What is SEO?
SEO is the process of optimizing your site so that it appears prominently in Google and other search engines when people search for related keywords. There are a few major things, and dozens of minor things that need to be done to successfully optimize a site.
How Does it Work?
One of the first and most important steps is taking some time to consider what keywords and phrases you are trying to optimize. As a business owner or decision maker in your organization, you probably have some idea of the types of things that your potential customers might be searching for. However, some terms are searched for more than others, so it is important to do some research and focus on the terms that are the most popular. In other words, you don't want to spend a bunch of time and money optimizing phrases that hardly anyone is searching for.
Also, there may be some additional terms that people are searching for that you didn't think of. We have tools and procedures that we can use to develop a list of the most popular search phrases for your industry, so that you are optimizing the right terms.
Once you have identified your target keywords, we work with you to optimize/create your site. This involves making sure that your site includes your desired keywords, and doing it in such a way that Google considers your site relevant for those specific phrases. There are dozens of things we do in this regard, including optimizing page titles, header tags, and making sure that your keywords appear in the text throughout your site.
Once your site is ready to go, another key aspect of SEO is gathering inbound links to your site. Why is this important? Inbound links is one of the key ways in which Google decides to rank your site. It is kind of like a popularity contest. When Google looks at your site versus one of your competitors, one of the things it will do is look at the content contained throughout the sites to make sure that it pertains to the keywords (see previous paragraph). However, all things being equal, if your site has no one linking to it and your competitor has 200 people linking to them, then your competitor will be listed higher than you.
Obviously with a new site you are starting off with ZERO inbound links, while your competitors may already have dozens or hundreds. Even if you have an established website, chances are it could benefit from obtaining additional inbound links from other relevant sites. In order to facilitate this we go out and seek other relevant sites and get them to link back to your site to boost your rankings. It ends up being a little more complicated than that, but that is the basic idea, and gathering reciprocal links is a key aspect of optimizing your site.
How do I know if I need SEO?
Simple. Go to Google and type in some keywords and phrases that a potential customer might search for. If your business isn’t showing up in the results at the top of the first page then you need SEO! Make sure that you aren’t simply searching for the name of your business. For instance, if you are a plumber and your business is called “John Doe and Sons”, don’t simply search for “John Doe and Sons”. The only people who are going to search for the name of your business are people who already know about you. The whole point of SEO is to attract potential customers that don’t already know who you are. So instead search for “plumber ann arbor” or “clogged drain ann arbor” or other combinations of the services you offer and the location that you offer them in.