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It’s important for all small business owners in Fredericksburg to understand how Google works because it can drastically affect the amount of traffic your website receives.  What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? What determines your ranking on Google? In the next few paragraphs I’ll try to clear up the confusion on these topics so you can get your website attracting customers the way you want it to.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art & science of building and promoting a website with the goal of achieving a high ranking on search engine results pages. Essentially, the better your SEO, the more likely your website will be to come up towards the top when a user searches for the services that your business offers. For example, if you run a plumbing company in Fredericksburg and someone types plumbers in Fredericksburg into Google, there will probably be a link to your website somewhere on the results pages. Now, whether your website is listed first, second, third, etc., is completely dependent upon your SEO. Google’s declared mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Your content needs to align with that mission statement in order to receive a high rank. In the next blog post I’ll give you some tips on how exactly to do that.  For now, it’s enough to just understand how search results work.

What Determines Your Ranking on Google?

Your ranking on a Google search results page is affected by a number of different things. In fact, Google has somewhere around 200 ranking factors in their algorithm.  While it’s not practical for each small business owner to worry about all of them, there are a few big ones that make the most difference.  Some of the big factors that affect your SEO are page content relativity, mobile friendliness, keyword frequency, content length, image optimization, authoritative links back to your site, connection to social media, and overall site relativity to the search term. Additionally, there are certain things that you shouldn’t do as these can cause your ranking to go lower. This includes using web spam, cloaking, having paid links, and auto-generated or duplicate content. If Google catches you using any of those, you will most likely end up with a penalty!  You have to understand that Google is smart, and always getting smarter.  It looks for good quality content, and that’s what gets boosted to the top.

With the knowledge of these two things under your belt, you can now tackle the bigger problem and figure out how to take your website to the next level by increasing its SEO. SEO is certainly a complex and ceaseless effort, but those organizations who pursue it honestly and consistently will, over time, reap great rewards and build an online presence to carry their business into the future.