What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization (also known as SEO) is a term that confuses many people. Many SEO companies in the Atlanta area and all over the country seem to present Search Engine Optimization in a cloud of mystic and magic. One of our main goals at FAME is to let small business owners peek behind the curtain and make informed decisions.
At the heart of SEO is the desire to be at the top or the “first” website listed when your potential client searches for your company. There are many tools to accomplish this goal; most are straight forward and don’t require trying to trick Google or Bing. The most effective approaches all begin by first developing a strategy around the target keywords or phrases that best describe your business or services.
At FAME, we will sit down with you and strategize how best to isolate your core business objectives, and match these with the most appropriate keywords and phrases. We then pursue a calculated method of strategically placing these keywords throughout your website. This is the most basic and first stage in the search engine optimization process.
Here are some specific terms or words you may hear associated with Search Engine Optimization:
One of the first terms you will always hear when discussing SEO is “keywords” or “key phrases.” Keywords, quite simply, are the words that people type into Google or Bing when they are looking for information. A more accurate way to state it would be Search Phrases or Search Queries. The practical definition for a small business owner is “the words or phrase a potential client would type when they are in need of your product or service.”
Search engines have massive amounts of data and will almost always return millions of “matches” for the search terms or keywords your client enters. Your web designers should regularly have access to a set of reports on your site that shows how well you match up against everyone else who is competing for the same search terms or phrases.
Organic results are simply the basic website links that the search engine shows based on the results of your potential client’s search phrases. These results are also called “natural results” as companies are not paying the search engine to be listed for these search phrases. Companies who are not getting the attention they desire because of low organic results may opt to pay for higher rankings. These are usually called AdWords, and are discussed in the Pay-per-Click section.
PPC or Pay-per-Click
One of the ways these search engine companies make money is by allowing companies to purchase top placement in certain search results. Pay-per-Click is a type of advertising where the search engine gives your link priority placement to encourage potential clients to visit your website. You are only charged when a potential client “clicks” the link to visit your site.
The cost of these links is often fairly high per click but can be a good value if properly managed. The effort is different from traditional advertising, due to the fact that you only pay when a potential customer actually clicks through to your website.
This is a powerful SEO tool, when used alongside solid organic search results, and must be backed by accurate and strategic keyword identification. The quality of your keyword or search phrase becomes critical because paying for a PPC for a very generic term will usually not yield a very high Return On Investment.