SEO Explained Simply For Business Owners

Corey Shelton, Founder & Owner

Quick Definition

In the simplest of terms, SEO – short for Search Engine Optimization – is the implementation of digital strategies, tactics, and techniques that help you gain more “organic traffic” (i.e. online visitors) to your website. This is accomplished by the aforementioned strategies, tactics, and techniques serving to increase your website’s visibility by ranking your site higher on a search engine (Google) results page – SERP for short.

Think about how many times you’ve gone to Google and searched for something. Now ask yourself, which results do you click on. Typically you click on the first few top results. You may at the very most scroll to the bottom of the page but I’m sure if you’re like many, very rarely do you venture to the second, much less third results page.

This is why SEO is soo important to your business. When you’re able to rank your website and content higher in a search engine’s results page: the more visitors you’ll attract to your website, the more leads you’ll collect, and the more clients you’ll be able to convert.

This all leads to increased profitability for your business and more growth for your overall business as a whole.

Practical SEO Example

Imagine that your potential client goes to Google and types in a search related to the product or service you offer. Next, imagine that most if not all of what they see are two things:

  1. The first thing they see on the search engine results page is only or mostly results that directly point to your competitors’ products, services, and website.
  2. The second thing they might see are domain authority websites related to your product, service, or market that again are only linking to and or referencing your competitor’s products, services, and website.

Now picture being in your potential customers’ shoes.

Who do you think they’re going to go with? Better yet, who would you go with in that scenario?

Uhh duh, naturally they’re going to go with your competition. The reason being is that there is more perceived value, expertise, knowledge, and information popping up in Google about your competition then there is about you.

This all leads your potential customer to think that your competition is, in fact, the leading authority or “go to” experts they need to spend their money on in order solve their particular pain point. As a result, you end up losing a potential customer to your competitor.

That my friend, in an eye-opening nutshell, is a crash course on SEO.

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Take A Minute and Think

In general, think of SEO as a holistic online marketing approach that helps you increase brand awareness, build online authority, raise search engine rankings, and ultimately gain more “organic traffic” to your website.

Good or bad, positive or negative your ability to acknowledge, respect, and implement or dismiss the power of SEO will one way or another more than likely impact and influence the growth of your business.

That said, it’s important to know and understand that implementing SEO strategies are NOT, I repeat are NOT short term quick win strategies. You have to deploy commitment, consistency, and patience – implementing great SEO strategies and tactics today will not get you results tomorrow.

In general, it can take up to 6 months before you start seeing any real or notable results. This means you must be willing to deploy both patience and commitment to the process in order for your efforts to yield any real and tangible fruit.

Breaking Down SEO Into 3 Strategies

Typically, most experts divide SEO into two main categories which are On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.

I like taking this approach one step further by sub-dividing On-Page SEO into two sub-sets.

I’ll refer to these On-Page subsets as Front-end and Backend or Technical. This helps provide better clarity for what’s actually taking place. It also ensures a greater understanding of how you should approach each aspect of your SEO strategy.

In short, this approach splits SEO into 3 important buckets or strategies.

Each bucket or strategy works in harmony with one another to deliver maximum impact and effective results.

Without diving too far into the technical aspect of each strategy, listed below are general overviews for each strategy. You should become familiar with each one. In doing so, you will better understand what’s going on behind the scenes and be able to more effectively communicate with those helping you implement SEO correctly into your business’ online growth strategies.

Since you’re only here for context and a broad overview, let’s keep things simple and to the point.

I’ll share three general summaries about high-level components you need to think about and be aware of to get you started on the right track.

FRONT-END

Remember Front-end speaks to On-Page SEO. In particular, Front-End refers to the content on your page and aims to craft your content around focused keyword factors.

Example:

Let’s use Fitness as our category and Cross Fit as our specific Fitness topic. To implement great SEO on your Front-end you want to ensure that your content focuses not just on fitness but more so that it is tailored to the keyword CrossFit and other CrossFit specific terms and phrases such as:

  • WOD, meaning “Workout of the Day”,
  • AMRAP, meaning “As Many Reps/Rounds as Possible
  • “Hero WOD” which are simply WODs that are named after military servicemen, such as the “Murph”, which is one of the toughest Cross Fit workouts.

Those are just a few examples. I’m sure you get the point. Which is to say your page’s content should use the same language and semantics as the audience that you’re trying to attract through the topic you’ve chosen to write about.

My recommendation is to I write how you naturally speak, while at the same time always focusing on the keyword phrases and related keyword phrases you’d like your content to rank for.

Note that this does not mean you use “keyword stuffing” techniques, which simply means you literally throw a bunch of your target keywords and phrases into your post or article.

In fact, it’s important to note that if you do try and force keywords and key phrases into your pages and articles, Google is smart enough to recognize it. Not only will Google recognize that you’re attempting to game the system but more importantly they will actually penalize your site by pushing you further down on their search results.

One last little note. Front-end also refers to the way in which your article is structured, meaning that you need to use the appropriate title and heading tags to ensure that your content hierarchy is clearly understood by both your readers and search engines.

BACKEND OR TECHNICAL

Again, if you recall Backend or Technical still refers to On-Page SEO but this aspect of SEO speaks more to the underlying technical aspects and capabilities of your website.

These technical aspects that are related to your sites Code, Server efficiencies, and page load speed to name a few.

Other equally important aspects include your website’s overall site structure or whether you’re serving your web pages over secure HTTPS protocols to encrypt user data that you may be aggregating through things like online forms or general contact pages.

If you have a website, take a second and go to it. Now look up in the URL bar and see if your domain name is preceded with “http://” or “https://”. If you only see “http://” then your site is not secure and will appear less favorable to a search engine like Google then another website that is using “https://” correctly.

https being used correctly

One of the most important aspects of SEO, especially with the rising number of mobile devices is to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile devices.

Simply put, if your website is not optimized to render content that tailors the look, feel, and design and page load speeds to mobile devices you can expect that Google and other search engines are going to penalize you by pushing your site further down the search results page.

This dates all the way back to 2015 (read here).

With that in mind, when you consider the exponential increase in mobile engagement and the rapid decline of desktop engagement it becomes evidently clear why optimizing your website and content for mobile devices is not only crucial but required if you want to win in the game search.

Interested in finding out if your website is optimized for mobile? Use this free Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool.

EPHEMERAL OR REFERRAL

Last but certainly not least, lets move on to the Off-Page SEO strategy that we’re calling Ephemeral or Referral.

This is where tactics like “backlinking” are employed. Backlinks are used to help boost the perceived domain authority of your website and the page authority of the specific page or blog article you’re trying to rank higher.

Think of backlinks like this – imagine your Google and your friend comes up to you and asks, “where is the best place to go eat around here?”. Next, you pause for a second to think… You recall 5 of your friends saying that “Burger Joint A” was good and then you recall 20 of your friends saying that “Burger Joint B” was amazing.

Instantly you point them in the direction of “Burger Joint B”. Why is that?

You pointed your friend to “Burger Joint B” because there was a more perceived authority with “Burger Joint B” – a.ka. more people said it was awesome.

Backlinks and social signals work the same way. The more quality links – note I emphasized “quality” – you get to reference your website and blog articles the more perceived authority Google and other search engines will attribute to you. The result is that you will land you much further up the results page then competitors who have less perceived authority.

Just as a precaution, let me again emphasize that these links need to be high-quality links. In the past and even nowadays some blackhat SEOs use tactics where they get hundreds or even thousands of cheap, low-quality backlinks using link exchange networks, buying them, or various other quick, yet harmful methods of acquiring backlinks.

Be aware that many of Google’s most recent (2016-2017) search algorithm updates will not only catch these tactics but more importantly they will severely penalize your site for them. In other words, make sure you keep things on the up-and-up, this will take more time but will prove much more valuable to you and your business than trying to get a few cheap wins.

SEO Takes Time

I can’t say this enough but know that SEO is not a silver bullet for the here and now.

As a business owner, I know you want to see immediate results, especially when you’re investing your valuable time, precious resources, and hard earned money into it.

Despite wanting immediate results, you need to be aware that SEO is more of a marathon and not a sprint. Inevitably this means you need to view it as a long-term strategy for your business growth.

Furthermore, it also requires that you stay committed to it for a longer period of time – typically about 6 months at minimum – for it to start yielding results or providing you with any real ROI.

In the end, I would encourage you to intelligently develop your website, blog, and online content. Three simple ways you can start doing this now are by:

  1. Offering high quality and topic focused content that is crafted in an organized and structured fashion through the appropriate title, heading, link, and meta tags.
  2. Providing an amazing experience for all devices by taking a mobile first approach. This also means ensuring that pages load fast.
  3. Developing a network of websites, people, and influencers in your market who can use and share your content through their digital channels. As a result, you’ll not only build social report with them but you’ll also increase your website’s domain authority through high-quality backlinking opportunities.

Thanks for reading. I hope this helps you take your business to the next level.

I love connecting with others so if you’d like to work with me or if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. 🙂

Cheers!
Corey

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