There is an on-going discussion centered around SEO for online businesses interested in gaining a larger following online. In the last decade or so online shopping has exploded into the most popular way to shop for a large majority of customers.
Starting a website for your business is a great first step, however, there are a few best practices that should dictate how you shape your content to appear in search engines. But since not everyone has heard of SEO, let’s talk a little about the basics:
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the practice of using web design and copywriting to increase your chances of being listed at the top of searches in search engines such as Google and Yahoo!. The point of optimizing your search engine results is to get your site seen by as many people as possible and add the most possible traffic to your sites. This marketing effort can help you track how your content affects your page views and helps grow your business, especially in the case of small businesses.
The better your SEO, the sooner customers will find your business. When someone enters a search query into a search engine, that search engine chooses the most relevant content (per their algorithms) to display in return. So, how you handle your website’s content and wording is vital to how useful your site is to your business overall.
Okay, I know what it is, but how exactly does it help my business?
If no one has ever heard of you, how do you expect them to know who you are and what you do? The first step, then, is getting the word out that you exist.
But with thousands of companies out there, it may seem unlikely that your company will rise to the top of thousands of pages of search results–that’s where SEO comes in.
Paid SEO will help your company rise higher in results. In part, this is because of local search results. In other words, if your business has a local component, it will rise higher in results for your local area.
Is this really necessary for my business website?
Your business is your livelihood. Your business is important to you. Shouldn’t it get every chance to shine and stand out?
When just about anyone looks up something online, most people are going to generally stay on the first page of search results for what they need. After all, who has time to just sit there and scroll through 5,000,000+ results on design companies or even 100 links to local barbecue restaurants in their area?
In our fast-paced society, people just don’t have the time to give every business site in a search engine a fair chance. Because of this, most people will generally go with the top results, as most people would assume that the best results show up first, no matter of how true it is. That’s where SEO comes in.
Should I hire an SEO company?
SEO, and website management in general, can be an overwhelming amount of extra work, especially when you’re busy actually establishing relationships with customers, managing inventory, or just running the day-to-day operations of a business. Luckily, there are plenty of SEO companies to choose from to help provide your business with the traffic it deserves. In many cases, these companies can help improve your site’s visibility by leaps and bounds.
However, as with any business, if you decide to use a professional service, be careful of who you hire. Unfortunately, there are supposed “SEO experts” who might not actually know what they’re doing or even employ unethical practices such as link spamming, using unrelated or unnecessary keywords, et cetera, in order to get you to hire them.
Always do your research before selecting a company. Look for reviews, client recommendations, and companies that employ Google standards of SEO in order to gain a better ranking the correct way.
Can I do it myself?
It’s up to you and what you feel would be the most manageable for you and your business to handle. You certainly can do it yourself, just make sure you follow best-practices. In other words, don’t be spammy.
SEO is about quality content. One thing to consider when using SEO keywords is not to overdo it. Some search engines are now employing over-optimization penalties to lower search rankings. These penalties target sites that have too many keywords stuffed into paragraphs without substantial content in the wording. You can learn more about Google’s standards of SEO on Google’s Support Page.
We live in a competitive marketplace, and online business always manages to raise the stakes. If your competitors are using SEO to expand their customer bases, why shouldn’t you?
If you’d like a complimentary SEO consultation, reach out. We can visit with you about our services and help you determine what route would be best for your business.