Eric asked this question during episode 8 in our Stupid and Contagious podcast. He says he gets asked this question during networking and sales meetings and goes down a rabbit hole, so I wanted to take a minute to answer it on the blog, too.
SEO means search engine optimization (not “seeing each other” as Jamie jokingly brought up during the podcast). Search Engine Land defines SEO as “the process of getting traffic from the ‘free,’ ‘organic,’ ‘editorial’ or ‘natural’ search results on search engines.” The hopeful results of SEO are to improve search engine ranking, increase site traffic, and increase traffic quality.
This process includes many factors that can overwhelm any business. We’ve outlined the points that small businesses have the most control over and can most easily implement.
What is the goal of Google and other search engines? They want to provide the most relevant and helpful content to the searcher. This means your content should be answer the questions your audience is asking and/or giving them relevant content that interests or entertains. Content SEO tactics include:
- Keyword research (find out what people have searched for that relates to your business) For example, it's important for Keystone to rank for the keyphrase "Nashville web design."
- Quality content (content is well written and is on topics that interest your audiences)
- Content optimization (content uses the keywords and phrases that you think a user will use to find the page)
- Freshness (content is regularly updated)
While technical SEO used to be a much bigger piece of the SEO pie than it is now, it is still very important. Adding meta keywords to the code, for example, is no longer relevant, but there are still tasks that are important to complete:
- Optimized title tags (titles contain keywords)
- Optimized meta descriptions (descriptions are about the page and are written for the user, not the search engine)
- Optimized headlines and subheads (headings contain keywords)
- Schema markup (structured coding that enhances listings)
- Image tags (adding alt tags and relevant names to images)
Keep in mind: Keywords are important, but they shouldn’t be overused in the content. (i.e. “keyword stuffing”) Write like you talk and use the keyword when it makes sense. Don’t be excessive.
Optimizing a website’s architecture or foundation means developing the website’s structure in such a way that is discovered by search engines and easy to use by people.
- Crawability (the ease that your site can be accessed by search engines; sitemap and robots.txt files can help)
- Internal linking (pages on the website link to other relevant internal pages)
- Responsive design (mobile-friendliness)
- Page Speed (site loads quickly)
- URL Structure (URLS use keywords and not symbols)
- HTTPS (site offers a secure connection)
Ok, so those are the SEO areas you have some control over - or can send over to Keystone to take care of for you. We recommend tackling the above first, and then work on things like bounce rate, link building, and site authority that are more dependent on site visitors and other websites.
It can be complicated and overwhelming, but we’re here for you. We're a Nashville digital marketing agency with a decade of experience, so let us know how we can help.