What is Search Engine Optimization?

In the marketing world we hear the term ‘Search Engine Optimization’ thrown around a lot. If you’re a small business owner you’ve probably been cold-called or emailed by someone wanting to help with your SEO.  We are constantly told that, without it, our customers will not be able to find us online. But what is Search Engine Optimization exactly? Do we really need it to succeed?

The short answer is yes. According to Google, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.” So how can you ensure that your site will appear high in the list of search engine results?

The answer is in the name SEO itself. If you want to be found by search engines, your website needs to be optimized for what the search engines want to see. Search engines rank a site high if several key factors are met:

  • Your content must be relevant to your product. 
  • Your website needs to perform well and be a pleasant experience to the user. 
  • Your website needs to have authority.

Here are four best practices to do make sure your site hits these factors:

  1. listed phone numberNAP – And I don’t mean getting rest. Make sure your Name, Address, and Phone number is easy to find and listed correctly on every page.
  2. Words Matter – For search engines to provide accurate results, they need to understand what any given user wants to find. They accomplish this by crawling every single website and gathering specific information. Because search engines are constantly, well, searching, you must use accurate keywords so search engines understand your product. However, be sure to use words that not only describe your product, but also are what your customers are looking for. 
  3. Title Tags and Meta Descriptions – These are the first things your users will see within a search result. When you write your titles, tags, don’t miss the opportunity to include keywords: think of words that your customer will type in the search box. Meta Descriptions do not directly impact SEO rankings but are the first opportunitdisplay to reach people in the snippet that displays in the search results. Make it a stong reason for searchers to chose your site.
  4. Use Hyperlinks – On your site, you should have both internal (that link to other pages on your site)and links from other relevant sites pointing to you. This helps the search engines understand the importance of your site and specific pages in it.
Even Mom & Pop pizzerias can use the power of SEO for good.

SEO is a crucial part of online marketing. Now that you know what search engine optimization is, by keeping up to date with the best practices you’ll be discovered — not just by search engines, but customers as well.

If all this seems like a great deal of work … you’re right! Most business owners find it overwhelming. That’s why it helps so much to have a team of hardworking pros who can take care of SEO for you. Interested in hearing more about how SEO can grow your business? We’d love to talk with you.





Courtney has numerous certifications from Hubspot and years of experience with client management. She specializes in local search engine optimization, Google Analytics, and understanding the nuts and bolts of Hubspot’s automation platform. In her spare time, she is an accomplished violinist.