These three little letters often feel like a digital mystery that needs to be solved.
In order to help you crack the code on your digital marketing, we’ve put together a 2-part series to answer important FAQs about SEO.
For part 1, we’ll cover some SEO basics and break down the key questions you need answered in order to start raising your rankings on Google.
1. What is Search Engine Optimization?
This may seem like a basic way to start, but the reality is many people don’t know what SEO actually is.
One of the best ways to get in front of your ideal customer is to get your website to show up on page one of Google when people search keywords related to your business.
SEO is the process of getting your website to rank high organically in search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. Organic rankings refer to unpaid listings on Google.
Many people assume that the higher a website ranks on Google, the more they’re paying for it. This is completely untrue. You cannot pay to increase your rankings on Google, you can only pay for sponsored listings through Google AdWords. Take a look at the photo below to see the difference.
2. What are meta tags?
Meta tags are part of a webpage’s code, and they help to tell Google and other search engines about the content on your pages. Two of the most important meta tags are your pages’ website Title and Meta Description.
The Title tag in particular has a huge impact on SEO, but it’s not obviously displayed on your website, which makes it easy to overlook.
The webpage Title is what will be displayed in the search engine results as the blue underlined link. The Title is also listed at the top of a web browser tab.
The webpage Meta Description is what search engines will display in the search results below your Title. Meta Descriptions don’t directly influence your page’s ranking, but Meta Descriptions are a critical element because your prospects will use your description to determine whether or not to click on your listing. So, a well-written Meta Description can help you generate more clicks in Google’s search results.
But there’s one little catch…
It’s impossible to see your Meta Description by simply visiting your webpage. Browsers do NOT display the Meta Description. Only search engines read and use this information.
I know these two elements can be tricky to understand.
Luckily, we have an entire blog post dedicated to helping you find and optimize your title tags and meta descriptions. Click here to read the post.
3. How does blogging help SEO?
One of the big misconceptions about SEO is that it refers only to the homepage of a website.
Each individual page related to your website has the opportunity to rank in Google. That’s one reason blogging is so helpful.
When you create a blog post, you create a new page on your website. This post can include content related to keywords you want to rank for. Then, when people search keywords related to this content, your blog post can rank on Google and drive traffic to your site.
For example, the blog post we linked above Where Are The Webpage Titles, Descriptions, and Headers? was the page with the most views on our site from April 2015-April 2016. This post ranks #1 on Google when someone searches, “how to find meta tags” and “where are the meta descriptions on my website” and the page has been responsible for driving thousands of people to our site.
4. Is SEO a good investment for me?
You can think of SEO as a long-term investment or retirement fund for your website.
If you put a little bit of money into a retirement fund in your 20s, it may not seem like much. But, by the time you’re ready to retire that money has increased in value due to the accrued interest over time.
SEO can do the same thing in your business. The work you put into your SEO now will accrue over time and help your rankings in the future.
However, search engine optimization (SEO) is not a good investment for every business. As the owner of a digital marketing agency, it’s not easy for me to admit that because we provide SEO services, but it’s true.
For some businesses, SEO is simply not a great option versus all of the other marketing tactics available. However, for many businesses, SEO can be one of the best marketing tactics for generating qualified leads and sales.
So, how do you know if SEO is a good investment for you? In this blog post, we provide you with a few questions to help you decide whether to invest in SEO.
5. How long does it take to see results from SEO?
This is another answer that changes from business to business because it depends on the amount of online competition.
When I say competition, I don’t actually mean the businesses you consider your biggest competitors in your area. I’m referring rather to the businesses competing to rank on the first page of search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
For example, a dentist in New York City is likely to have more competitors online than a dentist in a suburb of New York City. So, when someone searches “New York City dentist”, there may be hundreds of dentists all competing to rank for those keywords. If these dentists already have established websites, it may take more time to begin ranking ahead of them.
On the other hand, if someone searches “Ridgewood NJ dentist” there are fewer dentists competing for the top positions. So, if a dentist in Ridgewood, NJ starts investing in SEO they could see their website rank high in Google in a shorter period of time.
In part 2 of this series, I’ll address even more FAQs related to ranking for local searches like these so stay tuned!
Do you want more tips on getting started with SEO?
Our Ultimate SEO Checklist has 86 different tips to help you boost your Google rankings.