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  • Writer's pictureAlyssa Hartson

Welcome to Search Engine Optimization 101.

You’ve heard the term “SEO”, but do you know what it actually is? SEO to your website is like air to all living things. You can’t touch it, feel it or see it, but it’s something it’s got to have to survive. And when you get it right, the results are absolutely measurable.

SEO Basics

SEO is a combination of…. things (technically speaking, of course) done for or to a website that helps Google determine where a website will appear, or rank, in natural search results. The idea behind SEO, is to tell Google what your website is about and show that it’s legitimate by your activity. Google processes around 3.5 Billion searches every day. Everytime a search is entered, algorithms take over, looking for key information in order to deliver the user the most relevant results.

There are approximately 200 components that Google’s algorithms look for, with 10 of those being absolutely key elements. Bots crawl your web pages regularly looking for the elements that define the content in order to index them. At the end of 2018, Google had over 1 Trillion indexed pages. (Search Engine Journal).

There are 3 types of SEO. On-page, technical and off-page SEO. On-page primarily deals with the content within your website. Technical SEO refers to mobile friendliness, page load speed, XML sitemaps and adding structured data, known as schema markup.

Off-page SEO are all the things done for a website outside of the website, such as building backlinks, social media activities, blogging and geo-optimizing for your local area. Commonly known as “local SEO”, geo-optimizing includes online reviews, locally focused content containing keywords and key phrases, and online directory listing info consistency, also called NAP data (Name, address, phone number).

The Role of SEO

There is a common misconception that simply having a website meets the requirements for the world to find you. The reality is, that’s just your starting off point. Even the prettiest, most modern looking websites are invisible without SEO. It’s a good idea to ask your web designer what, if any, SEO they implement for your site while building it. If your website is older, or you built it yourself, and you haven’t had regular maintenance done on it, a professional website analysis can give you insight as to how much SEO is in place today, as well as what needs updated. SEO should be an ongoing event. Google updates their algorithms a rumored 500 times each year,

More than 60% of all searches are looking for something nearby. Google favors local businesses over national brands, whenever possible. For Google to know your business exists, you’ve got to tell it. So, how do you tell Google about your business? SEO, of course!

SEO is complicated, time-consuming and not for the faint of heart. While many of the larger corporations have entire departments dedicated to SEO, most small business owners don’t have the capitol for dedicated technical staff. That’s where outside agencies come into play. Outsourcing makes it possible for small businesses to have the same advantages as large corporations. It’s almost always worth it for a small business to pay for professional SEO services. After all, you wouldn’t hire your auto mechanic as a wedding planner, right? There are just too many things that can go wrong by not having a professional SEO company. Even those with the best of intentions are likely to miss a key element, or risk doing something incorrectly that actually hurts you more than it helps.

SEO As An Investment

Because SEO isn’t something that is tangible and doesn’t deliver instant results, many business owners struggle to justify the expense. It’s also something that is generally misunderstood because of its complicated nature. An important thing to keep in mind with SEO is that it isn’t a race- it’s a marathon, where slow and steady wins the game. It takes time and consistency before you begin seeing results. It is an investment and should be considered as part of your long term strategy.

The good news, is that it does eventually gain momentum that leads to a consistent flow of leads and traffic that you can count on. The ROI of an SEO campaign ranges anywhere from 50%-5000%. The reason the range is so wide, is because many factors affect the total ROI ,including the quality of your SEO, the budget allocated to it and the amount of time you’ve been investing in your SEO.

The fact is that it’s never been easier for consumers to NOT do business with you. Online retailers like Amazon make it easy for anyone to order whatever they want online without ever leaving home. Even many services can be found, purchased and setup online without ever dealing with an actual person. Insurance is a good example. All hope is not lost, though. Remember that Google still favors a local business over a national brand. That’s why your digital presence is so important to the survival of your business.

If you’re reading this, chances are you get “it”, or you’d like too, which automatically gives you an advantage over your competition. There are still many, many businesses that don’t understand it, or they do, but are attempting to handle it themselves, but aren’t getting any traction. Choosing to have your SEO professionally managed is a smart decision.

If you still need a little more convincing, these statistics might help.

Mobile searches for “stores/food open now” has increased 2.1X in the last year (Search Engine Journal)

Mobile searches for “where to buy/find/get” has increased 1.3X in the past year (Search Engine Journal)

76 percent of people using a mobile device who searched for something nearby visit a business within a day (Search Engine Journal).

28 percent of those searches resulted in a purchase (Search Engine Journal)

2 trillion (2,000,000,000,000): The estimated number of searches Google processes every year, worldwide

Which breaks down to:

63,000 searches per second

3.8 million searches per minute

228 million searches per hour

5.5 billion searches per day

167 billion searches per month

Key Take-Away's

People are searching for products, services and information A LOT, these days. Out of the 2 trillion searches, there’s a pretty good chance that at least a handful were searches for a product or service that your business provides. The question is, does Google know that you provide those products/services? Is Google aware of where your business is located? Are you sure?

It never hurts to know exactly where you stand with your SEO. Thin Air Marketing Group offers a complimentary SEO assessment report for small businesses. To schedule yours, click here.

Thin Air Marketing Group is based in Colorado Springs, CO and specializes in Social Media Management and Local SEO services for small business.

A special thanks to Danny Goodwin at Search Engine Journal for compiling the SEO statistics quoted in this blog. Follow him on Twitter

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