What You Should Know About SEO

Josh SnowNetwork Engineer
With more and more people tethered to the internet, advertisers can reach you in new and creative ways. Push notifications on your smartphone, customized advertisements based on your previous searches, and email inboxes filled with promotional pitches flood our lives daily.
When was the last time you grabbed a phone book to look up a business? I would bet that most people don’t even own one. If you do, there is a good chance it serves as a booster seat for a little one. The reasoning is simple, we live in a technological age, life moves faster, convenience rules, and patience has gone by the wayside - we expect immediate results. Whether you are looking for directions to the zoo or booking a flight, search engines give you the information you seek quickly; complete with reviews, pictures, and more. Gone are the days of flipping through a phone book or heading to your nearest travel agent to book a flight. The internet has become the platform of the 21st century, changing the way business is done. Figuring out how to run a business nowadays requires digital marketing to be successful.

It used to be that businesses relied heavily on media outlets, such as television and radio commercials, advertisements in newspapers and magazines, billboards, and even door to door salesman to let consumers know about their product or service offerings. While these marketing strategies still hold some value, online advertising has become an important tool in a marketer’s toolbox. In fact, digital marketing has become a leading industry in New York City, promoting job creation and reducing unemployment significantly. A big part of digital marketing is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Search Engine Optimization is a process of gaining organic traffic to your website based on search results. There are many search engines, however Google, Yahoo, and Bing are the most common. You can think of a search engine like a librarian, responsible for returning the most relevant information based on your request. A search engine gathers information from all the web pages across the internet. Each search engine has developed special algorithms that sort through all the web pages and return the best results based on a search. Over the years, search engine algorithms have improved, becoming more intuitive. Google's search algorithm has seen a lot of changes, as have other search engines, requiring SEO specialists to continually stay abreast of new algorithms. 

A website owner wants search engine algorithms to return their web pages in searches relating to their site. A high ranking website would appear at the top of a search result, likely bringing in more visitors. In other words, when you search for a phrase like “giraffes”, the website that has the best SEO for that phrase will appear first, considering locality if relevant and paid advertising. Paid advertising allows a business to appear first even though they may not have an optimized website. In order for a new website to rank in Google search, or any other search engine, a combination of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and SEO efforts is the quickest way to bring in visitors immediately. PPC will bring your site to the top of search results based on keywords, however a PPC campaign can get expensive. In order to rank organically and save advertising dollars, you’ll want to invest in SEO concurrently.

There is a lot that goes into SEO, on the surface, a website with good SEO would be updated regularly, provide useful information, and associate with other, high ranking sites. This includes creating a website that has an accessible user experience and is also mobile friendly. Search engine algorithms rely on the content and titles of web pages. A proper title should summarize what is on the web page, helping search engines locate your web page more easily. Part of SEO also involves building relationships with other reputable sites. 

Associating a website with high ranking websites shows search engines that you can be trusted, helping to improve your ranking. This can be done if these sites link back to your site. Search engine algorithms are able to detect whether a site has legitimate links to it, or if black hat techniques were used to artificially improve a sites rankings. Not only will search engines detect black hat practices, they can black list a site, making it much more difficult to rank in search results. Bottom line, search engines can recognize black hat SEO efforts.

keyword-stuffing.jpgAnother part of SEO involves the words that are used in links, called anchor text, for example, the best EMR/EHR software. The anchor text is EMR/EHR, this can send a signal to search engines letting them know what the website is about, improving their rankings for the words in the anchor text. Anchor text also helps the reader to find out more about what EMR/EHR software is. 

Proper design and SEO will go a long way in helping a site move to the top of search results organically. However, this is just the beginning, search engine algorithms change all the time. Providing new, engaging content regularly, and growing your reputation with quality links back to your site is a recipe for good SEO. This process begins to occur naturally as your website establishes itself as a trusted source of information among search engines. The next time you search for something, pay attention to the top organic results to see great SEO in action.

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