SEO 101

Did you know that over 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results? This is why, without Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you’re practically invisible. SEO is a powerful tool in your toolbox that will build your online visibility and drive traffic to your website.

While SEO can be essential for your business, it can be incredibly technical. We want to provide you with a beginner's understanding of SEO. We'll cover what SEO is, why it's important, fundamental tactics, and how you can start optimizing your website today. By the end of this article, you'll have the insights you need to improve your site's search engine ranking and attract more potential customers.

Why SEO is Important

Visibility and Traffic

SEO helps websites rank higher on search results, increasing their visibility and driving more organic traffic, or traffic you didn’t have to pay for through online advertising. Higher rankings lead to more clicks, as users are more likely to visit websites that appear at the top of search results. This improved visibility can have a big impact on your potential leads.

Credibility and Trust

Websites that rank higher in search results are often perceived as more credible and trustworthy. Users tend to trust search engines' judgment, assuming that top-ranking sites are the most relevant and the best sources of information. This trust can build up your brand's credibility and attract loyal customers.


Unlike paid advertising, SEO is a cost-effective marketing strategy. While it requires an initial investment of time and resources, the long-term benefits are substantial. SEO provides sustained results, continuously driving traffic to your site without ongoing ad spend, making it a smart investment for businesses looking to get the most out of their marketing budget.

Components of SEO

Search Engine Optimization can happen on and off your website and consists of several areas of focus:

On-page SEO involves optimizing individual pages on your website to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic. This includes content optimization, meta tags, and URL structure.

Off-page SEO refers to actions taken outside your website to impact your rankings within Search Engine Result Pages. This mainly involves backlinks to and from your website and online citations, which are online directories like Yellowpages and Yelp.

Technical SEO focuses on improving the backend of your website, such as site speed and mobile-friendliness, to enhance user experience and search engine indexing. Search engines, like Google, are putting more weight on user experience when ranking websites.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO involves optimizing different elements on your website to improve its search engine ranking.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the foundation of SEO. It involves identifying the words and phrases your potential customers use to search for your products or services. Effective keyword research helps you understand your audience's needs and optimize your content to meet those needs.

Also, analyze your competitors and look at the keywords your competitors are targeting to identify potential gaps and opportunities.

Content Optimization

One of the easiest ways to improve your on-page SEO is through content. High-quality, relevant content is crucial for SEO. Your content should address the needs of your audience, providing valuable information that answers their questions and solves their problems. Use keywords naturally within your content to build its relevance and searchability. There used to be a practice called keyword stuffing, where marketers and web developers would add as many keywords as they could into website content. This made the content irrelevant and almost unreadable. Search engines have become much smarter and have put more weight on valuable and relevant content versus a bunch of keywords.

Meta Tags

Meta tags are essential for on-page SEO. These tags provide search engines with information about your page's content and influence how your pages appear in search results. Meta tags are the results when you are searching on Google or Bing. Optimize these tags with relevant keywords to improve click-through rates and ensure they are within the correct character limit.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO focuses on building your website's authority and reputation through activities on other websites and online directory listings.


Backlinks, or inbound links from other websites, play a role in search engine rankings. High-quality backlinks from reputable sites signal to search engines that your content is valuable and trustworthy.

Online Citations

Consistent and accurate online citations (mentions of your business name, address, and phone number on other websites) can improve your local SEO and help potential customers find your business. These citations can be found on online directory listings like Google Business Profile, Bing, Yellowpages and more. The key is consistency. If a directory has your old phone number or a site doesn’t include “Inc.” in your business name, it could impact your rankings.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO ensures your website is optimized for both user experience and search engines. Here are some technical features of your website that should be considered when it comes to SEO.

Site Speed

Fast-loading pages are crucial for both user satisfaction and SEO. Your audience has come to expect fast loading websites. Picture yourself standing in front of an automatic door; if it doesn’t open right away, it gives you a bad initial impression of the business. It’s the same for your website.


With the increasing use of mobile devices, having a responsive design is essential. Roughy 60% of your audience is using a mobile device to search for and view your website. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly to provide a seamless experience for all users. This means that all the elements, including photos, text and buttons, should rearrange themselves based on the size of the screen in a way that is still user friendly.

Getting Started with SEO

Before diving into SEO, ensure the basics are in place.

Choosing the right Content Management System (CMS), or website platform, has a big impact on your initial and ongoing SEO efforts. Ideally, you should select a CMS that supports SEO best practices. Concrete CMS, which EDGE uses, offers user-friendly features that make SEO optimization easier and has great search engine rankings right out of the gate.

Once you have built your website, you need content to produce relevancy and visibility. Quality content is at the heart of SEO. Remember to write for your audience, using keywords naturally, and create engaging, valuable content that addresses their needs and interests.

Be prepared because SEO is not a one-time task but an ongoing effort that doesn’t happen overnight. To maintain and improve your rankings, you must continuously update your content, build new backlinks, and stay informed about the latest SEO trends.

Your ongoing efforts should also include monitoring and measuring your results. Key metrics to monitor include organic traffic, bounce rate, and keyword rankings. Reviewing these metrics will help you understand what's working and where you can improve.

SEO is essential for improving your website's visibility, credibility, and traffic. When you understand the core components and implement basic tactics, you can improve your site's search engine ranking and attract more potential customers.

While understanding the basics of Search Engine Optimization is important, it can quickly become very technical. If you're ready to take your SEO to the next level, consider reaching out to an SEO expert like EDGE Marketing & Design. Our team can help your small business navigate search engines and build success online. Contact us today to learn how we can help you grow your online presence.

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Posted: June 13, 2024