What is SEO?

What is SEO all about?

When you have the right tools, search engine optimization is simpler than you think. See, there’s a bunch of ways that search engines like Google® use to determine who they’ll list first in their search results. Updating your content on a regular basis, including search terms frequently in your text and receiving a plethora of inbound links are just a few pieces of criteria that are considered. In short, optimization is a way of getting the attention of search engines and showing them that you should be a frontrunner in their search results. Following some simple steps outlined in your Search Engine Optimizer will help search engines value your website and rank it accordingly.

Keywords

Search engines use keywords when they include your website in their search results. Keywords can make or break your search engine ranking. Adding keywords to the content of your website can improve its ranking, but overusing them can cause your site to be banned for spamming.

Rich Snippets

​Rich Snippets are small previews of relevant information on your website that display in the search results when someone does a search. Rich snippets tell the search engines more about your website and what content you have on your pages. When the search engines return a list of relevant results, your rich snippet information will appear and give them a preview of what they can expect to see on your site.

Social Media

Social media has become the combined “newspaper” for all things a consumer needs:  major world events, celebrity gossip, politics, parenting tips and, (everybody’s favorite), keeping up with friends and co-workers. Social media mediums hold an increasing high amount of weight for search engines even though they hide behind an image disguised as “fun and distraction” activity for the average person. How does this affect a business in search engine placement?  You may not gain any perceived value from YouTube views or subscribers, G+ shares or Diggs, your tri-daily Facebook posts or even your Tweets, but there is a large benefit from having social media platforms and a large audience of followers.  Using your brand name in all posts will ultimately land you in higher and more positions within search engines as well as exposing you across more networks of people.

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Organic and Paid Search Engine Results

​Most major search engines display a combination of organic and paid search results when answering users’ queries.

The organic are the main results — often labeled “Web Results” or something similar. Paid listings are displayed separately on search result pages and generally listed as “Sponsored” results.

 

The organic search results returned by a search engine for a given search keyword are generated through intricate ranking calculations that determine the relative relevance of the Web pages listed in the search engine’s index in relation to the entered keyword(s) along with a multitude of other factors. These organic results are the “true” output of the calculations that comprise a search engine’s ranking algorithm. A high organic search engine ranking can only be attained through effective search engine optimization (SEO). Occasionally, certain Web sites automatically rank highly for very particular, non-competitive keywords.

Paid search engine advertising offers an alternative or companion to positioning a Web site for organic search engine listings. Most paid search engine advertising is built around the so-called pay-per-click (PPC) concept. Simply put, PPC allows advertisers (i.e., Web site/business owners) to bid for the top ranking for a given keyword. The advertiser that places the highest bid is ensured the top ranking for that keyword until he/she is outbid. The second-highest bid is secured the number 2 ranking; the third-highest bid claims the 3rd spot, etc.

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Blogging

Content is important for several reasons. It drives traffic to your site but also helps the search engines find you. Always make sure that anything you post is original and not something that was copied from somewhere else.

When possible, try to have a fresh look at old topics. In some businesses, there are only so many things that people can talk about. Having a new look at old problems is something most people find interesting.

A blog needs to be brief. Readers on the net don’t have the same attention spans or reading needs as people that are reading instruction manuals or novels. People on the net are looking for the condensed version. They also tend to read in an “F” pattern, which is the farther down the page they go, the less they absorb.​

 

Kathryn Reynolds is a Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based Internet, media and brand marketing professional providing select consulting services for small to medium-sized clients in North Carolina. She has assisted real estate agents, home-builders and lenders in Charlotte, Fayetteville, Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, Winston Salem and Wilmington, North Carolina areas.  Kathryn also assists in marketing for industry trades such as building suppliers, installers and service providers.

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