What is SEO, and what does it mean for your business?

Image used with permission from Microsoft

What is SEO?

If you know anything about the internet (and you’re reading this blog post, so that’s the first step), you’ve probably heard about SEO.  

You might have a general idea about what SEO is – and yes, in its most basic form, it has to do with getting your website to the top of Google.

But SEO is a many-armed creature – and if you know it well and tame it well, it will protect and serve your business in ways you never imagined.  However, if you let it loose without truly understanding it, you can destroy a great deal of business opportunity.

Here are a few things to do – and not to do – when it comes to helping your website be found online, and getting more business from your website.  Specifically, how you address “SEO”, and what it means for you.

SEO things NOT to do:

  • Cram your website with lots of keywords.  This used to be great practice – if you were a seller of sailboats, perhaps fill your home page with “sailboat sales”, “selling sailboats”, “sailing”, “how to sail”, “buying a sailboat”, and a hundred other terms.  But that can actually harm you if you’re just throwing in random terms, rather than bringing them together in a way that makes sense to the reader.
  • Buy multiple domain names. In the past, you may have gotten advice to buy lots of domains.  Maybe sailboats.com, or sailingforyou.com, or hundreds of others. It used to be that Google would move you higher if the words in your domain name were the ‘key’ words, but now things are different.  More domains can actually prevent you from getting found online.  Stick with just one, and draw all your web traffic there.
  • Buy cheap SEO options. If you don’t understand what SEO is and how it affects your website and business, paying someone 50 quid (or dollars, or Euro, or whatever) to “get better SEO” could actually harm you. You always get what you pay for, so talk to someone who helps you make it make sense.  And listen to what they say.  (The same applies for accountants, incidentally – getting a cheap accountant will always have serious repercussions in the long run.)

Good SEO Things TO do:

  • Tag your images properly.  When you upload images, their titles can help your website be found online.  If you name your image “IMG_4259”, that doesn’t help you at all.  If you name it “Sailing_4529”, that helps a lot more.  (Remember not to go crazy – naming an image “Sailing sailboats buying sailboats” is keyword spamming, which we talked about before.)
  • Get social.  If your business is found not just on your website, but on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, or whatever social media engines apply to your business, you can use certain keywords to help people come to your site.  The more you post elsewhere, the more traffic you draw to your website.
  • Start blogging. This isn’t applicable for every kind of business, but it’s extremely helpful for some.  Think about questions that people ask, or problems they have with the kind of product or service you sell.  Answer their questions, solve their problems, give them ideas about what to do next, and you’ll get more traffic and more leads.
  • Make sure your website is set up properly for SEO.   Get someone to review your website for SEO capabilities.  (We can direct you to someone who can help, if you need it. Just ask.)
  • If you use Wordpress, download the Yoast SEO plugin (it’s free).  It helps identify where and how you should use the appropriate words so that you get found online.
  • If you don’t have a website, you should probably get one.  This seems obvious – but don’t just go out and buy an el-cheapo website.  Think about the whole picture: what happens once someone comes to your site? Will they want to stay? Is it helpful, does it provide free things or good advice?  Do you send out emails that direct people back to your site?   Talk to your website designer about all these things.

We know this is pretty technical stuff, but the world has gone online, and if you want to improve profits for your business, this is one of the ways you can do it.  Talk to us if you need to look at where your profits are now, and what you can do about it.