Running your own business means you’ve probably gotten an earful about “how important SEO is,” but what exactly is SEO anyway?
When you’re looking for something on the internet – say, for a new restaurant – you probably do so through a search engine like Google or Bing. The pages and pages of search results that come up when you type in something like “Mexican restaurant Seattle” are hundreds of competitors battling to get your attention – hoping that you will proceed to click through to their website, see that delicious enchilada plate they have featured on their homepage, and call to reserve a table.
“An astounding 75% of search engine users never even scroll past page one.”
Who you click on is probably greatly influenced by how high they appear in the search results. You assume, after all, that those on the first page must be there for a reason. In fact, an astounding 75 percent of search engine users never even scroll past page one. The question is, how can those other businesses on pages two, three, and beyond make their way up in the rankings? This is where smart SEO comes into play.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the process that businesses – from restaurants to aesthetic practices – go through in order to help boost their site up on the list of search results where potential clients will more easily find them. Therefore, a strong SEO strategy means a better search ranking, which, in turn, means more potential clients are seeing your site, and, ultimately, a potential increase in business.
Seems pretty simple, right? Unfortunately, it’s not. If it were that easy, everyone would be taking turns on the first page of search results.
Why Your Site Ranks Where It Does
First, it’s important to understand the difference between organic results and PPC results.
When you search for something in Google, you will sometimes see results at the top of the page with a little yellow box that says “Ad” by the website’s URL. This is a PPC, or pay-per-click, ad. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo allow businesses to buy this ad space to appear at the top of the page for specific search terms. For example, if you wanted to appear in this space when users search for “aesthetic practice Seattle,” you would then purchase a PPC ad for this term. Every time someone clicks on your ad, you pay the search engine a “finder’s” fee – hence the name pay-per-click. However, with a per-click rate of anywhere from pennies to dollars, costs can add up quickly and get very expensive.
The benefit of PPC is that it puts you right at the top of the page when someone searches for that term or phrase. You will, however, still be fighting for position with your competitors who also have a PPC campaign for the same keywords or key phrase. And while it may temporarily rocket you to the top of the page, research has shown that the majority of users prefer organic results.
Organic results appear as a result of their relevance to a given search term. Aptly named, “organic,” or natural search, is any listing that has not been purchased. Organic listings are the preferred results of users – with 70 percent of all clicks coming from these links as opposed to a paid ad. A website’s placement in Google’s organic results is determined by a proprietary ranking algorithm that scans, or “crawls”, through hundreds of thousands of websites and user factors. These include how long your site has been registered and how fast your page loads.
“Did You Know? At least 70% of all clicks come from organic links!”
It is important to note, that although it is commonly believed that PPC can help improve your site’s organic ranking, Google AdWords (in charge of managing PPC campaigns) and Google Search are not connected in any way. Where you rank organically is much more complicated – proving itself to be a more complex and ever-changing science.
Exemplifying the complexity of organic search, Google has changed this algorithm 78 times since 2012. Changes have included penalties for not being mobile friendly, having duplicate content or spammy links, and more. Basically, Google wants to ensure it is always displaying the best possible results first. Thus, if you fall behind or become lazy with your SEO strategy, Google will catch on quickly, and your website will begin to slip down the pages of results.
How do you shoot to and stay at the top of organic results? How does your site become the coveted number one result? Plenty of research, plenty of work, plenty of patience – and plenty of expert help.
Climbing the Organic Rankings with SEO
If there were a be all and end all tip for beating Google’s algorithm and skyrocketing to the top of the rankings in no time, everyone would be doing it. And, consider this, if that were the case, how much would you really trust the results? Your search would be far less reliable if anyone could start a business, plug in the secret Google-beating magic, and appear at the top of page one without any real credibility.
Making your way to page one (and possibly even number one overall) takes a strategic and professional approach based on market and keyword research, the latest search result algorithms, and past experience. It’s not as easy as just reading a book or blog post. And, despite what many may think, it’s not something you can just do yourself – especially when you already have a business to run.
“Successful SEO involves a team of people working behind the scenes—customizing and tailoring SEO activities unique to your practice.”
Investing in Your Online Presence
When professionally done, a good SEO strategy can help your website gradually climb its way through the pages of search results so that your prospective clients can easily find you. Successful SEO involves a team of people working behind the scenes – customizing and tailoring SEO activities unique to your practice.
At Strategic Edge, we are pleased to be able to offer sound SEO advice for your aesthetic practice. As industry insiders, our SEO experts, Bryan and Jonathan, work to ensure that your website appeals to and attracts the right customers. We understand that SEO is a continuous process that takes constant review, tweaks, and shifts. When done correctly, SEO is a long-lasting and valuable marketing technique. With advanced, out-of-the-box thinking, Strategic Edge can help you achieve your overall business goals.
Let us help you help yourself. Please contact Strategic Edge to learn how SEO can boost your practice’s online presence.