What is SEO and How it Can Benefit Your Vancouver-based Business?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is an integral part of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). The term itself says it all, SEO is the optimization process that helps web pages rank higher in organic or free search results for relevant search terms. As a local SEO and Internet marketing company, our main focus and priority is to help you gain first page rankings in the top search engines — Google, Bing, and Yahoo — for keywords or search terms that are directly connected and related to your products and services, especially for those terms that have a higher monthly search volume.
SEO consists of On-site optimization and Off-site optimization. Also, local businesses can gain additional first page rankings by doing additional kind of SEO, specifically targeting Google My Business and Google Maps search results.
It the following example, we will specifically focus on local SEO since our primary objective is to help local businesses rank better in search engines.
Very important ON-site optimization factors include page title, meta description, quality content, URL structure, site’s navigation:
- Page Title: This is done by optimizing the tags of your website. A title tag tells both your site’s visitors and search engines what the subject of your page is all about. For example, if you are a dentist from Vancouver, then your homepage title would definitely include the words Dentist and Vancouver. Each page should have a unique page title
- Meta Description (meta name=”description” tag): The purpose of meta tags is to provide search engines with a summary of what your page is talking about. In your homepage meta description, it’s good to include a summary of your whole site. It’s very important to make sure to write a description that is interesting and informative.
- Quality Content: Create compelling, original, and useful content that serves your target market. Think of the words that a search engine user might use to find your services. You need to write your quality content around those words. For example, someone might search for “Vancouver tooth extraction,” so you want to make sure to include such specific topics in your content if you are a dentist.
- URL Structure: Make sure to use simple to understand URLs that contain relevant words. It’s important to remember that search engines like Google rank pages, not sites, so you want to make sure that your inner pages have meaningful names. For example, if you have a page that speaks about wisdom teeth you can name that page “wisdom-teeth” rather than “id=1234567” or “page-no-1.” As the results of that, your URL would be something like this: www.yoursite.com/wisdom-teeth not www.yoursite.com/id=1234567. Using this system, there is a higher probability that you will rank better for keyword terms that focus on “wisdom teeth.”
- Navigation: You want to make sure your site is easy to navigate so that your visitors can easily find what they are looking for. Search engines like Google consider navigation as a factor in their ranking algorithm.
There are many other factors that play an important role in On-site optimization such as images, sitemaps, anchor text, heading tags and a lot more. Run a free SEO audit of your site to identify quickly some of the easily neglected ranking factors.
It is important to be careful not to use your desired keyword too many times. This may result in over-optimizing your website and could potentially result in being pushed far below the first page of Google and other search engines.
The main factors of off-site optimization include the quality of links, linking anchor text, and social media signals. Some people think that the more links they have the better, but that is not the case and will most likely produce a negative impact on your site’s ranking.
For example, a very high competition keyword in Metro Vancouver is Vancouver Real Estate, so to rank well for that keyword your site would need additional sites with the anchor text ‘Vancouver Real Estate’ linking back to your site. But let’s say you have 10,000 links coming to your site, and 8,000 of those links are using the anchor text ‘Vancouver Real Estate’ linking back to your site. How likely is that to be natural? It would be a 0% chance those links are natural.
Google uses an algorithm called Penguin to detect unnatural backlinks and black-hat SEO practices. So beware when hiring cheap or overseas SEOs! They may do more damage than good to your site.
This was just a quick overview of on-site and off-site optimization. As you can see, it is not that simple, and you may end up over-optimizing your on-site and your off-site optimization factors and, as a result, experience an “over-optimization penalty.” Even worse, you site may end up being de-indexed from SERPs – Search Engine Result Pages. SEO has to be done “just right” and that’s where we can help you with our proven SEO services and approach!
Google My Business and Google Maps Search Results
If you run a local business, then adding your business to Google My Business will help you rank higher and reach more customers on Google Maps. Ultimately a good business goal is to rank in Google’s Local 7-Pack. What does that mean? Google will display seven map results for businesses from your trade or industry on the first page of their results – see the image below.
For the keyword term Vancouver Dentist, there are seven map results, but remember that there are hundreds of dentists in Vancouver. Do you think you business would benefit from being in the 7-pack? Absolutely.
To make sure that your business listing appears in these results is not easy, but this is the another area where we can help you rank.
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