photo courtesy of dimnikolov
Many people have heard of search engine optimization (SEO) but are confused about SEO, how it works, and how much effort it will take to succeed. To put it simply – SEO refers to all the things a webmaster will do to optimize a website’s visibility in the search engines. This post explains the basics of SEO and local search strategies.
SEO: How It Works
Today’s savvy consumers start most of their searches for information on the Internet. When they enter a string of keywords into a search engine, that search engine attempts to provide the best websites with the information the searcher seeks. A business that does not land on the top of the first page of a search may never be seen by the searcher.
The search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to prevent abuse, so business owners often seek expert help with SEO. How it works changes from time to time, like when Google introduced the panda update earlier this year, and many small business owners prefer to hire a specialist who stays on top of SEO changes like these.
The search engines look at many different things when determining if a website has the correct information for searchers.
- Titles and tags – the search engines look for meta tags in the HTML code that identify where the title, description, and other meta data are located on a web page.
- Content – The more content on a website (related to the searcher’s keyword, of course), the more useful that site will appear. At the heart of any good SEO strategy is a plan to add content on a regular basis. Business owners find that working with a freelance writer who understands SEO, how it works, and how to convert visitors into customers can turn their online content into a money making machine.
- Freshness – Each time a website adds new information this acts as an invitation to the search engine spiders to come back and view the new content. Letting a website get stale discourages the spiders and can cause a site to be overlooked by the search engines. Those who master SEO, how it works, and how to rank high in the search engines know that fresh content is key.
- Bounce Rate – The search engines also pay attention to how long visitors stay on the page and whether they click on any links on your page. If searchers who land on a page are spending time and following the links on that page, the search engines assume this means the website offers good information related to the keyword.
- Inbound Links – If a site has a lot of other websites linking to it, the search engines take this to be a form of social proof. Even more weight is assigned when these inbound links come from domains that end with .edu and .gov.
Local SEO: How It Works
One flaw with the search engine model that led to changes is apparent when a searcher seeks a local service. Someone looking for a dentist probably is not interested in most of the high ranking dentistry sites on the Internet. That searcher wants a dentist within twenty-five miles or less.
As a consequence, search engines have adjusted their algorithms to provide local information based on the searcher’s physical location. This gives better information to those seeking local merchants and services. This also gives local small businesses the opportunity to compete with national companies that have enormous budgets.
How it works for small business SEO
By targeting location specific keyword strings, small businesses can rank high with local searchers. Working with a consultant who understands SEO, how it works, and how to create content that pleases both readers and search engines can quickly drive a local business to the top of the search engines.
Drawing targeted searchers into your sales funnel and converting them to customers will lead to more revenue and will allow you to focus on your area of expertise. Contact Tammi Kibler today to start working with a freelance writer experienced with SEO, how it works, and how you can use SEO to draw a steady stream of new customers to your business.