What Is Search Engine Optimization Or SEO?

search engine optimization SEO

Think of A High SERP Placement as Prime Real-Estate.

Outrank The Competition

  • Cutting-edge SEO strategies and best practices
    • We take the time to stay on top of our industry. Every year we invest much time and money to ensure our clients are getting the best service impossible. For us, it is a point of pride that we stay current with every new development in our industry even as it is constantly changing. By having over a decade of experience in the field combined, it proves that we are able to adapt, learn and dominate our industry.
  • Boost websites online presence
  • White hat
    • By using exclusively white hat SEO practices, we guarantee that our clients will not be penalized by Google algorithm updates old, new and yet unforeseen. Others out to get a quick buck don’t secure their clients future and take risks that will leave those clients hurting long after they are gone. We care about our clients, foster relationships and would never doing anything that puts their web health in serious jeopardy.
  • Rank for money-making keywords
    • Simply ranking for a keyword is not enough. You have to rank for the right keywords that will bring the right clients through your doors. Part of that is doing quality research into what keywords will yield the best results for your website.

SEO: What is it?

Search Engine Optimization is all about marketing your business online to drive more traffic to your website generating more leads and making your business thrive. We do this through a combination of onsite coding and offsite strategies. Through over a decade of tracking data daily, testing and studying changes in the industry, we know what it takes to be ranked highly by the algorithms of Google, Yahoo and Bing.

What do SEO specialists do?

First we gather all of the content we need to build a professional website. Organization is key and we depend on our clients to complete this step. You know your business better than anyone else so we need your help to show why your business is great. We collect the images, graphics, videos and written content that will be the meat of the website.

Once we’ve gathered our materials, we begin the process of optimizing the content. We do meticulous research to learn what keywords are most valuable for your business and industry. Keywords that are relevant to the business and potential customers are placed on the page in prominent positions, taking great care not to run afoul of Google’s guidelines. Keywords are interspersed throughout the website in the page titles, page url extension, main content, image alt tags and title text, link titles, meta descriptions, and various other components of the website. Once we are satisfied with the design, a mobile compatible version of the site is created. We finish on-page optimization by linking the site to Google Webmaster and Google Analytics accounts and uploading working sitemaps making it easier for Google to index all of our pages.

The next phase is what really distinguishes our work from others, our off-site optimization strategies. Once we have a working, properly optimized site we introduce it to the internet. We gather valuable citations from multiple directory listings. We make sure that the business’ Google My Business page is set up correctly with accurate name, address phone number and website. Next we engage in link building, all the while staying cognizant of Google’s guidelines so that our websites are not punished for nefarious link building strategies like others have in the past. Another way we get the site recognized is by social media. We integrate our client’s social media accounts into the website. We can also show you effective strategies for using social media.

By combining effective onsite and offsite optimization we create a comprehensive strategy that provides the best results for getting a website ranked.

COMMON SEO MYTHS

SEO Is a Scam

Like the jilted lover, many who have been burned by SEO lash out against those that say you can purposefully and strategically design a website and its content to rank well in search engines. They may have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous agencies or may have become incredibly frustrated by a total lack of success for all their hard work. Regardless of how they came to believe that SEO is nothing but a scam, they’re still wrong. Telling clients a website can be optimized in a way that will not only allow search engines to better digest and understand a website but will also provide the user with a better experience is not a scam or a lie. Not just anyone can go to a free website generating site and create a well-constructed website that provides their business with results.

SEO Is Nothing More Than Magic Tricks

Whether it be sorcery or simple illusions and sleight of hands these naysayers think SEO is, they’ve completely missed the mark on this one. These people probably think SEO is all tricks because they have a misconception about what SEO is. You can’t stuff keywords in a article or hide them on the page behind images and see the results you want. It also doesn’t help to stuff keywords in the title, image ALT Tags and Title Text, and meta keyword descriptions. There’s a lot that goes into SEO beyond just these simple “tricks” that have become widely outdated. To get real results and success with your website you need a modern, comprehensive strategy that goes beyond onsite optimization.

SEO Is Too Expensive for Small Businesses

Some SEO agencies throughout high quotes and set prices that are unrealistic for small businesses. But that doesn’t mean that every SEO agency is like that. We aren’t. We meet clients all the time where they are. We provide tailored solutions to their needs that fit within their existing budget. One of the worse things you could do for your business is not invest in at least some form of web strategy because you don’t think you can afford it. It might just be that you can’t afford not to invest in SEO for your business.

SEO Is Cheap

Cheap SEO services exist. But this is a classic example of “you get what you pay for”. If someone offers the #1 ranking in Google for $100, they’re probably full of it. Run. Fast and far away from them. They’re out for a quick buck at your expense. SEO takes time to be done right. It doesn’t end when a site goes live. And if you hire someone for cheap they are very unlikely to take the time to do a good job on your site. They will attempt to save time and money by cutting corners. In SEO, cutting corners can leave your website and business hurting long after the cheapo is gone with all the penalties from Penguin and Panda that those strategies incur.

You Shouldn’t Pay for Web Design or SEO Because Free Website Builders Work Just as Well

Why pay for what you can do yourself, right? Well, except maybe you can’t. You very well could design a website that is stunning and one that impresses you clients. But what about all of the backend SEO signals you aren’t aware of and the free site builder doesn’t give you access to? If you really think you can do it own your own, fine, give it a try. But how much of your valuable time are you wasting trying to learn a language that may be completely foreign to you. How confident are you that you didn’t miss anything important? For most business owners the only result and one that comes quickly is frustration. Frustration at not being able to achieve the perfect design they had in their mind. Frustration at a lack of production from your website. The only people who are likely to visit your new website are those who were already aware of its existence, not those running a search query. This type of approach also completely ignores the fact that SEO is so much more than just what is on a page. What’s your link building strategy? What directories should you be in? How do you manage your social media campaigns?

SEO Is Easy

It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? Create great content. Provide a good user experience. Create directory listings with your business name, address, and phone number. Pick up a few backlinks. “Submit to Google” and you’re done… Not quite. SEO is very time intensive and requires effort on the part of the agency and the client to get the best results. No one knows your business better than you do, so you need to be engaged in the process, optimizing content and providing images that sell your business. SEO is far from impossible, but there’s no magic button you press that makes everything come together instantly.

More links are better than more content.

This is something that often comes along with the question, “Which should I invest in, link building or content generation?” Links are an important part of your website’s authority (even with the changing link landscape). However, if you have budget to invest in your website, I would say, “Hire someone to write for you.”

Too often, when businesses hire someone to do link building, they focus on the quantity of links rather than their quality -- but linking is not a numbers game anymore (far from it, actually). You should focus on having relevant and diverse sources that link to relevant pages.

When you invest in content, that content can be used for webpages, blog posts, lead generation offers, and guest posts on other sites -- all content types that will bring more links with them over time.”

SEO is all about ranking.

While there’s a strong correlation between search results placement and clickthrough rates, ranking is not the supreme end goal that it used to be.

Studies of clickthrough rates and user behavior have shown that searchers favor the top search results -- particularly the top-three listings. However, it’s also been shown that on subsequent pages, being listed toward the top of the page shows similar click behavior. And with search results now being appended with rich text/snippets, results that appear below the top-three search results are getting much higher clickthrough rates.

Even before all of that was applied, rankings did not guarantee success. Theoretically, you could rank quite well for a term, get tons of traffic, and not make a dime from it. Is that what you really want? I don’t think so.

Meta descriptions have a huge impact on search rankings.

Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that concisely explain the contents of webpages. You’ve seen them before on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), where they’re commonly used as preview snippets. So, it’d make sense that Google’s algorithm would take these meta descriptions into account when determining search rankings … right? Well, not so much.

Google announced back in 2009 that meta descriptions (and meta keywords) have no bearing on search rankings. That’s not to say, however, that these descriptions aren’t important for SEO. On the contrary: Meta descriptions present a major opportunity to separate yourself from the riff-raff and convince searchers that your page is worth navigating to.

Having a relevant, compelling meta description can be the difference between a searcher who clicks through to your page and one who clicks elsewhere.

SEO is something I can hand off to IT.

There seems to be a perception that SEO requires some technical expertise, and since it is technical, IT can just do the work. While there is a technical component to SEO, it requires way more than just technical chops, so I’d think long and hard before handing an entire project to IT or a web designer.

Though you may need some of those individuals to assist you during the course of optimizing your website, it’s far from ideal to just give SEO duties to IT and expect best practices to be adhered to.

While many IT professionals are adept in many technical areas -- for instance, making sure your website is crawlable and setting up redirects and XML sitemap files -- just remember that many IT personnel also work on things like setting up printers, which is … well ... a different skill set than what’s needed to effectively run an SEO strategy.

On-page SEO is all I need to rank.

Until search engines are able to enter our brains and read our thoughts, we’ll always need to use written language in order to make search queries. We need to use keywords to communicate.

That being said, it’s important to realize that Google is no longer trying to match the keywords you type into its search engine to the keywords of a web page. Instead, it’s trying to understand the intent behind the keywords you type so it can match that intent to relevant, high-quality content.

The bottom line: search engines of the future aren’t going to punish folks for underusing keywords or failing to have an expertly crafted, keyword-optimized page title ... but they will continue to punish folks for overusing keywords.

Keywords need to be an exact match.

Keywords do not need to be repeated verbatim throughout a piece of content. In a headline, in particular, you want to use a keyword (or keywords) in a way that makes the most sense to your audience. The goal should be to write a stellar headline (somewhere between 4-9 words) that clearly explains what a piece of content is about.

Nothing is more of a buzzkill than having a headline that’s awkwardly framed around one keyword phrase or, worse, that forcibly repeats a keyword phrase.

This rule applies not only to headlines, but also the content on the page: the goal should be to inform the reader, not to inform the search engines.

The H1 is the most important on-page element.

Think of the content structure on your webpage as an outline. It’s a tiered approach to presenting information to users and search engines. What title tag your headline is wrapped in has little to no influence on your overall SEO -- that title tag (whether it’s an H1, H2, H3, etc.) is only used for styling purposes.

The H1 is part of your CSS (custom style sheet) that a designer puts together to reference what font styling and size will be applied to a particular piece of content. This used to be more important, but search engines are smarter these days, and -- unfortunately -- people spammed this to death.

So, it really doesn’t matter what header tag you use, as long as you present your most important concepts upfront and closer to the top of the page. Remember, you’re optimizing your page for users first and foremost, which means that you want to tell them ASAP what your page is about through a clear headline.

The more pages I have, the better.

Logically, you would think that the larger the footprint of your website, the better you would rank -- but it’s simply not true.

First, not everything you publish gets indexed (and rightfully so). Second, sometimes, pages get indexed, but don’t remain in the index. And third, just because you have pages indexed doesn’t mean they will drive qualified traffic and leads.

Unfortunately, those who strive to have lots of pages on their website also tend to overlook the quality of that content -- and realistically, it’s difficult to strive for both. The aim should be to publish what is most relevant. Have your content be at its best.

For local SEO, I only need to list my company’s city, state, and/or country on my pages.

This myth couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re a local business, optimizing for local search won’t only help you get found, but it will help you get found by people who are nearby and more likely to buy from you.

Looking forward, Google will continue to take steps to bubble the best local content to the surface of search results. Need some proof? In July of 2014, Google took a major step in this direction with the release of its new Pigeon algorithm. The algorithm treats local search rankings more like traditional search rankings, taking hundreds of ranking signals into account. Pigeon also improved the way Google evaluates distance when determining rankings.

The bottom line: local SEO matters, probably more so now than ever before.

Microsites and other domains I own that link or redirect back to my site will help my SEO.

The chances of this doing much for your SEO are slim to none. It’s like having an election in which you vote for yourself a thousand times -- that still counts as one vote.

Search engines are smart enough to know who the registrants are for a domain and can see if it’s the same person as your primary domain. (Note: If you are reading this and thinking, “Well, then I’ll just change my registration information,” you are clearly thinking like a spammer. Don’t be that person!)

There is not much value in spreading your SEO thin, which is what you do by setting up domain after domain and optimizing each rather than putting all of that love into your primary domain. Why not just add the content to your primary domain or build a tool as an add-on to your website?

Google will never know if I have bad sites linking to me.

Yes, they will!

Just like Santa Claus knows if you’ve been good or bad. Just like the Tooth Fairy knows when you’ve lost a tooth. Just like your parents can sense when you’ve missed your curfew.

The point is Google knows (everything). Don’t try to fool them -- especially post-Panda, -Penguin, and -Hummingbird, or you will be sent to your room (well, in this case, penalized).

SEO is not a usability issue.

SEO has evolved from simply getting found to improving how users engage with your content. SEO is so much more than optimizing for search engines. You need to optimize for users first and foremost, so they actually click through your listing to your website and -- once they click through -- stay there.

To keep visitors on your site, ensure you’re publishing content that’s personalized and relevant. You should also make sure your website is intuitive and easy to browse (in other words, accessible by both crawlers and users).

Also, don’t make visitors look for what they need. Provide clear calls-to-action, and you’ll convert those visitors into contacts, leads, and -- eventually -- customers.

“Search experience optimization” is what SEO should really stand for.

SEO and inbound marketing don’t mix.

Au contraire, inbound marketing and SEO are inexorably linked. If you think of the former as a giant wheel, you can think of the latter as a spoke on that wheel.

Inbound is a holistic philosophy that focuses on efficiently turning strangers into people who want to -- and should -- do business with you. This encompasses a wide array of tactics and best practices, including content creation, conversion optimization, and leveraging social channels, among other facets.

SEO, in comparison, is a specific marketing tactic that focuses on improving a business’s visibility in -- and traffic from -- search engine results. Clearly, SEO can help you immensely with your inbound marketing. When we think about the four stages of the inbound methodology -- Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight -- SEO is especially relevant when it comes to that first stage: attracting the right people to your site