A lot of people talk about SEO, but the average “normal” person (i.e. not a business-focused, internet-savvy person) generally doesn’t know that much about what it actually is or how it works. SEO, or search engine optimization, is a necessary evil for being ranked on search engines and making sure your website is seen by your target audience. Since SEO is a “free” service that requires time and attention rather than any actual cash, without it, you’re leaving most web searches for your competitors who are using SEO.

Let me throw some stats at you for a minute here. About 93% of all web traffic comes through search engines (like Google, Bing, etc.). The number one position on a search engine results page (SERP) gets about 34% of the organic traffic from that search. On Google, users click on one of the top five results from their search more than 91% of the time, while only about 8% of users go to the second page of search results, and a minuscule 1-2% of users go past the second page.

This is all to say, you might not like the idea of having to cater your site to the search engines’ algorithms, but it must be done. It’s an unavoidable fact that you have to optimize your website to get it to float to the top of SERPs if you want to get any site traffic. Unless you want to spend tons of money on ads to get your site to the top of the search results page, hardly anyone will see your website if you don’t utilize SEO. And who would want to spend money on something if they could accomplish the same result without spending money? In fact, everyone should love SEO, because who doesn’t love free stuff?

We recently worked with The Belaire Group to help them optimize their website to make it more visible and increase their online presence. Some of the bigger issues with The Belaire Group’s website were the website page speed and page errors that were preventing their pages with the most SEO keywords from being indexed and deemed “safe” sites by the search engines.

In the two months that we ran analytics on The Belaire Group’s page, only about 19% of the people who ended up on their page stayed for more than 30 seconds. We determined that one of the main reasons for these quick departures could be their abysmal website speed. A good site speed score is between 90 and 100, but anything above 75 is generally considered positive. In our audit, we found that they were running speed scores in the 50s for both mobile and desktop. Not only does this slow a site speed make users more likely to give up on your site before it has a chance to fully render and present itself, but it also negatively impacts your site’s ranking on search engines for any helpful or specific keywords that might be present. We do not live in a very patient era, and internet searching is certainly not something we’re willing to spend our limited banks of patience on.

To fix their poor page speed, we compressed the size of the images to make them less taxing for devices to load and removed existing plugins and strings of old code that no longer served a function on the site. All these old plugins were doing was slowing the website down. Without them and after reducing the size of the images, the speed score increased by 30 points, which does wonders for keeping users on the site and making search engines rank it higher as a useful site in searches.

The Belaire Group‘s Home and Team pages were both breaking due to improperly set up SSLs, meaning that search engines didn’t think the pages were safe and therefore didn’t consider their content for relevance to key search terms. This made it so that the site content wasn’t indexed by search engines, and therefore, competitors’ websites were prioritized over The Belaire Group’s. If search engines don’t think your page is safe, they aren’t going to recommend it to users even if they’re searching for information your page has. In fact, search engines will steer users away from your page by warning them they don’t think it’s a secure site if they do end up clicking on your link.

To remedy this issue, we simply had to update the security certificates of the pages to make sure the site was once again considered safe for search engines to look through and recommend to users. By fixing this issue, the keywords on the previously broken pages were once again considered and evaluated for relevance in conjunction with the rest of the page by the search engines, bringing more traffic to their site through this organic SEO. We also updated their keywords to make them as relevant as possible, making sure they pertained to the information presented in the rest of the page content because, yes, the search engine algorithms know if they’re just buzzwords without useful information connected (and they hate that).

Although we took some more steps to improve The Belaire Group’s site and online presence through SEO, these steps alone worked wonders. The importance of SEO really can’t be overstated in terms of increasing online presence and making the most of the ways the Internet can benefit your business. Especially with AI on the rise, making sure that your website is optimized is a good first step in starting off right with the chatbots that are all around nowadays.

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