SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Digital Marketing for a Home Service Business
Search engine optimization helps to list your website higher in search engine results. It can help to list your company better when compared to your competition. Below is a series of articles about how to do search engine optimization.
Search Engine Optimization Articles
Home Services Business Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process to make your website appear higher in a search engine results page. The Internet has an unbelievable large number of websites on it and in those websites, there are many, many web pages. Search engines came into being because people were finding it harder and harder to find information on the Internet. The earliest attempts were to create directories of information, sometimes manually created, but this couldn’t keep up with the exponential growth of the Internet. Search engines organized the information and made it easier to find.
Before explaining SEO, some background information on search engines is needed. A search engine is just a large index. What is an index? The most common example is the index in the back of a book. It is a list of words and what page they are on in the book. The index that a search engine creates is very similar in that it is a word or set a words and a reference back to the website that contains those words. Unlike the back of a book, the goal of a search index is to store all the references back to the original source so the book index might be as larger or even larger than the book. But, you perform a search using technology instead of looking at the back of the book and scrolling through an alphabetically list of words.
The book index is alphabetic which won’t help much when indexing the Internet since a book is a finite number of pages and the Internet is constantly growing. But this constant growth brings up a new issue that a book doesn’t have, how do you find the result that actually answers the searchers question or query. This a topic called relevance. Relevance means related to the matter at hand or satisfying a need. So, search engines developed many technical to try to place the more relevant results of a search engine query at the top of the page.
Finally, we get to the optimization part of SEO. There are many factors that search engines like Google and Bing look to determine if your website is relevant to the search performed. The search engines optimized their results in the hope of answering the question or query from the search. These factors mean that there is something that search engines look at about the web page and people realized that these factors could be influenced by making changes to the websites so optimization could work on both sides.
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Explain SEO process
So, know that you know how search engines work in general, the typical process of SEO is something the website owners attempts to do. They do this to try to rank higher in the search engine results because people usually only look at the first results for their answers even though there are thousands of results.
Search Engine Optimization processes take a couple of forms. They are called “black hat” and “white hat”. The color refers to the color of hats wore by cowboys in the classic movies. The hero wore a white hat and the villain wore a black hat. What we are really talking about are the individual techniques used to try to optimize a websites. The techniques seem to work but might not be something the search engines what you to do being doing, i.e black hat. Some techniques make your website between for your visitors and the search engines consider this more relevant (i.e. white hat) and thus rank the website higher in the results. But a black hat technique might also work and gives you a better ranking but really is manipulating the results without concern for your website visitors.
So, who decides what is a good or bad intentions? That is the search engines. But the search engines also don’t explain exactly what factors they look at when ranking a website. So, this make the whole SEO process seem a little arbitrary and opaque. SEO isn’t an easy concept to explain. Additionally, people used SEO to try to manipulated the results and promise the highest ranking. When they couldn’t deliver or did and then a penalty by the search engines caused the website to lose it rankings, people got frustrated with SEO and blamed it. This is a fair criticism but search engines are now such an integral part of how people find this. The key point is making your website content appealing to your visitors is good for your visitors and what the search engines want to show also.
Develop SEO strategy
With this background on search engine optimization processes, the next set is to develop a strategy. Again, the key point is to develop website content people will want to read and interact with. Since SEO is such a complicated topic, a SEO strategy for your small business can seem daunting. We suggest you keep it as simple as possible and focus on the key points. These key points are:
- Target audience
- It is important to identity who you are trying to attract to your website. Your target audience will have different thoughts and ideas.
- Content strategy
- A content strategy helps to define what type of content you need to build to attract your target audience
- Keyword research
- The keywords which will appeal to your target audience helps you focus your content around specific topics.
- Competitive research
- You competition is probably targeting the same audience so it is helpful to know what they are doing so you know a baseline you need to reach and then exceed.
There are a number of tasks involved with SEO. They can broken into two parts which are on the website page and off the website page.
On-page tasks can be further broken down into the following areas:
- The content on your website should be focused on specific keywords or topics.
- The content itself should have a focus keyword but could be in many different formats from text, images, video or audio.
- The title is one of the most important things to make sure is clear and relates to your keyword and content.
- Headings help search engines determine what your content is about but also make your content easier to understand by your website visitors.
- Meta description
- This is a special part of your web page that a search engine will display in the search engine results. You can think of it like a summary of the web page.
- Images are important to your website visitors because an image can complement your text. However, search engine can’t determine what the image shows. So, an alternative description (alt tag) helps.
Off-page tasks mostly relating to link building. The web is a series of inter-connected web pages via a technical things called a hyperlink. Hyperlinks are the typically blue, under-lined text that when clicked will take you another web page on the same website or a different website. Search engines realized that these links mean one website thinks another website is a good source for that subject so these effect the rankings for relevancy.
There are a number of ways to do link building. The best is just to let it happen naturally. People will link to content that they think is good or helpful for their visitors and a beneficial cycle is created. There are way to help accelerate this process through asking others to link back to your website. However, search engines consider it manipulating to ask for a link for money. But it does occur and is considered “black hat”.
Summary about Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process to optimize your web pages to be found by search engines and communicate the nature of the content so the web page may be more relevant to someone make a search. SEO is a complicated process involving many strategies and tasks. However, the key point is to work to make the content on your website appealing to potential website visitors.
HOME SERVICES BUSINESS SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION VIDEO
Digital Marketing Extreme is your source for digital marketing tips and techniques for your home service business.
Why do you need search engine optimization for your home service business? This video will go over what is search engine optimization, examples, search engine optimization strategy and reporting.
If you would like the video slides as a PDF, click to download “Home Services Business Search Engine Optimization“.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
This presentation will go for search engine optimization, SEO for small business. The agenda, we will first discuss what is search optimization, then we’ll look at some examples. We’ll look at SEO strategy and finally look at reporting.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
So what is SEO or search engine optimization? Well, basically search engine optimization involves optimizing the results that occur in search engines. Search engines, such as Google and Bing, provide an index of the internet websites that are available. So the optimization is to making sure to try to get your website content into that search engine index. But there, people want good results. So search engines try to rank information by how relevant it is. So you want to try to make sure that your website content matches the search that has been pretty formed. But because there is so much content on the internet, the next one is to try and optimize to see if you can get better rankings, which basically means showing higher in the search engine results.
One thing to be aware of within search engine optimization is what is the searchers intent. This is basically what is a searcher looking for. So you want to try to align what they’re searching for with the content that you’re providing on your website. Additionally, you may be ranking or trying to beat out your competition. So you want to look to see if you can rank more higher, which is by going back to having more relevant information. Google is trying to provide the information the searcher intends to find by making sure it’s relevant to what their original search intent was. Search Engine, optimization like other things actually has no cost. Now, this is a direct cost in the sense of you cannot pay for placement. That’s actually a If you look at Google search ads, where you’re actually paying for getting a ranking, but again, to do search engine optimization, there is time involved. So it’s not true that there’s absolutely no cost. But getting in the search index is it does not cost anything, though again, the position that you would like may take effort to actually work toward obtaining.
In search engine optimization, SEO, you may hear a number of different terms. For example, black hat, black hat, really more is techniques that are trying to manipulate the search and results. For example, if you actually pay to have people link to your website, Google considers that a manipulation of the search engine results and actually may penalize you for that. It’s not to say these black hat techniques don’t work. It’s more of going against what Google is trying to produce, which is honest results. That show that people are actually interested in that information. The opposite is white hat. This is where you do follow Google’s guidelines on how to optimize your website to show up better. Google actually does want your website’s show better, because it helps them find the information and the US rank, show information so they can actually understand your website better. The major point that Google is trying to accomplish is to build your website for users. Kind of seems self explanatory, but some people are more emphasizing how to rank higher in Google as opposed to making sure that the user experiences good.
Next, let’s look at some examples of search engine optimization.
So the first search engine that we want to look at is Google. It’s actually the most popular search engine out there. Again, it’s become a verb, you Google it. As far as optimizing, most people actually optimized for Google results. And again, that goes back to the fact that it is so Popular theme, there is the impression that a Google search result gives you the best answer. You know, everyone had might have their personal preference, but does see my Google is able to provide the best results. They also are constantly trying to improve their search engine technology through many, many updates.
The another search engine has been this is actually the second largest search engine. One of the keys that makes being very important is that it’s actually the default search engine in Microsoft Windows, which is on most computers that are purchased nowadays. So though most people optimize for Google being should not be completely forgotten.
There’s also another concept within search engine optimization. This is what we’ll refer to as local SEO. It’s more about how to optimize for different mapping websites. Now again, those mapping websites could be from Google and Bing But they have a different attribute as far as how they’re trying to rank. And actually it’s more of location based. So information about the user could be determined where they’re at. If they’re using it on a smartphone, they actually know your physical location. And so Google and their search engine results know this and said certain searches actually will show what they call a local pack. And this is a listing of businesses that might be near the person that’s searching. These also are affected by what’s called nap, which is the name, address and phone. So local search engine optimization is another aspect of search engine optimization that small businesses need to be aware of.
As I mentioned a little bit earlier, there is the concept of pay per click are paid results in search engine or search, paid results in the search engine result page. These are usually typically at the top they do call themselves out is actually But the reference is usually pretty small. They do show higher than what are called the organic results. So if you’re interested in actually ranking higher, there is a play to pay option where you can do this. The pay per click method comes in the fact that even though these ads are listed and shown, and as somebody clicks on them, they don’t actually have to pay for those ads. One nice thing about having this information has the rights to SEO is that there are search volumes that are published for people who want to learn which keywords to bid on. And then information can be used into organic SEO to kind of help you understand what are popular search terms.
Let’s talk a little bit now about SEO strategy.
One of the first things is really important to look at when you’re looking at your website is to actually perform an SEO audit. This is a way to look actually at the search engine results. Your website currently has. This may show some different things that may be occurring such as configuration issues that you weren’t aware that you hadn’t set something up correctly. One of the worst ones is the fact that your website is not even being indexed by the search engines. There are also a number of recommendations for things on your website you can look at so an audit will help to find these information. It also will help you analyze your website traffic and see which traffic is being brought to your site via search engine as opposed to other things like referrals or if you’re doing paid. One of the most important things about SEO is the number of websites that link to you these are called backlinks. So an SEO audit can look at that analysis. And finally, since again, search engines are looking at the content your website and SEO audit can actually look at your content and make recommendations.
When the most important things in search engine optimization is the concept of the keyword a keyword in this is how you rate back to what again, the searchers intent was what did they type into the search query saying Google? And do you have related keywords that match that searchers intent. Again, this is really optimization. So you’re looking at what your potential audience may be searching for. And then once you’ve kind of got some ideas there, the key is to start brainstorming keywords. And again, this is just a brainstorming effort. Once you’ve done that brainstorm, in effort, what comes out of it or what are called a seed keywords, these are these initial keywords where you can then finally start your in depth keyword research to determine many different keywords that you may want to look to optimize for there. There are many tools to help with this process. It’s not all manual.
Next thing is talking more about our Page edit. So these are the things that actually wait to the individual pages. And again, Google is providing results based on web pages on your website. So each web page has some common attributes that Google looks at to try to identify what the content of that pages one is the website page title. The next are what are called headings, you may have heard of these as h1 or h2. Again, these are HTML tags that help to display different texts in different sizes. There’s also this concept of what’s called a meta description, that’s an individual short brief description of what the pages and because images don’t necessarily have content, but do relate to the content around them. There’s a way to actually provide text tags, alternative tags for each image so that image can be identified as what it may be about.
Next, as part of your strategy is to look at the content that is the actual text on your website. Again, search engines look at the text content. But they also are now becoming smarter and smarter. So they’re actually looking about what the topics of your content is. Length does have a factor, number of images because again, this PR people like to look at images, they are good for communicating different things. readability, the actual How does your text read? People do just scan content sometimes. So is your content scannable? Do things stand out with headings and bullet points and things like that. And then within your website, the content can have internal linking and that is something else that Google looks at to see what other things about your website that this could be either more or less important about.
So I mentioned earlier link building is another aspect of your SEO strategy. Link is basically when one’s website links to another site using hyperlink these are these, you know underscore things we click on to go to a different website, Google actually uses links as a fundamental ranking factor because having a link displays what we can call a vote of confidence. This is one of the reasons why Google kind of came out as one of the best search engines from, though it wasn’t one of the first was because of this concept of backlinking. There are many ways to get links. The simplest is just to ask people you know, or websites to link back to your information. There’s also the ability to maybe go into different types of website directories to add your website. But actually, this is deemed more of a natural process over time, if you produce good content, people will want to link to it when they discover it. And so this should be much more of a natural process.
As we mentioned before, again, another part of your SEO strategy needs to be looking at local SEO. Of course, if you have a physical business or if physical place. This is really focused around this concept of your name, address and phone numbers. There are a number of the citations that you can place around on different websites to show Google that yes, you are a business and you have this address and phone number. But it’s very, very important that all this data is very, very consistent. Also, part of a local SEO is your reviews. So Google looks at those to determine if you are servicing your clients well, and actually will use that as a ranking factor within the local SEO.
That’s next talk about search engine optimization reporting.
One of the keys because it is where people find things is to look at your rank tracking. This is basically the position of your website in the search engine results. Most people don’t go much beyond the first few links and definitely not beyond the first page of results. So this is something to be aware of that if your ranking is Many magnitudes lower than the first page you may not ever be found. But ranking has become much more personalized when people are logged into our Google account, for example, and do searches, Google is actually tracking that to try to begin provide better information. So rank tracking needs to be kind of taken with a grain of salt. Because if you have a personalized experience, the rank of your website may or may not be the same from person to person.
So another thing to look at in your reporting is your inbound link profile. There are many tools available that can actually look at different links. They actually do their own crawling of the internet to provide this database of links, so you can find out who’s linking to it. But Google actually provides their own tool called the Google Search Console, which will show links to one of the nice things about this in addition to being free is Google index knows your links already. So it’s very, very accurate thing to look at, as far as reporting here is are your links growing over time? Because again, this will show that you’re becoming a much more authority site. Google has put out a tool to actually allow you to disavow links, because some links may have been done either from websites that you didn’t intend to, or from past efforts that may not match the Google guidelines. And so they’ve now provided a tool where you can say, Well, I don’t like that link.
One additional report that you can run is to look at your on page configuration. So even though at the beginning, an audit of this information is important, it does need to be an ongoing thing. And so basically, these tools will crawl your website and look for issues and thus show places where you need to make improvements. So again, SEO is not a one and done thing is something you need to continually be Looking at improving to help your rankings on the search engines.
Conclusions on Search Engine Optimization
So we’ll wrap up with some conclusions on search engine optimization. There are a number of benefits of search engine optimization. The first is to get your website listed higher in the search engine results. Because people do use the internet to do many different research topics, including finding businesses to provide services, websites that rank higher do get more clicks, and thus more traffic. Because you may be competing against other people within your industry ranking higher using search engine optimization will list you higher than your competitors in the US again, the higher you are, the more likely someone will click to look at the information on your website. Search Engine Optimization is an entire overall arching concept that does help your content may be more relevant and more relevant content helps the users that come to your website and Google then rewards all of that. And again, unlike paying for those top positions on the search end result, search engine optimization doesn’t have a direct cost but it does have a time cost.