SEO Basics

Just as the title infers, this is going to be a simplification or more accurately an over simplification of SEO.

Lets start with the obvious, what does SEO stand for?

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the free, optimization of your website’s content so that search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and so on, can find you when people such for what you have.

For example you want to find a coffee shop in your area. So you go to your favorite search engine and type in “coffee shops in motomachi” (that’s where I am now). And the image to your right is what (in this case) Google thinks you’re looking for. And the reason these particular sites appear at the top of the list has a lot to do with SEO. These sites have optimized themselves to be found. Or they have paid money for SEM (search engine marketing) and we’ll get into SEM in another article.

Big business do both SEO and SEM. So you’ll notice that in the first 3 suggestions Google is actually using business that have registered their businesses with Google. These businesses have notified Google they are “Coffee shops” and they are in “Motomachi”. For the searcher (me) the location “Motomachi” was a key word, and so was “coffee shop”. This is important to understand. Search engines want to find the best answers to a people’s questions or queries. They using sophisticated algorithms to search through the ga-zillions of websites to find what they think you are looking for.

So what are search engined looking for?

Keywords: This is one of the basic components of SEO. The words I typed into the search engine are matched to words on your site’s blogs and pages. These are known as Keywords. Look at the top 3 coffee shops listed. All 3 have the 2 main words I searched for, Coffeeshop and Motomachi on there websites.

Location: Another big component SEO is where your business is located. When people are searching locally for goods and services the usually look for businesses in their area. This really helps weed out the millions of other coffee shop sites that aren’t in Motomachi. This can really help a smaller business rise to the top of a search list if you are one of the few businesses offering a specific service in that location. Of course if you are an online business or your services don’t require a face to face then you may not have a physical address. But I think you can see how by stating your location on your site will help your small business be found. So if you’re trying to service clients in your town or area add your town or location to your site. If your business has a physical location or office register it as a business with google map and or Yahoo maps.

You can register your business at Google for free here.

Or at Yahoo here.

Content: This one also is key because Google in particular is also looking for sites that have a lot of content, and current content, and organic content. So another example (to your right) of a search I typed in Google was “small business mistakes”. Google is now prioritizing sites that offer me advice in the form of blogs or articles about the most common mistakes small businesses or small business owners make. Its assuming I need help, and the these sites have optimized themselves so that Google thinks they are trying to answer my question. You can see that the key words in common are in bold. But look at where #5 Forbes is in comparison to #1 Fundera. My guess would be that Forbes hasn’t posted an article that answers my query (search question) since 2015 and for that, it drops down.

And here’s the part that is amazing to me. If Google looks at your website’s articles, and thinks you are trying to provide content that answers my query, it will promote you or push you towards the top pages. If it doesn’t, it ignores you. But if it thinks you site is trying to trick me, or just get you to click the site by using too many keywords, or by using content that isn’t organic in its structure, it will penalize you, and in many cases ban you from showing up in searches. So as I stated the in the article Small Business Strategies for Websites, you need to provide a reasonable amount of fresh continent that tries to answer the questions that your potential customers have when they search for you. So blogs (or articles), videos and even links to others that might have an answer for my query.


Final thoughts

There are over 200 factors that Googles uses in its search engine algorithms. And around 75% of all online searches are done on Google. Combine that with the fact that only the top 5 results get clicked on. This means that if you want expect your website to connect with new customers, you have to optimize your site for search engines and Google in particular.

*Now if you really want to dive deep into SEO marketing strategies I’d recommend a few books like these Best Sellers found on Amazon. But again as I mentioned the other blog Small Business Website Management. As the owner of your small business you need to decide what parts of your business you can farm-out, and what parts you need know and do yourselves.

My Advice is, its good to know the basics and trends of SEO, but it’s a better use of your time just knowing the basics, and developing a strategy with your web administrator.