it a vote for your site.  And we want to generate a lot of votes for our websites!

Now, not every “vote” is weighted equally.  Some are more valuable than others.  Search engines use complex algorithms to evaluate these links and measure if your website is popular, trustworthy, and so on.

There are a number of ways to build links, but we prefer natural editorial links.  These are links that are created as a result of publishing and sharing quality content.

When you create content that is highly “sharable,” it is reposted and shared many times over, creating links back to your website.

Have more questions about the basics of SEO?  Leave a comment below and we’ll answer your questions!

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