Or maybe you remember going to the library to look up things for a school paper, or just because you wanted to know more about some area of interest.
Google and search engines like Yahoo and Bing changed all that with the advent of the internet search engines.
And if you have a business or organization that wants to connect with people, understanding how search engine optimization (SEO) works is the key to being found on the internet and widening your audience and potential customers.
The Shocking Truth About Google
Google wants to make sure you have the best possible experience with their search engine so you keep coming back for more.
And we all benefit as companies like Google have developed an amazing free tool for all of us to use to find information and other resources 24/7.
But have you ever wondered how we get all these great search engines (and other cool things like Facebook and LinkedIn) for FREE?
The truth is that all these companies pay the bills and keep the lights on by selling advertising to people and businesses who want to connect with you when you enter words in the search box.
And those advertisers want to be at the top of the page every time you put a search term in that little box.
And they do that by paying companies like Google for “paid placement” aka advertising.
The Benefits of Search Engine Optimization
Fortunately for small businesses, nonprofit organizations and others, Google has created a way to “level the playing field” and give everyone the opportunity to connect with the broader world through search engine optimization.
Remember how I said Google wants you to have the best possible experience with THEIR search engine?
If all you got when you put in a search term was a bunch of ads, you’d lose interest pretty fast…and that’s where SEO comes in.
In addition to advertisers, Google likes websites that are “dialed in” to the keywords they use and provide an authoritative voice on the subject matter.
On a regular Google-bots “crawl” the internet to analyze the content of a page to assess its relevance and see how many other pages link back as a “vote of confidence” for the measure of authority that a particular website has.
And those sites are the big winners in the world of SEO because Google rewards them with a better ranking and higher placement on search engine results.
What Can SEO Do For YOU?
SEO for small businesses and organizations is an on-going process that can improve your website’s rankings for a group of keywords over a period of months or even years.
SEO is not a “quick and easy” fix.
Nor is it a way to rocket to page one of the search engine results with a bunch of “black-hat” SEO tricks.
But a well-executed SEO campaign can leverage well-written, useful, helpful, entertaining and interesting content will help you become increasingly relevant to search engine results.
In other words, SEO is the most powerful tool in the toolkit of any business or organization that wants to attract more visitors to their website, aka build traffic!
Here’s how to make the most of it:
Habit #1: Connection is About Real Words
At the end of the day, you want to connect with real people, not just make some Google algorithm happy.
That takes real words used by real people.
Use keywords that are commonly used by people when searching on a particular topic.
Those peculiar, impractical phrases that some SEO “experts” use stick out from the text like sore thumbs!
At the end of the day readability of your optimized webpages, blog posts and other articles is very important and it should be kept in mind during the keyword research phase.
And with search engines getting smarted, they will notice odd keywords just like real people will.
So focus on finding and using keywords that will be useful to the end user when writing and optimizing online articles and text.
Habit #2: Where You Use Keywords Matters
I think of keyword placement as an apartment building, where the penthouse suite commands a higher value than the basement flat.
The same applies to search engine optimization.
The most important keywords should be highest in the page or article as “saving the best for last” will be viewed by search engines such as Google as less important.
In fact placing a strong keyword phrase right in the heading sends a clear signal to readers (search engines and real people alike) about the subject of the article.
So if the words are important to your audience, don’t just quietly mention it once at the bottom of the page, and expect that you will rise to the top of the Google page rankings.
Habit #3: Make It Easy for Search Engines and People
Does your website look like an episode of “Hoarders” with irrelevant clutter that makes it difficult to navigate?
Search engines and people prefer a well-organized website that makes access to the specialized information easy to reach.
Don’t put everything under the sun in your website hoping that something will attract the visitors to find some little tidbit of stuffed away in a corner of your blog.
SEO doesn’t work that way.
If your website is overly complicated, visitors will take one look and leave quickly.
Likewise Google will see the quick exits as a sign that something is amiss with your website.
When you make it easy for search engines and real people, you will be ranked higher than cluttered, confusing websites.
Take these simple concepts to heart and integrate them into your web pages, optimizing them for search engines and people to improve your site ranking.
When you practice these habits regularly you will increase traffic to your website.
Remember, slow and steady wins the race!