I literally had someone ask me once, “Can you get me found on Google for free?” After my initial shock, I realized what this business owner meant. He wanted his website to be found on first page search without having to pay for ads. He was talking about organic SEO – or “search engine optimization.”
Sometimes, SEO is seen as a phantom – mysterious, powerful, and daunting. Other times, it is often presented (usually by SEO companies) as an add-on, like a garnish that is simply sprinkled on the side of the entrée. Easy-peasy. No big deal. Instant internet visibility…just add water. Truth be told, SEO is neither.
What is SEO? This is a short question with a long answer. But I’ll make it a simple as possible. A search engine’s main job is to find the best answer for the query that is typed into the search bar. Websites that provide the best answer rank higher in search results than ones that don’t. So, you might say that “search engine optimization is a strategy to improve a website’s position and popularity on the search engines.”
How do you do it? I’m not going to say “I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you” or anything clever like that. It’s not “secret sauce.” If anything, I’d start to tell you, your eyes would cross, and you’d be bored to tears. But, if you want to know how to do SEO (and how not to), you need only to go to Google Guidelines for Webmasters*. If you read that, you’ll find out that improving your website’s search engine rank position (SERP) takes time and work. It’s a slow, careful climb to the top. Avoid SEO snake oil companies that make it sound quick and easy!
Our SEO strategy. At Local Net Results, we do everything with a first-things-first strategy. This is especially important when talking about search engine optimization. When a new client comes to us and wants to be found online, we have a three-tiered approach to SEO:
The first rule of SEO is to have a lean-and-mean website. Trying to improve the search ranking of a website that is incorrectly coded, loaded down with functions it doesn’t need, or is disorganized in the way it delivers content is like trying to roll a heavy rock up hill. Sure, you can fix a page title here and there and get some results; but we have found that the best results come from a custom-coded theme that is built correctly from the ground up.
Very often a properly designed website can rank well locally based on good, original content added to the site. Blogs, portfolio projects and additional static pages can be indexed and improve the SERP performance of the site as a whole. Our recommendation to new clients is to see how well the on-page SEO strategy performs in the first year. Occasionally, more competitive keywords do not rank well and will require an off-page SEO campaign.
Imagine you are in a crowded restaurant and you’re trying to get somebody’s attention. You waive to them but they don’t see you. So you join together with a couple of tables around you and start waving and shouting. Now you’ve got their attention. Off-page SEO involves the syndication of your website content and strategic link building strategies that give your little website a voice on the world wide web.
Over the past four years, Google has cracked down on SEO services who try to improve website rankings by gaming the search engines. When it comes to SEO in today’s world, quality trumps quantity; and less is more. Violating Google’s terms can get a website removed completely from their search engine.
It’s a really good deal when your website is found naturally in search! However, this is not always the case – even with the best SEO campaigns in place. At that point, we usually recommend considering a Google AdWords campaign. Call us to schedule a consultation for your best SEO strategy!