What is SEO anyway?
SEO is search engine optimization. This is the practice of being found organically (non-paid) on the search engine result pages. Now saying non-paid can be a questionable topic. It can be free if you do it yourself. If you pay a company, like JM2 Webdesigners in Valparaiso Indiana, then you are paying for SEO. When you here that SEO is for being found organically and not paid it means that you are not paying the individual search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) to be shown in their paid listings. You are striving to be found because of your great content. Content after all is king when it comes to a great SEO strategy.
SEO is a Discipline
Digital Marketing is a marketing discipline where you strive to increase your search engine results in organic ways to be found at the highest possible spot within the SERPs (search engine result pages). SEO when done well will improve your rankings on the SERPs, drive traffic, and increase the awareness of your company brand.
Let's Talk Bad First
There are techniques to bump your rankings within the search engines quickly. Do not do this! Let's say that again: Do not do this! When you try to circumvent or cheat the system you will move up quickly. The problem with this is you stand a chance, a very good chance, you will be penalized and as quickly as you moved up move down and years later still struggle to get your position back. These techniques are called “black hat” techniques and are something you need to stay 100% away from. No one can guarantee a position one on page one spot.
Story: There was a client that we had that we had on page 1, position 1. All legit. They then turned and did some black hat techniques. The first month their new keyword phrases put them on page one. The next month they dropped to page ten. That's right from 1 to 10. It has been two years now and they still have yet to reach page 1 and are as of the writing of this article on page 2 (half way down).
The SEO Process
Our next takeaway for SEO is that this is a process. There is no ultimate secret on how to instant results. You need to think of SEO as a marathon and not a short sprint. This is a process that should go on with no end. The ultimate lesson out of this entire article is that “SEO is not about building a website that is optimized for the search engines. The search engines are extremely smart and can figure out what your intent is. The key to the entire SEO process is to build your website for people and not the computer.”
Can I do SEO myself?
We are asked this all the time and the answer is truly yes. SEO is a complex beast but something any business can do if you take the time and are diligent in doing it. Most of our clients that do it themselves learn about it from articles like this one. A small amount of knowledge, patience (this doesn't happen overnight), willingness to learn, commitment, and a dedication to your site visitors you can have a good SEO experience for your clients.
Should I outsource my SEO?
We would love to answer with just a yes and to come to us. That isn't necessarily the case. Many businesses are not busy (yet) taking care of clients and have the available time to achieve a good SEO strategy. For those that are currently busy or do not have the inclination to learn, stay up-to-date, etc. on the current search engine recommendations then you should outsource your SEO. This will allow you to grow your business while your SEO company promotes and pushes your online exposure.
Even if you do decide to outsource your SEO we strongly recommend that you be familiar with common keywords you will be hearing. We have the most common that you will hear and a brief description of them.
- 301 Redirect - Method of redirecting an old webpage to a new location. More simply, to display another web page for the web address that you are trying to visit. 301 implies that the move is permanent (as opposed to temporary, etc.)
- Alt Tag - An HTML attribute typically used within the IMG tag to provide alternate text when images cannot be displayed.
- Anchor Tag - An HTML tag that allows you to create a link to another document or web page or to a bookmark within the current web page.
- Backlink - Links originating from one website and pointing to another website or web page.
- Blog - "Web Log". An online journal of sorts.
- Bot - Programs written to scour the web automatically for various reasons (to index web pages, for spamming purposes, etc.) aka web robots, web crawlers, internet bots, spiders.
- Cloaking - Showing a different web page to a search engine spider than what is normally seen. Method typically used by spammers.
- Conversion - Web traffic that fulfills a pre-established goal, such as purchasing of a specific product or filling out a registration form, etc.
- CSS - Cascading Style Sheets. A language used to describe how a given page or web site will look. Used to control font styles, graphical layouts, color, etc.
- Keywords - Words that are used by search engines to determine the topic of a given web page.
- Keyword Density - How often a keyword or keyword phrase is used on a given web page.
- Landing Page - A content-rich web page geared around a particular topic, product or conversion goal. Typically, a main navigation item of a website.
- Meta Data / Meta Tags - Web page specific, descriptive information that helps a search engine identify the purpose and topic of a given web page. Common meta data include a web page's description and keyword listing.
- Organic Search - Search results in a search engine that are not paid advertisements. The results that come up naturally based on their indexing within a search engine. Organic search results are good. We all want to come up on top for organic searches using keywords we are optimized for. For example, searching for "Northwest Indiana Web Design" will return this website in organic search results.
- Reciprocal Link - The practice of placing a link from website A to website B strictly because website B is linking to website A. I scratch your back, you scratch my back.
- Search Engine - Web site whose function is to help users find web pages on any given searched topic.
- SEM - Search Engine Marketing. The act of marketing a website via search engines, whether this be improving rank in organic listings, purchasing paid listings or a combination of these and other search engine-related activities.
- SEO - Search Engine Optimization. The act of altering a web site so that it does well in organic listings of search engines.
- SERP - Search Engine Results Page. The listing of web pages that a search engine shows a user once they've entered a search value.
- Spider - Programs written to scour the web automatically for various reasons (to index web pages, for spamming purposes, etc.) aka web robots, web crawlers, bots, internet bots.
- Splash Page - Typically an introductory web page (first page seen by a web surfer) that is graphics-heavy. Meant for attention-grabbing purposes only. Not rich in content (if any). Eye candy.
- Title Tag - A meta data element that determines the actual "title" of a given webpage. The title is what shows up in the top bar of your browser. It is also the hyperlink that shows in search engine results listings.
- White Hat SEO - The use of accepted SEO practices in order to get higher rankings, more traffic, etc.
SEO should never be an afterthought. It needs to be a core part of your digital marketing plan to grow your business. SEO is a marathon and should be taken as such. You can run the marathon yourself or you can align with a strategic partner to help your business grow. Knowing the keywords so that you are knowledgeable in the process is recommended for everyone.
JM2 Webdesigners in Northwest Indiana strives to serve our clients by not only being a cost effective provider for your business with packages to give you everything you need while letting you focus on growing your business and not on learning and keep updated on the latest search engine recommendations. If you would like to align with a Northwest Indiana web design company focused on helping your business grow you can reach us at 219-229-1633, email at sales@BusinessYETI.com, or through our contact form here.