Yeah, we talk about search engine optimization (SEO) a lot, here at Avant8. But we have some good reasons. One is that it’s what we do. Which you have to admit, is a pretty good reason. Another reason is that it is very important for any company trying to make it in the 21st century. We’re not just saying that to try and sell our services, SEO really is very important. But in order to help you understand that let’s actually define search engine optimization and explain how you can boost it.
The name “search engine optimization” is fairly self-explanatory when you break it down. We all know what a search engine is: Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others that also don’t get used as much as Google or have completely disappeared (remember Ask Jeeves?). So, anything that you use to look up stuff on the internet is a search engine. So, search engine optimization basically just means that you’re trying to optimize how you appear on these search engines. But what exactly does that mean?
Everyone wants to be on the first page of a search on Google, because no one looks past the first page. Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but we’ve all seen the jokes. “Where’s the best place to hide a dead body? The second page of Google.” “You know you’re desperate when you’re on page two of Google trying to find something.” So, yes, you want your company to be on the first page when someone is looking up anything to do with your company. That way you are much more visible to the world.
SEO works through keywords. These are words that have to do with the heart of your company. For example, if you run a family restaurant that makes homemade pie, one of your keywords would be “family restaurant,” along with “restaurant,” “pie,” and “homemade pie.” They can be anything that you think people would search to try and find your site. When someone looks up one of those words, Google and other search engines will scourer the internet for sites that talk a lot about those words (admittedly, there is a bit more to that, but we’re trying to keep things basic). The more often your site is on the first page of Google, the more likely you are to have visitors to your stie.
Some free advice
So, that’s what search engine optimization is, basically finding ways to use words that act as a neon sign to catch Google’s (and other search engines’) attention. But now you may be thinking, “Okay great, now what?” You probably need some more guidance on how to get SEO to work for you. So, here are some quick tips on getting your site an SEO boost.
Everyone loves a blog
Okay, that may not actually be true for people, but it is true for search engines. If you have a blog that is dedicated to explaining and/or talking about some aspect of what your company does, search engines will see that and think, “Not only is this filled with the search term, but it’s also informative.” And that will help boost you to the top of that list. That’s even part of the reason why this blog exists. Partially to help you understand SEO, and partially to give Avant8 a boost when people search “search engine optimization.” Keeping up a blog with up-to-date information about your company and what you do will make you stand out in the crowd, SEO-wise. It’s also just a nice thing to have to help potential customers understand you a little bit better.
Concentrate on content
Once you’ve finished reading this blog, hopefully one of the first things you’ll do is identify your keywords. After you’ve done that, look over your website. Does the content have the keywords in it? Hopefully, it does. But it never hurts to double check. Make sure that any headers, paragraphs, or captions include the keywords, wherever appropriate, of course. Don’t just go around throw those words out willy-nilly. It may help with SEO, but that won’t help much when people actually go to your site and have to decipher it.
Going social (media)
Most companies these days are on social media, which is awesome. Social media is a great way to get new customers and interact with your current ones. But it’s also awesome because social media can also boost your search engine optimization. If you have posts that have captions with your keywords in them, search engines will pick that up and direct people to your social accounts, which will then direct them to your website. So, it never hurts to spend some time making sure that your social media reflects those keywords properly.
Alt-text and how to use it
Have you ever heard of alt-text? When you are on the back end of most website engines and you’re posting a photo, they usually give you the option to put in some alt-text. This is a chance to attach whatever words you want to the photo. This won’t show up on the frontend of your site, but it will do two things: 1) when someone who is using a screen reader comes to the photo, the screen reader will read the alt-text, thus making your site more accessible (always a good thing). And 2) that text will be read along with all the other text on your site by the search engines and help with your SEO. So, alt-text may seem like a small thing, but it could make a major difference on your site.
For the record, you don’t have to do everything on this list. While it all will help, it does take time. Maybe you’ll want to pick a couple of things and do those. Or maybe you’ll decide that upkeep of search engine optimization is far too involved, and you, as a busy business owner, do not have the time to all of it. If you decide on the latter, why not check out us, Avant8. We know a lot about SEO (as you can see) and will work with you to make a plan that will boost your visibility a crazy amount, all at an affordable price.