The point in having a website is so people can find your business, services or products. That is the purpose of the "Search Engine Optimization" (SEO) process. SEO is a process, not an event; a journey, not a destination. Technology changes, website directories and internet search engines change their algorithms; your competitors change their tactics. Your website and your off-website presence must also periodically be reviewed and updated.
inQsec provides monthly reports to our regular clients showing how your online profile stacks up against your competitors and where you rank for search terms key to your business.
There are 2 major parts to SEO:
1. On-site SEO
This is work performed on the website itself to make the site attractive to the search engines. Bear in mind that your website serves 2 audiences: your customers, and the search engines. Just because it looks good does not mean that the search engines can index it well - putting all your text into an image graphic for instance. And, just because you stuff it with every keyword you can imagine does not make it attractive when viewed.
Good content well presented is essential to satisfy both viewers and search engines. For this, using a Content Management System (CMS) is invaluable.
There are also certain evolving and changing technical standards that the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) encourage and sometimes insist on. The technology used to build your website has to evolve with these standards in order to remain relevant and retain ranking. Current must-haves include:
- Mobile-friendly: for optimized viewing and use on small screens such as phones, tablets etc. Current standards have a website displayed in a single column on a mobile phone, so the user can scroll up and down through content with the touch of a finger or stylus. Older websites try to display all the content in the same formatting as for a desktop browser so to navigate and read the website, a user has to pinch, zoom, scroll and magnify to find what they are looking for. A mobile-friendly website may display the most important information first on the mobile and in fact omit some "fluff" content. At this time, there are more visits to websites from mobile devices than desktop devices and Google in particular has a "mobile-first" indexing policy.
- Responsive: for optimized use on desktop browsers when users resize their windows. In a responsive design, website content is dynamically reformatted to fill areas of the page as the size of these areas change or the size of the typeface is changed when the user moves browser windows around one or more virtual desktop screens. Older websites often have fixed text size or areas so that information is distorted or overllaps when browser windows are resized.
- https - capable: the secure protocol which provides end-to-end encryption of all communication between the browser and the website. Search engines now give prominence to sites which support "https" instead of the older "http" protocol. Enabling the privacy and security of a user's browsing habits is important, as is enabling you, the website owner, to have some protections against unauthorized snooping on your viewers use of the website. The "https" protocol goes a long way towards enabling these goals. Whereas once https was expensive and difficult to administer and reserved for banking and similar websites, today it is readily available, simple and ubiquitous. Your website needs to support it.
Also, the era of fooling the search engines by keyword stuffing and use of hidden text is over. Their advanced algorithms now do a pretty good job of assessing the value of user-visible content i.e. deciding if a viewer would find the page as presented responsive to their question. A good Content Management System (CMS) provides tools to create and manage high-value content, as well as providing moble, friendly and responsive design templates.
Since internet standards and best-practices continually evolve, and security vulnerabilities continually surface, your website should be built using a well-supported tool (such as one of the CMS); and receive regular maintenance.
inQsec handles all that for our clients.
2. Off-Site SEO
This is work performed outside of your primary website to make sure that the website is noticed and publicized around the web.
This, at a minimum, includes getting a listing on:
- Google My Business
- Bing Places
- Other general "citation" sites such as Yelp, Nextdoor, Yahoo Local, MapQuest, etc
- Industry specific citation sites which may have credibility
Plus, getting backlinks to the site from other trusted parties such as suppliers, civic groups, charities, interest-group forums, news sites, etc.
Since your competition is constantly trying to steal your customers by getting a higher search ranking than you, an active policy of monitoring, adding, correcting and improving your citations and backlinks is required in order to maintain your business' online profile.
inQsec handles all that for our clients.