Search engine optimization expert Marcia Morgan and I met after a trusted friend recommended her services for one of my clients. I was impressed by how clearly Marcia explained SEO, so I asked her to share her explanation on my blog.
Please, Without All That Jargon, What is “Search Engine Optimization”?
By Marcia Morgan
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about helping Google and Bing (the big Internet search engines) determine which pages to display when someone types in a phrase like “financial advisor.”
You want Google to find your web site and display your web pages ahead of the other 179,000,000 pages that Google finds with content that has to do with “financial advisor.” Imagine for a moment sitting in a third grade classroom. Your teacher asks a question, you have the answer, and you want to stand out among the dozens of other classmates all raising their hands, all screaming, “PICK ME! PICK ME!” That’s how it is with SEO.
So how do you do it?
- Recognize that Google uses 200+ different factors to determine which page results to display. Some of these factors are in your control, some are not. Google constantly refines these factors or “algorithms” so they can deliver the most “relevant” and most helpful information to the person searching. The most important criteria appear to be:
- Location of the person searching. Local results are often displayed first, depending on the topic.
- Quality of the web site. Trusted, higher traffic sites come first.
- Relevancy of the content. Does the term “financial advisor” appear in all of the places where Google looks?
- Freshness of the content. Google considers sites with new content to be more relevant than sites whose last update was a year ago.
- Optimize each page on your site. “Optimize” in the SEO world means making sure each page on your site is about a unique topic and then telling Google what those topics are so they can grab the most relevant pages when someone goes looking. This is completely in your control.
- Decide what each page is about. Every page should be about something unique, and you should not repeat content from page to page.
- Ask an SEO expert to do some keyword research to determine how many people are searching about those topics. This will help you prioritize and organize page themes.
- Decide where on your web site you want people to go when they search for a topic. If you do retirement planning, you will want to have a page about Retirement Planning so that people who search will arrive on that page, not the home page.
- Try to add images and/or video that supports the content of each page.
- Ask someone familiar with SEO to write the meta tags and file names. That person will also make appropriate edits to the copy so Google will agree that you have relevant content.
- When your SEO expert is done optimizing, make sure your webmaster submits a new sitemap to Google and Bing so your pages get found more quickly.
Since the process of optimizing your site is technical, seek help from a trusted consultant. Your role should be to stand in front of your web site like a teacher in front of a classroom and decide which pages on your site have the right answers to a web visitor’s questions.