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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Local SEO for 2021

Imagine a world without Google! Some of you might be too young to remember such a dark time. But back in the late 90s, there were dozens of search engines competing to become what Google has ultimately become. The one place we all go to for information.

Google’s company mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, and that is what they have done. How many times have you asked someone a question and heard them respond, “Google it”!

Back in the late 90s when we started designing and developing websites for Edmonton businesses, searching the web was not an easy task. It meant waiting for your dial-up modem to get you online, deciding between search engines like Ask Jeeves, Altavista, Lycos…and then searching through pages of results to maybe find what you’re looking for.

Our history lesson has a point. It has never been easier for consumers to find what they’re looking for, and it’s never been easier for small businesses to ensure they are being found by potential customers.

In the 90s and even the early 2000s, Search Engine Optimization meant finding “tricks” to game the system and get to the top of the rankings. These “tricks” made it easy for some pages to get to the top of the rankings but did not make it easy for consumers to find what they were looking for.

Enter Google

We could talk all day about the advancements Google made, but there is only one thing you need to know: Google made it easy for consumers to find QUALITY and RELEVANT content.

Google created advanced algorithms that are far too complicated to be “gamed”.  Google’s search algorithm uses more than 200 factors to rank websites and there are 500 to 600 changes made to that algorithm each year!

 This has changed SEO from “black hat” tricks to a science that is constantly evolving. Instead of “gaming” the system, SEO experts work with the system to ensure users find the information they’re looking for and have a great experience. Optimizing your site in this way will help you be found by the RIGHT people who will become leads and paying customers.

 What exactly is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving and optimizing your website to improve your organic (unpaid) search ranking and organic search traffic. Google’s Search Engine Results Page or SERP contains different types of results, follow the link to our blog post on Google’s SERP where we go into this in greater details.

 What’s the difference between SEO and Local SEO

Local SEO is a term that is being used a lot more these days. Local SEO is a lot like traditional SEO in that it involves optimizing your website and it’s content to increase organic search results, but local SEO focuses on customer searching for local content.

Have you ever searched for “pizza places near me”, “south side Edmonton restaurants” or looked at the map results to find businesses near you? Most of us have. In fact, “near me” or “close by” searches have grown more than 900% in recent years. The fact that we always have our phones on us and always have access to wi-fi has made it so easy to search, we just take it for granted.

 How do I Ensure my Business is Found on Google?

There are many factors that affect your Google Ranking. Future blog posts will go into more details on these factors, but here is a quick list of some of the factors: 

  • Content Relevance
  • Content Quality
  • Content Length
  • Readability
  • Website Speed
  • Website Usability
  • Website Structure
  • Mobile Friendliness
  • Links

Local SEO uses these factors as well but also uses information from your Google My Business Page. Follow the link to learn more about claiming your Google My Business Listing.

With so many factors it may seem overwhelming. A good starting point is to ask yourself “Is my website a good experience for customers, is it easy to navigate and find the information customers are looking for?”

Remember, consumers expect it to be easy to find what they are looking for and Google wants to ensure that it is easy for them. That’s why over 90% of searches are done on Google and why younger readers will be “Googling” Altavista and other defunct search engines from the 90s.

 A simple rule of thumb: create content and a user experience that customers will love, and Google will love it too.

 If you missed the last post in this series, follow the link to learn more about the importance of Mobile Responsive Design for user experience and SEO.

 What’s Next?

Future blog post will go into further detail about Search Engine Optimization and Local SEO in 2021. Our friendly team of SEO experts are looking forward to writing more about their favourite topic and would love to discuss SEO for your organization. Learn more about our SEO services and Contact us to arrange a free no-obligation SEO consultation.

Stay tuned and please let us know if you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions for topics you’d like us to discuss.

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