What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
A search engine uses software to look for all the unique content on the internet and rank it. The goal of a search engine is to provide the result people are looking for when users search on it. An SEO strategist studies how websites are ranked and optimizes a business’s online presence to help people find it.
When you ask Google, Siri, or Amazon Echo to find a Persian restaurant near you, you are engaging in local search. For many small businesses, this is the most important SEO. When we are optimizing for local search, we look at map software, at the larger search engines, and at the right social media presence.
A restaurant that is not on Yelp will have a hard time being found by clients. A plumber who is not on Angie’s List will lose out on customers who trust Angie’s List to provide them with quality local service providers. I have talked to several people recently who use Nextdoor to find local businesses.
Local listing services are a unique type of search engine that you need to optimize for if you are looking to rank locally.
When you are looking to rank for regional, national, or global search terms, SEO focuses on different strategies. The key strategy to consider is creating and ranking for long tail keywords.
A keyword is the exact wording that people will enter into the search engine to find what they are looking for. If you are looking for a primer on SEO, you might enter the term “SEO” on Google.
If you did, you would find Moz Local, Wikipedia, Search Engine Land, Niel Patel, and SEO.com. All are valuable resources to study SEO. But, if you are looking for someone to teach you SEO consulting on a one-to-one basis, these search results are too big. You may not want to go through Neil Patel’s application process and pay his fees. So, looking for a smaller consultant, you enter what we SEO professionals call a long-tail keyword.
“cheap SEO consultants for online businesses”
The search results for this term differ significantly from a short one to three-word term.
When we are working with small businesses, we look for keywords that people may search for where we don’t have to compete with leading global websites like Dictionary.com or Wikipedia.
In order to rank for long-tail keywords, use the following tips:
- Craft questions for the title and headlines in your post. If people ask “How do I remove bats from my attic?”, you are much more likely to get results when people search for that question if you have a post that asks and answers that question.
- Use Online tools to test profitability. Josh and Jill Stanton talk to Amy Porterfield about tools to use to analyze whether your content is worth writing about (and ranking for). Check it out here
- Make up your own terms. This post is going to easily rank for “Swimming in a sea of acronyms”. Why? Because “Swimming in a Sea of Acronyms” is a title I made up to define when I am teaching people about marketing acronyms. Other terms we use that are somewhat unique to Paul Davis Solutions include Seven Spheres of Principled Marketing, Pivotal Marketing Solutions.
Link-Building in SEO
This is a very important part of ranking for SEO. Simply put, you want people to be talking about your website, and search engines determine who is talking about you by the amount and the quality of links that point to your website.
Without getting into too technical details for this short primer, important links are from sites like the White House, Harvard, or The New York Times. Well-established media, government, or education sites are considered authoritative by many search engines. For local businesses, important links are from Yellow Pages, Yelp, Nextdoor, and other listing services.
Link-building is a process that can involve multiple techniques. You should always think of how to benefit the end user, and never engage in spammy link-building techniques.
The most important part of SEO is your on-page content.
What is on page content? I am glad you asked.
It is what it sounds like, the content on each page of your website. It is important that your writing speaks to your audience. It needs to be engaging and worth the time it takes to read it.
Imagine reading a page where the author obviously knows nothing about what they are writing about.
You click away pretty quick, right?
Search engines track this behavior and use it to rank websites.
Also, if you decide to leave a webpage because its content is so bad, you will likely not link to it again.
In conclusion, the SEO acronym is a term used by professional marketers to talk about how to get your business found in search engines. The content principles for SEO are applicable on social media sites, websites, and local listings.