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Who What Huh? - Search Engine Optimization



Hello and welcome back for the next installation of our blog series regarding online tools to help your business thrive in an ever growing digital environment! Our next topic of discussion: Search Engine Optimization. What is it? Why is it important to your business? Where do I start? We answered some of these questions in our blog: Who What Huh? - Local SEO but we will be focusing more on your business’ website SEO this time around!


What is SEO and Why is it Important?


Search engine optimization is optimizing your website so that your business is more likely to be in the top 5 results when searched on Google or Bing. Optimizing your website to be search engine friendly makes the biggest difference on where you will be placed in the search results. This makes your business more likely to be viewed. Ideally you want your business on the first page of search results, because....rarely anyone goes past the first page!


Components of SEO:

  • Utilizing keywords on your website

  • Having quality content and the right amount of content on your website

  • Proper meta descriptions

  • Relevant URL structure

  • Blogging

  • Image optimization

  • Link Networking

  • Local SEO (aka Google/Bing account optimizations)

  • Sitemaps


Setting Started


Below we will break down each SEO component and how you would go about optimizing them!


Utilizing Keywords


Keywords are ultimately the words individuals are likely to type in a search, that would end up leading them to your website. Each page on your website should include 2-5 key words. So, where do you determine which words should be included?

There are multiple different free tools online that help determine top search result phrasing. A good place for you to start would be looking at the analytics of your Google Business Profile and see what phrases were used to bring up your Business Profile. Another option to consider is to include the location of your business where appropriate to help with search results like these: “restaurant near me”.


Website Content


You would think that having everything and anything would be ideal for your website, however surprisingly that isn’t the case. You want a “happy medium” when it comes to your website. Having too little content may not provide potential clients with the information they are looking for, but having too much content can leave them confused and unable to find what they are looking for. This can be achieved by determining who your target audiences are and tailoring your content to them. Some good starting points though would be: information about your business and its mission/values & gallery of past projects/testimonials.


Note: websites, like other online profiles, need to be kept up-to-date. 


Meta Descriptions & URL structure 


Both of these components are done in the “back end” of your website. 

URL structure is simply changing what comes after the / for each page so that it accurately represents what the page is about.


Ex:


The latter explains what the page is about just by the URL ending.



Meta descriptions are the little blurbs that Google & Bing generate when one of your pages are generated in the search results. These can be entered by you on your website. These descriptions are really short (approx. 60 characters) and unfortunately don’t always get used by Google. Bing will utilize your meta descriptions, however Google may not and instead generate its own. Either way, by incorporating these meta descriptions, it is something else for Google and Bing to read to better understand your website.


Image Optimization


There are two components to consider when it comes to images. 


The first is image quality and size. Having poor quality images on your website doesn’t help anyone, however, good quality images usually come with bigger file sizes. Having large files on your website makes the pages run slowly, which in turn will result in individuals leaving your site because it is taking too long for it to load. There are however multiple free online tools to help with reducing the file size of your images without sacrificing the quality. Even some website “back ends” have a place where you can add plug-ins or apps that do this for you. 



The second component when it comes to image optimization is descriptions. Google & Bing can’t read images. There is usually a place when you are in editing mode of your website to add a description of the images on your website. By adding these descriptions, Google & Bing read the description of the image giving them a better understanding of the content that is on your pages.


Link Networking & Blogging


Google & Bing are all about context. Having both external & internal links throughout your website help to strengthen the topical signals of your pages. You want to make sure these links are in the correct places and are relevant to the page they are placed on. 



External links are links to other websites. These would be to other reputable sources that provide additional context to your content. These would also be links that other websites have to yours. This would include having your website linked on Trip Advisor, your local municipality business directory, your local chamber of commerce, Yelp, etc.


Internal links are linked to other locations on your website. These are usually placed as a “call to action” or, where relevant, as a button redirecting to another page that would more than likely be interesting to the individual looking at the current page. 

  • Example: The SECC has a button to the event calendar from the “Discover Sudbury East” page as those looking to know what’s going on in Sudbury East, would most likely be interested in knowing what events are going on around the community.


This is where blogging comes in. Not only does blogging provide your site with new content on a regular basis, it is an excellent place for internal and external links. In a blog, external links would come in the form of links to additional resources that back what you are writing about, while internal links would be a “call to action” or linking to another blog that may also be interesting to the reader.


Local SEO


As mentioned above, having your location stated on a few pages of your website will improve your local SEO. Also, having an optimized Google Business Profile & Bing Places is the biggest part of local SEO. See more about local SEO here: Who What Huh? - Local SEO


Sitemap


A sitemap is pretty much a table of contents of your website. You can determine if your website has a sitemap by typing www.YourWebsiteUrl.com/sitemap.xml 

If your site doesn’t have a sitemap, many website builders have it built in to create sitemaps. This would be found in the “back end” of your website. An additional option is to get started with Google Search Console and upload the sitemaps on your own.


Conclusion


There are a lot of components that make up SEO. Just keep in mind that you can always take it one step at a time to make your website search engine optimized. See you soon for some more tricks and tools to move your business into the ever growing digital world!


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