SEO is such an important and long term investment for any business – including small local businesses. Sadly, most business owners don’t really know what it is, let alone how SEO works. We’re here to help fix those 2 issues as plain as we can. We already have an article on what is SEO so we’re going further with this one into the how. SEO works by making the proper changes into a website to ensure it serves the users in the best possible way. This is done by implementing the proper technical changes to ensure the website performs up and beyond the industry, and the search engines’, standards with great user experience. This means the website provides the valuable content the user is searching for, in an easy to consume structure, while also making it easy for the search engine crawlers to go through your website, “scan”, and index the information by following the properly established formats.
Now, you may be asking yourself the following question.
How do SEO specialists do this exactly?
By following the 3 things search engines and users care about the most. This breaks down into taking care of the foundational structure of your website (The Technical SEO), providing actual valuable content, and actually taking care of the first 2 points and not trying to game the system (black hat SEO and even some white hat SEO).
That’s it! It’s actually that simple. Though how you implement some aspects, like the valuable content, is up to creativity and figuring out how to best serve and deliver the value to the marketplace, the rest is just plain and simple. Like building a house, you make a strong foundation for you business online presence through your technical SEO on your website (and other online assets), then you build up from there by actually delivering value. Furthermore, not just any value but delivering the type of value your business was made to deliver, what the marketplace expects you to deliver, and what they are actually seeking. This means that if you have a plumbing business, you would have content to help the users with their plumbing issues. You would also check to see what else related to plumbing is the marketplace seeking answers to via market research and deliver that. Lastly, you would be delivering good plumbing services to each and every customer that you do work for. That’s it. It’s that simple. Strong foundational SEO and valuable content that solves the searchers needs.
Forget about all the other tactics you hear about. Forget link building, social media promotions, buying links and PBNs, and trying to trick Google into ranking you up. If you focus on the two aforementioned aspects, then you will rank up. The better your foundation and the more value you provide, the higher and faster you will rank. Period. You may be able to trick Google temporarily but they will come back and smack you with an algorithm update like Daily Mail did and lost 50% of their traffic.
Many people have been hit with updates in the past and losing even up to 90% of their traffic, 90% of their hard work, because they relied on black hat backlinking or even not black hat but really not even that relevant and good of a link in the past. All because they focused on things other than actually providing value.
At the end of the day, this is what Google cares about!
Google is the top search engine because they are the best at giving you the results that solve your needs when you use it. The moment that Google stops doing this, another search engine will take over and they will lose a lot of money – A LOT! This is why they continually work on their search engine and improve it to ensure that when someone uses it, the search results are the best ones available to answer the question they just asked… to solve the need of the searcher.
So let’s break it down on how exactly we do this.
Foundational SEO – (Technicals SEO):
For the user, this means the website is easy to navigate and performs well. It doesn’t take a long time for it to load and things are not broken or not working optimally. The website works well and is optimized for the different devices the user may use. This pretty much boils down to a great user experience for the visitors. When visitors come to your site, the website runs smoothly, it is easy to navigate your way around it, and find what they are answers they are seeking.
For the search engines, this means the website is structured in a way where they can easily go through your website, scan it, and properly associate it with the right type of content so they can index it appropriately. To do this, you have to follow the properly established format and search engine language.
How do you accomplish Foundational search engine optimization?
To take care of your technical SEO and have a strong foundation, you have to follow the established structure. The website should redirect to it’s secured HTTPS version, it should have a sitemap and a robot file, follow proper URL structure, have the right navigational pages, not have any broken links or unsecured content, have the proper indexation protocols, coded correctly with compression protocols and minifying un-critical code, and have the markups on the global search engine language (schema markups). Furthermore, the website should be incorporated to a Google My Business that is in itself optimized. It should have proper business citations and be connected to analytics and performance tools for content and traffic analysis.
For more details into the nitty-gritty on how exactly to do this on for your website and business, wait for our complete guide. We are currently building it. If you email [email protected] with the subject “foundational SEO guide” we will send it to you once it is complete.
For the user, this means that the content was what they were searching for; it solved their needs. Whether that need was the answer to a question, entertainment, solving a problem, etc… your website took care of it. To accomplish this, the content on your website has to be relevant to your business, your products, and/or services. If you have a plumbing business, all the content on your website is to answer plumbing questions and to take care of plumbing related needs. You would not put anything related to roofing or anything else unless it relates back in some way to plumbing and solving or improving plumbing needs.
For the search engines, the content is set up in a way that makes it easy for them to scan, index, and has the right signals that it will be useful to their primary customers (the searchers). From there, they will send traffic to test whether or not the content really was useful to the searchers they sent you via signals such as, “did they click the back button and leave right away? How long did they spend on the page? Did they check other pages?” Etc….
Search engines like Google will put your content to the test. This is another reason why trying to trick the search engines into ranking you will eventually fail. They will test and see if those users bounced out of your website, they will rank you up and see if people actually click on it or not, they will see how long a user stayed on your website and what pages, they will test everything…. and if your content is not foundationally strong and valuable, you will fail.
How do you create content that is “valuable”?
This is not as hard as the technical aspects. Most people overthink it and spend hundreds of dollars into tools. You do not need to pay for a single tool. You can just use common sense and do common-sense research. To continue on the plumbing business example, what is content that you think would be valuable for people? What are the questions they ask themselves? What type of problems do they face?
A plumber should know this because this is exactly what he is hired to do. He is hired to fix the water heater, for example. So he could provide content on how to fix the water heater, how to install it, how to maintain it, how to pick the right one for a house type, how to do inspection checks, how to extend its life… the amount of content is as infinite as it is people’s curiosity.
But better yet, you can go on Google itself and start typing plumbing related terms or problems and see what Google suggests. It will suggest terms based on their search volume (how many people searched for that term) so you can get ideas of what people are searching for related to a topic.
I just put “how to plumbing” and see things related to “under sink plumbing” and ” kitchen sink plumbing.”
You can also put an “*” after “how to” and before “plumbing” indicate Google that you’re searching on how to’s on the topic of plumbing.
You can see people are searching for how to’s for plumbing a house, kitchen sink, shower, bathroom, etc…
Just write content for the questions people have, how to’s, explain how different things work. For example, “how to unclog a bathroom sink?” That is a common house problem that people would search for looking for the solution. If you provide a detailed guide on how to do this, you have solved that issue. You keep doing that with different problems and different questions, and Google will continually reward you with better rankings because you are providing value to their customers (the searchers) and you are answering the questions they are searching for.
Google will rank those pages and slowly rank you overall on the topic of “plumber” and “plumbing” in your area. This means a lot more free traffic and an increase in the number of customers you get for searches looking for plumbers in your area. This applies to every business outside of plumbing. It’s the same approach with different topics.
Even more, this will also mean people will find your content and becoming familiar with your brand. So when it’s time to call someone to take care of their needs, which they either don’t want to do by following your guide or can’t for whatever reason, they will contact you (the reliable and trusted source of valuable information – the expert).
If you want to learn more about and get in-depth into developing valuable content that will help you rank, email us at [email protected] with the subject “quality content guide” and we will send it to you once the guide is complete.
Lastly, you have to do the above two and avoid the games.
Instead of spending hours and money on trying to trick Google into ranking you, quit the games and actually provide the value that they are seeking. Think about all the effort people put into those “tricks”, the hours that go into it, the money they spend; they could as easily put that effort, those hours, that money, into creating the valuable content and creating a strong foundation for their business website and online assets.
Google wants to rank businesses. It’s not like they are doing updates to keep businesses from ranking on their search engine; they do it so they rank the ones that are actually providing value to their customers – not the ones trying to trick them.
Actually taking care of this and not trying to work around it and “game the system” but using tactics to create strong foundations and find the type of content to create, is where the real SEO is. Anything else is a temporary bandaid or a trick that will get penalized later.
SEO is the process by which you make changes to your website to make it more user and search engine friendly via technical SEO. Furthermore, it is the process, and system, for creating content that will be valuable to the end-user in a structure that is friendly for the search engines (following technical SEO and established formats). The strength of the SEO implementation will be in following a system to implement the technical seo properly and finding the valuable content to create while creating it in a way that the user will find pleasing (easy to read, easy to use, ect..).
Director of Digital Marketing
Anthony Money has been doing Digital Marketing for over 10 years. He specializes in Google Ads and Search Engine Optimization. He has been featured in CEO Blog Nation and has been helping local business owners grow with local marketing tactics involving Google advertising, Local SEO, and a combination of other Digital Marketing strategies.