What is SEO?

seo informationBlame it on the masterminds of search engines, Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Before Google, there was Yahoo. Google’s prominence was unstoppable though. Eventually, it surpassed Yahoo as the most widely used search engine there is. True enough, whenever you are searching for anything today, you go first to Google. It has come automatic for web users.

Then came websites. Eventually, creators realized they need visitors so they can maximize the purposes they built their sites for. They need to draw people to their page so they can offer their services or products. They need to be known by the public. Unfortunately, as time passed by, more and more websites are being built. The competition to stay ahead of search engine results became tougher. Website owners in turn became more eager to find ways how they can sustain their visibility online, despite the stiff competition.

Just how stiff the competition is?

Key in “laptop sleeve” on the search box. Google shall give you over 14 million results. Now the task is all on you to check out these sites and determine which one gives you the exact information you’re looking for. Let’s say you are selling laptop sleeves as business. Imagine the number of competitors you will have to beat. That isn’t a simple goal.

That’s where search engine optimization comes in.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the natural or organic way of promoting a website’s visibility in search engine results. How do you know which ones are organic?

When you look up anything in search engines, on top of the list you will see sites that are highlighted in yellow. These are ads. Scrolling down, you will see sites that are not highlighted. These are the organic search results.

Google deems these websites as the most useful, credible and relative. As a website owner, your objective then is to be acknowledged by Google as trustworthy. But we know trust. It is hard-earned. The websites that appear at the top, under the paid advertisements, get the majority of the clicks. It’s estimated that the #1 position can get 45-65% of the website traffic.

So why would you bother to work hard to reach at least the first page of search results?

search engine optimization explainedRanking high, what’s in it for you? Let us just say that each visitor you earn represent a potential source of income. And businesses are highly dependent of consumers for survival. Meaning, you cannot care less about marketing or promotion. You need to do everything to reach out to your target audience and let them know that you actually exist.

If your website is on the 100th page of the search results, it is least likely that people shall notice it. Internet users, like anyone else, are busy individuals. They do not have all the time in the world to scan up to the very end of the results. Majority of website traffic is brought by search engines, Google being the most popular. So you might say that there are other ways how you can drive traffic to your site. You can promote using social networking sites, for instance. That is true.

However, it cannot be denied that search engines are still the primary resource used by netizens. This is where people go to first to look for anything they need. In addition, search engines are different from other avenues in many ways. First, results are organized according to a person’s needs. Traffic is targeted. So if search engines cannot locate your website, you already miss out on tons of opportunities.

Search queries or those words that you enter in the search box are of immense value. These words that can generate traffic to your site can be converted to returns, anytime. Investing efforts in search engine optimization is hence worth it.

So there is really no other way to do it but be on top. Another factor to consider, which is outside the scope of this article, is website conversion. Read more about ways to improve your website and focus on customer conversion once you have great search engine rankings.

Two types of SEO

SEO can be divided into to two types.

First is the on page SEO. This refers to everything you do on your website to promote it. You create compelling content for instance. You post informative blogs. You make sure that you regularly update your site.

Second is the off page SEO. This is where your effort to reach out to other sites to help your page maintain visibility comes in. It is either you communicate to other website owners so you can be allowed to post blogs or articles on their page. Or post comments and forge connections. This process is known as link building.

Is it possible for your site to maintain visibility even without SEO?

Search engines are wise. They have the ability to get to know websites, even the newest ones. They are innovative. It is not disclosed in public but it is known that search engines devise parameters to follow when ranking sites. On this part, your site needs the help of SEO. It is giving crawlers a hand so they may notice your site immediately.

Take that, it is not humans that scan through websites. They are robots more known as crawlers.

You need to be extra careful though in incorporating search engine optimization in your promotional strategies. Few wrong moves may bury your site deep into the search results, instead of pushing it on top.

Can you do SEO on your own?

html code snippetSearch engine optimization involves several areas. Like other skills, it takes a while mastering.

You can learn the basics probably by conducting research on your own. After all, it is free. There are thousands of downloadable tutorials online. And articles like this you’re reading right now that helps you understand what SEO is all about.

Depending on your needs, think carefully whether you need Pennsylvania SEO specialists: www.PennsylvaniaSEO.org to back you up. There are several SEO firms and they can help you lay out the right marketing strategies for your business. Exhaust all your possible options first though.

At least educate yourself on the core concepts of SEO so you have an idea on services that may work for you.

How SEO Can Help Your Business

Couple doing an internet searchCongratulations, you have built your new business website. You have spent time, money, and effort on making it look great. It looks amazing but if you do not get your website in front of the targeted audience and potential clients, your website is just like a wallflower in the virtual space.

The website has to be visible on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Nowadays, everybody “Googles everything”. So many people search for the things they want to know or find popular or nearby stores using online search engines. So, when people enter relevant keywords and phrases, they must find you at the top of the search results for your website to be effective. Getting your website to appear at the top of search engines for these key phrases is known as search engine optimization.

What Does it Mean to Have your Website to the Top of Search Engines?

It is important to be on top or at least rank to the top 3 spots on the first page of the search engine. Websites appearing high in the search engines frequently receive more clicks from the people. At the same time, potential customers will believe that your company or business is the best.

Let’s say your business belongs to the real estate industry. If a potential customer is interested in buying property or selling property, he or she will type “real estate” and will get million or even billion results. But will he go all over the search results? Of course not! What matters to him is the first page. Hence, if your website appears on the first page, the higher chances of getting a customer visit your website. But if your site does not pop up on the first page of the search engine, then that could be a big problem.

This is how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help your business. SEO can generate brand awareness and boost your credibility. It places your website in front of potential customers and targeted clients. It attracts online purchasers to your website through relevant keywords and phrases. It is about being where your target audience are and presenting the products and services you are ready to offer them.

What is the Main Goal of Using SEO?

The main goal of using SEO is to generate awareness. An increased brand awareness will drive more traffic and with more traffic, more and more people will know about your product and services and this can translate into more sales and more profits.

An increased online presence is evident if your website tops Google, Yahoo, and Bing search results.The higher your site ranks in any of these search engines, the more traffic you get and the more chances of placing on top of your competitors. Recent statistics reveal that Google sends 90.62% of traffic; Yahoo!, 3.78% of traffic; and Bing, 3.72% of traffic.

How is SEO Done?

SEO can be done on the website itself which is popularly known as On-Page SEO or outside your website or Off-Page SEO.

On-Page SEO is the process of optimizing the pages of your website. This includes making all your web pages indexed by search engines, creating unique content on every web page, arranging meta-tags correctly, having web page URLs SEO friendly, ensuring links within your website are complete, using anchor text links within your content and more.

On the other hand, Off-Page SEO is done outside your site or any elsewhere online. Off-Page SEO is better known as Link Building. Link building, as its name indicates, means building links back to your website or web pages from other websites or blogs. This is what search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing are interested in.

What search engines do is they crawl the Internet to find the amount of links pointing back to your website and index them. Afterwards, they decide on how to position your site. Let’s say you have 100-200 links back to your real estate website from 100 -200 other websites or blogs in the real estate niche. When Google or other search engines visit these websites, it detects that these websites are linking back to your site and this can mean there must be useful content on your site. As a result, your website may end up on top of search results.

html with sample article postHow to do Off-Page SEO?

Whether you are in the real estate or other industries, you can build links with different Off-Page SEO strategies. Link building strategies can be basic, submission-based, content-based, link attraction, or simply helping webmasters.

Basic link building strategies include creating a blog, an RSS feed, or profile links. Meanwhile, submission-based strategies refer to building links through submissions, whether you are submitting your site or a piece of unique content to article directories, web 2.0 submission, press release submission, infographics submissions, company directory submissions, video submissions, niche specific directories, user rating reviews, blog directories, and the like.

Using your content can get links especially if your content is good and interesting enough. You can do guest posting, trade articles, educational or green content, writing testimonials, or contributing to crowdsourced posts.

In terms of link attraction, you let your content attract links naturally and this is possible through appealing to the egos of people and companies or also known as egobait. You can also create How to’s and tutorials. DIY projects or any type of tutorial showing people how to do a certain thing can really attract people’s interest.

Helping webmasters can also be an effective link building strategy. Help out webmaster, reach out to them, and in exchange, they might give you a link. You can help them by notifying them of wrong grammar or spelling, filling gaps in content, or looking for broken links on a particular page and inform the webmaster. The latter is a good chance to ask the webmaster if the broken link could be replaced with a link to your website.

Doing any or most of these strategies can make your website SEO compliant. Once you do, your website is guaranteed to be more accessible, relevant, and visible to your potential customers and clients. And this can definitely mean one thing- success for your business!

Top Myths of Search Engine Optimization

pennsylvania seo helping businessesIs Search Engine Optimization all about producing keyword-stuffed content? Read through the rest of this article as we talk about the top SEO myths that need to be debunked, ASAP! Also, you can read more on SEO Tips and Strategies to get additional SEO ideas.

MYTH #1 – Ranking high on search engines should be your only and ultimate goal.

Ranking first in search engines used to be the number one objective of site owners and SEOs. Many believe that landing on the first page of search results is more than enough strategy to attracting target audience. While we cannot discard the fact that it can help you gain site visitors, on the other hand, we also can no longer say that it is the only factor that counts in claiming site success.

Users are also becoming more scrupulous with data that they gather. Even when your site ranks high in search engines, that is not a guarantee that readers shall stay. They are highly likely to drop by, but once they see no help from your page then they also would not think twice of moving to other pages. Even if it takes them scrolling to the next page of the Google search results.

MYTH #2 – Keyword density is crucial.

Stuffing keywords in your content even when it already sounds artificial is okay as long as you get to place them there. It is as well important to use the exact same keyword throughout. This used to be a rule of thumb. But the game has changed now. Optimization gone overboard kills content value.

Even when your post is unique and insightful, it will put off readers if keywords are obviously forced. Your keyword should still be present but it does not have to be repeated many times. Once is enough on the content body. Place one as well on the title and the content body. It should sound organic too. Quality should be ensured too. The title should be at its most compelling form, and of course, relevant to the content.

MYTH #3 – Submitting to search engines shall do the trick.

Way back, this was the case. But not anymore. Submit your site to search engines or not, web bots, spiders and crawlers shall find out about it eventually. It might take days though before they do as there are million sites out there that they analyze. But point is, there is more that you should be busy with than submitting to search engines.

MYTH #4 – Linking your site to big ones pushes your rankings up.

This SEO myth suggests that authority can be rubbed off. You create a post for instance then link to high authority sites believing it will consequently pull your ranking up. However, the algorithm does not work that way. How your site will fare with the others depends on its usefulness. And usefulness is not defined by the number of times you mentioned high authority sites on your page. It is how people respond to your page that matters.

internet search screenMeaning, your site has more chances of improving visibility if you let link building go the natural way. Let others build links for you. Let them promote your page because they appreciate the fresh, informative content you are sharing. Allow your followers spread the word about how helpful your site is.

With that being said, it is still helpful to have outbound links, when relevant.

MYTH #5 – PageRank is the only measure of site usefulness.

Before, SEO professionals were dependent on PageRank in determining how useful their site is to others. Turns out, there are more factors that influence search engine rankings. And you can never be too complacent seeing your site has high PageRank. There is no statement from Google about the specifics that influence site ranking, but it is pretty obvious that PageRank is not everything that matters.

Focus your attention instead to delivering quality content so you can attract more followers. Your site shall remain visible with several loyal readers backing you up, recommending each of your posts on their pages.

MYTH #6 – SEO can be mastered by anyone.

Self-study is sufficient so you can be your own SEO expert. There’s no problem learning the ropes by yourself but understand that SEO is never mastered in an instant. It takes years. It takes you reaching out to experts so you can exchange insights and consequently increase your knowledge. It requires broad understanding on various areas – online marketing, public relations, content writing to the technical ones such as coding.

This is the reason why there are several SEO agencies offering services to businesses or private individuals. And you should be cautious in choosing who to work with. Pick a company that can demonstrate #1 rankings AND sites that convert that traffic into business. Pennsylvania SEO has this proven track record!

MYTH #7 – Social media and SEO are not in any way related.

Social media and Search Engine Optimization may be two different titans but they, in several ways, are related to each other. If your site has several followers, chances are it is as well popular in social networking sites. People talk about it. They voluntarily share the treasure they find in your site to their followers. They recommend your site. And eventually search engines shall find out about this.

Maximize use of social media in promoting your site. It is essential that you devise a strategy. Google gives rewards to deserving sites. So work hard in giving your target audience irresistible information, that which inspires action, and loyalty to your site.

MYTH #8 – Links overpower content.

Quality over quantity. This is what you should remember when building links for your site. It doesn’t matter how many links you place on your content, or how many times you have submitted your site in search engines. Let people know that you are human. Forge connections with your target audience. Share beneficial information. Find out what makes them tick.

In the end, readers shall choose that which they find helpful and trustworthy. So build links for them, not for search engines.

Understanding how to use SEO effectively to build your business is one crucial factor when it comes to promoting and marketing your company. Take these suggestions and other SEO tips to begin or fine-tune your internet marketing game plan. Of course, you can always turn to professional SEO experts and outsource the work to them so you can focus on what you do best… your business!

Ten Ways to Improve Your Business Website

website conversion funnelVirtually every day, people who go online or browse the Internet are searching for useful websites that could provide their needs and address their specific concerns. For many online users, they visit a website to look for information and have transactions such as buying a certain product or service. However, online users are very picky when choosing a business website. If they do not like your website, they immediately press the back button and look for a better site. This only means that your website has to really be very impressive because if it is not, online users will leave your website in 10 seconds and when that happens, all of your search engine optimization efforts are wasted. So, what can you do about this?

Make improvements. To improve is to change. Here is a list of ten great ways to improving your business website.

1. Increase Website Conversion Rate. It is important to get traffic or hits for your website. Generating traffic to your website means bringing your targeted audience to your site, many times with SEO strategies . However, traffic does not 100% guarantee that your website visitors are converted into customers or leads. This is why website conversion is also an important factor.

Improve your business website by improving your web conversion rate. The latter simply means the percentage of visitors to your site who take an action you want them to do like purchasing a product, obtaining a service, leaving a comment, or subscribing to a newsletter. Remember that your goal is not just to drive traffic to your site but also to sell and produce sales. If this is not happening, you need to make necessary changes.

There are different website elements that affect your website conversion rate. These include the content, value proposition, call to action, site layout, web design, image placement, color scheme, font types and sizes, and much more. Pay attention to these elements and make sure that they are appealing, interesting, and impressive. Ensure that all these elements are effectively done to support your business goals.

2. Engage Your Customers. Customers are eager to learn more about your business and the products or services you are offering. They want to find the answers on your website. But more than just providing answers to their questions, it would be better to interact with them.

Never forget the essence of engaging your customers. Interact and connect with them. With the popularity and increased usage of social networking sites, it is recommended to ask your customers to like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter and Instagram, and connect with you on LinkedIn and other sites. Put on your website the links to your social networking accounts. Make sure they are live and correct.

You can also engage your customers and let them explore your website by giving away a free white paper or special report, inviting them to subscribe to your blog and updates, and providing contact details.

3. Capture Leads. Make your website lead capturing. Provide what your target customers want. On your website, create a lead-capture form which asks for contact details such as name and email address and give your site visitors a free eBook, report, consultation/quotes, and downloadable kit.

Always bear in mind that traffic is not enough, you should also be able to capture leads. Aside from free resources, it is also possible to capture leads through blogging. Blog regularly and you will notice that the number of leads will increase.

4. Offer Something of Value in Exchange For an Email Address. Customer care about relationships with sellers and this kind of relationship has to be a give-and-take. As soon as one of your site visitors or customers provide their contact information, it is necessary to give something of value in exchange and this has to be free.

Be reminded that customers are protective of their privacy and they do not want their email addresses to be publicly known and get spammed, thus the creation of the can-spam act. If they have trusted you their contact information, make it worthwhile. Offer them a free digital download such as a brochure, an MP3, report, or any other useful material.

web design and seo5. Be Unique. Set your business website apart from others. There are thousands or even millions of websites that sell the product and services similar to you. Making your site stand out can create a huge difference as your uniqueness can leave a special mark on your customers.

Stand for something distinct and specific and eventually, it becomes what your business website is known for. If you do this, building an audience and getting potential and new customers will be easier.

6. Keep Your Website Simple. From your website’s navigation, sitemap, design, formatting, to layout, make it simple. Potential customers want to find what they are looking for in an instant. If your website is disorganized or your navigation is too complicated, customers would not bother to continue reading the rest of what your website can offer.

A simple website is friendly-user. So, try to assess, “How user friendly is your website?” Does your business website has an effective navigation? Are the words used in your content clear and understable? Does your website load fast?

The simplicity and friendliness of your website can affect visitor retention and overall website conversion rate. Do not get things complicated for you and your customers, keep your website simple.

7. Keep Your Website Fresh. When was the last time you have updated your website’s content? Last week? Last month? Or last year?

Customers and online users prefer sites that regularly and consistently update their content. In return, they visit these sites frequently. Also, it is not only the customers who want fresh content; search engines such as Google like the same. Google loves new content and in exchange, higher rankings are given to sites which perform this practice. Hence, give what your customers and search engines want.

8. Check and Fix. There is no perfect website. A site gets older and it becomes more prone to errors and problems. Spend time to make sure your images are still accurate, your font styles and colors are the right ones, and everything on your website is in order.

If you do not fix problems on your website, even just the minor ones, it may appear that your website lacks professionalism.

9. Use Visuals Appropriately. A picture is worth a thousand words. A website without no visuals is boring. Use visuals such as photos, graphs, and charts, and make your website more appealing and interesting to online users and customers. In addition, these visuals enhance readability and memory retention.

Be sure to use meaningful visuals only and those which are related to your business or website content.

10. Go Mobile. Aside from creating your website user-friendly, it is also important and practical to make it mobile-friendly. Mobile phone usage has increased and if your website has a mobile version, your customers can easily access it, wherever they are.

Your business website serves as your bridge to customers and potential clients. Make your bridge strong.