SEO… Boost Your Business!

We all know that being able to be found on a search engine is important to a business’s health, but how does a page get ranked, and ranked highly? Today’s topic concerns Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short. Unfortunately, SEO exists in one of the nebulous areas of company investment where it is hard to quantify the benefits that it brings unless your company has already made the transition from poor SEO to good SEO. We hope that by providing some examples that compare companies with varying degrees of SEO implementation, you will be able to see the benefits of implementing a forward thinking SEO policy.

SEO at its most basic, is a keyword game. Keywords are any query typed into a search engine to facilitate the finding of relevant content. For example “Replacement Windows Doors Hampton Roads” may be typed into your search bar to find new windows and doors for you home. How Google ranks web pages is a complicated issue, but what is most important, is that your page is ranked highly, and on the first page of results for your primary search term whatever that term may be. On average, only 5.3% of clicks are garnered from search results on the # 2 page of Google!1 That’s a whole lot of impressions missed, and a whole lot of potential customers who will never interact with your brand!

Keywords must be considered before your site goes live, and preferably before the URL is even purchased. As a rule of thumb, long site names that contain no breaks between words, such as blablabla are worse for SEO purposes compared to bla-bla-bla, because most people will not search a term without breaks. If you are already locked into a long site name however, there is no need for panic. Your ranking can be accounted for in other ways.

First and foremost, is producing good content for your website that is saturated with keywords, while still being worthwhile for consumption. While it is important that keywords be used when possible, the number of links to and shares your content receives also has a significant impact, so it is imperative to create content that customers and potential customers enjoy. Take for example, the first text blurb for the # 1 ranked page for “Pizza Chesapeake”:

Chesapeake Pizza

 

And compare to (Camo’s American Grill) the first text blurb on the # 50 ranked page for the same term:

Camo's American Grill

 

 

There are a couple of factors at play here.

  1. Chesapeake Pizza was lucky in that they were able to choose their company name before search terms mattered. Now, anyone searching for “pizza in Chesapeake” will always see Chesapeake Pizza close to the top of the results
  2. Although Camo’s mentions pizza more, their front page is primarily focused on describing the restaurant, and as such the ratio of keywords to content is far lower.
  3. The relevance of the content. Chesapeake Pizza is primarily focused on selling pizza, while Camo’s American Grill sells multiple menu items, therefore they rank lower for the same search term.

Content is loved by customers and loved by search engines, but to truly take the fullest advantage of a search engine, we must optimize the parts that most people never think of. That is, the search result itself. Going back to the mention of breaks in URLs, this is where URLs truly comes into play. Every page on your site should include your targeted keyword in the URL itself. The same goes for meta-descriptions and title tags. These terms may seem confusing if you are not familiar with them, so please observe the example below, and read the description to gain a better understanding.

White House edited

 

 

 

(Orange – Title Tag, Purple – URL, Yellow Box – Meta-Description)

To break it down, good SEO consists of:

  1. A title tag containing the primary keyword, followed by a line break, and then the website name. (Typically 50-60 characters long).
  2. The keyword contained in the URL
  3. A meta-description that utilizes as many of the 155 characters allowed as possible, and contains as many keywords as possible without becoming spam.

We have included an example comparison below for clarification. The search term used was “Hampton Roads Wedding Dresses.”

(Rank 1st: Hampton Roads Wedding Guide)  &  (Rank 3rd: The Inspired Bride)

Hampton Roads Wedding Guide

 

 

 

 

The Inspired Bride

 

 

 

 

Anything funny about the results? The first “shop” result appears after “guide” webpages! This can be due to a couple of reasons, and content has a strong effect here, but let’s focus on the search result itself. Notice that the meta-description for Hampton Roads Wedding Guide is absolutely packed with keywords. That can be a worthwhile strategy if your businesses offers a variety of services or goods, but Google will remove search results that try to game the system, so be careful! In addition to a good meta-description, Hampton Roads Wedding Guide also has the benefit of a long URL that is saturated with keywords, as well as a keyword saturated Title Tag, which nets them the top spot on such a general search. Note that even though The Inspired Bride is not ranked first for our original search term, it is ranked first for “Bridal Dresses Hampton Roads” and just goes to show that some keywords will always be better than others for your business

 

There is one more aspect to SEO that isn’t large enough to warrant its own section, and that is social media link building. This falls more under marketing however, and will be explored in a separate post. If you have any questions, or would like to know how a good SEO plan could help your business, then please contact us for options and pricing today. We will provide analytics reports to help you visualize the changes in customer visitation rates after SEO improvements are implemented. We’ll work with you to improve your site ranking, one page at a time!

Brad Cole, Pixel lab Designs

Sources

  1. http://www.gravitateonline.com Author: Todd Jensen (Blog Post) Retrieved from: http://gravitateonline.com/2nd-place-1st-place-loser-seriously/
  2. http://www.moz.com Author: Moz Team (Article) Retrieved From: https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag
  3. http://www.avangate.com Author: Avangate Team (Article) Retrieved From: http://www.avangate.com/avangate-resources/article/url-rewriting.htm
  4. http://www.moz.com Author: Moz Team (Article) Retrieved From: https://moz.com/learn/seo/meta-description
  5. http://www.wordstream.com Author: Elisa Gabbert (Article) Retrieved From: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2012/01/17/seo-content-beginners-guide

 



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