However, a website won’t be an effective business tool if no one finds it on the Internet. After all, there are more than a billion other sites out there competing for everyone’s attention. Even if you narrow things down to your niche, the competition would still be massive.
It’s a good thing then that there’s search engine optimization or SEO to give you a fighting chance of getting seen by your target market, at the very least.
If you’re an entrepreneur who just got started with running a website for your business, here are a few things about SEO that you need to know.
What SEO is
Simply put, SEO is an activity that uses a variety of techniques to improve the rank of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs) to make it more visible to search engine users. A higher rank means better visibility, and therefore, better chances of getting more organic traffic. With more people visiting your website, your chances of getting leads and conversions for your business become so much higher.
On-page SEO is all about implementing techniques within your website to attract the crawlers or bots of search engines, which are always on the lookout for relevant keywords that their users type into the search bar.
On-page SEO techniques include creating a meta description for each page as well as meta tags, which should contain relevant keywords and phrases that search engines crawl.
Off-page optimization uses techniques applied outside of your website to boost its ranking and visibility in search engines. Link building, guest blogging, and social media posts are some of the most common off-page SEO tactics in use.
White hat SEO
Websites hoping to rank higher in search engines need to follow guidelines that the latter have set. Any optimization techniques that follow these guidelines are referred to as white hat SEO. Some white hat SEO practices that you should do constantly include creating original and high-quality content, improving page load speed and navigation, or anything that will boost user experience (UX).
Black hat SEO
Black hat SEO techniques, on the other hand, are those that play fast and loose with the rules and conditions set by Google et al. If the search engines catch you doing things like keyword stuffing, posting duplicate content, link buying, and many other questionable tactics, then expect penalties that include a ban on your website.
There was a time when the search engines didn’t care much about content quality, but everything has changed since Google implemented Panda, Penguin, and other algorithm updates that rewarded websites carrying quality content, now one of the top Google ranking factors. Considered quality content these days are how-to articles, authoritative blog posts, list posts, infographics, and videos.
Billions of people now use mobile devices to browse the Internet. There’s also the fact that Google already bases its rankings and search listings of a website on whether or not it has a mobile version. The only thing that makes sense then is for webmasters to make their sites display well on phones and tablets through responsive web design.
SEO is for the long term
It’s not possible to have instant SEO results. It takes time for even the best-optimized sites to get there, but they will come. Consistent SEO efforts will yield results about four to six months in and will continue to improve as long as you keep up with optimization work. If you rest on your laurels after achieving the ranking you want, your competitors will likely overtake you. Always keep in mind that an optimizer’s work is never done.
These are just some of the things that entrepreneurs should know about SEO. Since SEO is still evolving, you have to keep yourself updated on the latest trends and developments in this very young field.
**About The Author: Shawn Byrne is the founder and CEO of SEOPhoenix.net. Shawn started his career in I.T. troubleshooting workstations, servers and networks, then went on to doing SEO as a side project and quickly found success in ranking websites. It was easy for him to grasp not only the algorithms but also the technical side, which most SEO strategists miss and neglect because of its complexities. SEO Phoenix then grew based on its own rankings and referrals.