As a business owner in the 21st Century, you’ve probably received a lot of advice on what you can do to stay relevant.

Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the advice coming your way? Have you been furiously Googling phrases like “What is SEO?” and “What does SEO stand for?”

If you’re ready to eliminate your confusion once and for all, keep reading. All the essentials of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, are explained below.

What Does SEO Stand For? Answering All Your Questions

Search engine optimization is an online marketing discipline. It’s all about increasing website visibility through organic search engine results.

Essentially, the goal of all SEO practices is to get more eyes on your website so that it will rank higher on lists of search engine results.

There are many different aspects of SEO, including:

  • The number of words on a page
  • The way other websites link back to your website
  • Website structure, navigability, and readability
  • Website responsiveness
  • Keyword usage

In addition to making your website more search engine-friendly, SEO also helps make websites better for the people visiting them.

When people can easily navigate a website and find the information they’re looking for, they’re more likely to spend time there and come back in the future. When people do these things, search engines take notice, and your website begins to rank higher in search engine.

How Does SEO Help My Business?

Why does your business website need SEO? If you’re putting out high-quality content or selling a great product, won’t people just find their way to your website naturally?

In a perfect world, yes, this would be the case. In reality, though, if you want your business to be competitive, you need to take SEO into account.

Think about it this way. When you need to find a particular product or service, you probably search for it using a search engine like Google or Bing.

When you perform these searches, which results do you click on first? If you’re like most people, you click on the search results that come up toward the top of the page. You probably rarely, if ever, venture past the first page — it’s like those websites don’t even exist.

What got these particular websites to the top of the page? Their stellar SEO practices.

If you want people to visit your website consistently, you need to make sure that it shows up on the first page of the search engine results — preferably as close to the top as possible.

SEO Tips for Beginners

Okay, you’re convinced that SEO is important. But, how do you start optimizing your website to boost your search engine rankings?

If you keep these beginner tips in mind, you’ll have an easier time mastering the basics and learning how to optimize your site.

Use Relevant Keywords

In order to have a successful SEO strategy, you must make sure you’re using the right keywords.

How do you know if you’re using the right keywords? A good place to start is to think about the words and phrases potential customers will use when they search for businesses like yours.

For small businesses, the ideal keyword is typically a combination of your specific product or service and your location. For example, catering in Toronto.

There are lots of free online tools that help you find new and relevant keywords. Once you’ve identified the best keywords, include them in your website content — blog posts, contact pages, etc.

Optimize Your Page Titles and Meta Descriptions

After identifying keywords, you also need to make sure they’re included in your page titles and meta descriptions.

A meta description is the brief description of your site that shows up underneath your website on search engine listings.

Your meta description should also contain information about your primary services or products. You want people to be able to get the gist of your business so that they’ll want to click on your site.

Take Advantage of Business Listings

If yours is a small, local business, it’s important to take advantage of online business listings on websites like Yellow Pages and Yelp. This helps make your business more visible to people who are searching locally for similar products or services.

Make sure all your online business listings have correct, consistent information about the products or services you offer.

They should also contain links to your social media profiles, and accurate contact information – specifically your business name, address and phone number.

Use Internal Links

Internal links are links that direct a visitor back to other pages within your own websites. External links, on the other hand, direct a visitor to a page on a different website.

Internal links help your business establish authority. They also encourage visitors to spend more time on your website, which is also great for boosting your search engine rankings.

Don’t Forget to Optimize Your Images

Many people don’t realize that the images on their website can also be optimized to improve their search engine ranking.

In order to optimize images, you’ll need to use Alt Text to describe the images. Include your target keywords in the description (naturally — don’t overstuff them).

You can also optimize your image size. When images are smaller (in kilobytes), your website loads faster.

Increase Page Loading Speed

Why does your website need to load faster? You guessed it — load speed can also influence search engine rankings.

Search engines boost websites that load faster than others. Generally speaking, a load time of below four seconds is ideal.

If a website takes longer than this to load, visitors will likely click away and go somewhere else.

This doesn’t look good to search engines, and it decreases your chances of making a sale or gaining a new customer.

Looking for More SEO Advice?

You’ve now got answers to all your most pressing SEO questions — including, of course, “What does SEO stand for?”

Are you still feeling a little confused, though? Do you need some more hands-on guidance?

If so, we can help at nuBranch. Contact us today to find out more about our SEO services and learn strategies that can help give your business the boost it needs.