So...you have a website. Now what??
Updated: Sep 21, 2020
So...you've just launched your website and now you're wondering, "What do I do now??" Well, if you are expecting hundreds of hits in the next week, let me be the first to bring you down to reality...it ain't gonna happen. Sorry. But, hey, it if was that easy, you probably wouldn't be interested anyway, right? So let's get down to the preverbal nuts and bolts of SEO for small business.
Ok, this is gonna take awhile. Grab a cup of your favorite drink (preferably non-alcoholic...you have to stay with me) and let's dive in together!
First, let's cover some basics. What the heck is SEO and why should I care? Well, SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization, and you should care - very much. SEO is what drives your presence on the web. It is defined as the process of making changes to the design, content, and link structure to improve a website's ranking, and therefore visibility, in search engine's unpaid results. When a Google (or any search engine) user is conducting a search for your products or services, SEO is a big determinate in whether they find your website or the other guy's. So...yeh. It's pretty important.
Every second, 40,000 people search for something on Google. That’s 3.5 billion searches every single day! You want your site to show up on some of those searches. That means SEO must be an integral part of your marketing plan. And it's not for the faint of heart. Competition on Google and other search engines is tough, but if you want your market to find your website, investing some time on your website's SEO is a must.
The goal of SEO is to help search engines understand what your website is about so they can recommend it to Internet users who will find it useful. Think of Google as a matchmaking service. Based only on a few keywords, search engines try to understand a searcher’s intent and display the websites that will best solve their problem, answer their question, or offer what they are looking for.
As a website owner, you need to help Google know when to display your site in the results of someone’s search. Through SEO, you can help search engines know what you offer and why you are a reputable resource offering information that visitors will value. Creating well-written content and adding relevant links to your site will help Google associate your website with the search terms people use to find websites like yours. If you do it right, Google will be able to match your site with your customers. In short - they’ll help your customers find you! Google doesn't care whether you are a huge corporation or a small soloprenueur. If you are offering what the user is looking for, Google wants you two to connect.
You might think your website is a needle in a haystack, but if you invest time consistently producing relevant and authoritative content, you can help search engines understand what your website is about and prove that your site is a quality one. In time, Google will start displaying your site higher up on relevant Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) — and this has enormous power! But, so that you are not disillusioned, know that rising up in the ranks, so to speak, requires a lot of time and patience, and getting your site to show up in search results is much more difficult when you have a new, unknown site. Additionally, once your site shows up in SERPs, it still requires a continual effort to maintain and move higher in the ranks. There is a joke in the digital marketing world that the best place to hide a dead body is the 2nd page of Google search results. Funny, but unfortunately true. Only about 5.6% of clicks reach beyond the first page of SERPs.
The takeaway here is realizing that although SEO is neither simple, nor easy, the return on your investment of time, patience, and money is well worth it!
Next time, we'll discuss more about SEO, best practices, and setting expectations. Until then, you got this!