SEO, SEM…..WTF?

So you’ve finally finished your website.

You run a list of what is completed which is as follows:

Design – Check!

Front End Functionality – Check!

Back End Functionality – Check!

And that’s it right? We’re done, correct?

Wrong.

You’re missing one of the most valuable aspects of Web Maintenance that essentially is a deal breaker for almost all established businesses. This is known as SEO or as others refer to it as Search Engine Optimization.

In short, this particular term defines how well Google’s “Search Spiders” crawl your website for it’s content and rank it on Google’s Search Engine pages. For obvious reasons, everyone would like to appear at the top of the list on page for whatever their website is about.

For example, if you’re a small business in Toronto selling flowers it would be in your best interest to have your website appear on the first page of search results when people type in “Toronto Flowers” of “Toronto Florist”. Last thing you’d want is for your competition to be on page 1 of the search results and you appearing on page 2,3 or even god forbid page 4 and beyond. Once you’re that far, you’re kind of stuck in the “abyss” unless drastic changes are made to your website’s SEO.

Common Human Psychology dictates that most people won’t search further than page one to get the answers they want from a question or when they’re searching something (well, I can’t cite my sources but let’s be honest, when was the last time you searched further than page 2 or even 1 to find something you’re looking for?) – so going back to our example about the Florist, almost everyone looking for flowers in Toronto won’t even know about your page because they’ll just find your competition’s first and just go with that before they’ve even had a chance to find yours. I mean sure, Google Maps might help in this sense as it will display your business in it’s Maps (along with the competition) but do you really want to rely on that only while your competition gets the best of both worlds? Thought so. So much for your fancy looking website with it’s drop down menus, order functions, contact forms and awesome layout. No use when no one is visiting it.

Hence why Search Engine Optimization is vital for any business or person to survive in this day and age of internet, social media and fancy 15-minutes-of-fame internet personalities.

In order to fully optimize your website, there are several ways to do so which include but are not limited to the following:

Key Words in your content and Meta Data
Key Descriptions in your content and Meta Data
Relevant Content in your Website
Properly labelling your H1-H6 Tags
Clear, Semantic Markup (HTML)
Linking to other relatable Websites
Fast Page Load (i.e. small image file sizes & proper JS syntax!)
Receiving Google Analytics code and applying it into your pages
Proper use of Google Search Console and Google Analytics

I’ll get into depth a little further on how each of these points can be applied and taken into consideration but this is a basic foundation of what to consider when building your website and maintaining it after.

SEM, also known as Search Engine Marketing essentially is paid-advertising for websites.

A common example you will notice this in your daily life is Google Ad Words.

Try it right now, type in “Toronto Tickets” into Google and see what happens. Most likely you’ll see at least a couple of websites with a Green/White button with the word “AD” next to it as the first pages that show up. As I’m currently searching it, I see that StubHub and the Toronto City Pass link appear first before anything else. That’s because StubHub and the City of Toronto paid Google for their pages to appear first when people search Toronto Tickets (or other related words), hence giving them that extra edge in ranking for the certain amount of time that both parties paid for.

Cool, huh?

This is just one example of SEM that I’ve covered but I’ll get into this topic more further down the line on my next couple of posts with SEO.

Until next time!

– Mike

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