Most people have experienced SEO even if they couldn't put it into words or recite what the acronym stands for. Search Engine Optimization is a fancy name for having content on your website that makes it show up in search results pertinent to your business.
Essentially, when a potential customer goes to Google (or Bing, etc.) and searches for an answer to their question, these search engines comb through their indexed websites looking for these search terms or "keywords" and when the search engine thinks the customer's answer might be on your site, your business will come up in the search results.
A long time ago it used to be as simple as putting a bunch of business related keywords into the HTML of your website so that you would pop to the top of the list. But search engines have gotten smarter. They know that you want a real, readable, engaging and helpful answer to your question, not a website with a bunch of terms thrown around.
Several years ago, search engines started giving preference to content that was:
1. Readable and natural (no keyword stuffing)
2. From a trusted authority (a legitimate business that has a lot of web interaction)
3. Recent and up to date (like blog content)
Now, with the latest updates to many search algorithms many search engines are also taking into account much more complex data such as user intent, prior user behavior and site interactions, and which sites have clusters of content around a given issue rather than just a keyword here or there.
I know. You're saying, "Great Carrie, thanks for the tips but I still don't think it really matters."
Here is a quick little quiz to illustrate the power of SEO.
1. If you were new to town and you needed a haircut. What would you do?
A. I would ask a good looking stranger, "Who does your hair?"
B. I would Google, "haircut (insert new town here)".
C. I would let it grow and hope someone notices my desperate cry for help.
If you answered B, you are like the majority of your friends, family and neighbors. Search engines are powerful tools that allow us to get a lot of information in a short amount of time. We use them for everything now, from finding hairstylists to finding realtors (or web design and inbound marketing companies). It is important that your business show up in search results because that is where people are looking.
2. Let's say you chose to Google "haircut (insert new town here)". What would you most likely do next?
A. I would probably click the first, second, or possibly third result.
B. I would click each result from the first page and scan each page.
C. I would most likely click through to the results page 2 and higher.
If you answered A or B you are in a good majority! 90% of internet users choose a result from the first page of a search (there are 10 slots on a page), and 60% of those choose from the first three results. Ranking matters. If you are on page 2 of Google's results, even at the top of the second page, only 1% of customers searching for that term are seeing your page.
SEO doesn't matter, if you are perfectly content with the amount of business you currently have, and are confident of your place in the marketplace, knowing your customers are loyal...and if you live in 1985.
In all seriousness, good SEO practices are a vital part of any successful business strategy. It isn't rocket science, but it doesn't take some understanding to wrap your mind around search engine algorithms that are constantly changing. It also takes commitment to creating new and engaging content for your website so that you can maintain your SEO ranking once you are seeing results.
If all of this seems overwhelming, you aren't alone. That's where we come in. We can help you develop and execute this strategy. Let us guide you through the process of making your website work for you!