What is SEO?
OK…. you found this page. We can probably agree that you are not satisfied with the current website and online presence. This is sadly so common it is the norm, so don’t feel alone. Up to 80% of all websites are ignored by Google. They ignore sites because they offer no informative value or the website does not meet Google or Bing’s guidelines. If this has happened to you, we would love to help.
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SEO Agency - Just The Facts
SEO is short for “Search Engine Optimization.” An SEO Agency is a company that increases the quality and quantity of website traffic to your business. SEO strategies will expand your brand via non-paid "organic" search results. When Searchorb organic SEO strategies are implemented, your site gets found on Google and Bing. Once we have our process created and your organic SEO is dialed in, the repeatable results are linear, measurable and profit laden.
Search Engine Optimization
Solid, experienced white hat SEO practices get your website found on Google and Bing.
Content is King and we create a lot of it. We create great written and visual content .
Should I Hire an SEO Agency?
This all depends on you, your willingness to learn and bandwidth. It is also very much related to how complex your website is. Anyone could perform basic SEO principles. However, you need to understand it is not a simple process. It is a process and is highly competitive.
Searchorb Marketing will help you get your site optimized and will ensure you do not use the wrong SEO techniques. As an SEO Agency, we stay current with the latest search guidelines and trends to ensure your success.
Answers to Your Questions
The Basics of SEO
Regardless of the acronym, when thinking about SEO you should realize that it is more about the needs of the people searching than getting the attention of search engines. SEO is really about understanding what people are searching for. What answers are these folks seeking, what terms or words are they using to search?
You should always be able to measure what type of content they want to consume. Knowing these answers will help you connect to people who are searching for the very things you offer.
Google and Bing are Getting Smarter
They are getting smarter. However, they still need help to know what is what. Optimizing your website will result in better search engine crawl results. This is because your website can be indexed and therefore displayed in online search results.
Search Engine Essential Knowledge
Search engines crawl your website for answers. They scour and read billions and billions of pages of content and they evaluate even more factors. They do this to determine the most relevant content that is most likely to answer a search query. Search engines do this by crawling and indexing all of the available content posted on the Internet. This means every web page, PDF, image, video and so on.
SEO is Important
This is very easy to answer but sometimes hard to understand for some people. Paid advertising including ads on social media and other platforms will drive traffic to websites. However, most online traffic is found organically by search engines. There is simply more content than there are ads. The math is with organic results because they cover more digital space and appear more credible to today’s savvy searchers. Organic searches receive far more clicks then paid advertisements. As proof, less than 3% of people will click on paid advertisements and has around 20 times more traffic opportunity than paid ads. This statistic holds true for both mobile and desktop.
What Does Organic Search Results Mean?
As mentioned earlier, organic search results are found because of effective SEO. This means, while SEO is not free and easy, it is not gained via a paid advertisement. Ads used to be clearly labeled, however these days the search engines and others have done a good job of blending paid ads into organic search results. So, how can you identify organic search results?
First of all, you should understand that search engine results are referred to as SERP’s. SERP results consist of both paid advertising as well as organic results, which are also called SERP features. SERP features also include snippets, which are answer boxes, People Also Ask boxes, images and more. There are new SERP features being added and are driven by how people search and what people are seeking.
As an example, if you need the weather and search for “Denver metro weather”, Google will show you a graphically presented forecast in the SERP versus a link to a website. If you search for “pizza in Longmont”, Google will serve local results of pizza places in Longmont. This is important to know because these are the local businesses that people are calling. Understanding this principle is key.
There are SERP features on Google that are organic that can be influenced by sound SEO practices. These include answer snippets and people asked snippets which are organic result displaying answers inside a text box. There are other search features others that are organic but cannot typically be influenced by SEO. These features will likely contain information from proprietary sources, such as WebMD, Wikipedia, various wiki sites or IMDb.
More on Why SEO Is Important
The most important benefit of SEO is that it is the gift that keeps giving. When SEO is set up correctly it can continue to provide search results and traffic for long periods of time. Solid content with the right keywords will get ranked. Once ranked, your website traffic can begin to snowball. On the other side, paid advertising requires constant funding to get traffic to your website. Once funding dries up, so does the traffic to your website.
White hat vs black hat SEO
This is like comparing the dark and the light side of the force. White hat SEO means that the SEO techniques used conform to Google and Bing search guidelines. They follow the advised best practices and strategies and has a focus of providing valued content to people.
Black hat SEO is the dark side. It means taking shortcuts and cheating with techniques that are intended to fool the search engines. Black hat SEO tactics can work but be clear that it puts your website at risk of penalization. This can result in your website being de-indexed, which simply means your site is removed from search results. A penalized website is dead and has resulted in bankrupted businesses. Searchorb uses only white hat SEO, but if you venture elsewhere please be very careful working with unknown SEO experts or agencies.
The Goals of SEO and Search Engines
Although it may not seem like it, search engines like Google and Bing want you to succeed. As proof, Google has a Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. This is like the Beginner’s Guide that you should go read if you plan to venture out on your own. Google and Bing is also very supportive of efforts by companies like Searchorb and others doing it right in the SEO community. Google offers assistance to webmasters and SEO agencies through a help forum and through live hangouts.
Google Webmaster Guidelines
The basic principles are that we should make webpages for users, not search engines. We should not deceive users in any way. We avoid tricks or deception intended to improve ranking. The test questions we constantly ask ourselves are “Does the page help the user?” and “Does this page add value by explaining, addressing or solving something?” In the end your website should be unique, engaging and valuable.
Let’s Start with Things to Avoid
Avoid any automatically generated content, it is usually poor quality. Do not participate in linking schemes. Never create pages that have been copied from others. Avoid cloaking, which means showing visitors different content that search engine crawlers. Hiding content, text and links is also a no-no. All in all, if you plan to do any SEO on your own, it is wise to have sound knowledge of Bing and Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Best practice principles are fairly strait forward. Create clear, engaging and easy to find content for your website. Make sure you page titles are clearly identifiable and relevant. Backlinks or external links are regarded as a sign of your website or business popularity. Search engines reward links that are grown through organic or earned methods. Social media is critical and the more influence and social shares you have the more impact you will see on organic rank over the long run.
Local Google Business Results
If your business operates locally it qualifies for a Bing Paces for Business or Google My Business listing. This is true for a brick and mortar business or service provided at a customer location.
Google has strict guidelines on creating and managing these listings. First off be sure your business is eligible. Your business is required to have a physical address not a PO box. Your business address can be your home address. You must meet customers face to face at your location or theirs. You are required to honestly represent all aspects of your business. This includes all pertinent data including your businesses name, address, phone number, website, categories for your services, hours, and other relevant information.
Local, national and international SEO
Local businesses attempt to rank for local searches such as “service near me” or “service city”. This helps local companies capture local customers when they are searching for products or services. Having said this, not all businesses have a local market. These businesses target national or international markets. Local markets are easier because specific regional search terms can be targeted, while international search will require more effort, involvement and even money.
Understanding User Intent
Now that you know not to skirt the rules to trick search engines, you can now understand that you should focus on user intent. When someone searches on Google they have an outcome in mind. It could be an answer to a question, a product they want, concert tickets for sale, or funny photo. That desired outcome user intent. This gets more complicated with variables on outcome. A search for the term “band” may mean they are searching for music groups, a wedding ring, a band saw or even rubber bands. The job of an SEO is providing a user with content they want, the way they want it.
User Intent Types
Among various others, there are three primary intent types, informational, navigational and transactional. Informational would ask “What is the best type of camera for photography?”. Navigational searches are those looking for a specific website such as “Searchorb”. And finally, transactional intent is a search with intent of buying a product or service such as “Best SEO Agency in Berthoud Colorado”.
Every website and every client has different goals. We always take time to really understand a website or client’s goals. This helps determine which SEO areas to focus. Where we should track conversions and what benchmarks are applicable. What key performance indicators will be measured to show the return on investment (ROI)? Meaning, what measures the success of organic search efforts? This is something what should be understood and simple.
Common KPI’s are sales, downloads, signups, contact form submissions and phone calls. If your business is local KPIs can be focused on for Google My Business listing results including clicks to call, clicks to website and clicks for driving directions. Metrics like ranking and traffic are intentionally not on the KPI list. I know, I know you are reading this to learn about SEO because you heard it helps rank your website and get more website traffic. Now you are hearing those are not essential goals, what gives?
You understand correctly, SEO will help your website rank higher in search results and it will drive more traffic to your website. However, you should understand that traffic and ranking are a means to an end. Ranking means very little if no one clicks through to your website There is little value increasing website traffic if it does not accomplish a larger business goal.
As an example, if your goal is lead generation, would you rather see a thousand visitors a month with three contact form completions or would you rather see three hundred monthly visitors with forty people filling out your contact form? I hope you pick the latter option! Before you endeavor to dive into SEO, especially for yourself, always lay out your business goals. You use SEO to accomplish those goals not the other way around. SEO can accomplish so much more than hitting metrics. When done right it will help achieve real business goal success.