What SEO Can Do for You
Why Should I Care About SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is the practice of performing actions on your site that will cause Google to rank you higher, resulting in more qualified traffic for your website. If I write a killer blog about my latest virtual reality adventure, I would want the page to be fast, informative, and contain great content. The better I can serve the user, the more I am rewarded with a great search engine ranking.
White Hat SEO
White hat SEO is a term generally used for the practice of “good SEO.” White Hats are those that optimize your content for the emphasis that Google has placed on their newest search algorithm. For example, the current algorithm heavily emphasizes page load time, so a good webmaster will use PageSpeed Insights to get that under control. Also, your content needs to be ranking for words that relate well to your business. Impakt Media is ranked number one for the query “marketing in morgantown” not just because our old business name was Impakt Marketing, but because we saw the lead generation value of that phrase and it relates directly to Impakt. I could use the term “apartment in morgantown” to rank Impakt because it has a high search volume, but this site would be worthless to someone searching for that phrase and, in turn, these users would not be interested in our services. The key takeaway from this is that the phrase must be high volume and related to your business. As Google updates their algorithm, sites that are “white hat optimized” will climb in rank because the reason they are ranked well is because they are actually providing value and playing by the rules.
Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO is a form of exploitative optimizations to increase the rank of your site in the short term. I like to refer to these dudes as “get rich quick” schemers that have to do way more work in the long-run to keep the site from being blacklisted by Google. Remember in the late 90s when some sites had a bunch of keywords stuffed in the paragraphs? Like when you went to a page and it just said “lose weight lose weight lose weight lose weight” over and over? Google has been fighting against keyword stuffed techniques like this since the start of their company. Spoiler alert, they are winning. Sure, using a Black Hat technique like getting links from a link farm (that is what those spammers we mentioned earlier do by the way) may produce short-term results, but every time Google gets better at detecting the exploits, the more work you have to do to stay on top. Every algorithm update is a crisis when you use black hat.
What Do I Do?
Go install Yoast on your website right now. Start optimizing for terms that you think the user is searching for. If you want to know exactly how many people use the term, subscribe to a service like SEM rush and do keyword research, then dive into Yoast and make it happen. You may be able to find the information in Google’s free Keyword research tool, but this may eat away a lot more time. Finally, connect your Gmail account to Google Webmaster tools and submit a good sitemap.
What does all this mean for me and my business? Several things! First, SEO is valuable because it allows you to collect leads that are free after you do the work. Sure, as a social media company first, we recommend Facebook’s beautiful targeted ads feature, but there is value in collecting free leads on top of paid leads. Second, there is a lot of prestige that comes with owning the top site for a phrase. The user correctly assumes that the top results are the best businesses to use.