SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the method of getting your website higher in the rankings with the search engines, or mainly Google. This is a process that companies have been engaged in for decades. Success could reap fortunes for your company. Failure means you’re invisible.
Back in the day, before Google, there were search engines like AltaVista. In order to rank high, the key was to have as many “keywords” on your site as possible. Keywords are words that people use to do searches. For example, working in the real estate field, if a person were to Google “Miami Real Estate For Sale,” those are keywords that you would want to be programmed into your website. The more relevant keywords on your site, the higher you go in the rankings.
A proper method of doing this was to have blog articles, (content) on your website, loaded with keywords. You also needed to update your metatags. This is a behind-the-scenes section of your site that houses page titles, page descriptions, and keywords. Way back when some people would place white text (of hundreds of keywords) on a white background on the home page of the website. The naked eye wouldn’t see it, but the search engine bots would. The search engines frowned upon this and penalized people for doing this.
But then in 1998, Google debuted and that changed everything. Using a new mathematical formula they developed called PageRank, they started incorporating backlinks. These are links on other reputable websites that point back to your website. The more content you had published elsewhere the higher you ranked on Google. This became extremely difficult for the average user. Only companies with major budgets and teams for SEO were able to adjust to this new environment.
For example, my company, DPI Showcase Web Sites, works with real estate agents all over the USA. Doing a search, I Googled, “Miami Homes For Sale.” In .41 seconds the results came up, 86,200,000 websites or links. The first on the page was Zillow, then Realtor.com, Redfin, Trulia (which is owned by Zillow), etc. These are all large companies with large budgets and teams working on their SEO. It is impossible for the average person or company to compete. So, what is a person to do?
Some people hire an SEO company in Miami. These are professionals who make sure your metatags are up to date, create backlinks for your site, and write and post blog articles for you. In order to succeed here you must have a monthly budget and be willing to do this for at least 6 months.
Others pay Google directly. It is called pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. You will show up on page one, but once again you need a monthly budget, and you must do this for at least 6 months. This method will not fix your metatags, so it is a temporary solution that only works if you continue paying Google.
Then there are the DIYers (do-it-yourself). These are people who have the patience or knowledge to go into the backend of their website fix the metatags, blog daily, and create backlinks. If that is for you, here are some basic steps. Mind you there is no guarantee that you will rise in the rankings.
Tool around on Google and do some searches. Make a list of the most relevant keywords that work for your industry.
Put Keywords in the page title and URL
Talk to your web programmer and have them update the title of your web pages in the metatags. Also, make sure the URL (web address) of each page has the relevant keywords. Here you will be limited to just a few words.
Put Keywords in the meta description
In the metatags of each page, there is room for a description of that page’s content. Incorporate keywords into the text. It is recommended to keep this between 50 – 150 characters. Anything longer than this gets cut off by Google.
Use Keywords in the page’s content
Google values content on your website. Pages with lots of words that talk about topics related to your business. This is where blogging comes into play. A blog is an article typically with 900-1,000 words. Embedded into the sentences of the articles would be keywords. For example, DPI Showcase Web Sites create IDX websites for real estate agents. Now, can you spot the keywords in the last sentence? A few of the sentences in the article should have relevant words incorporated into the content.
Original content is key
Google searches for original content. Just copying and pasting articles from other sources will not help in your ranking. This is where the large companies have an advantage. They have staffers writing blog articles every day. These are then posted to their website. Then placed on other sites for backlinks.
Build links to your site
Backlinks are links on other websites that point to your website. The more backlinks you have, the happier Google’s bots are. Google “backlink services” for different companies that provide this service. They typically charge.
Alternatives to Google.
There are other alternatives to Google. There is social media (SM) posting and advertising. There are 2-types of advertising, active and passive. Active is when someone “actively” goes to Google and types in a search. They are actively looking for something; ready to buy. Passive is when you are watching TV, on an SM app, or playing an online game, and an ad shows up. You didn’t ask for the ad, and their bots are trying to match a product to your internet profile. Advertising on Google is active; on SM it’s passive.
Set up Facebook and LinkedIn business pages. Make sure your Instagram account is set up as a business page, then link it to your Facebook business page. Post and make friends daily. You must have 3000+ friends. When posting, always have a link going back to your website. There is also the option to Boost. This allows you to advertise to specific demographics all around the world. Naturally, there is a cost for boosting.
The bottom line, SEO is dead for those who do not have a budget or sit back waiting for a miracle to happen. You must be proactive in order to succeed in business. You will need a marketing budget to either pay Google directly or hire a reputable SEO company. If not, the big companies will run you over. But remember, the fortunes of the world are at your doorstep if you succeed.
Mark Weithorn is the Founder & CEO of DPI, Showcase Web Sites, and partner at DPI SEO. DPI is a 19-year-old tech company that works with Realtors around the USA. Mark also teaches marketing classes to Realtors both nationally and at the Miami Association of Realtors.