An Introductory Guide to SEO

Learn the basics for attracting web prospects

SEO...defined

Search Engine Optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP) -- including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.

(definition by Webopedia)

The 4 basic components of SEO

Understand some of the major aspects of SEO and have a
rough idea of the type of work that goes into optimizing a website.

Now that you’re familiar with the basics of SEO, let’s see how you can improve your site’s performance using each component.

#1: On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization is everything you can see on your browser when you visit a page. It's the content on the page and the keywords within that content. It's the title tags, the HTML heading tags, and the alt-text for your images.

  • Create pages on for the services and solutions that you provide.
    You won't show up in search results if search engines don't understand your offerings. When writing the page content, include your target keywords and variations on those keywords but don’t force anything into your content just for the sake of SEO. Keyword stuffing will make the content unnatural to read and visitors may simply leave your site.
  • Ensure that search engines can crawl and index all the appropriate pages on your site.
    This information can be found by logging into Google Search Console. You can also see which pages from your site have been included in Google’s index by going to google.com and searching for “site:www.example.com”.
  • Publish unique content to your blog on a regular basis.
    Each new blog article functions as an opportunity to rank on search engines for a new keyword phrase. When you write articles that are useful to your target market, it's more likely that your prospects will find your website when they conduct a search. Think of blog writing as an investment in the long-term success of your website. It may take time to have an impact on your search traffic but it can be very beneficial in the long run as long as you do it consistently.
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#2: Off-Page Optimization

Off-page SEO is basically everything outside of your website. It's citations and links from other websites and your overall presence on the internet. Google determines how authoritative or how popular your pages are and uses this to determine where you should appear in the search rankings.

google pagerank
Search engine algorithms are incredibly complex, but in a basic sense, quality links pointing to a page can help enhance its credibility and authority. If a page is seen as authoritative, it's more likely that search engines will rank the page higher in search results which will increase the traffic that the page receives.

  • Get listed on business directories - There are many directories for specific niches. Find yours and get listed! Are you a TalkSwitch reseller? There's a directory for that! Are you the best Linux consultant in North America? There's a directory for that! Does your pet store have the largest selection of catnip in your area? There's a directory for that!
  • Contact local news outlets - If your business is based in Los Angeles, you’re probably not going to make into the LA Times, but if you are in West LA, you stand a good chance of getting a link from the Argonaut. Find the local news source in your community. Is your company planning a big community service event? Invite a reporter! Did you just release an awesome new website?! Let them know how your business is growing. Get that link!
  • Write guest blog posts - Find a blog based on your business niche. Contact the blog owner and offer to write a post with your expert knowledge in exchange for a link to your site. This item deserves more than just a bullet point. It's likely the most difficult and time consuming item on this list but it also has the potential for extremely valuable links. There is a lot that goes into finding the right blog, building a relationship with the owner and finally, getting that crucial link.
  • Reach out to your network - I'm not talking about social networks here. I'm talking about real people that you have a real relationship with - friends, family members, clients, business partners, vendors, etc. If your new site has just gone live, this is a great opportunity to let all of your contacts know about it. Ask for a quick mention of your new site in their blog (with a link, of course!).
  • Look at your competitors - Run a report on your competitor's site in Open Site Explorer (a tool that will show you all inbound links to their site). Take a look at the links they have. Are there any included that you could get as well? If so, go get 'em!

#3: Technical SEO

Technical SEO is everything behind the scenes. It's everything you can't see on your browser. It's the source-code behind the page, the JavaScript, HTTP status codes, how you handle redirects, and how search engine bots are able to access different pages on your site.

Technical SEO basics Included with Pronto websites
Keyword research
On-page optimization
XML sitemap creation
Robots .txt file creation
Redirection of missing pages
Verification via Google Webmaster Tools

Pronto takes care of the technical SEO when we develop your website but it's important to let us know if your service offerings change. If there are any drastic changes, simply email us or open at support ticket and the team will ensure that your technical SEO remains optimized.

#4: Local SEO

Local SEO focuses on search results within a defined geographic area. When someone located in San Francisco searches for "Mexican restaurants" they will see search results for restaurants that are located nearby. This ensures that the search results are relevant to the user.

If you're already a Pronto client, we've helped you create a listing on Google Places to increase the liklihood you'll be found by local prospects. If you want to further strengthen your local presence, you can do so effortlessly through our local listing booster service which will get you listed on several popular directory websites. It's one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to step up your local SEO.

Ready to take your SEO to the next level?

Work with a Pronto Marketing Consultant to create a plan that fits your budget

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Frequently asked questions

What SEO is included in the website package?

All Pronto managed websites include basic SEO to get you started. We help with the on-site copywriting, technical SEO, and some local SEO groundwork. Many of our clients see benefits to their keyword rankings and organic search traffic when moving to Pronto because we help lay the SEO foundation.

What else can Pronto do to help with SEO?

In addition to the basic SEO, we also offer several services that can help you compete in more competitive markets. This includes getting your business published on local business directories, create unique blog content for your website, and building relevant links to your site through guest posting and press releases. We're also happy to give you tips if you'd like to work on SEO yourself - just let us know!

What's the best way to get started with SEO?

There isn't a simple answer. The best solution for your company will depend on your overall marketing strategy and budget. If you'd like some help making a plan, have a call with a Pronto Marketing Consultant and we can walk you through the options. Click here to pick a call time.

SEO or Google AdWords?

Search engine optimization and PPC advertising are two completely different animals. They can both increase traffic to your website but they do so in different ways. One doesn't replace the other but they can work together in parallel. Have a phone call to discuss the benefits of each to determine the best fit for your needs.