What is SEO? This is a question we often get from customers who don’t know what SEO is and often aren’t even sure what it stands for. That’s the easy part! SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization”. After explaining this, I still generally get blank stares. So let’s dive in and get a high level understanding of what Search Engine Optimization means. In this post, I’ll spare you the gory details and focus only on the HIGH LEVEL aspects of SEO and what it means to you as a business owner.
Let’s start by way of an example. You live in Belleville and your daughter is getting married this year. You want to go shopping for a bridal dress but you don’t know any of the stores in Belleville that sell bridal dresses. What do you do? Of course you hop on your phone or your computer and you type in a search term related to this endeavour.
Now here’s an important point: Not everybody searches for something using the same search terms.
You may decide to do this search using the words “wedding dress belleville”.
Those words you use to do this search, by the way, is called a ‘keyword”. That’s a bit confusing since it’s more than one word. A more accurate term would be “key phrase”. Nonetheless, it’s referred to as a keyword even though the search term may have multiple words in it.
So back to our search. You decided to search for “wedding dress belleville”. Someone else may search for: “wedding store” or ” bridal dress” or “bridal shop belleville” or “belleville wedding dress shop”. As you can see there are many possible search terms one might use. Some, of course, are more popular than others and part of SEO is figuring that out. That, by the way, is part of what is called “Keyword Research“.
Let’s take a quick look at the search results that came back for you when you typed in “wedding dress belleville”. Below is an image of what this search result might look like. Yours may well be different depending upon where you are located. In any event, there are 5 areas of interest on this image labeled 1 through 5.
Google’s Search Result Stats
The area marked “1” shows you how many websites Google indexed (or to put it another way ‘searched through”) in order to list out the best matches for your search. So in this case Google felt 1.3 MILLION websites were relevant and it lists the results from best to worst match below. For some reason Google also feels compelled to tell you how long it took to produce those search results (0.93 seconds). In reality, it is something to be proud of because in that time of less than one second Google ranked 1.3 million websites in the order it thinks are most relevant to you …
…and it accomplished that based on the three simple words you typed into the search bar!
It really is pretty impressive when you think about it. And I think you will agree with me in that most of the time Google gets it right! That is to say, most of the time you probably click on the first result you see in the organic listings (marked “5” in our image) or the local listings (marked “3” in the image).
The Local Map
The area marked “2” in the image is the ‘local map’. Not every search will necessarily have a local map show up in the search results. However, if you are a local business, you want to show up on this map for keywords that are relevant to you. The map has pins for relevant local business and then the area marked “3” on our image lists out those local businesses with some details about the businesses including, importantly, reviews and hours of operation and a link to the business websites (which is accessed by clicking the business title).
If you look below the last result in the local results (which in this case is “Janine”) you will see button ‘More places”. When clicked this takes you to another page of local results. But, of course, if you are a local business you want to show up in those first three because people don’t click on ‘More places” unles they don’t find what they are looking for either above that (in the top three results) or further down in what is called the organic listings (labeled “5” on our image).
It’s worth repeating, if you are a local business you want to show up in the top three results of the local map.
The area marked “4” is one of Google’s relatively newer search features. This is the FAQ (frequently asked questions) section. This is Google’s attempt to answer any relevant questions it can think of that relate to your search term. Smart local businesse will attempt to have content on their websites that answers these questions.
The last area, marked “5” is the start of the organic listings. These can of course, go on for pages and pages. But how many people search beyond page 1? It’s rare and averages about 3% for all searches. Most people (about 97% of the time) find what they are looking for on page 1 of the search results.
This does beg the question of “how good is it to rank on page 1 of Google Search” (and we’ll save that for another post), because this one is supposed to be about “What is SEO” and we are close to getting off topic!
So back to “What is SEO?” At a very high level, SEO is a set of activities that are done to have a website rank as high as possible for specific search terms. It’s the effort done that results in a business showing up in the local map (marked “2”) and the local listing results (marked “3”) and the even the FAQs (marked “4”) and the organic listings (marked “5”).
These results don’t typically happen by accident. It’s the result of hard work done usually over a reasonably long period of time.
Undoubtedly, your next question is “HOW do you get these rankings?”. The short answer to that is that you have to be what Google believes is the most relevant to the words that were used in the search. The longer answer is much more complicated and we will attempt to cover that in other posts.
Runway Bridal, by the way, listed in the top three of the local map and number one organically for this particular search term, is one of our customers. We host and maintain her website and do SEO work that helps to get the results you see here. Try some other ‘bridal shop’ related searches and we’re pretty confident you will see Runway Bridal popping up fairly regularly.
If you think having your business rank higher in Google search (and other search engine search results) would be of benefit to your business, feel free to drop us a line to initiate a conversation. If we can help you out, great! If not, the worst that will happen is you spend a little bit of your time and learned some more things about SEO.
Introduction: Having an online analytics platform is very important for all businesses that have any kind of online presence (and, of course, that’s almost every business!). The first version of Google Analytics was introduced in November 2005. In October 2020, Google introduced the latest version, called Google Analytics 4 (commonly known as GA4) which gives a detailed insight to all the businesses that have their website properly connected to GA4, including such insights as user engagement on the website, number of impressions, click-through rate, conversion rate, and much more. ...
A mapping software application called Apple Maps is pre-installed on all Apple devices. Many businesses are well aware of the importance of having a Google Business Place (formally known as Google My Business) listing so that their business shows up in the local Google search listings. Less known though is doing a listing to show up on Apple Maps! Due to Apple’s enormous user base, this is a massive, largely untapped opportunity for businesses to rank in search! Key fundamentals of Apple Maps include: 1] Apple Maps Indoor Navigation Function: This function is particularly helpful for...
Hello, digital entrepreneurs! In the current scenario, technology is constantly evolving, and it is crucial for us to utilize these technological changes and take advantage of these new technologies as rapidly as possible. Therefore, in today's blog you'll learn how digital assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa are facilitating customer and business connections. 1) The growth of voice search: According to recent studies, voice search engines produce $40 billion in annual revenue, indicating that the need for voice help is already rising rapidly. And people are utilizing these...
StoneHouseMarketing Solutions, Inc is pleased to release our newest website design, Quinte Hills Golf Course, complete with a dynamic header, eye-catching background photos, and a mobile menu that is easy to use. You can see it here. The site features an interesting home page main header comprised of five section. When you move your mouse over a different section, the background image will change to display a different golf course hole. It's a great way to showcase the golf course! We also added a weather widget on the home page so that golfers will know what the local weather is at...
How to put your Mac OS toolbar and dock on EVERY screen in a multi-monitor setup
I asked the AI program ChatGPT the following:Research the top Search Engine Optimization practices for 2023 and include references. Here's what it came back with! I'm sorry, but I am not able to browse the web, so I cannot research current SEO practices for you. However, I can tell you about some general SEO best practices that have remained consistent over the years and are likely to continue to be effective in the future. These include: 1. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and loads quickly.2. Use descriptive, keyword-rich title tags and meta descriptions to help search engines...
For the fastest hosting service you can get for small and medium sized businesses, it's really quite simple! We recommend hosting with us! The screen shot you see above shows you our website speed the day this article was written. We used GTMetrix to test our home page and you can do the same with your website. Just go to GTMetrix.com and type in your website address starting with https:// Note: There is another website tool you can use that will scan EVERY page of your website simply by entering your site address. This one, by a company called Experte, is available here. Why is this kind...
IF YOU USE LASTPASS, PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL! Even if you don't use LastPass, there are valuable lessons here in this article on online security that might potentially save you untold grief in the future. Over the weekend I received an email that could have cost me the keys to the kingdom. By that, I mean giving a hacker every password I have! And I have literally hundreds of different passwords. Here's the email I received:On the surface this looks pretty legit! It says it's coming from Lastpass. But when I click on the name "Lastpass" I see that the underlying email address is...
EVERY website is being hacked. And we do mean EVERY website! Now to be fair we can’t make that claim with absolute proof which would mean looking at the data on every website and show the evidence of the hacking attempt. But we are making what we believe is a very reasonable extrapolation. In almost a decade of managing a multitude of websites, we’ve yet to see one that wasn’t probed by a hacker in some way or other. Here's an example of a log from this morning as I wrote this post!536 different hosts attempted login into this one particular site! When I say to our various clients that...
What is the most important thing for local SEO? The most important thing for local SEO is Google My Business (GMB). And yet, most local businesses we deal with seem much more focused on various social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (which is great for certain market segments – bridal shops come to mind), and other ones such as Twitter, Linked In and so on. They generally don’t pay much attention to Google My Business. This is, in our opinion, a huge mistake. We’re not saying those other networks aren’t helpful for drumming up or building business, but in terms of...