In simple terms, it's the process of maximizing a website's visibility on the internet by optimizing a site's code for "crawlability", by creating targeted on-site content and by obtaining backlinks from other authorative websites related to your product, service or industry.
Crawl-a-bility: describes a search engine's ability to access and read (i.e. crawl) the content on a website. If a site has no crawlability issues, then a search engine's web crawlers can access all of the site's content easily by following the links between pages.
In addition to Crawlability, you site should also include
"keyword relevant content" like landing pages, business descriptions and / or addresses, contact information, relevant blog articles, videos, and more. We must do all of this work so search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo can learn about the purpose of the site and better represent it in their search results.
To win at search one must inevitably think like a search engine. But first, we must think like a customer...
Imagine, you're the owner of Bob's Towing Company. With hopes of acquiring new customers online, you recently paid a small fortune to have a local software firm to develop you a shiny new website. How exciting!
Suddenly and without your knowledge, a potential customer appears just up the street from your business location. They've hit a nail and are in need of a tow. While it's a real bummer for them, it could mean new business for you.
This potential customer is new to the area so they do what any normal twenty first century citizen would and they pull out their trusty cell phone and begin a Google search. Thank goodness you had that website built!
But wait... for what do they search?
Well unfortunately Bob, the potential customer doesn't already know your business name, so they're not going to search for
"Bob's Towing Company". Instead they’ll likely search for something like
"towing company near me" or
"flat tire repair" and Google will do it’s best to show them matching businesses in the area.
Welp, bad news bob… your biggest competitor Joey’s Towing Company, who is located across town, is the first result on Google and they have 10 five star reviews! In fact, your brand new website doesn't even show up on any of any search result pages.
Your potential customer clicks on Joey’s website, dials their phone number and within a few seconds you’ve lost a near perfect lead.
So... what went wrong?
Well, despite your best intentions, your website wasn't optimized so that search engines like Google could find it. It’s missing special tags in the code and targeted content that lets these search engines know what your business is all about, where you’re located and most importantly the services you offer.
There is hope though Bob... With a little bit of elbow grease and potentially a bit of help, you CAN obtain that coveted first page spot and beat Joey to the punch next time.
As we've learned through our example, search engines actually have a pretty tough job. They have to crawl through the entire internet on a regular basis to figure out the purpose of every single website that exists. Sounds exhausting... If only there was an easy way to tell these search engines exactly what your business does, where its located and what services you have to offer so that they didn't have to guess.
Well, there actually is. In fact, these search engines have a set of universal guidelines they ask every web developer to follow to ensure the search engine can easily learn about the purpose of the website and properly prioritize it in the search results.
Unfortunately, not all websites are created equal... and in the end, it's the business owner who really loses out when a website is poorly put together.
These days, it's not just about having a website, but ensuring your website is optimized for discovery. It's your website's job to contain the right content that signals to a search engine that you are the correct match for as many relevant keywords as possible. Below we've compiled our SEO must-dos for 2020 that you can actually implement yourself.
Or, if you're busy, you know... running your business and maybe need a bit of help ranking on the first page of every top search engine, then we'd love to talk to you.
Off Site SEO
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Whether you're ready to work with us or simply want to give SEO a try yourself, we're here to help. At the end of the day, we believe in empowering business owners with tools and know-how so that they can be successful on their own. As such, we've compiled the following list of our top SEO improvements that you can do yourself. Completing these actions will get you well on your way to ranking higher on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
There are a multitude of tools that can help your perform a site audit. These audits will highlight any discoverability or crawlability issues with your site and provide your with additional context and guidance to correct them. An audit should look at in page content, meta tags, duplicate data, image size, page loading speed and much more. Did you know every 1 additional second your page takes directly decreases traffic by 20%?
Check out WooRank where you can complete a free basic audit. We also offer a complementary site audit, reach out if you'd like us to complete one for you.
If your site is using a CMS like Wordpress or Joomla, there are a number of plugins your can add to ensure that the proper
HTML tags are being added to your website such that search engine's can properly crawl and index your page. We recommend adding a the Yoast SEO plugin for wordpress which will allow you to set unique page
meta-description values for all of your web pages. Search engines need to know the purpose of each page on your website otherwise it will mark it as duplicate content. These meta properties are the most fundamental values your can set to help search engines differentiate between your website content.
Ensuring your homepage ranks well for one keyword is a great place to start, but overtime it will be important to develop additional pages that rank well for alternative search terms (i.e. keywords). Search engines love fresh, relevant and high quality content. A content strategy is simply a set of internal guidelines that you and your team can follow that dictate the type of content you're posting, it's intended audience and the frequency with which you post. If developing content internally seems overwhelming, consider outsourcing your content development or reach out to us at VRG Interactive. We'd love to help develop and delploy and awesome content strategy for your business.
Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. Google and other search engines looks at the number of backlinks and the quality of the sites where the backlinks exist to help determine your website's domain authority (i.e. an algorithmic score assigned to a website that dictates your authority over a given subject or topic). A well formed content and outreach strategy can help your gain backlinks. Create great content on your site and share with with the world and other will enevitable link to it.
In addition to developing content on your site, you also need to tell search engines about the pages on your site. The simplest way to do this is by creating a sitemap. You can do this programatically by writing some code or use one of the many tools that exisits to manually create one. Once you have a sitemap, you can submit it to Google, Bing, etc. by signing up for their webmaster tools. Check out tools like Powermapper or My Sitemap Generator to get started.
Search Console is a fanstatic tool, by our friends over at Google. By connecting your site to Google Search Console your be able to see the number of impressions your site is getting, the number of clicks and where your page is ranking for certain keywords. Webmaster Tools is Bing's search console equivallent.