What even is SEO?

A laptop, displaying a Google search page, sitting beside a phone on a picnic table

You have probably heard the term SEO and have some understanding that it involves getting your site higher up in Google search ranking.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, so essentially it means optimizing your site for search engine indexing (or ranking).

Search engines use computer “robots” to scan your site and gather information about what your site contains. A search engine robot sees your site a lot differently than the rest of your human visitors. If you’ve never tried this before, right click and select “View Page Source” (or on a Mac: select “Show Page Source” in the “Develop menu”). There is a lot of information embedded in the code that most visitors won’t see, but the search engine robot will.

There are a few things you can do to help these robots index your site the most accurately. Search engine robots pull your site’s title, tagline, and description from the HTML code. These parts of your webpage are often referred to as meta tags. There are limits on the length of the meta tags that search engines are willing to display. Every page and image on your website can have meta tags. It is vitally important that the content of your meta tags accurately reflects the content of your website.

The best way to optimize your website for search engines can change over time, as search engines adjust their algorithms to keep up with the rapidly growing world wide web.

At the moment (and hopefully for the foreseeable future), search engines are placing a lot of emphasis on content and accessibility. Your site will be indexed higher if you have more content related to the search terms and if you have a responsive website (i.e., it displays well on a variety of screen sizes). One of the trickiest things about SEO is trying to determine which terms visitors might enter into search engines when looking for sites like yours and then sorting out how can you create captivating content that focuses on those terms. This can become quite involved and so, it’s best to understand that real SEO is more than a few simple tweaks to boost your ranking. SEO is also not something you can “set and forget”.

Once your website is live, you can track search queries that brought visitors to your site and update your content to better guide visitors.

When you are ready to begin development of your website, I can work with you on properly optimizing your site.