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  • Santa Barbara SEO FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What is SEO?

SEO is an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization, which is the art of optimizing websites and their content so they will appear in search results on Google. We focus primarily on Google because 80% of the world searches the internet using Google.

Why do we need SEO?

Google needs to know that your site exists in order to provide it in search results, and your website needs to clearly tell Google what services or information you have. Google has developed a set of rules that they use to evaluate websites to decide who should show up at the top of search result pages, and your competition is working hard to show up ahead of you. An SEO expert is needed to make sure Google sees the value of your content and to help you contend with your competition.

What are Keywords?

Keywords are the phrases that internet users enter into search engines when searching for something. For example, Reseda Air Conditioning Contractors. The displayed results are called a search results page. Your competitors want to show up ahead of you in search results pages for each of your keywords so that they can get sales before you. Appearing in the top 3 results of a search page are important because research shows 48% of internet users click the 1st entry, 28% click the 2nd entry and 12% click the 3rd result.

What is Onsite SEO?

Onsite optimization is the art of improving the organization and code of your website so that it adheres to Googles rules and clearly communicates the services and information you are offering. The better Google understands and can read your content, the more search results pages you will likely appear in, and which keywords you are trying to target.

What is Offsite SEO?

Offsite optimization is the practice of building a network of websites and relevant community and industry partners (through social media and other websites) that lend you their credibility with a link to your site or mentioning your business. Google wants to see how large your sphere of influence is, and uses this to determine your online relevance in search results pages.

What is Trust and Authority?

Google evaluates the relevance of your website in search results to maintain its own reputation and user-base. Google is in the business of matching users with the results they are looking for, and so if a user is clicking on results and not finding what they are looking for, Google isn’t doing their job and the user may ultimately go to another search engine like Yahoo or Bing!

Google's algorithm is designed to measure a websites trust and authority to determine whether it should appear in a list of results, and where in the list it should appear. This algorithm is used to identify if searchers are satisfied with the content they are reading, measured by how long they stay on your site, and which pages they visit.

Trust is a measure of whether the content you are ranking for matches the content the user is looking for, which is mostly determined by the length of the users visit.

Authority is a measure of how your site is regarded within your industry and community. This is the credibility that other sites have lent you. Google looks at all the sites that link to you, and evaluate whether or not they are relevant to the content on your site, and the community you are serving. For example, a local contractor’s association or chamber of commerce would link to an air conditioning contractor and lend credibility. However, the Celine Dion fan club website wouldn’t necessarily have a credible reason to link to the local air conditioning contractor and might indicate that someone has paid for the connection to falsely elevate their search results.

Trust and Authority are the cornerstone of Google’s algorithm. Understanding how your site is getting links and that they aren’t coming from a known “bad neighborhood” is key to not being penalized. Because search results drive sales, Google is constantly bombarded by ill-intentioned website owners and must discern the difference between the good and bad actors. The links to your site need to reinforce that you are an authority in your community for the services and information you offer. This is the key to a long healthy relationship with Google.

How many keywords can I use on my Website?

Leading experts have determined 3 keywords per page, and they must follow a context for the page and the whole website. This means that the content on each page must relate to the content on the other pages. If you content, locale or keywords are too diverse, Google will be confused or see your site as having an identity crisis. Regarding locale, we find that your service area relates to the location keywords on the site. For example, Pomona Air Conditioning Contractor will be hard to rank for if your address is in Woodland Hills with a 10 mile service area. The best approach would be separate business pages and two separate sites.

Understanding your site’s service classification is important to understand because Google may have a separate service category for two services you offer, meaning they cannot be shared by one site. You get the idea.

Is blogging of any value?

Keeping in mind the previous answer regarding locale and keyword context, a blog is critical to educating customers and converting them into consumers of your information. These aren’t necessarily consumers that will buy from you, but they will advocate for your brand and services in the form of referrals and sharing your expert content (Social Media and email). Our recommendation is building micro-blog sites that educate visitors about specific services, how to shop and make informed decisions or solve a problem. Starting with your core services we would recommend building a master template for blog sites, writing premium content focusing on a specific context for each site, and launching new sites with new content on a regular basis, demonstrating your subject authority to Google.

How long does it take to show up on the first page of Google?

Google rewards websites based on Trust and Authority. Trust is established over time as good evaluates your good and bad online marketing practices, rewarding you for quality and honest techniques, and penalizing for poor and dishonest practices. Authority is determined as Google measures your performance, influence and the reach of your online marketing. For example, a medium size business needs to conduct themselves at least as well as other online medium size businesses. If the majority of businesses have a Facebook account and post at least monthly, and you do not, then you are below the grade according to Google. It’s important to perform like the business you are claiming to be, and show up in all of the places that a business should. Google also evaluates offline factors such as age of addresses and locations, phone numbers, and whether those belonged to trustworthy companies.

Based on the growth, coverage and sustainability/consistency of your online marketing efforts, Google will allow you to climb the ranks. Your actual rank is based on the performance of the companies you are trying to rise above. Depending on how capable those companies are, you’ll be challenged to rise to the very top without matching or outsmarting the leading companies.

How long do I need to maintain SEO?

Good SEO and Social Media is a necessity of any business that wishes to rank on Google. Creating content and marketing is how Google measures how serious you are about your business. Just like in the physical reality, if you stopped answering your phone, how long before the phone would stop ringing completely? So would Google stop ranking your website if you stopped taking the steps that indicate you are in business. Although some industries are young in the online world, competitors would gladly seize the opportunity to take your space in search results if they could. Reducing your online marketing efforts sends a signal that you no longer want the space that you occupy.