Internet search engines produce two types of results when a user performs a search: paid advertisement results and primary search results. Paid ads usually appear highest on the list, at the top and to the side of the screen. They utilize Pay-Per-Click systems through Google AdWords or other such search engine marketing (SEM) tools. Primary search results, on the other hand, come up organically based on various aspects of their content. Search engines use algorithms to gather this information from web pages in order to organize and rank them, so the websites that most efficiently fulfill those criteria appear highest. When you build your website content around fulfilling such search criteria, it’s called search engine optimization (SEO).
Search engine optimization is an effective and free method to increase your website’s visibility in search results. The end goal of SEO is to have your site consistently appear as close to the top of the page as possible. Those first few spots at the top of the results list are highly coveted, since most Internet users don’t scroll down much further. But how can you get your website to appear at or near the top?
The key to implementing SEO on your website lies in the specific details that matter most to search engines. What are these? Perhaps most obviously, the visible words on the page matter. This falls under the category of on-page optimization. The key words and phrases that describe your service should recur with enough frequency (2-3%) on every page of your website to stand out as especially important. Where SEO is concerned, all text matters: blog text, headlines, sub-headlines, link text, etc. As a cleaning and restoration business, key phrases about issues such as fire damage and basement flooding, as well as those related to your service, for example, water damage restoration, should appear with good SEO frequency. But don’t overdo a good thing. Well-written, quality content on your website also matters. Simply listing your services over and over will look phony and be counterproductive to what you want.
You should also consider using AdWords negative keywords in order to save money.
Just as important are the words that work behind the scenes: meta-titles and meta-descriptions. Within its code, every page of your site has a title and a description. Each should be unique, and utilize similar key words to keep the focus tight on your specialties. On-page optimization also means that your site provides a positive user experience for visitors.
The other side of the coin is off-page optimization. This term refers to various mentions and links that direct users to your site from other credible or relevant sites. Think of it as your site’s reputation. The more frequently your site is mentioned on social media, or the more other authoritative sites link to yours, the better. Blogs, press releases, marketing articles, or other mentions elsewhere are also helpful. Search engines take all this information into account when ranking your site on a results page.
The deeper complexities of SEO involve understanding many factors: your target audience, what people are searching for, key words, how specific search engines work, not to mention technical aspects like coding. It can take time to build results. SEO alone may not be enough to achieve your business goals, but it is one vital tool in a larger marketing toolbox. Learn how to Kill It Online with Sonny Ahuja (www.SonnyAhuja.com).
To take your SEO skills to the next level, learn what is pay per click and how to benefit from PPC marketing.