I hear so many mis-conceptions and perceptions about search engine optimization, that I decided to put them down in a blog post to save everyone time and headaches.
Here is what every business owner needs to know about Search Engine Optimization – Hint: Also know as, SEO.
Myth #1 – SEO will get you ranked on the first page of Google.
Myth #2 – Search Engine Optimization uses key words to improve your ranking.
This one is a little confusing, but I will try to explain. Originally, in the 90’s is was “key words” that helped you. As the search engines improved and millions more websites were built, it became necessary to use “key phrases” instead.
Sure it would be nice to rank for the keyword “tires” if you sell tires, but in all reality, unless you are at Goodyear, that is probably not going to happen. If you own a local tire store, you are going to have to focus on 3-5 word key phrases.
Key phases are also know as “long-tail keywords.” It has been hard to eliminate the word “keywords” from our Internet culture, so some people added the long-tail to more accurate describe what we are doing in SEO these days.
When you think about what you would like to be ranked for, finding a few good key phrases is very important. Most people just take the single keyword and add their location for local searches, for example, “tires kansas city.”
That may work depending on the amount of competition in your local marketing, but it usually helps to focus a little narrower. Something like “buy new tires kansas city” or “tire store in kansas city” or “tires on sale kansas city” will typically do much better.
My advice is to get hyper focused on your products. If you focus your efforts on “Goodyear 18 inch all purpose radials kansas city,” you should find it very easy to rank on the first page. There is also an added benefit. It cuts out all the people who are just looking around, and it only sends you people who are ready to buy!
Some people get frustrated and tell me that no one is searching for “Goodyear 18 inch all purpose radials kansas city” and there are thousands of people searching for “tires” or “tires kansas city.” While that may be true, I need you to think about how you search for things for a moment. Most people will do 2-3 searches before they actually find what they need and they get longer and more targeted each time, plus searches for generic keywords comes with a lot of researchers, image searchers, and unqualified buyers.
It is OK to miss out on someone searching for a picture of a tire. It is not OK to miss out on someone looking to buy “Goodyear 18 inch all purpose radials in kansas city” today.
Myth #3 – Google is a search engine.
Sure, Google calls itself a search engine and most people go to Google to search for stuff, but that is not what is important to Google. They take this stuff very seriously!
Google is a “referral” engine.
This is the easiest way I know to explain what Google does to a business owner. Google is in the business of referring people to the best place to get what they are looking for. Search engine implies some kind of impartial list of results, and that the search is in charge. When in fact, Google has said point blank, they do not treat all websites and searches the same, and they want to protect the user experience by getting them to answers as soon as possible.
I have good news and bad news. The bad news is Google doesn’t care about you or your website at all. They are in the business of referring people to the best sites as quickly as possible, wherever that may be. The good news is they don’t care about your competitor either, so let’s talk about what that means for you.
If you want to get qualified referrals from Google, there are things you can do to make yourself more credible to them. That is really what they want to know from any website they are trying to rank. Can they trust you?
Here are some things they look at:
- How long have you been around?
- How many other sites link to yours? (Other referrals)
- How trustworthy are the sites you link to and that link to you?
- How professional is your website?
- How quickly does it load?
- Do you differentiate each page to help them tell which page is best for each search?
- How far out did you buy your domain name, or do you think you might be gone next year?
- Do you have social media accounts and other online profiles?
- How many pages are in your site?
- How educational is your content?
- How do you label pictures and how many do you have?
- How many positive reviews do you have?
- Where is your physical location?
- How many comments and subscribers do you have?
Conclusion – Take the time to build a strong online reputation, and forget about magic keywords.
Search engine optimization has the highest return on investment of any type of marketing activity!
If you need help understanding anything on this post, please comment or email me and we can talk it out. I love helping business owners figure out how to do it right, since so many seem to be doing it wrong.