Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of optimizing the chances of your business website, and other content on the internet, being highly positioned in the organic search engine results pages (SERPs).
Organic results are web pages that appear naturally, i.e. not as a paid advertisement, due to their relevance to the search being performed, the number of backlinks they enjoy, social signals etc. The exact algorithms used to determine the organic search results are a very closely guarded secret of course!
“Organic search leads have a 14.6 closing rate compared to 1.7% from outbound marketing” – Hubspot
When most people want to find something, they go online and “Google it”. Google has become so synonymous with the internet that the Oxford English Dictionary has now adopted it as a verb!
Because the majority of consumers today head straight to search engines like Google and Yahoo when it comes to finding products and services offered by local businesses, good search engine optimization vastly increases the chances of your website and other business content being seen by your target audience.
Even if the consumer doesn’t intend to purchase online, they will still search for information about a business, product or service prior to visiting the business in its physical location.
The most highly sought after position in the search engines would be #1 in Google, but to be on the first page of Google, preferably in the top ten, is what most people strive for when conducting an SEO campaign.
The higher your business appears in the search results, the more chance you have of making a sale. It’s a proven fact that most searchers, around 98% in fact, never go past page 1 of the results, and websites in the top ten positions get the majority of clicks.
Getting your business front and center of your target audience at the exact moment they’re looking for your type of product or service is 8.5 times more likely to result in a sale.
Keywords and Phrases
Search results are displayed according to how relevant the search engine believes the content to be to the search being performed. They do this by comparing the “keywords” or “key phrase” being searched for, and the “keywords” and “key phrases” which appear on the website or web page the content is on.
This is why it’s vital to know your target audience so you can include the various words and phrases they would use when looking for your particular type of product or service in all the content you put out on the internet.
Depending on how competitive the keywords for your business are, it can take several months to climb the organic rankings, but the results will be well worth it and can generate substantially more leads, customers and sales at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
Google My Business
If your business serves local customers, it’s vital that you take steps to ensure you appear in the Google Local search results. These are the entries in Google’s own free online business directory (which Google has taken from various sources) and are triggered when the searcher uses a key phrase combination of “city + keyword”. You may find your business in the local listings, even if you’ve done nothing yourself to make this happen.
Google sees these results as more relevant when somebody is looking for something local to their current location, which Google determines from the IP address of the computer or other search device being used.
Not every local business search will trigger a local pack result, which actually can make it little easier to get your website ranked using traditional SEO methods, rather than the methods necessary for local ranking.
Google takes account of the physical distance of each business from the downtown area of a town or city, and gives preference to those closest to the center, called “the centroid bias.” So for example if you are trying to rank for “Dallas plumber” then the business located closest to the downtown area will be given preference. There are determining factors of course, such as Directory listings and the number of reviews a business has.
Google now automatically incorporates local listings into it’s own Social Media site, Google+ (or Google Plus as it’s also known). However, it’s important that you go ahead and “claim” your listing so it can be optimized for the search results, and also to ensure your company and other relevant information is included and is actually correct.