SEO Basics for Noobs

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Introduction to SEO.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

How do people find your site when searching online?  Do you show up in Google Search Results?  Which page of search results?  For which search terms?  Does your site show up in Image search results?  Do you ever appear in Google’s knowledge-graph?  Local search results?  Do these search results drive visitation?  For all of these questions, SEO is the answer.

Why do you need SEO?

If you’re interested in driving non-paid site visitation (aka “organic search”, “natural search”, “free traffic”) to your site, then you need to get a handle on SEO.

How do you measure SEO success?

The true measure of SEO success is in driving non-paid visitation.

In order to drive visitation, your pages and posts have to appear in search engine’s results, and the higher in the search rankings they appear, the more likely they are to be clicked on.  If your page/post ranks in organic search position 1-10, it will likely appear on the first page of search results.  11-20 page two of results, 21-30 page three and so on.

This is significant as over 75% of searchers do not advance past the 1st page of search results (Source: Chitika) , so you’re losing a huge amount of potential eyeballs on your search result if you’re not in position 1-10.

Also, about 60% of organic search clicks go to the FIRST THREE results (Source: MarketingSherpa, 2017).

That said, it’s not easy to get there.  Google’s organic search algorithm is comprised of over 200 data points (not all of which are publicized, nor is the scoring).  The reason Google Search exists to begin with is, ostensibly, to match relevant search results to a user’s query or ‘semantic search’.

Google explains How Search Works from a users point-of-view…why you see the search results you see.  The key factors are:

  • Meaning of Search Query
  • Relevance of Pages
  • Quality of Content
  • Usability of Pages
  • Context & Settings

So, basically, Google makes it very clear which signals it looks at from a website in order to determine whether to include you in Search results (or not) and at which position for a specific user, for a specific search.  Understanding these factors is an important first step in your SEO journey.

What you can do yourself?

We recommend the following basic SEO steps you can take on your own:

  1. Make sure your site is secure with SSL
  2. Optimize your site for speed / fast load times
  3. Make sure your site is responsive  (i.e. good mobile experience)
  4. Perform keyword research (identify high volume/high relevance search terms people are using to find your business or businesses like you.)
  5. Make sure that your page titles, urls and url structure and meta descriptions incorporate identified keywords.

When to call an SEO consultant, to hire someone or hire an agency?

If you need help with any of points 1-5 (above) or don’t understand what they mean, then you need outside help.

An agency or consultant working independently on a brand’s behalf for SEO should be able to create strategies for increasing non-paid visitation.  At the very least, they should be able to provide guidance on: keyword research, webmaster/technical issues, content marketing, link building & analytics/measurement, and how all these aspects work together for SEO success.

4 great question to ask a potential SEO partner:

  1. How do you think you can help my brand/product/service?
    (answer: best answer in our opinion would be to create a unique SEO strategy designed to drive non-paid visitation including direction as to who will – and how – to execute it).
  2. How quickly will SEO efforts work?
    (answer: it’s a trick question.  anyone who tells you anything about quick results is taking you for a ride.  It takes a long time to build a site with strong organic rankings.  You can measure small successes along the way on the journey to SEO nirvana though…)
  3. How do you measure SEO success?
    (answer: ‘increased non-paid visitation which results in on-site conversions’ is the end goal.  There are many other metrics which can be tracked on your journey to the end goal, such as: tracking page rank, tracking clicks & CTR% from organic, engagement from organic, changes in inbound links, etc.)
  4. How does SEO work with our other marketing channels?
    (answer: Ventropy Media believes all media/marketing channels work together.  Some vertical agencies limit their focus to one marketing channel, which makes it harder to incorporate SEO into a unified marketing strategy.)

If you think you might want agency help with SEO, we offer a Free 30 Minute Digital Marketing Consultation, no obligation and no cost.