SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Simply put, it's a strategy for getting your website or blog noticed by search engines, and getting ranked higher in the search results when people type in certain keywords.
To get noticed by search engines...
First, know how search engines work. When you enter keywords into the search box, Google and other search engines do not go out to the Web to find results for you. They search the pages they have already indexed and ranked, using proprietary algorithms. That's why you get different results from Google, Bing/Yahoo (Yahoo search results are powered by Bing) and other search engines.
Search engines are constantly crawling the web and adding new pages to their files. Pages with new content are given greater consideration than pages with old content.
How search engines rank web pages
When you type keywords into a search box, the search engine looks for indexed pages containing those keywords. Since the number of such pages can run into the millions, search engines need a way of sorting them in order to serve up the most relevant and useful results. Each search engine uses a different formula, but all have a few criteria in common:
- Website and page titles that closely match the search terms
- Quality content
- Authoritative content
- Incoming links from other high-ranking sites
Google uses 200 criteria to rank web pages for search results. Here's a video explaining how they do it:
Tips for boosting your ranking in search results
1. Think about the keywords that people might be typing into search engines.
Include these in the description of your website and in page titles. Thus, if you want to attract people who type "marriage counseling" into the search box, include that phrase, even if you consider yourself a marital therapist rather than a marriage counselor. According to the Google Keyword Planner (at the time of this writing) for every search for "marital therapy" there have been over 100 searches for "marriage counseling."
2. Include your town or geographic region in your website description.
When people search for local services they often type their city or zip code. If the description or page title of your website contains the name of your city, Google will rank your site as a good match for such searches. Having the city name as part of your URL (e.g., www.MiamiCounseling.com) gives you an additional advantage in search engine rankings.
3. Add your business to GoogleMyBusiness listings.
Fill in all the relevant fields. This will put your business name on the Google map at the top of local search results. The listing is free, but you need to have a Google account.
4. Get llsted on Linkedin and other social media websites.
Social media have high SEO themselves, so content from these sites tends to float to the top of search engine results. Be sure to fill out your profile in your social media accounts, and link to your website from them.
5. Write interesting and useful content, and add new content often.
Use relevant keywords in your headlines and in your articles and blog posts. Your content should include frequent mention of the types of people you treat and the types of problems you help them with. The more often you add content, the more likely that you will be ranked higher in search results, since search engines place high value on fresh content.
6. Get other sites to link to you, especially high-quality sites.
When a website has many other sites linking to it, it is considered to be relevant and authoritative. Authoritative sites rank higher in the search engines. Thus, ask non-competing colleagues and other professionals to link to you. (And you can do the same for them.) Include social media widgets on your site, whereby visitors can post a link to your content from their Twitter accounts, their Facebook page or their Linkdedin group.
Here's a video example. For additional info about SEO see SearchEngineLand's Guide to SEO.
NOTE: If you are looking for personalized SEO help, see our Practice Services page for a discount.