What Is Search Engine Optimization?

Is your site optimized? What keywords are you ranking for?

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What is search engine optimization? Otherwise known as SEO, it is the act of optimizing a web presence to help Google better understand what the page is about, how important the page is, and how to rank it on search results pages. When we talk about SEO, we’re really talking about Google Optimization.

Bing and a few other search engines get some share of the audience, but their slice is very small, and it isn’t growing. When most people search for something, they search on Google. That’s right – more than 90% of searches occur through Google. Because of this, the SEO efforts we put forth are focused on Google. And this works out perfectly, considering most things that work on Google also work on other search engines.

What Is SEO For?

SEO, as previously mentioned, is a means to increase the visibility of your website in search engines like Google. If you restore derelict UFOs, you want to show up for people searching online for “derelict UFO restoration.” You want to be on the first page of that search, and you want to be within the top five options presented by Google.

Google (and various search engines) are essentially answer machines.

People type in a question, or a subject, or request a list of hilarious cat memes, and Google immediately provides “answers” (technically, “options,” but Google picks them because it thinks they offer the best chance of answering your query).

The job of SEO – in all its splendorous variations – is to show Google that you’re a valid website offering all the correct and necessary information to answer a searcher’s question or request.

If you “fit the bill” (so to speak), you’ll appear in a visible position (first page) in search results.

How SEO helps a website from top to bottom (well, technically, from bottom to top).

SEO practices are utilized in every facet of website design and development. They fulfill various needs that improve website visibility and the experience (UX) one has while utilizing said website.

From the coded architecture organizing and presenting content to the online public, to the actual focus of said content, SEO is considered, accounted for, and applied on day one of any website build. And the various strategies and practices continue as long as the desire exists to appear competitively in search results.

So, taking it from the top bottom:

Crawl Accessibility or Crawlability (which is totally a word): SEO-conscious web design allows search engines to easily reach, crawl through, understand, and index your content/webpages/website.

Informative, Compelling Content: Making sure you have exactly what the searcher is looking for after finding your website/webpage. If you have good content that keeps people on your website, Google will consider you more of an authority, and therefore, be more compelled to present your site in search results.

Optimized with Keywords and Phrases: These words and phrases are closely related to your business, and they’re the very words online searchers use to find products, services, and websites just like yours. Optimizing text-based content with these words and phrases attracts the attention of search engines, and therefore, those doing the searching.

User Experience (UX): Does the website load fast? Is it easy to use? Is the navigation intuitive an easy to follow? Is the website visible and usable on a smartphone, or for that matter, any handheld mobile device? Can people actually find the specific information they clicked to find? If a website isn’t a breeze to use, the chances of a return visit diminish. Rapidly.

Create Content That’s Worth Sharing: You want backlinks and citations from other websites? Websites that love what you’re doing so much, they not only mention your website, but link right back to the particular content informing them so wonderfully? Write something compelling. Something thoughtful. Something richly informative and dense with data, or something breezy and conversational. Something with a focus on the audience compelled by your brand of content.

Again, since SEO exists to prove your value to Google, the existence of external sites referencing yours is a huge boost to your perceived validity. When search engines see multiple online sources linking to yours, they’re more inclined to consider you valid, trustworthy, and a great resource for searches. And these attributes improve the likelihood of search engines presenting your website as an option.

Concise, Informative URLs, Titles, and Descriptions: Keeping page URLs on point with on-page content helps search engines define and rank the type of content presented on-page. Titles and meta descriptions show the title of a page and offer a description defining the page content. This “metainformation” or “metadata” is what appears in search engine results:

Need help? Contact us today.

Why Hire Amity Digital for Your Search Engine Optimization?

Believe it or not, we were doing SEO before Google was a thing. We started in the very beginning of the search industry when search engines like Alta Vista, Lycos, Web Crawler, Yahoo, and Excite were vying to be king of search mountain. Those search engines were considered state of the art in the early ‘90s, but they were very easy to manipulate – a big opportunity for improvement that enticed the founders of Google.

How do they create a search engine that would show relevant rankings and not be easily manipulated? That age-old question of “How do we do this thing better than it’s being done” was the driving force behind how Google was born, and it was unlike any other search engine before it. Webmasters quickly learned that they had to adapt. They had to learn how to work within Google’s guidelines if they wanted their site to rank, leaving their less than savory techniques behind.

SEO is one of those industries where you must learn to adapt to survive. Few companies doing SEO today can claim they have been doing it from the very beginning. And unfortunately, there are quite a few that can’t admit to doing so legitimately.

We never try to trick or manipulate Google’s search algorithm to bring short-erm benefits to our customers (a practice known as “Black Hat SEO”). We knew these unfavorable digital practices would bring about temporary victories – victories that would eventually diminish thanks to penalties delivered by Google (and by “penalties,” I mean a severe downturn in ranking, or perhaps a swift and non-negotiable delisting).

We wanted the sites we worked on to win in the long term – and win legitimately. And this is exactly why we’re still at it today.

How We Help Your Website Rank

The whole point of SEO is to optimize your website for Google’s algorithm – this helps rank your site in the top of search results for keywords you want to appear for. Sounds simple enough, but it become rather complicated. Google is an ever-evolving search engine that uses well over 200 signals to determine how your website should rank.

Some of those signals appear on your website, while others appear on other websites in the form of citations, back links, and social media mentions. Some of these signals are harder to control, like the age of your website and the history of your domain name.

Why is it so important to rank well? At least 75% of all traffic for a particular search goes to the results on the first page, and the majority of that traffic goes to the top 3 results. The better the results, the more likely it is that people will not have to go to page two to find what they are looking for.

At Amity Digital, we have industry veterans that have been working in this field since before Google was a thing. Our process starts with an audit which leads right to an actionable plan to tackle the changes and improvements we can make to better rank your website. We’ll discuss your goals and formulate a strategy that makes sense for your business and your area of service.

Our SEO Services

As previously mentioned, Google looks at over 200 signals when determining how to rank your website in search results. To effectively give Google what it wants – and to effectively project all those signals– SEO services break out into specific realms of focus.

On-page SEO: We optimize elements on the page or site (referred to as on-page SEO). This refers to optimizing content with searchable, industry-relevant keywords and phrases that Google looks for when considering which sites should appear in search results.

On-page SEO also has to do with making sure images are properly sized to load quickly and clearly, and properly defined by text to describe their relevance to Google.

Off-page SEO: We optimize for elements that exist outside of, or off, the website, also known as off-page SEO. This involves the accumulation of Backlinks and Citations.

  • Citations are other websites or online entities containing (citing) your business name and address.
  • Backlinks are legitimate websites and other web-based entities linking back to your website.

Citations and Backlinks help Google verify your website as genuine since they’re other sources proving your legitimacy and existence. So, the more Backlinks and Citations, the more indicators proving your validity to Google.

Local SEO: Did you know that 90% of purchases take place in physical stores? That’s right – people still purchase in-store, and they purchase more while shopping in-store than online.

While you’re reeling from that statistic, here’s another: 80% of disposable income in the United States is spent within 20 miles from home. Because of these important stats, a local business can benefit from a strong Local SEO strategy (link to Local SEO page) –  a facet of SEO that helps businesses rank for local customers searching online for nearby products and services.

Technical SEO: This aspect of SEO deals with more foundational elements that allow Google to easily crawl, define, and rank your website. Technical SEO makes sure the coded website architecture allows for easy Google Optimization, which, in turn, allows Google crawlers to easily move through and define a website’s innumerable elements.

Technical SEO looks out for and mitigates any coding errors preventing Google from properly crawling a website. It also confronts and improves the following:

  • Mobile performance: Does the website load quickly? Is it responsive? If not, what are the interfering factors?
  • Duplicate content: Do you have the same text or images on multiple pages? Google won’t know how to differentiate between your pages if they essentially repeat each other.
  • User experience (UX): Can website visitors easily navigate throughout the website and find what they’re looking for? Can they easily fill out forms or leave contact information? When Google crawls a website, it moves through these features much like an on-site visitor. If there’s difficulty moving throughout the site, and it’s hard to locate pages, Google will consider this a poor user experience.
  • Page speed: Does a website load quickly? Slow-loading content is another red checkmark in the infinite, digital eyes of Google – it’s more proof of a poor user experience.
  • Redirects and Robots.txt: Have you applied the proper code enabling Google to overlook pages entirely? Have you directed visitors to the proper URL after removing or updating the previous URL? Google wants to make sure website visitors end up exactly where they expect to end up. And if this code is faulty? That’s right – another red checkmark.

Reputation Management:  As previously mentioned, Google wants to see other online entities referencing your business or linking back to your website. Other references help Google validate your presence, and the more valid you appear, the more Google will be compelled to rank you.

So, customer reviews are other sources – incredibly important sources — proving your validity to Google. Customers who rank your performance and leave a review are key to proving your viability to search engines AND potential customers.

Online customer reviews provide a host of benefits, and they’re as impactful as personal recommendations.

Need help acquiring customer reviews? Our Reputation Management strategy and software will help you procure more, and more positive, customer reviews.

 

Superhero SEO

Amity Digital was born from the stories of superheroes and legends.

The majority of people working at Amity Digital used to be part of the team at SuperHeroStuff.com, the largest superhero eCommerce store in the world. Brian Welch, the owner of Amity Digital, was responsible for the SEO of the site (along with the rest of the marketing).

When we acquired SuperHeroStuff in 2007, it was doing $100k a year. Over the next ten years, we built it up to a $10 million dollar a year business, and nearly half of the traffic we were getting was from organic SEO. You don’t have to know anything about superheroes to know that the superhero biz is huge, and as such, the keywords around that industry are very competitive. We ranked (and still do in most cases) in the top three positions for phrases like superhero t-shirts, batman t-shirts, batman bio, etc.

Our site received thousands of visitors a day from searches that began on Google. When all the big players entered the superhero game, we were able to maintain most of those rankings. We sold SuperHeroStuff to another eCommerce-first company in August of 2018. Their rankings appear to have slipped, but not by much thanks to the foundation we laid.

Our SEO Promise (which is a promise not to promise)

One thing we won’t do is promise you amazing results in a short period of time. It would be great if that’s how it worked, but it doesn’t.

Despite the incredible sophistication of Google’s algorithm, it has to process an unthinkable amount of data each and every day. It takes time for any changes to appear, no matter how positive they are.

We can’t promise immediate results because the very nature of Google makes immediate results impossible. What we can promise, however, is that everything we do is above board.

We don’t employ any shady SEO techniques that might help in the short-term (but make you more vulnerable to irreparable, long-term damage). We don’t do shortcuts. We want you as a long-term client, and we know the only way to make that happen is to do the best job we can and deliver real and measurable results.

Our SEO Process

So, how do we do it? How do we go about improving your online presence? What steps do we take to help you generate more leads, improve your ROI, and bring in more sales?

What fantastical internet magic does our SEO wizard wield to transform your website from meek, whiny mortal to …uh… a sales-slaying barbarian feared by kings and adored by all?

Press on, gentle reader:

 

Research and SEO Audit. Before we dig into an SEO campaign, the first thing we do is research. Research, research, and more research. We analyze your website. We look at your direct competition. We perform a thorough, all-encompassing SEO Audit to analyze your website’s relationship with Google. We… Y’know what? I’m going to list the rest:

  • We analyze your website’s analytics
  • We look at your website’s speed
  • We examine the number and quality of backlinks and citations
  • We look at the website’s mobile presentation
  • We use tools to crawl the website like Google to determine how well (or how poorly) Google perceives it.
  • We do several other things which we would love to discuss with you, so hit the button below and contact us today. Like, today. Now would be good. 

Want to know if your website SEO is up to snuff? Hit the button below and receive a free SEO Audit.

Optimize and Improve: After we determine how well (or poorly) Google perceives your website, we dig in and start making changes (big and small) so Google can better understand who you are.

We dig into Technical SEO and help improve the usability, speed, and functionality of your website.

We make sure the website architecture is error-free, offering a smooth, hassle-free for Google’s crawlers.

We add and/or improve titles and meta-descriptions.

We wash your car, tend to your garden, and feed the llamas. We do none of that, but if anything previously mentioned suddenly affects SEO, we’ll reconsider.

Optimizing Content: Content helps you inform and educate visitors regarding your products, services, and your discernible company characteristics. It guides visitors through the sales funnel, allowing them access to additional information and purchasable products and services.

We’ll suggest topics, or dive in and provide the copy ourselves. Whatever we create or suggest, the goal is to attract, educate, and inform visitors so they’re amenable to accepting additional information and making purchases.

Optimizing Content Part II – Keywords: This is a key element of any SEO strategy – researching the keywords and phrases people utilize to search online for your specific products and services.

Once we determine the words and phrases related to your business – and the search volume of those words – we make sure to pepper your written content with these researched keywords and phrases. But only pepper – they need to be a natural part of the content, and not forcefully inserted or overtly repeated.

Bringing in the Links: Our SEO strategists will help build links to your website from reputable sites related to your products and services. We’ll also improve the number of websites or other online entities listing your business information (i.e., citations).

Test, Track, and Test Again: We’ll test, tweak, and reconfigure until we acquire and maintain the flow of relevant, qualitied search traffic to your website.

We partner with you to make sure your website is properly guiding visitors through the sales funnel, and directing them to essential pages and content. And those “call to action” buttons (CTAs) littering your website? We’ll make sure they’re properly positioned to compliment the visitor’s journey as they roam the site and learn more about you.

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