by the Intellitonic staff

As a business owner, you’ve likely heard the phrase “SEO” thrown about at networking events and smiled and nodded. You’re busy. You have bigger things to worry about rather than three little letters.

Well, it’s finally time to stop procrastinating and join the SEO conversation. Why? Because SEO will help your business successfully compete and find the right/new customers online.

What is SEO?

SEO is short for search engine optimization.

The long term goal of SEO is to get your website listing to show at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). To do this, your digital marketing team must rely on a combination of strategies and techniques to communicate to search engines that your website has relevant information to the searcher’s request.

This ultimately means that you will attract more and more relevant website visitors who complete desired transactions (e.g. sales, sign-ups, in-store visits, etc.). Best of all, you don’t have to pay a platform fee like you would with Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google AdWords.

Who should be doing it?

Anyone with a website should follow even the most basic SEO practices (continue reading for the primer).

As your business grows, consider hiring a digital marketing specialist whether in-house or on contract.

Why should I worry about it?

  1. More than 90% of online adventures start with a search engine.
  2. The typical searcher doesn’t scroll past the first page (if past the first few listings).
  3. To get ahead of your competitors.
  4. The longer you do it right, the stronger your website will be over time.

When should I start worrying about it?

As soon as you start thinking about a website. That said, it’s never too late to start. You’ve (hopefully) been doing a few basic practices without even realizing it e.g. signing up for a Chamber Membership and receiving a link to your site (this is one way to get a link from a credible website).

Where and how do I start?

Familiarize yourself with the concepts and basic techniques. You know what SEO is short for… but what about…

  • Alt Tags: describes the content of an image to a search engine (without a written description, search engines won’t know anything about the image)
  • Backlinks: websites linking from another site to yours (e.g. The Chamber)
  • Citations: online reference to your business’s NAP (these references don’t necessarily need to be linked to your site, just mentioned)
  • Headers: a way to break up your content on a page or blog post (headers make it easier for the reader to scan your article and give additional information to search engines about your content)
  • Keywords: common words and phrases entered into search engines (these are the backbone of your SEO and SEM strategy)
  • Local SEO: show your business in SERPs to nearby searchers (NAP plays a large role here)
  • NAP: short for “Name, Address, Phone Number” (it’s important to keep this as consistent as possible e.g. if your business is on North Holly Street, determine whether you’re going to spell out “North” or abbreviate with “N”)
  • Meta Descriptions: a 150 character (ish) description of your webpage shown in search results (hint: use exciting content and calls-to-action to entice people to click your result)
  • Page Titles: the title of your webpage shown in search results (hint: use keyword research and your brand name)
  • SEM: short for search engine marketing which can be a great ally to SEO – these paid ads (think Google AdWords and Bing) show above organic listings with a small “Ad” marker
  • SERPs: short for search engine results pages (note: page 1 shows positions 1-10, page 2 shows positions 11-20, etc.)

Next, determine if you have the time to learn how to do it (and do it well). If not, determine what kind of budget you have for someone else to tackle it and if you’d rather hire in-house (and have someone working on digital marketing part or full-time) or hire a contractor (who is likely a specialist and has access to lots of data and tools).

Ready to level-up? Check out some tools to get started on SEO.

Have questions? Feel free to reach out to the author, and local digital marketing firm, Intellitonic!