Or, why SEO matters for all companies and here’s a great explainer

When most people think about what makes a good website they often focus on a website’s design or functionality. Does it look good? Does it load fast? 

While both of these aspects are important, if your ideal client can’t find your beautiful, fast-loading website, then it is impossible for them to do business with you.

Getting “found” online is where Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, comes in. 

What is SEO?

Technically, SEO is the process used to optimize a website’s technical configuration, content relevance and link popularity so your company’s website pages are easier to find and are more relevant to people’s queries on search engines such as Google. 

Simply put is that SEO helps Google match your searches typed into Google with the right suggested web pages that have the answers/products/services you were looking for.

If your website is SEO friendly, the right people will find your website easier, and over time search engines will rank your website better than your competitors making it even easier for people to find. In other words, it’s a free way to drive traffic to your website. 

I have to be careful saying free. While it is free of cost as in you don’t have to spend money with Google running ads, you do have to spend time writing and publishing really good content, continuously. This is not a one-and-one process.

Step 1: Use The Right Words + Phrases

The first step is to identify keywords that are important to your business. One way to do this is to look at your competitors’ websites and see what keywords they are using. When you are doing this it’s important to also include keywords that localize or identify where your business is located, such as your city or state. This technique will help people in your immediate area find your website and business. 

Another way to do this is with a full keyword research project, while much deeper and may take longer (2 weeks or so) will provide a deeper look into keywords that many web companies and marketing companies can assist you with.

Step 2: Loads Quickly

The second step is making sure your website loads quickly. A website should load within three seconds or less otherwise Google will penalize you. Remember, Google wants to give the user the best experience possible. In Google’s mind, the best experience means directing you to websites that load quickly so you aren’t wasting your time or getting frustrated. You can use online tools like PageSpeed Insights tool or GTMetrix to test the performance of your site in a measurable manner. 

Step 3: Mobile Friendly

The third step is to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. With nearly 84 percent of the world using smartphones, having a mobile-friendly website is critical. Google also penalizes websites that aren’t mobile-friendly so this can hinder your ability to drive traffic to your website even if you are using all the right keywords and your website loads quickly. 

Step Four: Secure

The fourth step is to ensure your website is secure. This is important not just for people who visit your website, but also for Google, which penalizes websites that don’t use ​​Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), which is the primary protocol used to send data in an encrypted format between a web browser and a website. 

SEO From The Start

To ensure that your website’s SEO is optimized, at 14 Oranges we offer our customers an SEO foundation package where we check that they are using the best keywords, it loads quickly, their website is mobile-friendly, and is secure. 

There are also several ways you can help yourself to ensure your website is SEO friendly. For starters, websites that continually publish new content or update their website will be rewarded by Google. At 14 Oranges our websites are typically powered by WordPress, which makes it easy for our customers to add new blogs like this one or update the content on their website. 

Another way to drive traffic to your website is to find a niche topic or subject that very few people are writing about, that is applicable to your company, and write about it. If there aren’t a lot of other websites covering this topic, and you cover it in an intelligent and compelling way (hint: with good quality writing) Google’s algorithm will send traffic to your website through the searches on that topic. This is often easier said than done, but if you’re the first to cover a topic then you naturally become the go-to source for that information.

SEO is a big topic that can’t be mastered in a day, nor by reading one blog post. Many have called it both an art and a science. It will be an ongoing thing that you need to consider and develop content for as you keep your website updated and write and publish information about your company’s products, services and expertise. Just understanding what SEO is and how it affects your company’s ability to get found online means you are light years ahead of many of your competitors. Commit to having someone on your team learn a little more about SEO each month and it will help your business in the long run.

Next Steps

If you want to learn how to improve the chances of your website being listed in the search results when people Google the products/services your company sells, talk to us about your SEO. We have more than 20 years of experience building custom websites and mobile apps and would be happy to take a look at what you may be able to do to improve your company website.

Sylvain Marcotte is CEO and President of 14 Oranges.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Non-Techies