Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
How many times have you heard about SEO?
If you have a website, you’ve probably heard about Search Engine Optimization or SEO. It is in broad terms, the art of making a website rank higher in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP). If you wonder whether or not your website needs SEO, don’t. Every site needs it. The questions to ask yourself is why, how and what?
Let’s start with the basics. When you get a website, you put content online. That content has a certain value for visitors: it is relevant to some topics, or in other terms, keywords.
That relevant content is somewhere in the gigantic internet, and without any other website linking to it, its value is lost.
Good news! Search engines and yourself have the same goal: offer great content to anyone looking for it.
Put yourself in Google shoes for a second here (that sentence makes my coworkers laugh really hard). If you can’t offer the most relevant content for any given search, your loyal users might be frustrated and start using another search engine.
The reason behind any SEO approach is to help search engines understand your website and link to it. We call that “indexing” a website.
SEO for business
Ok, so putting content out there for users is great, but you have a business to run and you probably want to attract customers. Lots of customers.
Well, you’re not the only one. Your competitors are already out there, and they are not excited about having more competition. They might even be watching you to make sure they stay ahead.
How to do SEO?
The first quality of any SEO expert is to be realistic. If someone tells you that they can get your website to rank first on 100 highly competitive keywords in less than two months for only a thousand dollars, run from them. They either lie or do voodoo.
Keep in mind that you will only ever rank on keywords that you have content for.
Take this page for example. It is targeting the keyword “SEO Ontario“. I’m not hoping to get this page first on Google for the keywords “Search Engine Optimization” or “SEO Toronto”. I’m only focusing on the keyword “SEO Ontario“, and even for that one, I know this page won’t rank first. If it gets #5 I’ll be satisfied. It’s my goal for that keyword.
If your goal is actually to be first on a highly competitive keyword get ready to invest a lot of energy in it. It’s almost like landing your dream job, it will happen if you’re committed, hardworking and going in the right direction.
What is on-site SEO?
By now I’m sure that you have a great sense of what SEO is. Let’s then dig deeper in the three major areas of it: on-site SEO, off-site SEO, and local SEO.
So the first one we are going to talk about is on-site SEO. It is the most important part of the work and it is actually quite simple to understand.
Remember when we talked about what search engines want? Well, you’re gonna give it to them.
A lot of developers don’t really follow search engines recommendations and that’s a shame because it’s quite simple and doesn’t take that much time:
- Focus on 1 keyword on each page
- Keep your code clean and easy to understand for robots (i.e. make sure you don’t forget all the meta tags, the alt tags, etc…)
- Don’t cheat, don’t stuff keywords
- Send your content map to search engines
- Don’t let the search engine do the crawling work, help them by fixing 404s, create redirections, etc…
- And much more.
What is off-site SEO?
If your SEO expert has done his or her job perfectly, you will already get good results. However, you might not reach your objectives.
The reason being that search engines now understand what your content is, but they still don’t know if they can trust it. After all, when linking to you they put their reputation on the line and nothing guarantees your content is actually relevant.
That is why you need other experts in your field to endorse your content. How? by linking to it. It’s named link building and it’s probably the hardest and longest aspect of SEO.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is not per se a different area of work, but it is so specific that I want to talk about it in a separate section.
Local SEO is about ranking for an array of services or products in a geographically limited area: Bucher Toronto, hairdresser GTA, sushi Queen st, web development studio Toronto, SEO Ontario…
How is it different from regular SEO you will ask? Well, the logic of it is the same. Tell Google what you do exactly, where to find you, how to reach you and at what time.
There is more, you can get ratings on Google map, get listed in yelp, have some special content for your local pages on your website, etc…
Remember: be clear and honest with search engines, don’t be greedy with keywords and show everyone the great quality of your products.
SEO for e-commerce
Here at Noble Pixels, we have a great experience with e-commerce and SEO. We know that without great qualified traffic you will always depend on paid per click and advertising to make sales.
Althought E-commerce websites are huge and contain great content it is hard to get them to rank well. Many reasons for this:
- The competition is very hard. Big online shops are investing a lot in SEO and they will not be ok with losing their rank
- Ecomms are dynamic, often built with CMS, and offer technical limitations hard to overcome.
- Duplicate content. Most of the shop out there selling product X often copy the catalog description to use as their own product description.
- And much more…
You will need to invest a lot of energy and resources to overcome all these difficulties. The outcome is definitely worth it, since you’ll have tons of potential customers for free.
You might be thinking that anyone can do SEO, your web team maybe? Well yes and no. Yes, because it’s mostly a matter of making search engines life easier and no, for a lot of other reasons:
- First, because competition never stops trying. Plus, they probably use the same tactics, so you’ll need to be smarter.
- Secondly, search engines are complex and no one knows exactly how they work.
- Then, because a mistake can have terrible consequences. One of our clients told us recently about how a single mistake got them to lose 90% of their organic traffic.
- And finally because it takes a great deal of realism to admit that your rankings and/or your website are not as good as you think. An expert will transform problems into opportunities to pursue.
And remaining first.
Also requires work. You’ll need to keep up with the great content, and get detailed reports about how you and your competitors are doing.
SEO works better with CRO.
If you’re still reading, congrats! you’ve done it! You now understand what to do with your SEO needs.
Keep in mind that getting more traffic is great, but at the end of the day, converting visitors into customers is your main goal. You can read (if you still can) our article about conversion rate optimization (CRO).
We are in Toronto, Ontario.
Contact us to learn more about how to get to the top.