Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short, is a term that means you are optimizing your website or business to be found on a search engine results page. In other words, when someone does a search, you show up. And close to the top.
Search engines are complex tools that sift through all the content on the Internet, organizing it in a way that users can find what they need quickly and conveniently. Search engines attempt to create order out of the chaos of information and data on the Internet. They are so important, in fact, that 71.33% of readers will visit one of the suggested links on page one. And 67.60% of those clicks are on the first 5 results.
Also, another note, when was the last time you went a whole day without using a search engine? And siri counts. Where do you think she gets her info!
So what is in an SEO plan? Many things(!) and it changes periodically based on a search engine’s algorithms. This is why SEO work is never done. I know you have heard it and I know you don’t want to believe it. Google and other search engines are constantly testing and refining their algorithms and display results for one purpose: to get the best information to YOU, the user, when you search for it.
An SEO plan should work the algorithm to create authority, relevancy and trust in your brand through your website, directory listings and social platforms, etc.
As user behavior and technology change, so do the things the search engine’s place value or weight on, which in turn, should cause your SEO plan to adjust. For example, with the surge of smart phones and increased search on smart phones, search engines adjusted their algorithms to place a high importance on the mobile friendly design of a website in order to display it to user on a results page when searching from a mobile device. It makes sense. A search engine is a business and it provides a service to a user. For the user to continue to come back and use the service, it must provide results with more efficiency than any other search engine.
Here are some basics you should know when talking about SEO.
- SEO strategy can and should include onsite and offsite SEO tactics.
- SEO can take anywhere from 3-6 months to start producing results. (Maybe longer depending on the competition)
- There are no tricks or ways to get around the algorithms. (I promise. And I will double down on that promise.)
- Anyone claiming to guarantee placement on the first page is selling promises they might not be able to keep. (There are no guarantees in the SEO game.)
- You have to work the algorithm for Authority, Relevancy and Trust in the eyes of the Search Engine. (They want to make sure they are returning the information a user is searching for.)
So what does it cost? For a while there was this habit of agencies saying it was free because it isn’t a form of paid advertising. It isn’t like paid advertising, whereby you are paying the search engine to be in the number of websites showing on the first page, BUT you do have to pay for someone’s time to provide the service. SEO plans can range from introductory at 5-6 hours per month, up to advanced at 25-30 hours a month or even more, depending on your site, the amount of keywords you are trying to optimize for, and how competitive it is.
Bottom line, if you want to be found on a search engine results page, you have to have an SEO strategy of some sort. You may be doing things that already place you there, but as this digital world gets more competitive, you may start to see those rankings drop. Don’t worry though, if you catch it soon enough and begin a plan, you will be able to recover. The search engine is your friend. Just talk to it. 😉