Small Business Intro to SEO
31
OCT, 2016
Search Engine Optimization.  You’ve heard of it, but do you really know what it is?  Maybe you even have someone working on your SEO.  Do you know what they actually do for you?
SEO is about helping search engines read and understand your website.  And search engines are robots, not people, so your site needs to be easily read by an entity that doesn’t think for itself.  This means there can be no intuitive leaps in your site, no gaps in the structure. And even with the web’s ever-changing landscape, SEO has a few constants to date.

Think about SEO like it’s a race. Think about your website like it’s a car.  To compete in the race, you need gas, tires, and a competitive engine size.  In SEO, you need text content, a technical structure, and competitive domain authority.

Text Content = Gas

For gas to be effective, it needs to go in the tank.  For text content to be effective, it has to go in the right places.  The title tag (the big blue text on a search engine result) shows in one place on a webpage: the tab above the address bar.  This is extremely valuable real estate and the primary place that search engines read to understand what a page is about.  Each one should be unique, applicable to the page’s content, and the correct length

“This means there can be no intuitive leaps in your site, no gaps in the structure. And even with the web’s ever-changing landscape, SEO has a few constants to date.”

Technical Structure = Tires

For tires to be effective, they have to be the right size and installed on the car.  For your site’s technical structure to be effective, it has to make sense to a search engine, with URLs that match the structure and a proper sitemap and robots file to help search engines crawl the whole site efficiently. Your URLs can’t have weird characters.  Your site needs to be mobile-friendly and in a friendly language. And these things need to be checked and re-checked consistently as the site changes.

Domain Authority = Engine Size

A lawnmower isn’t going to outrun a Porsche. Domain authority is about the ability of the website to rank. This is affected by the age of your domain and the quality of other websites have shared their authority through links to your site.  This is the most difficult element of SEO to affect, as it involves consistently seeking, evaluating, and earning links on other websites in your industry.  But it is not impossible, even to do yourself.  Check here for a small business guide on link-building.

And that’s it.  The exact methods of affecting these elements have changed over time.  Different SEOs do things a bit differently.  But these are the three keys to consistently gaining rank and winning the SEO race.

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