We know SEO is important, but what is it? And what does it do?  We interviewed SEO specialist, Steven Joiner of Searchography, to help give the layperson an elemental understanding of SEO and best practices.

What is SEO?

SJ: SEO (search engine optimization) is the practice of making your website more visible to search engines by focusing your content, improving user interaction, and getting other sites across the internet to link to your content (backlinks).

What are the benefits of SEO?

SJ: If you follow the rules of SEO and target specific keyword search terms, you can rank for these terms which will presumably bring your business potential clients.

Successful SEO can potentially bring you more business by increasing the number of search terms your website ranks for, which in turn should bring visitors looking for your services or products to your website.

Why should someone pay for SEO? 

SJ: Putting up a website and not doing SEO is akin to printing business cards and not handing them out.  The web is a vast place (over 1 billion websites) and without a considerable amount of effort or money, it’s difficult for people to find your website.

For popular keyword terms entered into search engines, there maybe thousands, even millions of website owners that want to rank for that term.  What is a search engine to do?  You have to get your message to the search engines.

What are a few easy things that a layperson can do to increase their rankings?

SJ: There are lots of fairly easy things to do to make your website more visible, but keep in mind that SEO is a process where you need to get LOTS of things done, some easy, some hard, before you will start to see real results.  

Some of the easier things are to submit sitemaps, use Google Analytics and Google Search Console for monitoring and success, get a Google My Business page, get as many reviews on Google, Yelp and other directories as you can get. Also, for better local search results, make sure your business name, address and phone number are consistent across social media and business directory sites.

What are a few SEO best practices that everyone should know?

SJ: There are so many areas, it’s hard to cover, but remember a few general rules about what search engines like and don’t like.

  1. Keep your website content fresh by adding interesting blogs
  2. Target your content for keywords, but don’t overdo it so much that it makes your content look weird – keep it natural and interesting
  3. Share, share, share. Cross promote your web content to social media sites, friends, colleagues and use your targeted keywords in anchor text whenever possible
  4. Ask happy clients to relate their experiences on review sites, but don’t pressure them or ask for specifics
  5. Make sure you standardize your business name, address and phone number.Do you have a favorite SEO resource that you like to read or subscribe to to help you keep up on the latest happenings in the field?

Do you have a favorite SEO resource that you like to read or subscribe to to help you keep up on the latest happenings in the field?

SJ: There are many, many websites that write about SEO, but and are excellent resources. Even Google itself has blogs and a wealth of information.