What is SEO and why is it important for businesses?

Every business and business owner wants their website to show up on the first page of a Google search. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of controlling the visibility of a website or web page in a search engine’s results—often referred to as organic search results (this means unpaid). To get into the nitty gritty – when you conduct a Google search, you are provided with a list of results based on what you have typed into the Google search bar. The results are based on Google algorithms which consider various elements in generating which websites appear at the top of the list. There are several factors that contribute to the results in a Google search. Optimizing your website for search engines is very important and advantageous for businesses.

In today’s digital world, business is being done online more and more. Consumers are conducting their research online and are likely making purchasing decisions based on the research they find on the web. Search engines assist millions of consumers seeking answers, reasoning and solutions on a daily basis. SEO practices can aid in business growth.

When you conduct a Google search, you are likely clicking-through on the first page, if not the first 5 results. It is no secret that every business owner wants their business offerings to appear as high up in the search engine rankings as they can. Besides the fact that researchers are likely to click through on one of the top results, there is a level of value and credibility in appearing high up on a search result. That is why it is important to optimize your website so that you rank higher in the results. SEO contributes to your business brand and online visibility.

If you can show prospective clients that you continuously appear in search results, you are likely gaining a level of trust, confidence and authority. Let’s compare the modern day search landscape to the more traditional one – the Yellow Pages. If you were looking for an electrician, you likely started on page 1 and worked down through the results. Like the Yellow Pages, Google search results adds credibility to your business. SEO can therefore contribute to your standing among your competitors. Likely, there are hundreds of websites offering the same thing; however the website that has implemented SEO practices is likely to have more traffic resulting in more sales.

Website traffic may be slow and steady and may not result in instant business, but to put things into perspective, would you rather open up a swimwear store in a busy mall or in an underpopulated suburban area? You may not acquire instant sales at your store at Yorkdale Shopping Centre just because you exist in a busy mall, but eventually you are more likely to sell your merchandise in a high traffic mall than an inhabited area. Just like the highly populated mall is full with people ready to shop, the web is saturated with people looking for solutions and so it is important to make every effort to sell your services to your customers when they land on your website.

So what can you do to increase your website’s SEO?
• Use keywords in your titles, descriptions, content, headings, etc. These keywords should correlate to your business offerings and be utilized on your pages so that search engine crawlers will be able to get an understanding of what your site is all about.
• Make sure your titles, sub-titles and headings include key words and phrases that allow people to know what you do and what you are offering.
• Link building – external links back to your website can influence website results.
• Keep the content flowing – rich content is usually 400-500 words and is relevant, authoritative and fresh. The more valuable content you produce, the better it is for your website’s SEO.
• Social media platforms are becoming more and more important in search engine rankings. The popularity of the content you distribute as well as relevancy and authorship will drive traffic. Include social sharing icons on your website and get your content out there.

Click here to see our very own SocialEyes Communications’ SEO Tip Sheet.