As entrepreneurs, whether you know it or not, you utilize SEO. SEO simply means search engine optimization and is all about increasing your ranking online. In this technological era of business, when a potential consumer is looking for a service they hop online and usually start with search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing to find what they are looking for.
The words they type into that search bar is what we call "keywords." These keywords direct them to a populated page of content from various sites. The content can be anything from a blog post, images, social accounts, or a video. The keywords they use pulls up relevant content. When that consumer clicks "search", that search engine's bots (bots are a software program that quickly gathers and index information) disperse throughout the endless webiverse to retrieve content. When these bots are going through the internet, they are reading endless scripts of coding and pulling sites that match the keywords to create a result page of the most relevant, verifiable, and valuable content. After that, these bots rank the retrieved content from what is most important to least important. From there the consumer scrolls through pages of content and click what they view as related to their search. BLAM! Online engagement has taken place.
I wanted to come back and talk about unintentional SEO. This happens typically to small brick and mortars that rely on word of mouth to stimulate business. With our new found understanding of keywords and bots, it's not hard to see how the lack of SEO could potentially harm your business. Example, you had a customer referred to you and they had a bad experience or maybe a bad day. They get on a social media account and start bad mouthing your company. One of their followers find validity in their post and chooses to share. The offset of social media and business is that if enough people are talking about you, that media will automatically propagate a page for your business. In the SEO world, what just happened is that now two pages indexed in the search engine about your company. So two weeks later, another customer loved your service and decided to put in a review on Yelp. Today, you are networking with a potential client who will more than likely look you up online. And they will find your automated profile, the post from the angry customer, the follower that shared it, and a review. This could sway that potential client in whether or not they want to engage you. The reason unintentional SEO is so harmful is because you are at the mercy of whatever review, blog post, or automated profiles that others have made about you.
Entrepreneurs' first goal is to always be ahead of the curve. So instead of letting SEO happen to you, create it! So what is the first step in your SEO journey? Finding your niche and targeting keywords. Intentional SEO is populating the web with content that best represents your brand and then optimizes it. Optimizing it helps your ranking, which means you are one step closer to that first page. Here are 6 Simple SEO Tips For Small Businesses which will go into depth about the different ways to optimize your content. What would 90% of online traffic do for your business?