We’ve all seen the ubiquitous acronym SEO, and know that it stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. SEO refers to the practice of curating and structuring content on your website so that search engines can find, index, and deliver it to users. SEO is notoriously malleable thanks to the constantly evolving nature of Google Search algorithms.
The goal of search engines like Google is to create a system that helps users find exactly what they need, quickly. In the past, nefarious web masters would use what are still called “Black Hat SEO” techniques to trick the search algorithms into ranking their content higher.
SEO in 2017, however, is adept at penalizing trickster and spam websites. Today, search engine optimization is as much concerned with the quality of the content itself as with the technicalities behind the scenes.
SEO matters for small and large businesses
At Whiting House we advise clients in areas relevant to the solution they chose to pursue. Often this includes SEO. Our effectual digital experience solutions are only as good as the content that populates them, so content creation is in the cards when you work with us, and we know how to deal a winning hand.
So why does SEO matter for your company? SEO is important because it gives your company a third tier of exposure: organic searches.
There are three principle ways to gain new customers:
- Word-of-mouth (referral)
- Marketing (paid)
- Organic (searches)
While providing a good and useful service stimulates word-of-mouth, and in-house marketing personnel handle your paid outreach efforts, it’s the on-page content of your website and blog that brings in “organic traffic” via Google search queries.
You wield significant control over how customers find your services through organic searches, and what happens once they arrive at your website.
How to make SEO work for your business
It is never enough to write customer-facing content for your website, publish it, and sit back. In order to leverage Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) for your business, you need to learn SEO, take advantage of the best SEO tools, and diligently publish useful, optimized content to a blog or third-party sites.
Think of a spider’s web. This is the metaphor for the Internet; Google is the spider in charge of connecting nodes and ensuring reliability of the structure. Your website exists among millions of inter-connected websites, but if it does not actively partake in creating strong connections, then it is a lone strand wafting in the wind.
When you publish good content and build reputable internal and external linking structures, then Google rewards your domain with a more rigid place among other nodes of its web. You get higher rankings.
SEO in 2017 favors content strategy
Every year, Google announces changes to its algorithm (Moz has a great index of algorithm changes). The general consensus among SEO predictors in 2017 is that Google is continuing to move toward weighing searches more heavily based on context, and not just individual keywords. The company has even conducted a study on how to incorporate metaphor into its search algorithm, and we’ve learned that 20% of mobile searches are conducted using Voice Search.
Do you see where this is going? The natural endgame for the ultimate search is an AI with whom you will be able to discuss your query, and who will be able to intelligently identify what you didn’t even know you were looking for.
But for now, SEO in 2017 should recognize that quality of content is non-negotiable.
For your business, that means establishing a content strategy of static web pages, linked blog posts, and third-party link building. Affordable SEO is entirely possible if you focus your energy on lightly optimized, but heavily useful, relevant, and informative posts.
SEO matters, but you need patience to see fruits of your labor
It is still true that optimizing websites for search is a time-intensive task.
The blogosphere is peppered with advice extolling persistence in your endeavor; the same holds true for SEO. Persistence pays off. Write well, write often, stay in tune with SEO trends, and you’ll see your pages start to rank higher in searches.