SEO: What is it and why should small businesses care?

When it comes to marketing the terms “SEO” and “Search Engine Optimization” get thrown around everywhere. From technical articles about web development to suggestions about keywords and content writing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed in all the commotion it causes. We’ve boiled it down to a simple explanation to get you caught up with the basics and to understand how it affects running a business.

SEO = Visibility (2)

What is SEO:

Short answer: Search Engine Optimization is an online popularity contest.

Long answer: SEO is the science behind making your website show up at the top of search results on online search engines, which usually means Google. Factors that influence SEO range from the technical to the non-technical, but include everything from the security, design, quality, and popularity of your website.

Who Does SEO Affect?

Anyone with a website, whether its a blog or a business page, has to utilize SEO to get their website seen in Google searches. SEO affects anyone who uses an online search engine.

When should you start thinking about SEO:

To get the most out of an SEO strategy, you will want to start as soon as possible since it takes time to become more popular on search engines. Find out why SEO takes a long time.

Why Does SEO Matter?

Take a look at this example: If Stacy from Toronto needs a plumber, she’s probably going to Google “Pumber in Toronto”. The first thing that pops up on Google are business listings for plumbers around the city. She’ll probably click on the first one, and maybe one or two more before she decides who to hire.

If I own a business called “Joe’s Plumbing” I want to show up at the top of those search results for “Plumber in Toronto” so I can capture Stacy’s business. Statistics show that fewer than 7% of people will look at page two of their search engine results, so I want to be sure I show up on page one and that I’m one of the first results. I may also want to show up for other plumbing related search terms such as “sink repair”, “clogged drain” or “emergency plumbing service”.

Factors That Affect Whether Or Not My Business Will Show Up in Search Results

Security: Google doesn’t want to link to websites that have poor cyber security, and customers are reluctant to order goods or services from them too. Look at the two websites below: which one would you trust more?

SSL Certificates

Any good SEO strategy will make sure that your site is as secure as possible, and that any forms or data entry function securely. It will also make sure that any pages that you don’t want Google to see (internal pages) are hidden and that only high priority pages show up in search.

Speed/ design: Multiple studies show that it takes a fraction of a second for consumers to judge your credibility based on your website. While the design of your website may seem subjective, SEO also measures how long people want to stay on your site. If your website is slow or hard to navigate, people will leave and look elsewhere. Not to mention websites with modern designs build faith that your practice is also up with the latest trends and technology.

Since there are technical and non-technical aspects to the design of your website, an SEO consultation can tell you the scope of how your design affects your SEO. OneLocal also has a Web Design and SEO bundle to make sure that you’re making a good FirstImpression. Learn more about How a Poor Website Can Affect Your Business

Content: Although you are the subject matter expert for what your business does, it’s important that your website reflects that accurately so Google knows what to look for. Google looks for keywords that people might use to search for your business. If we go back to our earlier example, “Joe’s Plumbing” probably wants to show up in searches for plumbing services and their city of operation.

While it might seem like it’s enough to just put “plumber in Toronto” somewhere on the website, Google prioritizes different keywords in different locations, and actually penalizes websites that stuff keywords inorganically. Search Engine Optimization comes in handy here to make sure that your website shows up for what people are actually searching for. Making sure that the services you offer are written in prominent places both in your text and in the code of your website is one of the easiest ways to ensure your potential customers can find you.


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