SEO is Like Panning for Gold - Unlocking Search

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is like panning for gold. It takes knowledge, skill and perseverance. The more competitive the online marketplace for your goods or services, the more crucial SEO will be.

Think of search engines (Google, Bing or Yahoo for example) as the pan and the tremendous flow of information available online as a rushing river. How well you optimize your website for search is the key to whether or not potential miners find you – hit gold!

SEO is not simple – so don’t let anyone sell you a simplified answer. SEO is not about luck, in fact, Google has well over 200 signals their algorithms read when ranking a site.

Organic SEO is a complicated algorithmic science that is constantly evolving. This evolution comes from improved search engine design, continual monitoring of user involvement, and more and better data. Even though the algorithms will evolve, the fundamentals will remain the same. Understanding these fundamentals can go a long way to helping your business thrive in the crowded online world.

At our firm, we see SEO as 3 things: CODE, CONTENT and CONNECTIONS.

Code is the structure your website is built on. WordPress, JavaScript, Python, CSS, PHP and Ruby are names for different kinds of coding language. Word Press has become the predominant player in website development, but whatever language is used, clean code is crucial. (Think of clean code as a note that is neatly typed in large clear print versus something hand-written in your coworker’s indecipherable scribble!)

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Starting with clean code means that you are making it easy for the search engines to read what your website is about.  That’s the essence of SEO. It’s helping the search engines SEARCH your site! This the first step in building a quality website that can be found in online search.

Clean code is pivotal in helping Google know precisely what you are about - without having to hunt for the information on a poorly-coded framework. Too many web development companies utilize their own templates or do-it-yourself website builders like Wix or Squarespace that can regrettably keep your important information hidden - thus halting SEO ranking of your site.

Content is the soul of your website. It is what your website is about. It includes all the written text of course, but it also includes the descriptive tags (called “alt” tags) that describe your photos and videos to Google. (Since Google can’t “see” your images, you need to describe them in words within the code.) You need good content that's relevant to your audience along with personal outreach, that's organic and relational, to spread the word with influencers in your space. You hear a lot about content marketing these days because it’s one of the most powerful ways to extend your online reach.

Connections (often referred to as backlinks) are how you develop domain authority. Quality connections (like helpful friends) set you apart from your competitors, and it’s how Google decidess that your site is a quality site worth sharing.

Google respects quality and determines it, in part, by how many high-ranking websites link back to yours. Those links give you credibility.

Developing connections and links to your site is an ongoing process you must continually earn. It includes the development of rich content you share with others and get them to connect with you through the use of anchor text-rich links. You build these off-site links around the keywords that you want to be known for. It’s a time intensive process but is worth the investment of time and expertise.

Remember – your business website is your gold nugget – and you want to be found!