Hi everybody. Marc Ohmann with Digital Solutions.

Today we’re going to talk about a topic that’s very dear to my heart, and that is SEO, and picture of the SEO landscape today.

Of course, SEO is search engine optimization, and a lot of changes have happened recently in the last two to three years in search engine optimization, especially with Google changes to their algorithm. And so I just wanted to create a video to do some clarification on what SEO is today. Now this is going to be a very simplified breakdown of SEO for the typical business. There are of course other aspects to SEO that I’m not going to cover. But this is the core of what SEO is today for most businesses who are looking to pursue traffic online.

And it all starts out with, number one, having an indexible site. Now most businesses this is already in place. You’re already on a great content management system, and Google has no problem reading the content on your site. But the reason I put this up there at number one is because just this past week we gained a new client who had a website that came to us, and it was a mess! This client had only about twenty pages on their site, but Google had over two hundred pages indexed, but they weren’t showing any of those pages for search results that actually had any traffic. So the net result for this client was zero search traffic to their site, all because of a configuration error on their site. So the number one issue, nothing else can happen unless you first have a site that Google can actually index and read the content of and make sense of.

Once you have that in place, step two kind of meshes with step 3, but the idea is you have to start creating great content. You’re never going to rank for a phrase if you don’t first have content around that phrase, ok? If you’re a manufacturer, Google’s never going to rank you for manufacturing if you don’t tell Google you’re about manufacturing. So you have to have great content that’s also optimized for phrases. And the reason that meshes with number 3 is because you don’t know what phrases to target until you’ve done some keyword research. So these two actually work in tandem, and they become the core of your ongoing SEO with your site. Find great keywords to target, now publish great content for those keywords. The problem here is that’s where a lot of companies, and even a lot of agencies stop with their clients. They claim that publishing great content is going to create great search engine traffic. And while this is true that you won’t get search engine traffic without first having optimized content, typically the game doesn’t stop there.

Step four becomes identifying what types of keywords you’re targeting. Where the distinction happens here is, has Google identified any of the keywords you’re trying to target as having local intent? An example of this would be pizza. If you search for pizza on Google, you’re going to see Google maps popup because Google thinks that anyone searching for pizza is probably looking for someone who can supply pizza within the area around them. If you’re in Minnesota, you’re probably not going to want pizza from L.A. today. So Google’s identified pizza as a search phrase with local intent. And you can tell which phrases have local intent because you’re seen the little pin in Google maps that pops up for those search phrases. Now why this is important is because those search phrases with local intent take different optimization strategies than those with traditional search results. And that distinction comes in in building citations for your business online, what this is is an accurate name, address and phone listing across the web identifying your business as having authority, verses traditional SEO, building links, which is finding influencers; people of authority online to help share your message, link to your content, and show Google how you’re different, how you’re more authoritative and why you should rank higher than the company down the road.

So in a real quick summary, that is what SEO is today for most businesses. Again, it’s a simplified view, but for most businesses it’s a step in the right direction. Until next time, I’m Marc Ohmann.