SEO Search Engine Optimization

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Why “optimize” my site for Search Engines? Can I get my website listed on the first page of the search engine? What can I do? What can Crestone Creations do for me?

These are all legitimate questions, and questions that Crestone Creations has answered and acted upon for more than a decade.  We have had websites come up as number one on Google after applying our logic and we have done so without purchasing snake oil and other hocus-pocus solutions.

What SEO IS

When Crestone Creations optimizes a website we fix web page architecture so the layout make sense to users and to search engines AND we create rich page content – rich with relevant keyword phrases, phrases which have been researched and determined high value AND relevant to your business and that all pages are supported by page code that further clarifies your identity to users and search engines.

Optimizing your website for Search Engines means to make sure that technical issues that would impede the search engine crawlers are minimized, logic is maximized and conform to the search engine relevancy algorithm as best as the needs of that algorithm can be deduced (to cut to the quick on deducing the algorithm,  honest approaches work the best – shortcuts, tricks are either short-lived or generally a waste of time and money).

Technical

So what are those “technical issues?”   Technical readiness includes:

Site architecture: arranging website pages in a way that is logical to you, logical to the search engines.  Simply put: more important pages are top level, lesser important pages require “more clicks” to access.  The “top level” pages are usually found in the top navigation bar of a website.

Code: technical readiness also include the backend work of proper title tag creation, meta description, headlines (h1, h2 tags), anchor text, alt tag text, etc..

Relevant Content & Keywords

Technical readiness would not do much without relevant content.  For search engines to understand who you are it is necessary to thoughtfully author content relevant to your website. Content should be authored strategically so that it incorporates keywords (keyword phrases – not just single words) which are likely to be used by your target audience when searching for you.  Keywords become strategic via the application of research.  Research is based on your product or objective information delivery, your geography, your target audience and is considered in relationship to the number of existing pages using your keyword phrase and in relationship to the number of searches for the phrase in question.  Proper keyword analysis could take 40-80 work hours.

What SEO Is NOT

Snake Oil
There are a LOT of “get rich quick” style schemes and vendors out there – people or groups who promise the moon (high search engine rankings, first page of Google, etc.) for a price.  The days of peddling elixirs from town to town are not over, it’s just a new form in the 21st century.  In the context of SEO this refers to the promise to deliver something that simply can not be promised.  There is no way to shortcut SEO.  Proper and complete SEO is meticulous work that can takes many hours, if not days or weeks, of research and implementation.

SEO is NOT about tricking!!  One could chase the “algorithm of the day” – and try to figure out the search engine formula, but that does NOT have lasting results.  What DOES stick, long term, is relevancy.

Good SERPs

SERP: Search Engine Results Pages  Clearly you are reading this because you want people to find your website in the search engines. People can find your website by 2 means:

  1. The website Address or URL
    – such as http://crestonecreations.com If I say go to crestonecreations.com then I gave out the address. Neither search engine nor SEO required.
  2. Search Engine
    –  someone is looking for something you’ve got and you hope that they will search for you and find you. We are going to call that a RELEVANT search. You don’t want to target people shopping for lawnmowers to find you if you sell jewelry. Add to that, if your content is NON-relevant the search engine algorithm can pickup on that and you lose placement on your jewelry. You could be perceived as “spamming” their algorithm. Search engines weren’t born yesterday and see this coming.  They have TEAMS of people working on their algorithms. Don’t think you are gong to “fool” them. Your best approach is an honest approach. Build up who you ARE – not who you aren’t.

So good SERP placement is all about making sure you are FINDABLE by those interested in you using the search engines.

We sometimes have people ask if they can get listed on the first page of Google (or other SERP).  The answer is, maybe.  The work one does optimizing will only improve your chances.  It can not be guaranteed.  If you asked your olympic trainer if you could get you a gold medal in your event I’m sure there would be the confident, but unrealistic reply, “Of course you can!” but that is to make you feel optimistic and is not the true reality.  The true reality is “maybe.”  What one CAN do is to “be all that you can be” and make your site the best possible and with keywords strategically chosen to maximize your chances.  That’s all anyone can promise.  Not good enough for you?  Ok, please re-read “snake oil

If real SEO work is to begin, the first question to shoot back your way to the question of your website being “listed” on the first page of search engine results is – do you want paid adverting or do you want to improve your website’s organic placement.  Sure you can buy an ad, but it stays only as long as you pay.

Ultimately, what you REALLY need is proper SEO:  quality content with strategic keyword phrases inserted in the correct manner with technical readiness which takes the keyword research results into account.

What else will help you rise in the SERPs?

A. Links.  You see, I’m sorry to say, but you can’t be trusted in your claim of having the world’s best hamburgers.  Only the number of folks out there in the world who are really excited about your hamburgers and then write about them and reference your website in their rave review, discussion, etc from another website LINKING to yours will do you any good.  So this is something that YOU can do for yourself.  Be a part of relevant blogs and discussions.  Be a blogger.  Know other bloggers.  Maybe they will mention you and then you will be someone, in the eyes of the search engines.  Maybe they will trust your hamburgers.

What about Social Media?

A. Yes, Social Media will help bring people to your website and improve your client relationships.  And in some ways, direct and indirect, this should help with your SERP placement. Social Media is relevant to this talk as social media can help with the link building process, but it’s a big topic & warrants it’s own page.  Stay tuned.

What can Crestone Creations do for me?

A. Everything.  Well, we don’t do windows.  Almost everything.

We can review your site and correct / flesh out as needed to address any technical issues.  We can research keyword phrases relevant to your business.  We can author page content strategically.

How much should SEO should I do?

A. More is better.  Some is better than none.  A simplistic metaphor is that SEO is like landscaping, if you want your yard to look beautiful, and you want to send the landscaper out for an hour, he or she may just get the time to pull a few weeds or plant one pretty flower.  OK, that makes things better, but there is still a lot to do.  If you have a larger budget, then you can accomplish more.  Investing some time is going to begin to make things better.  Investing more is even better.

At the very least you should cut the grass & prune the hedges!  Consider your marketing budget and let’s come up with a plan to work within your budget.  If your budget is tight then we can give YOU some of the work to do and thus YOU can do the legwork while we serve as the consultant.  We do suggest an absolute minimum budget of $100 to get started.

Summary

We have been doing this for more than a decade and the bottom line lesson is the more things change the more they stay the same.  Ultimately honest work wins the day, so that’s what we offer.  We don’t pedal snake oil.  Please CONTACT US so we can discuss YOUR situation in particular, or if we have already begun our conversation via email, let’s get specific to YOUR case now that you have read this article :)

Further Reading:

https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35291
also check out the documents to which they refer in the VERY beginning.  The one-page one is great overview!