I want to start by adding a disclaimer to this post because while it may seem like a lot of information, please don’t get caught up in the SEO buzz. I look at search engine traffic more like icing on the cake and not the only source out there, especially for small business.
When I mention the acronym SEO to my clients or anyone that isn’t a “web person,” 99% of the time a look of sheer terror crosses their face. Meta what? Keywords huh? Google, yikes! Ahh! If you can imagine the old cartoons with the cloud of smoke or person wall cut out, you would get the idea perfectly.
I am here to tell you that there isn’t anything to be scared of and once you get the hang of how it all works together it isn’t terrifying at all, in fact its kind of easy (pinky swear!)
There are a few things that you need to understand to “get” the foundation of SEO. The basics if you will. SEO stands for search engine optimization. This is just a fancy way of saying “ways to make your website easier to find on search engines.” In order for search engines to find any website, they send out crawler bots that search for content. Your website should have a code that tells the bots “come on over and check me out.” There are also good coding standards that will help these bots crawl your website easily and effectively. These should be a given and are usually added by your web designer or CMS service.
Because search engines can only read text, your content is the most important thing. Back just a few years ago, keywords were everything. This has changed dramatically and in fact, Google doesn’t even include keywords in their criteria anymore because so many people tried to game the system by stuffing their sites full of keywords that were not even relevant to their websites. (Just a note – cheaters never win and winners never cheat!)
Now the most important thing on your website is the content you write. This includes pages (about, customer service, etc) and also catalog/product descriptions. This makes you really stop and think about your customer and what they are looking for. (This is a good thing!) You want to make your content sparkle so that your customer not only feels the need to purchase your product but so the search engines will help to steer that potential customer to your website in the first place. So you may be asking yourself, Lisa this all sounds so “sparkly” and great but how they hell do I start?
Baby steps grasshopper, baby steps! The easiest place to start is with good old pencil and paper. Start jotting down phrases that a potential customer would search to find you — two or three word phrases work best. Once you have your list, use this as a basis for writing your content. Sprinkle these phrases throughout your website, on pages and in catalog/product descriptions.
While I think content is THE most important part of SEO, there are a few other things that are helpful. Getting links from more popular sites than your own is a biggie. This can include being featured on popular blogs, online magazines and even social media. It can give you a bit of street cred among search engines.
As I said in the beginning, I think everyone should know the basics of SEO but with the idea that it isn’t the holy grail of traffic. You have to figure out what works best for your business and where your customers come from. By having this information, you can put together a plan to draw more traffic to your website.
Do you have a question about SEO or have some ideas about driving traffic to your website? Share! Share!
Lisa Bacon — Moxie Pear
Lisa Bacon is a creative entrepreneur, wife, mother and self-professed laundry procrastinator (oh and chocolate addict!). She lives just south of Atlanta, Georgia with her family of 7 (2 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats + 1 husband). She is the founder of Moxie Pear, a design studio that specializes in creative services (logo design, web design, marketing and more) for small creative businesses. She is also on Facebook and Twitter.Share on Facebook