Does my Business need SEO?
There are two types of businesses in the world. One which understands the importance of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and the ones who will eventually learn the ropes and implement it.
I understand SEO and SEO agency services has been a black hole for a lot of businesses and primarily because the SEO landscape keeps changing and evolving very often.
Read on to understand how SEO can help your business grow on a long term and help your generate leads regularly.
Why does your Small business need SEO?
The way customers discover a business or for that matter decide which business to take services from depends largely on online discovery. The way internet and Smartphones have taken over the world we consumers are increasingly being dependent on searching for what we need online. The days of telephone directories are things of past because of mobile phones.
Take for example the case when someone needs to do a rework of the flooring of their house, they would wield out their phone or fire up their laptop and search for “hardwood flooring providers around me”. The businesses that show up on this search would receive a visitor on their website or probably a phone call from this prospect.
Business contact discovery has moved from that telephone directory to the online search results. The only difference is that the online search results listing is a very different process which could take months or even years.
“Did someone just say months and years? How can I as a business measure the ROI then?”
Well there are small little measurable metrics during the process. And we are going to discuss those over the course of this article.
First let me help you understand how the online search listing works
What matters to Search engines and how do they rank?
Search Engines look for the following things when they rank any web page
- How good is the content
- Length of the Content
- Content formatting
- Grammar of the content
- Length of the Content
- How easy is it for a user to navigate and utilize this content
- Is the content relevant to the search
- How popular is the content
- How is the content experience on a particular device
So how does a search engine get to know that your website actually exists and has great content?
Search engines usually discover content by crawling. Web bots called crawlers read the website content page by page and then follow a process called indexing by which they add the page URL to their database for all the keywords and phrases they deem the page relevant for.
Search engines use intelligent algorithms and are being improved day by day to provide relevant and highly focused information to the customers like for example if you search for ice cream shops in New York it won’t show data for Florida.
What does an SEO agency or an SEO executive do?
The Basic On Page Stuff
Here are the steps that an ON Page SEO optimization would usually include
What people key into that search bar is important and is called the Keyword in SEO terminology.
Remember the keyword is not what you think people search but is actually figured out by search statistics is pretty relevant information. Some keywords have higher competition than others.
Content Optimization for keywords
The team would then go ahead and scan web pages from your website and optimize the content for relevant keywords. This would include keyword density checks etc.
Ensuring that users click on your website on a search listing
Defining Meta tags
What are meta tags? Meta tags are defined into two groups
Meta Title: The title that is shown on search listings
Meta Description: The description that is shown on search listing
- Images have their own SEO and are usually referenced by their alt_text meta tag. This needs to be defined for better indexability.
The meta tags are super important as the user clicking on a search result and opening the page depends on these. Though these do not help you rank on search engines but search engines look at well defined meta tags and penalize any site missing on these.
Advance On Page Stuff
Search Engines look to provide the best experience to the users and hence look for the best formatted and easy to use content
- The first paragraph needs to capture the attention of the user and show that the content is relevant else the user would bounce.
- The content needs to be formatted into separate small paragraphs with relevant heading and subheadings so as to provide ease of reading
- Relevant key phrases should be referenced and hyperlinked to pages
- Saying with images
Page load times are highly important from a user experience and hence the pages and images need to be optimized to better the rankings
The search engines do not want to be embarrassed to have a user click on a link and find a page load error and takes this seriously. The team needs to add 301 redirects or meaningful custom 404 pages to handle such situations.
- Once the above are done then then team would generate two files and upload to your server root.
Sitemap.xml: This file contains a list of all the URL’s of your website. We present this to the search engines so that they could immediately crawl the pages and index for search listings.
Robots.txt: This file contains a list of all url’s and path and directors which you would not want the search engines to crawl and index. For example users logged in URL’s
Off Page SEO
The ON Page SEO as it might seem is the easy part. The stuff that one would execute is pretty well defined for both the basic and the advance SEO work. Because of this nature every site could execute this strategy and could rank on top. Well this was true some 10 years back but not any more.
Search engines could verify the site content by crawling but the algorithms are still not as yet evolved to put a figure for quality of the content. For this it largely depends on traffic from multiple sources, mention of the content or page URL from other websites and domains. The more the internet is talking about your website the better.
The process of off Page SEO is usually called as link building. You might say that I could create 10 websites and point them to that one website that you need ranking for. Well websites, domains and pages are ranked and given a Domain Authority (DA) and page authority (PA) score. The better the DA/PA score of a referring backlink the better is your pages SEO. DA/PA scores cannot be purchased nor can backlinks be purchased.
For example if you have CNN write an article on your business then the value of that backlink is huge as CNN has a great trust in the eyes of search engines as millions of visitors visit it daily and spends hours on the website.
How Do I analyse if the efforts are paying off and when could I expect results?
SEO efforts do not show quick results in most of the cases and could take months or years to show results but there are few analytics and metrics that can help you evaluate the efforts.
Web master Search Analytics
If your SEO efforts are in the correct direction then the first thing you would notice is
- Search impressions for more keywords
You would notice that the number of keywords your domain features for would increase week on week. Kindly see if these are relevant keywords.
- Increase in search impressions
You would also see that the number of impressions for keywords is increasing week on week. This means that your page is seemingly more relevant and is showing up on searches. The keyword position might be in hundreds but do not worry about that just as yet. That would improve eventually.
- Keyword position
You would notice that your keyword position rank would be increasing week on week.
Number of Backlinks and referencing domains
You see a steady rise in external links to your domain. It is also important to check the keyword which are pointing to your domain and page.
Domain authority would rise
Domain Authority(DA) score does not rise very quickly and takes a lot of time. You would notice that the DA score of your site rises at least every 2-3 months.