In the context of Search Engine Optimization.
Many people equate an optimized site to a site with impressive search engine rankings. Sprinkle a little fairy dust over here and waive the magic wand over there and wallah… a magnificent dish of first page rankings for the Internet’s most competitive keyword terms.
The fact is, if you think you are going to achieve rankings for competitive keyword terms simply by adding a few keywords to your website, you need to pinch yourself because you’re dreaming. Perform a search for your primary keyword terms and you will see a descending list, several pages deep of websites that have been “optimized” with varying degrees of success. The key is to understand the factors that differentiate those that rank on the first page from those that don’t.
The attributes that determine search engine rankings can be classified into two basic categories; “on-page factors” and “off-page factors“. In the most basic sense, on-page factors have to do with attributes within your web site and off-page factors have to do with attributes that occur outside of your web site. In a way, on-page factors tell the engines what you think of yourself, while off-page factors tell the engines what the Internet at large thinks of you.
On Page SEO
The first step is to determine the keywords that people search for when they are looking for the products or services you have to offer. Keyword tools such as WordTracker and KeywordDiscovery let you know how many people search for a particular search term and provide suggestions for related keyword terms. Use the tool to match two to three appropriate keywords to each of the web pages within your site. Once you’ve selected your keywords, incorporate then into the various html elements of your web pages including the title tags, meta tags, header tags, ALT tags, and body content. This will ensure that the search engines categorize your pages for the keywords you are targeting.
OFF Page SEO
OK, so now we’ve got all the “on page” stuff hammered out, your site should start its meteoric rise to the top of the engines, right? Well, not exactly. It depends on how competitive your keyword terms are. Off-page factors have to do with the quantity and quality of incoming links from external web pages. The algorithms that determine search engine rankings depend heavily on external linking in assessing the authority or trustworthiness of web sites. In turn, sites that have achieved “authority status” end up ranking higher than those who have yet to achieve such status.
The Importance of Local SEO
Your customers are more and more often searching for businesses like yours on the Internet. Studies show that these customers have a serious buying intent.
As a local business you need to figure out how to cost effectively reach out to these customers and start the business relationship.
The Internet has changed the way that customers are looking for your business. The days of pulling out 2 kilos of two or more volumes of phone books are coming to an end. People are still letting their fingers do the walking but it’s on a computer keyboard. The Kelsey research group published these statistics and trends.
74% of households use the Internet as an information source when shopping locally.
Approximately 45% of local searches had a buying intent.
The percentage of respondents who used yellow page directories decreased from 75% to 62%. (If you have a yellow page ad, it is time to consider buying a smaller ad and shifting your marketing dollars to the Internet.)
As local business owners you need to take action now. You need to keep your existing customers, and gain new customers, so you need to be found where they are searching. Local SEO is where your future clients and customers will come from.