Search Engine Optimization Explained

There’s no question that Google changed what searching the internet means to us. Google has been on a mission to provide more relevance in their search results. Their goal has been to provide more relevant results that make sense. During their course, there has been many people who have tried to game or cheat their way onto the front page and ideally in the number one position. It has been Google’s intent to find these websites who use these nefarious tactics and to push them down in the rankings. The process of honestly attempting to push your website to the top of search engines is known as search engine optimization (SEO) or search engine marketing (SEM). While there is a difference, albeit somewhat minor in this primer, we will consider them the same for the sake of ease of explanation.

How does SEO work?
Search engines have these robots (called “bots”) that scan your website searching for relevant text to find out what your site is about. It looks at your headlines, your paragraphs, your links and with that information it compares it to a database of relevant keywords that people search. The search engines then ranks your site based on relevance, who’s linked to you, who you’re linking to, comments on your blog, and how often you update your site. There is a lot more complex algorithms that go into this and what is weighted more than others but this general, simple explanation will give you the basic understanding on how to do a better job at SEO.

Every word that you place on your website is valued and weighed on how important it is to search engines. The practice of optimization is making sure the text on your website and how your website is found, match appropriately. Before you start making changes or calling your web company to make changes on your website, you should investigate what kind of text or what’s termed as “keywords” you should be using. Think of words that match your business, think of phrases that people might search for in order to find you. Now that you found keywords that you want to use, you need to find out if people are actually using those phrases and keywords to find similar websites like yours. You can use Google Keyword Tools which will tell you how much volume (people) are searching for those phrases. Then you need to find a balance of keywords that match what you do and what people are searching for most.

Think of words that match your business, think of phrases that people might search for in order to find you.

What Changes to Make?
When a bot is scanning your site it assess your text and keywords based on what is towards the beginning of your headlines and paragraphs. For example, if your headline is, “The Best Accountants in Los Angeles specializing in the Medical Industry,” a search engine will think that what you think is most important is “best,” “accountants,” “Los Angeles,” “specializing,” “medical industry.” So, if medical industry accounting is the most important to you, then you need to move the medical industry towards the beginning of that phrase. This principle is exactly the same for the text on your website. Now, this isn’t to say that you should make your site a search engine friendly site that doesn’t make sense to humans. Many search engines are constantly looking to rank text and websites based on proper context.

After you begin to rework your text on your site, you need to start working links into your paragraphs. Sometimes you want to link to different pages on your site, and sometimes you want to link to outside sites that might better explain certain terms to your clients visiting your site. You should also find certain words or phrases that you find important, and match some of the keywords you want to be ranked, and bold them. Between linking and bolding you’ll want to alternate every 120 words for blog posts, pages, etc.

Going Local
Remember that when searching, most search engines are finding results that best match your keywords. They also find results based on your locale which is found by identifying your internet provider. Make sure to mention your locale whether you want to be very specific or a little bit wider of a net. This helps you stay competitive and market effectively.

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