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What is SEO?

Katie Stocking is the owner of Happy Medium LLC.

Digital marketing can include a lot of acronyms. One of them you’ve probably heard somewhere is SEO. So, what is SEO?

The letters stand for Search Engine Optimization. The basic definition of search engine optimization is increasing the odds that your website will appear near the top of search engine results pages for desired keyword phrases.

SEO has changed a lot in the past few years with various algorithm updates by Google and Bing. It used to be done by stuffing keywords in different areas of the page and in the copy of the website. This is now frowned upon, and Google will actually penalize your site for using these old “black hat” techniques.

Today SEO is all about content quality on your site, as well as trustworthiness. Search engines now start paying attention to:

  • How long people stay on your site

  • If they almost immediately return to SERP (search engine results page) after visiting your webpage (signaling irrelevant content)

  • Visit more than one page

  • Are people sharing your site on social media accounts? (Facebook, Twitter, Google+)

Google also just announced they’ll be penalizing sites that aren’t mobile-friendly or using bad techniques on mobile. Things like responsive design and properly loading mobile-optimized content help prevent these penalizations.

How do you get started with SEO for your business? CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT. Create a frequent blog, post resources and articles (that are RELEVANT to your website and company), and engage your visitors so they spend time on the pages and share the content with others.

Or, you can always hire an SEO company. If you’re a business owner you’ve undoubtedly fielded a phone call or two from someone “guaranteeing you top rankings on Google for just $X/month.” At Happy Medium, we do not do monthly billing for SEO. We have noticed that if it’s done right from the beginning, it really shouldn’t need monthly maintenance.

Also, beware of people making “promises” of where your website will be on Google. If they don’t own Google, they probably shouldn’t be making promises about it. Finally, if you want to see what the company knows about SEO - just Google something they offer as one of their services. That will be the best example of their own work. For example, if you search for “Des Moines Advertising Agency” you’ll find Happy Medium towards the top. Why? Because we know what we’re doing. So do your research on the company you’re hiring, because if they can’t even do SEO for themselves, how can they do it for you?

Follow me on Twitter @interactivekate and @itsahappymedium for more SEO tips.



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