SEO 101 – The Basics

In this day in age, you’ve probably heard the term “SEO” or “Optimization” quite frequently. Surprisingly, there are still a handful of people who haven’t heard the term or have heard it, but don’t know what it is exactly. Simply put – Search Engine Optimization = SEO. What it means is that you are using a variety of tactics to make your website and business rank higher on search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

With everyone turning to the internet to search for general things like “Nearest Japanese restaurant” to something more specific like “Landscaper in New York, NY”, where you rank on these searches will determine how much traffic you get to your website. Statistics show that having the top spot in Google equals significantly more traffic to your site. Now isn’t that reason enough to optimize your page? We will break down the basics of SEO so you can get started yourself.

1) Use Keywords

Create a list of keywords that describe or relate to your company. If you’re a local business, include the location as one of your keywords. Sometimes people want to stick to local companies instead of venturing out to the big boys. In that case, they will specify a location with the service, for example “Eye doctor in Yonkers, NY”.

Keywords also need to be included throughout the website in the HTML via the title and meta tags. Discuss this with your web developer to ensure it is done properly. If you have created the website yourself, there is usually no option to fix this. Although that may not always be the case, your best bet is to consult with a web developer.

2) Create Good Content

Include these keywords throughout your content, but in a subtle way so that it isn’t obvious to viewers that you are optimizing your page – it will seem less genuine.

It is essential that your content stays up to date so that search engines don’t dub your site as one that isn’t being managed. Keeping content up to date is simple and can be done by updating a gallery or portfolio, or having a section for “Latest news” or “Blog” right on the website itself. This will ensure that the content is regularly updated because it is content that needs to stay up to date nonetheless. The goal with creating content is to make it shareable.

3) Utilize Links

Another factor you want to include throughout your content are links. Links can lead to anything internally within the site or externally to another website. If the link leads externally, that is considered “back-linking” and is another SEO technique that is used.

Getting back-links can be done by including a link to your website throughout your social media profiles. It also happens if someone shares your content on their blog or their social profiles, bringing me to my next point…

4) Incorporate Social Profiles

As mentioned above, shareable content will spread throughout the internet when users share it on their social profiles. This will have the potential to go viral if it is really good content, and will be exposed to a variety of audiences – after all, it is the internet.

Naturally, the more social profiles you have, the more chances there are to spread your links around. That being said, it’s not recommended to create a profile on every single social platform because not all social platforms work for certain companies or industries all together. Do your research to see which one can fit your business.

This may seem like a lot (or not), but this is the 21st century and there are tools to make SEO less of a daunting task and more of something you want to do to better your company digitally.

Keep in mind that optimizing your site may take up a chunk of time because it requires at least a days worth of monitoring to ensure things are running smoothly and great results are being produced. If you feel you cannot do it yourself, hire a professional to do the majority of the work for you. Even so, having the knowledge yourself will allow you to be aware of what is going on.


Kelsey Belgrave is a digital media coordinator at MSM DesignZ, Inc.. MSM DesignZ is a full service advertising and design firm based in Westchester County, New York.