Search Engine Optimization Basics Explained
When a customer searches online for what your business provides, does your website show up as a result? Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of getting your website to rank highly on search engines when people search for your keywords. There is a lot of terminology and lingo surrounding SEO which often confuses people, but hopefully this post can clarify things for any business with a website. Although SEO can get quite complex, the basic principles are quite simple. If you follow the basic principles you be successful. It all comes down to getting credit for your content. Content gets created which links back to your website and search engines give you credit for it. Credit and content, that’s it. We don’t need all of the terminology if we simply consider SEO for any website or business in terms of both content and credit. How much content is there online about your businesses products and services? Do the search engines know that content is yours? Let’s discuss a dentist in West Palm Beach Florida.
Create Content on Your Website
Each unique page on your site is one piece of content.
- How many different service areas do you cover? Do you have a page, post or article on each one?
- Do you have testimonials?
- Think about everything your business does. Do you have a page for that?
- If your customers wanted to know something obscure or specific about your offer can they read about it on your website?
- If your website has 100 pages about being a dentist in Palm Beach, the more likely it is to see those pages come up as a search result for “dentist Palm Beach.”
- What you need to do: Write. Write about what you know. You have business for a while, you know a lot of things, your customers ask questions and you have the answers. Write all those things down in an organized way and publish it on your website. The goal is to create as much content as possible and consistently add it to your website.
Interact on Social Media
Every mention on social media which links to your website is a piece of content.
- Does your business have social media accounts on every major platform?
- Do your customers talk about your business on social media?
- If a customer is on your website, reads a great post and thinks it would be a valuable page to share with a friend on twitter, do you make it easy for them?
- If you wrote a post about being a dentist in Palm Beach and 100 people liked, shared, tweeted the more likely that post will rank for “dentist Palm Beach.”
- What you need to do: Create awesome content and make it easy for people to share it on social media. Post your links to your own social media and make it valuable for people to share your content with others. The goal is to get as many people sharing links to your website as possible.
Submit Articles Around Your Products or Services
Every article online which links to your website is a piece of content.
- Does your business have articles in all of the article submission directories?
- Have you ever noticed that some random article (written by some random person) on about.com or Wikipedia.com ranks highly for your business’s products or services?
- If you write 100 articles about being a dentist in Palm Beach and submit one article to 100 different directories then it will be more likely that one of those articles will rank highly for “dentist Palm Beach.”
- What you need to do: Write an article each week and submit it to every article directory. Include a few links back to your website in the article in case people want to know more information about that topic or about you. The goal is to publish as many articles as possible in as many directories as possible with each article linking back to your website.
Register with Business Directories
Every directory which links to your website is a piece of content.
- Does your business have a listing on the major directory platforms like Google, Yelp, Yellow Pages, City Search etc.?
- Have you ever noticed that when searching for your product or services a business directory like Google maps or yelp comes up on the first page every time?
- If you are in 100 different directories for businesses in Houston Texas in the pest removal category then it is more likely that your business will rank high on the first page for “dentist Palm Beach.”
- What you need to do: Join every free business directory you can. Make sure that you fill out every profile to 100% completion status. Link back to your website. The goal is to be in every directory, with consistent information and a link back to your website.
Participate in Industry Specific Forums
Every forum discussion which mentions a link to your website is a piece of content.
- Do you know all of the major online forums for your industry?
- Are there customers asking questions and talking to each other on forums about your products and services?
- Does your business participate in these discussions in forums relevant to your industry?
- If you are a contributor in 100 different forum discussions surrounding being a dentist in Palm Beach it is more likely that some of those discussions will rank highly for “dentist Palm Beach”
- What you need to do: join every relevant forum which has a discussion about what your business does. Complete your profile to 100% and make sure to include a link back to your website. Answer people’s questions and ask questions of your own. Be active.
- The goal is to be active in every relevant forum discussion. These discussions will carry a link back to your website a contributor in that discussion.
Comment on Industry Specific Blogs
Every comment online which mentions a link to your website is a piece of content.
- Do you know all of the influential blogs in your industry and do you read their posts?
- Do any of your peers or customers comment or ask questions on these posts and start discussions?
- Does your business participate in these discussions?
- If you (or your customers) are leaving 100s of comments in discussions which mention being a dentist in Palm Beach and link to your website it is likely that some of these discussions will rank highly for “dentist Palm Beach.”
- What you need to do: Leave comments on all the major blogs which are relevant to your discussions. Be valuable. Be remarkable. Say something awesome. When appropriate, leave a link back to your website.
- The goal is to leave authentic helpful comments on relevant blogs while leaving a link back to your website.
Get Credit for Your Content
Now that you have tons of content, your website needs to get credit for that content.
- To get credit for every piece of content on your site create a sitemap (which is basically a list of every page) and submit it to Google, Bing and yahoo so they know it exists. Google, Bing and yahoo build a vast index of every page on the internet and you need to make sure they include your pages on that index. Each search engine has what is called a webmasters account where you can submit these sitemaps and get your pages indexed.
- To get credit for the social interactions, articles, forums, comments you just need the search engines to discover them and add give you credit the links back to your website. Once the search engines know they exist they add them to their index.
- Each piece of content which links to your website which is indexed by Google, Bing and Yahoo will help your website rank highly. The search engines give assign credit for the links they discover and they transfer that credit which to the website which is linked in the content (your website).
- Not all links are weighted equally. Not all credit is weighted equally. A link from a highly relevant and highly reputable website is worth more than from a small local blogger. I link to your website from content in the New York Times is more valuable than a link in content from your cousin’s site.
- What you need to do: Make sure to register your site with Google, Bing and Yahoo via a webmasters account. Regularly update and submit sitemaps to these search engines so they always know about your content. Tweet articles or discussions which link to your website so that the search engines come and find these discussions faster.
- The goal is make sure the search engines know about every link back to your website so that your website gets credit for it.
The goal is obviously to have your website come up when people search for your keywords. The more content your website has indexed in the search engines the more credit you have with the search engines and the more likely your website content will show up as a search result for your keywords. If the content is not found on your website (articles, directories, social media, forums), but there is a link to your website in that content then your website will get some credit for that content and it’s keywords. The more credit your website has for your keywords the higher your website will rank for those keywords. Create content. Get links. That’s it. The internet works like a giant popularity contest. The sites voted most popular rank first, second, third and so on. Websites vote by linking to other websites. How many sites link to (vote) yours? Search “dentist Palm Beach” and what comes up? One of the top rankings is mydowntowndentalcare.com which is a Socialated.com client. I just dropped a link to one to our clients. This post is (sort of) about a dentist in Palm Beach right? This post (content) will be indexed by the search engines (credit) and mydowntowndentalcare.com (and socialated.com for creating this post) will get a little more credit. A little more credit and ranking goes up a little more. Do you want a link to your website? Leave a comment below and drop your link. It’s good for SEO.