What is search engine optimization?
Simply put, it's 90% writing / 10% technical. And, it's a combination of having a significant number of high quality external links leading to your web site, plus the process of writing focussed content and relevant keywords into your web site pages that help your website get found in search results on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines.
What does making it to the first page mean?
Being on the first page of search results for keywords that describe your business creates an opportunity for your site to receive significantly more traffic than if you didn't have great SEO. Chitika released data in 2011 that showed around 96% of all 'clicks' on a Google search occured on first page results. The more traffic you have – coupled with lead capture – the more chance you have to get customers from your website.
How does SEO work?
Despite sounding very complicated and technical, search engine optimization is more about writing content and understanding the way people search than it is technical. Many claim to have a secret recipe for success, though in reality, creating great content, growing your web presence, engaging in social media and obtaining high quality links over time is the only ethical way to acheive long-lasting results.
Obtaining high quality external links.
There are very few ways you can get links to your web site. The ethical ways include: commenting on quality blogs and linking back to content on your website; creating great content that others want to link back to; registering and participating in realted online communities; setting up and maintaining social media accounts.
Never fall for scams like "300 link submisisons for only $5.99." These are often just websites attempting to get your credit card data. If they happen to be real, consider that Google is clamping down on directory-style websites that are there just to create the link. If a method you are considering is not on the ethical list, realize that Google punishes web sites that engage in non-ethical methods. Your site could be pushed so deep that it'll be years before it can be found in search again.
Link grade quality is measured out of 100 by Google. Link quality varies greatly depending on many factors. Of course, the higher the score, the better. High quality links are generally considered to be those that are above 60/100. If you are curious about the quality of your external links, talk to us (just use the form at the right).
Long-tail keywords (phrases).
Longtail keywords are a short phrase, written the way an individual may search. For example, if you are a shoe store and you have just brough in a container full of suede shoes, you may want to incorporate a longtail keyword phrase such as: "blue suede shoes". Note that "blue suede shoes" is written as a human being might speak it, as opposed to computer speak, such as: shoe, suede, blue. Search engines favour human phrases over computer phrases. Additionally, the longtail keyword phrase helps you focus the quantity of results. By creating a phrase, individual word results are ignored, making it more likely that the searcher will find you by type or even location.
- shoes (About 84,500,000 results)
- suede shoes (About 28,000,000 results)
- blue suede shoes (About 18,500,000 results)
- and blue suede shoes Calgary (About 4,880,000 results).
The clear winner for most focussed results is: blue suede shoes Calgary.
The addition of a city name adds tighter localization to the results.
In this illustrated example, Kayak is found at position #1 on page #1 of Google using the longtail keyword phrase 'Online Marketing Calgary'. Additionally, KAYAK scores in the top 3 for 39 keyword phrases, and 63 in the top 10 (page one) as of FEB 2013. The bolded words are the keywords Google recognized from our web page meta description.