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What is SEO?
Posted on Mon Feb-08-2016

Whether you are just researching building a professional website for your business or trying to increase traffic to a site you already have, SEO is vital. What is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the practice of optimizing your site for search engines. The purpose of SEO is not about tricking the search engines, but rather creating a great user experience with a quality site that communicates your intentions to search engines. By practicing SEO, search engines, and therefore potential customers, will find you easier!

Have you ever wondered why your site is on page 20 of search results? How can you get it to come up first? Well, just like the best stories are the ones on the front page of the newspaper, the best sites are put first in search results. This is called page rank. Each search engine has its own algorithm to determine page rank, but the algorithms are always changing. SEO is about is quality and user experience. By focusing on the basics of quality content, performance, user experience, and authority, your page rank and web traffic will improve. What are search engines looking for? Search engines are looking for content that is relevant to the search. All text, including your domain name, titles, and descriptions are your content. To improve your content, you can research what keywords are best for the purpose of your site and make sure they’re within your content and even the coding of your site. The right keywords will make it easier for the search engine to identify relevancy to a search when it “crawls” or reads the site. Overusing or stuffing your keywords into your content, however, can be harmful rather than helpful. By including keywords and quality, useful content, you’ll improve the quality of the traffic to your site.

Once you have the right people finding you in search engine results pages (SERPs) you can focus on traffic quantity. The performance and user experience of your site is extremely important. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve exited a page and moved on to another site because the first one would not load, was extremely slow, or was not user-friendly. If drop-downs, menus, or links don’t work, I’m gone. If your site clearly isn’t proof-read, I’m not going to trust it. Poor spelling and grammar can make a site seem unsafe, so I leave it alone. Personally, I’ll go to a website first to learn about a business before calling or walking into a physical location. If you want to drive web or physical traffic to a business, make sure your website and mobile site are user-friendly by making sure all the features work and content is useful and edited! Don’t overload your site with ads. A few are fine, but if they make it difficult for the user to find your content, it’s a problem. Making it easier for the user to get around your site and find the content they want will keep your bounce rate low and the search engine will notice.

Make sure your website developers take SEO into account when designing and building your site so you can start off with a good foundation. Authority also affects page rank. By offering quality content that’s easy to find in a site that’s easy to use, your site is likely to be used as a reference by others and links may be created back to your site. These backlinks are noticed by the search engine. Backlinks are like job references. Ones from high quality sites with higher page ranks are like getting a reference from your former CEO, whereas a link from an obscure, poor quality, unsafe site is like a reference from your unemployed best friend. The poorer links can pull down your page rank and the good can pull you up. However, just like employers can tell if you padded your resume, search engines will notice if you try to game the system with only high quality links. Purchasing links is harmful, so don’t waste your money. Imagine the links as threads. You are trying to create a spider-web of links with large and small threads to create a strong web to catch that traffic! There are many SEO companies that will create backlinks for you, but be careful to make sure they aren’t building your web with weak threads. A weak web will fall apart instead of catching traffic.

The best SEO companies will avoid letting search engines think you are cheating the system by optimizing your site in the RIGHT way. Top SEO companies will help you increase your web traffic without harming your reputation. Choose website developers that keep SEO in mind when creating professional website design so your site has a solid foundation. Better yet, chose a custom website design from a top SEO company so your site is unique and original. Do not allow your content to be crowded by ads. Create quality content and include keywords that will make it easier for search engines to find and categorize you so customers can find you. Make sure there are no errors or performance problems in your site layout before launch to create a great user experience. Through quality content and a great user experience, your site will gain a good reputation (authority).

SEO can be confusing, difficult, and harmful to do on your own, so you may want to leave it up to the experts. If you’ve done your research and remember the basics of how quality content, performance, user experience, and authority all influence how the search engines view, recognize, and rank your site , you’ll be able to identify and hire a good SEO company.