As a digital marketing specialist in Toronto, I often find myself reading about or discussing Search Engine Optimization. I tend to forget that those who usually need SEO services the most often have no idea what SEO is and how it can significantly improve their bottom line.

At some point, you’ve more than likely searched Google for a particular product or service in your neighbourhood. Say you live in Leslieville and you’re craving Italian for dinner, so you do a quick search: “Italian restaurants in Leslieville” et voila! First, you’ll find a few Italian restaurants located in maps at the top of Google. These businesses have created Google Pages for their business, which is a smart idea. Then you might find some Google ads which these restaurants have paid for through Google Adwords. Also a great idea. Moving along down the page, Yelp takes the lead, followed by Frankie’s Italian, Zomato, Ascari Enoteco, Baldini Restaurant, and an story on Frankie’s Italian by Toronto Life.

Google and other search engines like Yahoo! and Bing want users to have a good experience, and they provide this showing you websites with highly relevant, fresh content. They also consider the volume, relevance, and quality of other sites that link to, say, Frankie’s Italian, to ensure that it truly is an authority in Italian food.

SEO, simply put, is optimizing a website to obtain a high-ranking placement in search. To move your website up the ranks, here are 5 things you can (and should) try today.

1. Make sure your website has keyword phrases used in the proper areas, especially in the first sentence, and then carefully peppered throughout your blog or content. An Italian restaurant might want to use phrases like, Italian food Toronto, or best Italian eatery.

2. Your website should load quickly. There are a number of ways to get make your website lightening speed including reducing the resolution of your images and removing obtrusive popups. The simpler and easier your site is to navigate, the more quickly it will load.

3. Create a link building strategy that includes guest blogging, social media, and even asking customers with some online influence to link back to your website. It never hurts! Links are like votes for popularity. The more you have out there, the more Google will like your site.

4. Figure out what keyword phrases your competitors are competing for through Google Adwords. All you need to do here is input your competitor’s website address to find all the keywords they’re using and how often those keywords are searched.

5. Make sure your content is relevant and well-written. Believe it or not, there are readers out there who still have an appetite for good writing, and so do search engines, like Google. Websites with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors will likely have a hard time staying on page one.

K-media works with small and medium-sized businesses to improve their Google search rankings. We specialize in SEO, writing, photography, social media, design and branding. Contact us today for more details.