Oct 17, 2013

The Magic Behind Your Online Searches

by: in SEO

Online Searches

I want you all to do me a favor and imagine this scenario: It’s a Friday night, you and your significant other want a night out on the town starting with a place to eat, but you don’t know where to go. So naturally, what do you do? Pull up your favorite search engine, of course! You then precede to type in the phrase, “restaurants in Louisville on the river”, click on the first result, see a delicious meal on the first page and voila! Next thing you know, you and your significant other are eating delicious tapas on the river coupled with a live mariachi band straight out of Mexico.

Now that I’ve made you all hungry, let’s focus less on finger foods and more on how you and your loved one got to this point: the search engine. Whether it was Google, Bing, Yelp, etc., you were able to conveniently find a great restaurant without any trouble. That is where Brittany’s job made your life easier.

At LEAP, Brittany Burdoine-Lewis is a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialist. As an SEO specialist, she works to improve the searchability of websites so that they can easily be searched for through the use of keywords. The use of relevant keywords is one factor that helps place a website at the top of a search engine results page. From a consumer perspective, if a website is at the top of the results page, it is much more likely that they are going to click on it because it is clearly the best choice in relevance to their search.

Essentially, SEO makes you popular. And, I mean, who doesn’t want to be popular?...

So, the first step to optimizing your website is to provide a “clean” URL. Clean being defined as simple, easy to read, and hierarchical in accordance to the pages of the website. In addition to the clean URL, you want to make sure you are using keywords not only in your URL, but throughout your entire website. For instance, the menu page for the mariachi tapas restaurant should not have a URL like these: MariachiTapas.com/drinks/pumpkinspicelattes or MariachiTapas.com/q786dulp. Those, of course, either don’t make sense or don’t contain any keywords. Instead, they should have a URL like one of these: MariachiTapasRestaurant.com/menu/appetizers or MariachiTapasRestaurant.com/menu/tapas, both of which contain relevant keywords, are hierarchical in accordance to the pages, and are easy to read.

Optimizing a URL is only the beginning to SEO. Websites as a whole (text, links, and images), blogs, articles, and social media are also places where SEO can be applied.

An even cooler part about Brittany’s job: the ability to monitor her work. Google Analytics and Conductor Searchlight are two of the analytic tools that allow Brittany to make sure she is optimizing correctly. She can see which keywords are being used to find a website, and how often they are being used. This helps her for future optimization to be able to introduce new keywords, both branded and non-branded, that customers are using.

In addition to on-site optimization, off-site optimization can make your brand more popular, as well. An example of this would be a press release or an outside blogger. While these may be an awesome influence on your brand, the brand itself sometimes has no control over them. For an example of how LEAP receives traffic through an outside blogger, check out the blog of LEAP’s Cincinnati SEO specialist Nathan Engels: wannabite.com.

SEO is not a set and forget digital marketing strategy. It takes a lot of work and knowledge to be able to recommend the best solutions and strategies for each client. And…it is also an ongoing process. With the constant changes handed out by Google and Bing, great SEO takes time, careful planning (and re-planning) and the expert knowledge to understand how those change will (or will not) affect your brand or company’s website and online presence.