infographic of the search engine optimization process

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. OK, great, but what is optimization? The science of optimizing pages to be more highly ranked by the search engines means that the page content of your website is designed to perform well. The search engine’s job is to deliver the best results for a search query. But how do they determine which site is the best? They convert everything on your site to text, and store it as sets of keyword phrases. That’s where the science comes in.

Leading the Horse to Water

To improve your search results, you’ll need to do three key things:

  1. Increase your content with compelling, relevant content, using the right key phrases
  2. Write strategic page titles and meta descriptions for every page of your website
  3. Increase your site’s inbound links from other sites

How to Get Started

Hire an SEO expert

If you really want to get the job done, call in an experienced SEO practitioner. They can evaluate your site, and suggest a strategy to boost your rank. They keep up with the latest algorithm changes, know the tools, can offer strategic advice and run your campaign. At Network9, we are SEO compliant designers. We know what works, and we build it in right from the start.

Invest in a detailed Keyword Analysis

SEO experts gather every keyword phrase from your website and your competitor’s websites, then run that list through an analysis tool. You’ll get results for every variation of those keyword phrases, plus their relevance, traffic, and competition. This document is a great tool as well as a marketing document—you will know exactly what people are searching for. Don’t guess. Free tools such as wordtracker are a good resource if you are a do-it-yourselfer.

Add key phrases to your content

Examine your pages and decide which key phrases are the most relevant to that page. Pepper the text with them, but don’t overdo it or make the copy awkward.

The new design and the SEO work have increased my business between 60 – 70%. Dr. Dean Mitchell,

Correctly title your pages and URLs

The text that is displayed at the very top of your page is the page title. Sometimes you see one set of phrases, sometimes two or three. An SEO expert can help you find and choose the most strategic page titles and URLs. If you have a WordPress site, you can enter them, or you will need a programmer to do it. Each page of your site should have a different page title that refers to the content of the page.

Write strategic meta descriptions for each page

The text you see under the page title in a Google search is the meta description. Again, an SEO expert can write these, you can do it yourself in WordPress, or have your programmer do it.

search results page view
This is what the Google search results page looks like, and the location of the page title on a website.


Acquire inbound links

Ask other people you know who have websites to give you a link from their website to yours. This is what an SEO team does on a large scale. Creating thousands of links into your site boosts your authority to Google and brings your page up in the ranks. It is especially good if the inbound links come from websites with a high page rank—4 and up. Use directories, Google Maps, and social sites, like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. They create inbound links too. SEO teams usually have a roster of clients whose sites will link into yours, creating lots of inbound links immediately.

Start blogging

Adding pages of relevant, compelling content is one of the best ways to add SEO value to your website. Post regularly and Google will reward your website. Every blog post should also be optimized, just like any other web page. Not only is it good for SEO, it establishes you as a “thought leader”, creates readership, and even adds inbound links from people who like your articles—a big bonus. If you can’t do it yourself, hire a writer.

Track your results

Once you have all of the above in place, be sure to track your results with tools like Google Analytics. If you aren’t getting the results, tweak your website, then check again.

Be patient

Building organic rank takes months, but it’s worth the effort. It’s like buying a home vs. renting. You are building permanent equity for your business.

Making them Drink

A great web designer will focus on conversion. An SEO compliant designer will also know how to use SEO techniques in the planning stages. Once the horses are lead to your site by your SEO, your website needs to help them drink. Make your website a great destination— well-designed, user-friendly, and informative. Remember, your site is your virtual salesperson, 24/7.

Read our article on SEO in the brand-aid blog