Well, the obvious answer is: Search Engine Optimization.
Of course, if digital marketing isn’t your strong suit, then you’re probably looking for a slightly more in-depth definition. Here is an SEO overview for beginners.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is the practice of making a website more accessible to search engines, thereby causing that website to appear prominently in the search results. In other words, when you Google, for example, “frozen yogurt shops in Roanoke” your well-executed SEO tactics will cause your yogurt shop to appear near the top of the rankings.
SEO isn’t some technique that a website owner can implement on a one-time basis so that the site will forever be first on Google. Constant maintenance is required. Here are three reasons why.
- Your competition will also be developing tactics that allow their websites greater visibility, effectively pushing your site further down the results page.
- Google, Bing, Yahoo, and all other search engines periodically update and refresh their search algorithms in order to shuffle the results deck (so to speak) allowing different, possibly more appropriate, answers to appear.
- New consumer platforms are constantly gaining traction, so your business’s activity on Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, Twitter, etc. can determine how relevant Google decides your business is.
SEO Tips for the Beginner
You don’t have to write code or be an actual SEO consultant to take steps towards improving your SEO. Here are a few issues you can address right now.
- Make your content valuable to the user. There are a great many businesses who are under the impression that a constant stream of blogs, social media posts, and articles will automatically bump search engine rankings. However, consumers now demand that search engines analyze user intent, so keywords and keyphrases with specific contexts must be incorporated into the content if a website is going to be deemed relevant. Composing 104 blogs per year with the same keywords will not help you ascend the search results ladder.
Example: Type “What does SEO stand for” in Google. You will be greeted by Google’s “answer box”, which has a succinct definition of SEO. In order to ascend to that level of authority, you have to produce content that Google deems original, informative, and valuable enough to be useful to the highest proportion of users. You get those results from quality, not quantity.
- Make sure your social media profiles, directory listings, consumer review sites, and websites all have the same contact information. Not only is having different contact info across platforms look really unprofessional, it makes geo-targeting searches difficult for Google.
- Check your social media profiles for engagement/activity. If you aren’t posting regularly, or if your posts aren’t being shared and liked, your profiles won’t rank.
- Diversify your keywords and phrases. Don’t worry about having the #1 ranking keyword—it is far more important to have a range of keywords and phrases that are composed with actual topics in mind. The more specific the keyphrase, the more likely the user will engage.