How SEO Works: A Guide for Houston Business Owners
Written by: Leonard Parker | Uncategorized |
If you're a Houston business owner, you may have heard about how SEO can help grow your business, especially if you're locally based. Rather than having a general idea that search engine optimization can benefit your business, it's better to know the mechanics of how SEO works.
Here's a helpful SEO tutorial that will walk you through the fundamentals so that you really understand what you're potentially getting into.
What Is SEO? Learning What the Search Engines Want and How to Give it To Them
The goal of the search engines is simple. They want to provide the best possible search results for the queries, or questions, that users type in. By accomplishing this goal, their users will come back and the search engine companies will be able to monetize from their users by selling ad space to advertisers.
To provide the best possible search results, they've created an algorithm to rank websites. For the most part, it's all about providing relevant and valuable results.
If you're a business owner in Houston, you'll want to build a campaign that works with this algorithm. For the most part, you'll want to provide web pages that are relevant, informative, and helpful to your target audience. Your website should also further your goal of generating a lead or sale.
The process of optimizing your website to attain high search engine rankings is called SEO.
What's Inside the Search Engine Algorithm?
There are multiple factors that Google may look at to determine the ranking of your website. Keep in mind that Google focuses on ranking individual pages although the quality of the website as a whole plays a strong role.
Here are the ranking factors to consider:
Links and Citations - Links pointing to your page are seen as votes in the eyes of Google. So the more links you have, the higher your site will rank as long as the links going to your site are related to the topic of your site. Citations are mentions of your business (name, address, phone number, etc.) and are important in the local search results.
Reviews of your Business - If you're a Houston based business, it's important to know that customer reviews on your Google My Business profile is a strong ranking factor. The more high rated reviews you have, the higher you will rank in the local search results.
Site Structure and Performance - Google needs to be able to crawl through your site to find all the pages. This will allow them to index those pages in their results and categorize pages properly. Google also looks at various aspects of your site's performance. This includes the loading time of your site (lower is better), mobile friendliness, abandonment rates, actions taken on site, and more.
On-page Optimization - Your pages need to be properly optimized so that Google understands what it's about and how relevant it is to the search. This process includes using meta tags properly, making sure that related keywords are used naturally in the content, and linking to the right sources (internally and externally).
Quality of Content - The content on your page does matter. Your content must be relevant to the search, valuable to the visitor, and be authoritative. This is obviously linked to site performance metrics like abandonment rates and actions taken upon landing. Some SEOs have even found that longer form content outranks short form content.
Part 1: Building a Successful SEO Campaign
Building a successful SEO campaign requires many steps. The best place to start the campaign is by working on your site. As mentioned just a moment ago, you need to have a site structure that is built properly. This will serve as a strong foundation for the rest of your campaign.
To make sure you have this foundation, you'll need the following:
A web designer that can create a design that is attractive, loads quickly, and facilitates conversions for your business. An example of a conversion would be someone filling out your contact form.
Web developers that understand how to reduce loading times on a technical level and work with existing scripts and plugins on your site.
SEOs that can create tightly themed categories and linking structures so that the Google search bot can find your pages and determine what they're about.
Part 2: Keyword Research and Content Creation
The next step is to conduct keyword research and follow it up with the right kind of content.
Here's what you'll need to do to continue building your campaign:
Conducting keyword research to figure out what to optimize your site for. Building your campaign on the most opportunistic keywords and working your way up is often the best approach.
Figuring out what the intent behind the keyword search is so that you can get ideas on how to frame your content page. Not understanding intent will lead to low quality content or unaligned messaging.
Creating content for target keywords. You will need to either write the content yourself or hire someone else to do it. Content will be based on what you think the keyword intent is and how you can deliver value to the user.
Optimizing your content page properly to enhance your relevancy to both Google and their users.
Part 3: Link Building and Citations
Now we've come to the point where the process of SEO marketing begins. You'll need to acquire links by creating a marketing campaign designed to spread your content, build influence, and create relationships. Here's a summary of what a successful campaign may look like:
Submitting your website to the proper business directories. You'll also want to go after industry related directories and sites to get citations.
Creating and distributing your content across many channels and partners to acquire links naturally.
Going forward with an outreach campaign to contact related sites that may want to post your content (guest blogging) or exchange links in some manner.
Forming relationships with social media influencers so that they can potentially link to your content in the future.
Part 4: Reviewing Content and Analytics
Finally, you'll have to look through your campaign to get an idea of what's working and what's not working in your campaign. You want to look at the following:
Which ranked pages are generating leads and sales for your campaign and which aren't. You'll want to focus on the pages that are performing well and place less emphasis on those that aren't.
Which keywords you'll need to funnel your resources to. An SEO campaign is dynamic, so you'll need to constantly shift how you use your resources.
What kind of topics and content your audience is responding to. You'll want to create more of what's resonating with them.
What outreach method and strategy is leading to the most link acquisitions.
Frequently Asked Questions About SEO
Q: Can you build a SEO campaign for free?
A: It's possible, but you'll want to invest in tools that can help with your research and speed up the process. You'll also need to invest in a team to help build your campaign as doing it yourself will end up consuming all of your time.
Q: Can I learn SEO on my own?
A: Yes, there are many free resources that you can find online to learn SEO on your own. Keep in mind that it can get quite technical and might pose as challenging to learn for some. Here's a SEO guide that we've created for beginners.
Q: Can I Learn How to Do SEO Quickly?
A: Yes, it's possible to learn SEO quickly. However, most people learn through trial and error. It's very likely that you'll make mistakes in your campaign as a beginner and waste a lot of time.
That's a quick guide on how SEO works. While it looks simple from a fundamental perspective, it's really all in the details. SEO can be very challenging, time consuming, competitive, and even costly. Some business owners will be able to build a successful campaign themselves, but many will usually require outside help to build and manage their campaign while they're working on their business.