Most business owners who have a website know they need to be found in Google to get customers. Some business owners know that their website needs SEO in order to show up on the first page of Google. However, for most of those business owners, the term “SEO” seems to be a mystery that no one can really define…let alone tell you why you need it in the first place.
The truth is, you can make it as simple or as complicated as you like, as long as you recognize that it is an ongoing process, not a one time deal.
Let’s dive in!
What is SEO?
First, what does SEO actually mean?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing elements of your website so the search engines (a.k.a. Google, Yahoo or Bing) will consider your site relevant enough to serve it up to a user’s search inquiry. SEO can include many methods, but all of it has the common goal of increasing traffic to your website (which, by the way, factors into your SEO as well).
Without getting too “techie” on you, the basic elements of SEO are:
- Keyword Research – knowing what people are searching for
- On-page optimization – making sure those keywords are placed on your page correctly
- Off-page optimization – making sure your website code on the backend includes those keywords and other elements
- Outbound and inbound links – otherwise known as “backlinks”; linking other sites to your content, as well as having other sites link to your content
We launched a new site. Why aren’t I on page one yet?
So you have a new website with great content and you’ve told Google to start paying attention. You should be on page one by next week, right? Not so fast. It’s a bit more complicated than waving hello to the internet.
To start, a brand new site just doesn’t have enough juice to get to that first page of search results. The search engine king, Google, will decide when it wants to pay attention to your new site. This is called “crawling”. When Google crawls your site, it takes your content and “indexes” your page to understand what it is about and where it should appear in search results. This process can take anywhere from 4 days to 4 weeks for a brand new site.
Once your site has been crawled and indexed, you will start to see it appear in search results but where still depends on that list of things we listed at the beginning: keywords, competition, and other on-site and off-site factors.
Ok, I’m ranking. I’m done, right? Nope.
Why do you need to continue to work on SEO if you want to be successful on the web? Simple: Things are constantly changing.
Here are a few different reasons why SEO is a process and not a one and done activity:
1. The Market is Constantly Changing
Let’s take the smartphone for example. When the first generation of the iPhone came out, it was the only one. If you searched for “iPhone” or “smartphone” you did not have to get that specific, and when you reached your results, you can believe that Apple’s website was the first on the list.
Of course, now there are thousands of smartphones on the market. They vary in size, price, color, you name it. You have to get specific when you search Google for what you want. Therefore, Apple had to update their SEO on their website to include specifics because the market demanded it.
SEO is an ongoing process because we don’t always know what is coming. Your website pages should be ever-evolving with the needs and wants (searches) of your customers. If you fail to make changes along the way, you’ll be left in the dust.
2. Your Competition is Doing It
Just like the market is changing, your competition is changing too.
Sometimes they are adding products or services to compete with yours. Or, a new guy just entered the game and they are looking to take some of your customers. More likely, they are leveling up their SEO efforts in order to compete against a business just like yours.
SEO is an ongoing process because even if you aren’t taking steps to outrank your competition, you should at least be monitoring what they are doing in order to keep up. When you stay on top of your SEO, you can always stay one step ahead of them.
3. Search Engine Rules Change
This is perhaps the most complex, but the most important reason your SEO is an ongoing process. The rules (according to Google) are in a constant state of change, making improvements and updates on a consistent basis. It is the search engines that decide who ranks first on a daily basis. Google is making changes literally around the clock to improve the user experience by serving them with the most relevant results for their search.
By staying informed of these updates, you can make sure your SEO is up to date and continue to rank high in the search engines.
I have a small business, I don’t have time for SEO!
But we do.
Small business owners should accept SEO as an ongoing business requirement, just like any other expense. You have to invest in it for the long haul. Unless you are conducting paid advertising, it can take 2-4 months before you can begin to see the results of your efforts. Depending on your competition and other factors, it could even take longer. At GreenCup Digital, we offer SEO packages to take this burden off your plate. Our goal is to put your business in a strong fundamental position to rank for your most important search terms. And keep it there.
Ask about our SEO packages and see how we can keep you at the top of the search result pile.