Understanding SEO – Your Small Business Can't Afford to Miss This!

I’ve asked SEO guru, Heather Florence of Cybercom Consulting to do a guest post for us on SEO Basics. I hope you find it useful. Please leave any SEO related questions in the comments below and I will see if she can answer them! 

seo basics by heather florenceIf you are a business owner, chances are you have a website. When prospective customers go looking, the first thing that they usually do is to go to a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing  and  type in words to help solve a problem. Having a website that is properly constructed so that your website shows up as one of the first, may be the  difference between a good and bad year for your business.

How do search engines work?

Search engines have programs that go out on the internet looking for websites and the information they contain. They read each page within a site and store notes about it’s content.  When a search is done, search engines use that information to create matches between what is searched and what the algorithm deems a qualified match.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization and it is used to help tell the search engines what your website is all about.  In addition to the content of your pages, specific items are added to the HTML code of your website that trigger the search engine algorithms for your targeted keywords.  If done correctly, the search engines will rank your site high on the list of results.

What are some SEO components?

The basis for good SEO is how well you discover the correct  keyword phrases  and how well you use them to craft your content.  Content is the biggest factor considered, so choosing the right words for that content determines how well you will rank.

In addition to content, there are backend items called meta-data that search engines can read. The primary meta-data are: keywords, descriptions, titles, and geo-tags.  Using your targeted keyword phrases in these meta-data will help your site rank well.

Other factors are how well your website is constructed & how fast it loads in your browser. Both of these can make the difference between being on page 1 and page 10.

These are just a few of the many considerations that are factored into how a search engine decides where best to place your website for any search.

Can I apply SEO to my website myself or should I hire someone?

If you understand how to make edits to your website, then applying keyword-based content is your first step.  Use your keyword phrases throughout your content, and try not to imply the message.  After your content is created, you may then add keyword phrases to your meta-data. (You may have to add plug-ins to see where to edit these pieces.)  If any of this is confusing, then it is best to seek the help of a professional.

After adding keyword phrases to your meta-data, give it time for the search engines to notice before you can tell if your changes are making a difference. The time to wait may be up to 21 days or longer.  Use your analytics to see how people are finding you and what phrases they use. If the reports show they find you in ways other than what you expect, it means you have to adjust any or all of the above.

For the best results, it is recommended to hire someone who understands how websites should be put together and how SEO plays a role in the construction of each page.

One warning, if that person guarantees you that they will get you on page one, most likely they are lying.  No one can control all aspects of websites and therefore cannot give that guarantee. 

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About Cybercom Consulting, Inc.

Since 1997, Cybercom has been creating websites, intranets and eCommerce websites for small and medium sized businesses. Originally being a computer consulting company, Cybercom moved into the web development business after seeing the need for small business needing help to reach their target audience. Cybercom has perfected the technique to provide quality, professional websites to small businesses at a fraction of the cost to other larger web development companies. We see the need for small businesses needing to get their message out in a lean and mean fashion.

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