Search Engine Optimization, otherwise known as SEO, is one of the most commonly used terms in marketing today. It’s rare to look at a marketing web site or have a discussion about online marketing and growing your business without some reference to SEO.
But what exactly is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In general, it is an ongoing process of making sure your web site content is “optimized” so it displays in “natural” or “organic” search engine results when someone searches for a term (such as “hearing aids”) related to your business in a web browser.
Search engines use algorithms to determine which web sites display in search results when a search is performed, and where each web site will appear in the search results. Of course, the higher your web site displays in the search results, the more likely your web site will be found by others. It is important that your web site contains the information that search engines want for their algorithms. These algorithms take in a lot of information about every web page on the internet – the algorithms then turn this information into useful search results to help people find you online, and the more relevant your web site is to the algorithms, the higher your web site will display in the search results.
Why is SEO important?
For many business owners, their web site has become one of the main marketing tools they want to utilize to bring in new business. But if people don’t see your web site on the internet, it will not serve as an effective online marketing tool. This is why SEO is so important, especially when you consider all the web sites out there. You want your web site to display as close to the top of the search results as possible when someone searches for a term related to the products and services your business provides – this increases the likelihood that your web site will be viewed, and in turn bring a new patient to your business. If search engines can’t find your web site, there is a good chance you will miss out on many opportunities to grow your business.
Keep in mind that search engines are constantly changing their algorithms but regardless, it is vital that your web site contain fresh, engaging content with relevant keywords and page titles to achieve good SEO.
For businesses such as hearing centers that rely on attracting patients who live in the local area, it is important that your business show up in local search results, which is referred to as local SEO. Your business has an increased chance of displaying in local search results if your business name, address, and phone number are displayed prominently on your web site – this allows the search engines to find your web site easily.
Online reviews of your business, such as Google and Yelp, also impact how your business will rank in local search results, and which results will get clicked on. Keep in mind that more and more consumers are relying on online reviews to make purchasing decisions. Both positive and negative reviews can impact a consumer’s buying decision.
Because SEO is constantly changing and can be complex, there is sometimes confusion about which SEO practices are effective and which ones aren’t. This has resulted in myths floating around about proper SEO.
- Keyword stuffing: One of the most common myths about SEO relates to the concept of keyword stuffing – the more instances a given keyword displays on a web page, the higher your web site will rank. This is why you sometimes see web pages that contain numerous instances of the same keyword(s). However, search engines do not rely on keyword density to rank web sites – they prefer that keywords be used more wisely in web content. Therefore, it is imperative that your web pages contain well-written content for SEO purposes.
- Search engine submission services: It used to be that web sites could be submitted to search engines simply by filling out an online form, and that’s all that needed to be done in regards to SEO. However, because many of the web sites being submitted were spam, search engines no longer use the submission process for SEO. This is important to know if you are ever offered search engine submission services by a company.
- Paid search advertising helps increase organic search results: Despite what many think, paid search advertising does not affect how web sites display in organic search results. The search engines have implemented tools to prevent this from occurring. Regardless of whether or not you utilize paid search advertising, you still need to optimize your web site for organic searches as well.
If you would like to learn more about how we utilize SEO to help you grow your business, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].