In this globalized world, small to medium-sized businesses (SMB) are left with no choice but to step out of their comfort zone and dare to follow a customer-centric approach to outrank competitors.
As a business owner, you will face many challenges along the road.
Certainly, some of them will be related to gaining exposure and credibility among your customers.
Luckily, over the last two decades, engineers, computer scientists, business analysts, and some brilliant minds specialized in web presence, have developed many strategies and tools around Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to cater to the demands of both online and brick-and-mortar shoppers to grant companies worldwide access to new markets.
Here at KickOff Social, we took on the task of outlining the most important aspects of SEO and some of the strategies behind building a solid web presence for your business.
What Is SEO?
In a nutshell, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of getting - or increasing targeted and “free” traffic to your website through Link Building.
Link Building refers to the process of having other sites linking back to your webpage to increase your Domain Authority, also known as Website Authority and therefore appear in the top results of Google search.
The Beginnings: SEO and Its Relationship with Google
Here’s how it all started…
It is believed that Search Engine Optimization, better known as SEO, emerged in 1991 when Tim Berners-Lee, an English engineer, and computer scientist,
launched the first website.
Back in the days when platforms like Excite (1993) and Yahoo (1994) were dabbling as metasearch engines, quoting Thomas Stern in an article for Searchengineland.com, “…keyword stuffing, excessive tagging, and spammy backlinks…” were used to generate high rankings in search.
Then Google came into the picture in 1997, revolutionizing the way the internet had been seen - and used- up to that moment.
Stanford students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, were interested in creating an algorithm that could track the behavior of users when surfing the web in order to know the importance of a website, which we now refer to as PageRank.
According to Google, “PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.”.
Having said that, it is paramount that you maintain enough relevant backlinks to build a strong web presence and to ensure a solid customer base. Wpbeginner.com defines backlinks as “a ranking signal” that connects one website to another by attesting to the noteworthy of content.
Here are some proven ways of how you can win the Google search results fight:
Local SEO: What It Is and Why You Should Care
Local SEO is a practice that allows customers to find you in Google search results and other search engines (Bing, Yelp, Apple Maps, etc.) when they are looking for companies similar to yours.
Back in 2006, Google released the “One Box”:
“On top of the organic results (and sometimes at the bottom), Google shows OneBox results for queries that can be answered instantly or when a direct link can be offered.” - Google System
The OneBox results, which as its name indicates originally featured 1 result, continually evolved to what we now call the “Snack Pack”; a top-three listing of what Google considers the most important business. Although it is true that many businesses win a prestigious place in the “pack” thanks to AdWords, this is not the only thing that comes into play.
However, you can still thrive to see your business listed on the first results page of Google.
This is the criteria that Google takes into account to consider you worthy of appearing on the first page, paraphrasing Vendasta.com:
• Business Signals - Ensuring the business is listed in the appropriate categories on listing directories, indicating all services offered in the title, and writing the correct address.
• External Location Signals - Writing accurate information about your business (name, address, phone, number, website, and service hours).
• On-Page Signals - Your title must be descriptive and relevant, include your business information and links to your social media.
• Link Signals - Remove irrelevant links on your business’ website by running a backlink analysis with trusted software, or by contacting the webmaster directly to ask them to remove the links. If you were unable to contact the webmaster, you can use Google’s Disavow Tool.
• Review Signals - You can ask your customers for reviews by placing a Review Widget on your website. You need to be careful, however, you cannot offer discounts or money in exchange for reviews. This could get you in trouble!
• Social Signals - Google likes genuine, approachable and socially-active accounts, with tons of followers and a good overall customer rating. Make sure to be responsive, and to create good content on your social media channels.
• Behavioral & Mobile Signals - Since Google is great at tracking data, they’ll make sure to keep tabs on your interactions with customers. Create promotions and stay competitive!
Last but not least, make sure to claim your Google My Business listing. According to Ahrefs.com, 56% of local retailers haven’t claimed theirs and they’re missing the chance to appear on Google Search Results’ main page.
Watch this video for more information:
As you can see, building a solid SEO strategy is a process that should not be taken lightly.
But don't get discouraged!
Here at KickOff Social, we have a team of experts that can help you plan an SEO strategy from scratch to catapult your business to stardom.