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SEO Basics with Maria Harrison | Bullseye Strategy

by | Mar 30, 2021

What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

SEO is the practice of search engine optimization, which is a fancy way of saying getting your site to appear on one of the first or the first page of Google.

Is SEO Just for Google?

Bing or DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, but we all know that Google has the biggest market share around the world of searchers. So really, we’re always angling to get the best placement on Google. Typically, if you can get that placement on Google, a high ranking will follow on the other search engines.

What’s the Benefit of SEO?

SEO is valuable because, ultimately, it can drive qualified visitors to your site. From those qualified visitors, you should realize conversions, which can mean different things to different businesses. If you’re an eComm business, it could mean direct sales. If you’re a B2B company and you need to talk to your prospects before they can purchase your product, it could mean lead-gen. If you are a B2C company, maybe you sell home windows and doors, and you need to generate leads from your website, and then you need to send someone out to price jobs like that. At the end of the day, the value of SEO is delivering highly qualified traffic to your site to result in conversions ultimately and, of course, impact your bottom line.

Is SEO a One-Time Thing?

Google is constantly changing its algorithms. With that in mind, you need to be continuously optimizing, creating new and great content for Google to crawl so they continue to value your site and rank it well.

What Do You Change to Rank Better?

There are many different components of SEO; two specific components are technical SEO and content SEO. Two very different things, but they work together; you need both of those elements addressed in your SEO plan in order for your site to rank well.

What Is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO has to do with the nuts and bolts of your website. This is the kind of thing that the user is really not going to see and probably will never have any knowledge of. So thinking about things like: Where is your site hosted? How fast is your website? How quickly does it load on mobile and desktop? What kind of plugins are you using on the site? Are they slowing the site down? Are they speeding it up? What kind of images are you using on the site? Are you compressing the images, or you’re not compressing the images? Those are some components of technical SEO that need to be considered. Typically when we engage a client for an SEO project, we do a technical audit of the site so we look at all the technical variables that impact whether the site will rank well. Then we start to address things that might be problematic. Google has very specific ranking factors; there are over 200 ranking factors, and quite a few of them are related to technical SEO. We address those to make sure that your site is in optimal condition so that when Google crawls it, it will score you highly from a technical SEO perspective.

What Is Content SEO?

Content SEO is much more visible to the end-user. Content SEO relates to the content that’s on your website. This would be both the evergreen content that’s going to live on your site forever, as well as more fleeting content like seasonal content, seasonal products. We’re also looking at your blog to drive up traffic to the blog and use that as part of your overall marketing ecosystem.

Is My Site the Only Factor?

Another component of SEO is how many websites link back to your site. Not just the quantity of sites that are linking back to you; the quality is very important. We want to look for sites with what we call “high domain authority” to link to your website. If a site has a higher domain authority, Google will find more credibility in that link to your site, which will help boost your ranking. So high domain authority sites linking to your site are significant. There are different ways to garner those links, and that’s something that we work on in our strategies is always having high domain authority links back to your primary domain, which will help you rank higher.

Can SEO Be Automated?

I love this question. So the easy answer is no, SEO cannot be automated. It takes a lot of human manpower to do most of the components of SEO, especially on the content side. There are some plugins and things like 301 redirects that can help make life easier, but I wouldn’t call it automated. You need a strategy for your SEO, and then you need people to execute that strategy. There are probably black-hat tactics that are automated that will drop links throughout the web for you; things of that nature, Google is on to those, and they will actually penalize you for them. So I would steer clear of anything that is truly automated.

Is SEO the Only Way to Show up in Search?

When a user searches on Google, Google presents a search engine results page, also known as the SERP. Go to Google and type in “best hamburgers in my town,” and you’re going to get various results on that page. You’re probably going to see things like, you know, ads paid ads at the top of the page. You’ll see some local listings right so, maybe some local restaurants that have hamburgers mentioned on their page. You may also see some other results on the right-hand side, and then, of course, you see what we call the traditional results all throughout the page. One of the things that you’ll see are those paid ads at the top. Over the years, their name has changed, but basically, it’s Google Ads, and advertisers purchase those on a pay-per-click basis. These are different than SEO results. That is the part of the Google search engine results page that you can pay-to-play on. You can buy an ad, and for the right price, your ad will start to show up at the top of the page when users search for burgers in your town if you sell burgers.

Which Is Better: Ads or SEO?

At the end of the day, you really should do both. With PPC, you can pay-to-play, so you can be on that page pretty quickly, whereas SEO is more of a marathon. It’s going to take longer to rank organically, but the results should complement each other. In the user’s mind, when they see your business referenced more than once on the page, in paid and in organic and in a local pack, they’re more likely to click on your business because there are more opportunities for them to click. So we often like to talk about controlling as much real estate on the search engine results page as possible and trying to take advantage of all of those different positions.

What Does SEO Success Look Like?

For me, though, the ultimate success is in how much traffic is driven to the site as a result of our rankings and how much of that is quality traffic. So we monitor our client’s success all the way through to conversion when possible, so for some people, that’s a purchase; for some people, that’s a lead. But those are the kinds of successes that we work on with our clients. We determine KPIs before we launch a campaign so that we all know what success will look like.

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