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Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search enginge optimization, local search, online listings, online directories... what are they and what do they call mean?

Search enginge optimization (SEO) as we know it today is the method of increasing the quantity AND the quality of your website visitors through organic (or unpaid) search results.

Now, if that definition still has you scratching your head, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Search engine optimization (SEO), like all things digital, has grown and developed immensely since it’s “official” launch (sometime around 1997). There are a ton of buzz words, techniques, strategies, guides, and recommendations out there all geared toward the same thing: when someone is looking on the Internet for what you do, your name is the first to come up in the search results.

Today, it seems as though all SEO strategies revolve around Google – afterall, it is the #1 search engine in the world – and how to be on the first page (a whopping 71% of Internet searchers do not clicking to the second page of results).

How do you optimize for search engines?

There are a lot of different tactics and while many individuals or agencies commonly specialize in one of these methods, all of the pieces work together to a full circle SEO strategy. To help break it down into digestible portions, I’ve listed SEO categories down below with an explanation of how each one works.

Technical SEO deals with the “tech” side of things that impact your search engine ranking. Some examples, and arguably the most important, in this category involve:

  • Optimizing the robots.txt file of your website to make sure search engines can access and read your website.
  • Add and verify your website with Google Search Console.
  • Find and fix any website crawl errors.
  • Optimize your website’s URL structure (and overall site navigation).
  • Incorporate SEO friendly design elements to your website.
  • Increase the speed your website loads for both desktop and mobile versions.

On-Page SEO addresses the literal pages of your website and methods to make each page easier for search engines while also maintaining ease for website visitors to navigate and read. These are practices you can do yourself or have your web designer (aka me) alter as these are all controlled via your website’s coding and administrative permissions. Keep in mind:

  • Your page titles and H1 Tag.
  • Your subheadings and using them strategically.
  • Your images – including the filename, file size, and ALT text.
  • Page formatting.

Mobile SEO ensures your website is mobile-friendly. With over 60% of Google searches made on cell phones and tablets, it’s more important than ever to be sure the mobile experience for website visitors is premium. This means:

  • Your website loads FAST on mobile devices.
  • Your website is easy to use, navigate, and has solid information when the mobile version is used.

eCommerce SEO is all about making an online store or shop as easy to use as possible, leading to a simple way for people to buy from you. Strategy in this category means:

  • Optimizing your homepage, category pages, AND each product page.
  • Optimizing EVERY visual element of the store.
  • Including necessary schemas.
  • Promotion on social media platforms.

Content SEO is probably the most commonly known and the most used for do-it-yourselfers when it comes to a search engine ranking strategy. The confusion comes to play where people are misguided in believing it is the quantity of content versus the quality that is important and jamming your website’s pages with keywords instead of having an informative and natural conversation are ways to get your pages seen at the top of search results.

  • Incorporate keywords, but in an organic matter. Awkward titles can confuse readers and will actually ding you as search engines continue to evolve.
  • Include long-tail keywords (aka phrases) and use them in your titles, headings, and within your content.
  • Linking out to other high-quality websites – but only if they make sense and if they will help users learn more about a topic.
  • Copy length is important! Experts vary on the number, but strive for 800-1200 words per page. As a result, the longer content provides search engines with the ability to understand the context of your content.

Local SEO is built on what are called Citations – a listing of your name, address, and phone number on popular websites like Yelp, Yahoo! SuperPages, and Merchant Circle. These Citations increase the relevance and validity of your business within a specific city, state, or region for search engines like Google and Bing. With over 1600+ online directories, it can take a lot of time and energy to ensure the most accurate information is listed – accuracy = more trust = higher ranking. If you’re interested in having this service managed for you or need to get started, you can contact me to set up a time!

Off-Page SEO promotes your website! Some easy ways to do this are:

  • Link building – getting other reputable websites to link to your site.
  • Using social media platforms, email marketing, and other methods to get people to visit your website or specific web pages. 
Typing on a laptop.

For information on SEO services, pricing information, or a personalized proposal, schedule a free consultation!

Check out my blog for articles on all things digital and marketing!

Ashley R. Smith - Fluent in Social Media and Owner of Social Jargn, a social media marketing company managing your social media so you can manage your business.

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1601 Mt. Rushmore Rd. Ste. 3
Rapid City, SD 57701

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