What Is SEO and What Can It Do For You?


What Is SEO and What Can It Do For You?

seoIf you have had much experience with internet marketing, online advertising, or email marketing, you have probably heard the term “SEO”. SEO or search engine optimization is the art and science of making your website visible to search engines like GOOGLE, BING, YAHOO and others. Good SEO brings viewers to your website naturally or “organically”, without using paid advertising.

You might be very pleased with your web design but this is only the start. Now you must get your website noticed by the people you want to reach, and SEO is the key to doing this. In the competition for search engine ranking, you may feel completely out of your league because of the huge number of players and the resources they can wield. In any given field, large corporations can spend millions of dollars on internet marketing and paid online advertising, so how can a small business compete?

This task may seem daunting, but as a small business, professional practice, non-profit or local service provider, you actually have an advantage! You do not have to beat Toyota or GM to the top of national search rankings for “cars” or “trucks”. If you operate a new or used dealership, you need to be at the top of the rankings for more specific search terms such as “trucks” plus “Daytona Beach” or “cars” plus “Atlanta.”

This short blog cannot cover all the details of SEO or the strategies used to achieve the best internet marketing results. Instead, let’s be sure we understand some basic SEO-related terms and concepts:

  • Search Engine Results Page (SERP): this is the page of results you see after entering a given search term.
  • Search terms (or keywords and key phrases): these are the words a person enters in the search box when looking for a given result. This may be a word, several words or a phrase. Search terms like “Chinese food”, “Chinese food Ormond Beach” or “Chinese food to go” might yield very different SERPs from the same search engine.
  • Paid Ads: these are links whose sponsors have paid a fee to the search engine producer (GOOGLE, BING, etc.) to have their sites listed. Paid ads are usually at the top of the SERP and consist of the word “Ad” or a similar phrase in gray text, followed by a link in a bright, distinctive color like green. One might look like this – Ad · www.cars.com/Cars
  • Organic Results: the links (usually below the paid ads) that are the result of good SEO. These links appear because the keyword search terms have been researched and properly utilized by an expert in SEO.

A GOOGLE search for the term “trucks” results in links to sites like www.ramtrucks.com (Dodge Trucks) or www.chevrolet.com. “Trucks Daytona” gives a totally different set of results. That is the list a Daytona area truck dealer should want to dominate. A perfect job of SEO for a plumber in Holly Hill, Florida, would put this business at the top of the organic or natural results for a search term like “plumber Holly Hill.” To do this you must know what keywords or search terms are most frequently used by people looking for plumbers, plumbing services, licensed plumbers, shower fixtures, sinks, etc.
Experts in internet marketing, such as AXIOM, have SEO in mind from the very beginning of a web design process. They ask themselves what market they are targeting, what are the most common keywords and keyword phrases that capture that market, and then go about constructing a web design with these SEO requirements in mind.

Web design and SEO specialists use professional services to track the popularity of the keywords and phrases related to your products or services. They know how often keywords are searched and how their search volume has changed over time. Using this data, these SEO experts place the best keywords in the best possible positions. Some of these placements are in a website’s ‘metadata’, a place that is never seen by the typical website viewer and is unknown to most people.

Properly placed SEO terms in the domain name or the H1 (largest) heading can have more impact than the same keyword or phrase used in random places. Sometimes the data may be hidden in the filenames of images inserted into the web design. A stock image renamed ‘Toyota Truck on Daytona Beach’ may get better results than one generically named and uploaded as ‘image 41c.jpg’ or similar random name. Likewise, the page names given to a website’s home page and the site’s subpages have greater importance than keywords scattered in the contents.

mobile friendlyToday, an important element of SEO success is making the website “mobile friendly.” This means that the web design is easily viewable on smart phones, tablets and other non-computer devices. Several years ago, the number of internet searches done on these small devices passed the number of searches done on traditional computers; search engines now give preference to a web design that is “responsive” to the smart phone or other mobile environment on which it is viewed.

If you are a professional practitioner, a business person, non-profit manager or other lay person, this is what should matter to you in the field of SEO:

  • You want to get to the top of organic search engine results for a particular market in a specific area.
  • You need to know which SEO keywords, keyword phrases and search terms are best for your market and location today.
  • You need to place the keywords correctly in your web design, even in unseen places like the metadata, image and page names.
  • You must be certain that your web design is well-viewed across all viewer platforms, including traditional computers and mobile devices powered by Android, Apple or Windows operating systems.
  • You should consider combining excellent search engine optimization with paid ad tools like Google AdWords or Bing Ads.

Content management systems have taken some steps toward making SEO accessible to non-technical users. However, most small businesses, professional practices, non-profits or service providers do not have the time or inclination to deal with these issues. The typical small business website would be better served by getting professional help.

Brief mention was made above to the paid ad results that appear at the top of SERPs or search engine results pages. Entering a non-specific search term like “computers” in GOOGLE or BING returns a SERP headed by paid ads from large companies such as these:

  • Ad · Store.Acer.com/Laptops
  • Ad · deals.bestbuy.com/Computers

However, a more specific search phrase like “computers Daytona” returns a SERP with the paid ads of several local computer vendors in the Daytona area. These paid ads are not the result of organic SEO, but of paid advertising by small, local businesses. If the search was done in GOOGLE, it included a Google Maps graphic with the locations of several businesses that have been added to the Google Map service.

These paid efforts can work with organic SEO to place your website in front of the maximum number of viewers, people who are looking for your store, your practice or the service you provide. Paid efforts like Google AdWords™‎ or Bing Ads can be quite cost effective and help put your web page on top of search engine results. These tools can work with the web design, internet marketing and email marketing services offered by AXIOM to drive your results.

Axiom Administrative Services can build an internet marketing strategy that starts with professional web design and then provides a full range of web services. Axiom will coordinate internet marketing, online advertising, SEO, an email campaign and the full range of internet marketing services that you need. Start now by thinking about your internet marketing needs and then contact Axiom Administrative Services.

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