Search Engine Optimization – SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO Introduction

There has been a lot of misinformation swirling around SEO practices since we began doing SEO. That’s over 15 years, by the way. SEO is both an art and a science. Since we don’t know the exact details of the search algorithm that Google uses, SEO specialists speculate based on what works. And, SEO is complex when you consider that there’s more than one way to rank high for a particular keyword. Then it becomes an opinion on how best to run an SEO program.

Google has the vast majority of searches on-line. We’ll focus on them. If you look at a Google search results page, SEO deals with the organic search results. The other paid ad space and products listed are really under the SEM umbrella, which SEO is part of. Organizations that rank at or near the top of page 1 in the Google search results have the advantage in getting leads to their website, or outright selling via e-commerce.

I’ve heard people talking about SEO in odd terms. I’ve heard things like, “I can’t win against Google.” Think of SEO this way. Google is hosting the game on their field. You’re playing by their rules, but so is everyone else. You’re really playing against any website that has content that is in competition with your web content. In reality, you don’t have to beat Google. You need to beat the other businesses and website owners that are trying to rank for the same keywords that you want to rank high for.

Read more information below on SEO***

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Search Engine Optimization Details

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SEO-1Is SEO Right For My Business?

This is the first question you should ask. To win at SEO, and not overspend into oblivion, you’ll need some help with the question. Let’s talk about “SEO competition,” and what that refers to. SEO is centered around keyword phrases and how much competition there is in searches for those keywords. A keyword can be a single word or phrase that a person searches for on-line. When we talk about competition in SEO, it refers to keyword competition. Some industries, like auto insurance for example, have way too much keyword competition for a local insurance agency to win at general phrases like, “car insurance”. Trying to get their website to rank for a keyword like this is usually too costly with low ROI.

However, it is possible to focus on more specific keywords and be successful. Specific keywords generally have less competition on-line. These keywords build less traffic when you do rank high for them, but at least you have a chance to gain website traffic by focusing on them.

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SEO - Should I....?

  1. SEO is Keyword based
  2. Competition factors in
  3. Keywords can be 1 or more words
  4. Specific keywords are easier
  5. Don’t battle a giant

SEO-2Think Like Google?

Yes, it is possible to think like Google and apply it to SEO. Think about the purpose of Google’s Search Engine. Google is an information management company. They organize web content so we can easily find things on-line. By ranking websites based on keyword searches, Google can return what the algorithm says are the best websites to show you in the results. When you do a Google search, Google wants you to get the best, or most useful,  search results back as quickly as they can. Google also wants you to keep coming back to use their search page because it feeds their ad revenue engine, YouTube traffic, and a lot more. Makes sense so far, right?

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What Does Google Care About>?

  1. Organize the internet
  2. Give you the best answers
  3. Keep Google Search relevant
  4. Generate ad revenue
  5. Sending users to YouTube
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SEO-3Content Is the Main Factor

While we don’t have the Google algorithm patent information, we do know some of the attributes that Google measures, and obviously uses to rank websites. There are many we won’t mention here, but it is important to remember that how a website is built can help or hurt your SEO efforts. Static HTML sites can be coded in different ways. Some are more SEO friendly than others. CMS systems like WordPress are SEO friendly upon install.

Content should be your first priority and main focus. Describe your products and services accurately and thoroughly for your customers. Include the details that your customers want to know. That detail can help with SEO. Use the main keywords associated with your product in your copy that apply to the product or service. You should use synonyms. Google expects it and knows that the keywords, “dog” and “K9” are often used on the same web page. Include images with meta info. added. If you have video, add it. Do not try some of the very old tricks like spamming keywords on a web page. Make the page presentable to customers. While getting customers to your page is important, converting to a sale is equally important!

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Content Considerations

  1. Content, Content
  2. & More Content
  3. Add Images
  4. Add video
  5. Traffic is important
  6. Conversions are more important

SEO-4Google Uses What to Rank Pages?

Remember what we said above. Google wants you to keep coming back. When you go to Google and search, Google wants you to get answers back quickly that help. We know from Google’s own analytics what they measure and track.

Fixing one of the issues below may help you rank better, but you may have to address several to rank at the top of the first page.

Bounce Rate – If you’re experiencing high bounce rate on a page, Google knows people are searching and not liking or finding what they’re looking for. To improve SEO, analyze why visitors are leaving the page so quickly.

Website Page Load Speed – Does your website load fast? If your website loads slowly (compared to others), Google measures it. Google ranks sites higher that load faster.

Inbound Links – Inbound links from other websites will naturally help you build traffic. They also “vouch” for your site as an authority on the content the links go to. The more reputable the website is that links to yours, the more SEO value the link has.

There are dozens and dozens of other factors that may effect SEO.

Other Ranking Factors

  1. Google wants you to return to Google
  2. Decrease bounce rate
  3. Speed up page loads
  4. Get reputable inbound links

SEO-5SEO For E-Commerce Webites

E-Commerce websites present several challenges. Many of the same SEO principles we follow on small informational websites translate to e-commerce websites. You should still provide great content. Give your customers the information that they need to purchase from you without having to contact you. Include details and FAQ’s about your products and shipping methods.

Many of the issues with doing SEO on large e-commerce sites are brought about because of scale. E-commerce sites with thousands of products can take time to go through all of the different pages to optimize content. We advocate doing all of the sitewide SEO functions early on. Those are the SEO items that are applied throughout the site, rather than working specifically on a single product page. They are generally structural or a format that applies sitewide. Work from most important SEO changes you can make to the least. Title tags are still extremely important to SEO. Make sure your title tags are formatted well and contain the right content. SEO friendly URL’s are common now. Make sure they actually are formatted well. Keyword meta data is not important. Don’t waste time on adding keyword data.

Once you get the sitewide items done, look at more specific items. Make sure you have content on product category pages. Those types of pages can pick up more general keywords that can add a lot of traffic to your site. Add images to the page with descriptive meta data filled in. Make sure you have links to every product in that category.

Specific SEO work takes the most time. Start with products that you have the most margin on. Those products make you the most money! Spend some time improving SEO for keywords focused on those high margin products. Make sure you have awesome text content including the main keywords people would search for to find it, along with synonyms. Use as many images as it takes to describe the product to buyers. Make sure each image has meta data like alt tags filled in. Those tags should include keywords/synonyms. If you can add video about the product, add it. Video can increase the time a user spends on a web page. Make sure your page is readable and usable for customers. Work through all of your products to improve SEO.

Meta descriptions are not as important to SEO as they are at helping to convert your link on the Google search results page. The meta description shows up in your search result. It’s best to add meta descriptions to your pages and products. Meta descriptions are only a  few lines on the search page. Focus on adding the best short description that you can that would help convert to a click on your link. Sometimes it is the copy you already wrote for the web page and sometimes not. SEO is about gaining traffic. E-commerce SEO is about converting traffic to a sale. Get one of your web pages to the top of the Google search results, get the user to click to your site and convert them to a buyer!

E-Commerce Key Points

  1. Focus on sitewide SEO changes
  2. Add great content
  3. No keyword spamming
  4. SEO on category pages
  5. SEO on high margin products
  6. Meta descriptions for conversions

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