A Primer On SEO

Let’s talk about SEO – search engine optimization. It comes up often when we are talking with clients and prospects. There are lots of questions. What exactly is SEO? Do I have to pay for SEO? How can I tell if the SEO on my site is good? Where do I start? Here’s a quick overview on how you can control your SEO.

What’s the purpose behind SEO? Your SEO is going to help ensure the visibility of your website when people search for your services.

What determines my SEO?

  1. Your SEO starts with the content on your site;
  2. Then, your SEO is supported by the technical information coded within your site;
  3. It’s reinforced and enhanced by social media and other marketing initiatives;
  4. SEO is boosted by monthly updates to your site, and finally,
  5. SEO is further expanded with paid advertising.

SEO basics. First, let’s start with your content. Google is moving towards longer-form content that understands a visitor’s intention. We still believe in key words though, because they help keep your content focused. Think about the 25 key words or phrases that prospects might use to find your services or products. Then make sure these works and phrases are in your content.

SEO in the site code. Your developer should have added SEO to the site code. What does that mean? It means that your site should have a few basic descriptions written into the code. For example:

  • These are the descriptions that appear under the URL of a particular page in the search results. The meta description is limited to 156 characters.
  • Header tags. There are many possibilities for header tags on a page. We focus on the H1 and H2 headers since they are the ones that have the most SEO value. Every page should have a header tag or two. They should never be skipped. The headers support each other. It’s sort of like having a title (H1 header) and a subtitle (H2 header).
  • Duplicate descriptions don’t add value. Each page should have a description specific to that particular page.

See for yourself. You can use a variety of applications to view the code on your site. I use Screaming Frog, but there are others that work just as well. In Screaming Frog there is a tab for metatags and Headers, so you can see which pages have good descriptions. Often, when I view prospective sites, these descriptions are either missing or contain duplicate information, which isn’t going to help your SEO.

Reinforce Your SEO With Other Marketing. Social media increases your visibility, which again helps your SEO. A good LinkedIn profile and LinkedIn corporate page makes your company more relevant to search engines. And activity on Facebook and Twitter, as well as other social media sites, can raise your site’s visibility. Links out of the site and links into the site are good. So don’t ignore Yelp, Superpages and other directories. The links from these directories into your site increase your visibility. Clear navigation on your site and proper labels on your images also help with search engine optimization. Large photos will cause your site to load slowly, which adversely affects your SEO.

Paid SEO. You can also pay for higher SEO ranking, though your organic SEO should come first. You can purchase Adwords with Google. And buying ads in Facebook will increase your SEO as well. These are great tools for growing your online sales, though they can be costly.

If you would like Make It Count Marketing to evaluate the SEO on your site, give us a call at 301-467-2501.


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