What Happens if You Google Your Own Business?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), is the elusive Golden Child of internet rankings. It’s a full time game of chess with search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo – and is one of the most important parts of your strategy for digital marketing in Santa Barbara. Because SEO considers so many aspects of your digital presence, social sharing, keyword search, linkbacks, etc, it encompasses (and must be considered), throughout your digital marketing strategy. It’s kind of like the CEO of the internet. If you want your business to be found, you answer to the SEO, and it starts right here, locally, with your web design in Santa Barbara.
It’s true that SEO is not the only way to get people to your site. It has a partner that goes by the name of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). In practice they work together to bring traffic from paid advertising (Adwords), and organic searches. As far as their conversion, there are supporters of each. Some like the targeted nature of SEM, while others champion the loyalty of the organic search. Personally I feel they are both valuable in their own right. However, for the sake of brevity, and to avoid the which is “better” conversation, I’m going to limit this talk to SEO.
SEO is basically a road map for crawlers to decipher your site’s relevance based on a keyword search. For a pretty good description of what a crawler is, you can go here. Based on the current version of the search engine’s algorithm, the crawlers scour websites looking for a combination of these three foundations of SEO – content, inbound links, and your social signal.
When a robot, or crawler inspects your site, it looks for several things. And rest assured, they do inspect them. Google’s crawler, Googlebot, will sometimes visit sites several times per day. When it visits sites, it’s looking for updates, relevance, and ease of navigation. The latter is crucial to consider with your web design in Santa Barbara. Good content, along with simple navigation is the king of this foundation. The easier it is for the crawler to understand the layout of the site and the visibility of the keywords, the more likely your site will rank highly in search results. One way to help with content is to list keywords at the bottom of your home page and link them to content in your site.
The second foundation is inbound links. This essentially means links from external sites validating the information on your site by linking to you. Now, that doesn’t mean that anybody who links to your site will increase your search rankings. Remember, with SEO it’s all about quality. The more reputable, and well established the site is, the more valuable the link is to your ranking. One tool that is commonly used to achieve this is blogging. This is why good quality copy is so important. If you are writing well thought out, engaging, and relevant blogs, and you publish your work as a guest blogger on another site, that site links back to you and BAM – inbound link. Of course this isn’t the only way, it’s just one suggestion. SEO strategy is always evolving to respond to changed algorithms, so stay on top of it, and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
This is the newest and trickiest foundation. It’s tough to nail down, but increasingly valuable as not only an SEO tool, but in digital marketing in Santa Barbara as a strategy. What’s tricky about it, is it’s not just a cut and dry keyword search. It consists of multiple variables centering on the presence that your business has socially, via Twitter, FaceBook, etc. And, within the sphere of social media, some things are more valuable than others. For instance, on Facebook, a share is more valuable than a like, and so on. So when you are mapping out your social media strategy, it is in your interest to think of it as an SEO tool. It’s all about your business having increased visibility to the crawlers – from multiple angles.
Nailing down these three foundation can land you in one of the coveted top result spots of a Google search. That can mean the difference between a business making it or breaking it. One of the things that are great about SEO, is it’s free – and it builds over time. As you work at connecting your name across the internet, and training the bots to rank your page high, those results stick. They remain at the top of the search, unless you get penalized, or deindexed.
As I just alluded to, there are rules that govern SEO. Because Google’s, and other search engine’s, main interest is serving the user, they have a tendency to protect the validity of the search results. For this reason there are some practices that webmasters, and spammers use that can cause your web site to be deindexed completely – so web design responsibly.
Come back for my next blog and find out the top ways to get busted by Google.