What Is SEO and 9 Tips to Successfully Implement
Search Engine Optimization Explained
We have all used search engines to find information online about topics we are interested in. However, whether a website appears #1 in your search results, or #100 or #1000, depends on the search engine’s proprietary algorithms that incorporates over a hundred factors to determine how relevant the information is to your search query, as well as the website’s overall quality, value and reputation.
The marketing tool that works to achieve high rankings in search engines is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short.
The fact is that there are now only two major search engines: Google and Bing. Back in 2010, Yahoo turned over its search function to Bing. Any other site that calls itself a search engine (including DuckDuckGo) is most likely forwarding results from one of these two.
Getting your website on the first page of Google or Bing can dramatically increase the amount of web traffic which will correlates to more inquiries, leads and sales for your business.
Search engines use programs called robots or spiders to “crawl” the internet. These automated programs follow links from one web page or website to another looking for new content.
When a spider encounters new content – a web page, photograph, text or website – they index, or save, the new content and its location into the search engine’s database. So when you do a search using specific keywords, the information in the search engine’s database that is most relevant to your keyword search phrase is displayed in your search engine results page (SERP).
Some of the factors that determine where a website appears in search results include:
- Title and description meta-tags
- Domain address
- Keyword density
- Number and quality of inbound links
- Number of social media shares
- Frequency of new content
Here Are 9 Tips to Improve Your Website’s Search Ranking
1. Built it Right from the Start
Whether you’re creating a new website or revamping an existing one, the best time to implement SEO is when you’re building your website.
Search engine spiders are designed to index sites built with HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) programming language, so you want to avoid building your site using programming language, such as Flash, Ajax or frames, which spiders have difficulty indexing.
Avoid using session IDs in the URL navigation of your website. If the address of your web pages show a long string of letters, symbols and numbers, then your website is using session IDs to identify its pages, which tends to confuse the search engine spiders – and a confused spider is not going to index your site properly!
2. Establish an Effective Keyword Strategy
If your website has low traffic from search engines, it is probably due to a poor keyword strategy. The keywords used in your website text may make sense for your business communication, but they may not be the keywords customers are using in their searches.
Think like your customer and come up with a list of keywords they would use to find your product or service in an online search and then incorporate them into your website.
3. Cover the Basics
Making sure that your website’s meta-tags (page titles, descriptions and keywords) are complete is basic SEO 101, but you’d be amazed how many websites are missing this key information.
Unless you’re branding your company name, it should not be the only element in your title tag. Instead, use important keywords that potential customers would use in their online search.
Try to include these keywords in the headings of your web pages, as well as the first and last paragraphs of text on the page. Yes, you read that correctly! Just as a reader skims the first and last paragraph to ascertain the summary and purpose of an article, search engines also prioritize these paragraphs in their ranking factors.
4. Content is King with Search Engines
In terms of search engine rankings, content reigns supreme. If you want your website to appear high in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) for specific keywords and phrases, these keywords must appear frequently within the text of your website.
However, avoid the temptation of keyword stuffing – the repetitive use of keywords. Remember the purpose of your website text is to inform your customers. Make your content clear, concise and includes important details to support your statements – this is more of an art than a science.
When you provide valuable content, visitor will appreciate and value your website as an authoritative source and your company as an industry leader. This encourages visitors to return to your site again and again – another advantage in search rankings as websites with high traffic will rank higher in SERP.
Make sure that all your important web pages and posts have a minimum of 500 words, which is another important factor in search engines ranking. Pages with little content will rarely rank high in SERP.
5. Keeping it Fresh
Upload new content to your website as often as possible. Search engines tends to overlook stagnant websites and give priority to those websites that frequently update with new content. It is helpful to create a quarterly schedule in advance complete with publishing dates.
Think of broad topics in your industry and share insights around them. Blogs and News sections are great ways to add new content to your website on a frequent basis. Consider using influencers or a guest poster who has a large following to add content on a particular topic or specialty. Remember, not all content has to be produced by you to be considered an interesting read and add value to your website!
6. Be Social in Your SEO
Make it easy for your website content to be shared on social media sites. Make regular posts to your social media accounts that link back to relevant sections of your website.
Encourage comments from your social media followers. Frequent engagements help to establish your company’s reputation and credibility as an industry leader.
Search engines considers websites with a broad social media presence to be more reputable and will rank them higher in SERP.
7. If You Link It, They Will Come
Before linking your website to online directories, do your homework. Only those directories that are related to your industry will provide a significant SEO benefit.
Do not fall for the temptation of linking to multiple unrelated directories. Links from low quality directories with little or no relevance to your website conflicts with Google’s quality guidelines and could actually lower your SEO rankings.
It’s much better to focus on getting a few high-quality links from sites that themselves rank well in the search engines and attract visitors who are interested in your business offerings.
Do provide links to other pages of your website. This helps spiders index your website more thoroughly and improves search rankings. It also gives the visitor the opportunity to explore other parts of your website and improves their user experience.
8. Use Analytics to Check Rankings
Using Google Analytics or other search related tools will give you insights into why and where your customers are coming to your website and help identify any technical roadblocks or crawling issues with your site.
Remember to check your website’s load time too. A website that takes a long time to load does impact your ranking and is a significant hindrance to a good user experience.
9. Follow Through with SEO
These tips will go a long way to improving your search rankings. However, effective SEO is not a one-time project to set and forget – you need to follow through on your SEO efforts with continued keyword research and onsite/offsite SEO. These efforts will ensure that your search rankings will continue to improve over time and ensure your customers will find your website in search engines for many years to come.