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SEO…what’s in your website?

SEO. You’ve probably heard the popular acronym tossed around when talking about online marketing. But what exactly does it mean? SEO – or Search Engine Optimization, is defined by The Beginner’s Guide to SEO as “the practice of improving and promoting a website in order to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines.” SEO encompasses everything from picking keywords, to links for other sites. Sometimes it is simply a matter of structuring your website in a way that search engines can understand.

So how can you use this to your website’s benefit? Start with your own experiences. Imagine being confronted with a question you had no answer to. In modern days, you likely turn to your search engine of choice (Google/Bing/Yahoo, etc.) and type the question in to find your answer. Your question in this instance is the search query, and the responses that the engine comes up with are based on that criteria. Now picture your website. What is your target market likely to use as a search query? Those are the keywords that you want to highlight.

SEO is based entirely on keywords, so this is where you want to focus the bulk of your effort. Try to pick words that make you unique, as well. Overly-popular keywords are going to be saturated in the search engines, meaning that you will fall farther behind in their rankings, which puts you a few pages back in users’ search results. Therefore, you stand a better chance of drawing your audience in when using more catered keywords. (For advice with this, we recommend checking out this SEO Keyword Research Tool. You can use these keywords in a number of places to ensure that search engines pick up on them – including titles and body text on pages, URLs to your page and even image file names. Some of the most successfully optimized websites use thousands of different keywords, so don’t be shy with them! Additionally, make sure you are frequently posting new content on your website, and consider incorporating social media to your online marketing platform. This will show the search engines that your business is still active, and will improve your organic ranking.

However, just trying to trick search engines into finding your page is not enough. Go back to the perspective of the searcher – you’re looking for an answer to a question. You are searching for knowledge, so you want results that are relevant and captivating. Otherwise, you’re not likely to spend much time on that result – you’ll just move on to the next one. For this reason, you want to make sure your content is interesting to your audience, and offers value in some way. Information that feels inauthentic, and poised to draw people in without providing anything useful to them is unattractive to web users, and could lead them to form negative associations with your brand. Additionally, forcing keywords in that don’t match your brand may draw in the wrong type of audience. So be real, be interesting, and be informative. Make sure that the website and its content fit the keywords, rather than forcing a fit. Your website is an opportunity to connect with your prospective audience, so take advantage of it!

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