Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization

What is it? And How can it Affect Your Company?

In today’s increasingly high-tech business world, we often hear quite a few unfamiliar new terms as we progress through the year. In some cases these can just be passing fads, but a few will grow into elements that can have a dramatic effect on companies.

One such term that has really gained a lot of momentum over the last decade is “Search Engine Optimization,” abbreviated most frequently as SEO. This refers to a series of simple steps companies can take to boost their online visibility in unpaid search engine results like Google, Yahoo or Bing.

Consumer Trends Have Made SEO Essential

Following the trends of most modern consumers, it is pretty clear that SEO has become an integral part of most companies’ online marketing strategies. Think of it this way – when you search for something online, you probably select one of the earlier (or higher ranked) results before any of the others. Most people never even look at the second or third page of search results.

If your company’s website is not readily visible when a consumer searches for something related to your industry, then your entire webpage is being completely ignored by potential customers.

“SEO is one of the most important pieces when developing a company’s web presence,” said Jason Johns, a Senior Web Developer. “You can have a great website, but if no one visits to see it, what’s the point?  Paid advertising such as Google Adwords or other Pay-per-click campaigns can work well to drive traffic to your website (at a cost), but nothing works better for you than good old-fashioned organic traffic.  It is my opinion that a professional website best optimized for search engines will essentially be a 24/7 sales-person for your company.”

Taking a Proactive Marketing Approach with Search Engines

It is important to understand that the technology used to manage search engines is constantly evolving. This means that your website, too, will need to be updated and reconfigured annually. Generally, this will not mean a costly overhaul of your site, but rather specific adjustments designed to ensure that your site is being properly indexed by search engines.

“Because web languages and technology changes so quickly, it is something that should be carefully assessed periodically,” Johns said. “For instance, with the recent changes Google has implemented when leveraging mobile-friendly sites within mobile search, it quickly became imperative for companies to overhaul designs from a couple years ago to better optimize them for mobile devices.”

After confirming that your site is running properly, the best type of approach to planning your online marketing strategy is to consider how search engines work, what your client base is likely to search for, and the specific search terms or keywords that will likely be associated with your company.

“Your most important asset is the content itself, whether it be in the page copy, page titles/headers or images.  There are techniques to follow when setting this up on your page(s), but to be quite honest, a lot of it is common sense.  If it’s relevant to the information on your page, then go with it,” Johns said.

In many ways, SEO is a constantly evolving type of promotional style that companies must familiarize themselves with in order to remain competitive in today’s markets. The ultimate goal is to have your content become easily accessible to individuals who are searching for materials related to the type of services your company offers, which in turn will continually attract new business to your company.

Eight SEO Stats that are Hard to Ignore

  • 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine
  • Google owns 65-70% of the search engine market share
  • 70% of the links that search users click on are “organic,” meaning unpaid
  • 70-80% of users ignore the paid ads, focusing on the organic results
  • 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results
  • Search is the number one driver of traffic to content sites, beating social media by more than 300 %
  • SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate
  • For Google, 18% of organic clicks go to the number one position, 10% of organic clicks go to the number 2 position, and 7% of organic clicks go to the number 3 position

Source: imForza

Google provides a large assortment of best practices when building your website around search optimization. Several important things to remember include:

  • Create unique title tags for each page of your website
  • Use brief, but descriptive titles for pages and files such as photos
  • Accurately summarize your page’s content
  • Use words in URL’s that are relevant to your site
  • Make it as easy as possible for users to go from general content to more specific content on your site
  • Create fresh, unique content – it will keep your existing visitor base coming back
  • Choose descriptive text, but keep things concise and organized
  • Supply an image sitemap file to search engine bots (bots are just bits of software that allow search engines to read and categorize your content)
  • Use heading tags to emphasize important text
  • Configure your mobile sites so they can be accurately indexed, and verify that indexing is correct with your search engine provider
  • Increase attention with links – reach out to other sites that are related to your content
  • Make use of free webmaster tools

Source: Google