What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, may seem so daunting to you. It’s hard enough to figure out how to build a website and get everything to look just right. Google search “SEO” and a flood of confusing jargon laced posts from web administrators are likely to pop up and make the mysteries of getting your site found even more frustrating!
Relax. SEO sounds complicated, but it’s really as simple as creating a listing in an old fashioned phone book. Basically, SEO lets search engines like Google and Bing know that a website is there. A few simple SEO strategies make sure that search engines know what they’ve found when they encounter your site.
Think of a website as a new brick and mortar business that just opened up. A new store or restaurant needs a few tools to help customers know what it is, right? The business needs signs that show potential customers what type of place it is. Most signs will include some sort of indication of the type of business like “café” or “boutique.” Businesses also put other key markers out front and around the business so that customers have more clues as to what’s available inside. The restaurant might put a graphic of a food product out front, and the boutique might have a dress on the sign. They also put other clues out front like menus, clothing racks, etc.
Businesses also make sure that shoppers know where to look for them. They place listings in phone books and directories under the headings appropriate for their business. Often, they pick a few keywords to describe their business in addition to listing the name and phone number.
Businesses also often reach out to other neighborhood businesses to help spread the word. So, the new boutique might have business cards or coupons from the café and vice versa.
Sounds easy enough, right? It makes you kind of wish it was still the dinosaur age of pre-internet, doesn’t it? SEO actually employs these same simple principles! Thinks of your new website as a brick and mortar business on a side street and the search engines as those curious potential customers.
1. Identify your Site: Yes, we’re talking keywords here, and the good news is you’re probably using them. The trick is to use keywords to identify your business on the highest level possible and then as frequently as possible. So, if your site is selling jewelry, the best move is to list something about jewelry in the actual site name. In other words, “Jewelry by Amy” is a better site name than “Amy’s Creations” if you want to be found for jewelry. If you can’t secure a domain name with your most important keyword, make sure the description includes these important words. Likewise, your landing page copy should include important keywords. There are all kinds of ways to seek out important keywords for your niche, but we’ll start simple. How would you describe your site? If you were looking for it, what words would you type in the search bar? Those words and phrases are your keywords! They’re like the phone number for your site, so make sure you list them so you can be found!
2. Get listed: Search engines love backlinks and a little help finding sites. Google is by far the most used search engine, so submit your site there, but make sure to submit to other search engines, too. Also, look for directories in your niche and submit there, too.
3. Make friends: Speaking of backlinks, the more you get your name out there, the easier it will be to get found. Trade links with similar sites, get bloggers to write about your site or business, and get found even faster! The more places your site is listed on the internet, the stronger your site becomes to search engines.
So, you already know the basics of SEO and you’re well on your way to getting found! Easy enough, right? Now you’re ready to dive into advanced SEO!