The Ins and Outs of SEO
There’s no denying that we’re currently in the golden digital age.
Websites and online resources used to help companies and businesses stand out among their competitors and in internet marketing, but these days, having a smooth, easy-to-navigate, and comprehensive website is an unofficial bare minimum requirement for any corporation to be taken seriously by potential clients.
There’s nothing that will turn off a client more than an outdated website that keeps lagging or won’t load at all, not to mention links that don’t lead anywhere except to 404 and other error messages.
It’s true that the inner workings of your company’s websites should be as fine and professional as possible. However, the truth of the matter is that if your website is not displayed as one of the first links – or at least, on the first page – of the list of results returned by a search engine, the chances of potential clients knowing your website exists at all are greatly reduced. In fact, the first 5 results in Google get 67% of all clicks.
If you’re not on that first page, the chances of your website being viewed are so slim that you might as well not have one at all.
That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in, or the careful tailoring of your website’s content to be most easily detected by search. SEO takes into consideration the algorithms, bots, and other techniques that search engines use when scanning for results to index and rank.
SEO can help your website get to the top of the first page and stay there.
Do you know how many new blog posts are published every day? More than 2 million! So how can you be sure your website stands out? Since these days over 90% of online experiences start with a search engine, and 68% of the time that search engine is Google,the SEO of your website can make or break its success – and the success of your website directly contributes to the success of your business. But what, exactly, gets optimized? How does it all work?
When you type a term in a search engine, you’re not combing the vast expanse of the entire, seemingly-infinite Internet. You’re only searching through that search engine’s index of the Internet, which uses programs called spiders to fetch links.
Spiders work by collecting information from a website and “crawling” from one page to the next using links. Depending on how well they can index all the pages on your site, they’ll be more likely to report to Google that you are a good result.
The thicker the web of links between pages of your site, the easier it is for spiders to reach them.Creating a sitemap will aid spiders in this process, and can be done using a plugin if you’re on WordPress or an XML sitemap generator.
There are two unofficial types of SEO, white hat and black hat.
The latter focuses on exploiting algorithms for views by stuffing pages with buzzwords, resulting in spammy websites that often get shut down and lead nowhere. White hat SEO, for which all marketers should strive, takes into account the relevant content that their real audience needs.
Exactly how search engines determine which links to rank highest is not always public information, but blogs like Backlinko have compiled a list of some of these factors. These factors fall into the categories of on-page and off-page SEO.
On-page refers to the more superficial ranking factors such as headlines, page structure, and content format. Off-page depends on other factors, such as the social networks that connect websites to each other, the personal browsing history of the searcher, and the popularity and even age of other websites in your industry.
In order to maximize your on-page SEO, first you’ll need to produce quality content. Don’t be too hard on yourself: writing quality important isn’t easy. Take your time, practice, and focus on improvement. Next, you’ll want to research keywords.
Beware the black hat habit of repeating your keyword in every single sentence to get views; this will hurt your ranking in the long run. Also, providing direct answers written in a clear manner is probably one of the most important parts of your content.
Aside from content, optimizing the HTML of your website can make a huge difference. You don’t need to be a professional programmer to get familiar with the basics.
There are plenty of beginner-friendly, free online resources like Codecademy. Some things to keep in mind are your title tags (these show up in the tab of the Internet browser), meta description (an excerpt Google displays below your link on the results page), schema (the subset of HTML tags that improve the way content is displayed on result pages), and subheads (which format your content and give readers reference points).
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that your website architecture is easy for your viewers to navigate. You’ll want fast loading times, a mobile-friendly design, and a safe Internet connection.
An overarching theme of off-page SEO is the trustworthiness of your website.
If your domain name is concise, authoritative, and especially if it ends in .edu or .gov, it will seem legitimate and reliable. The age of your domain will also help you appear more trustworthy, as spam sites are generally spawned more often since they get shut down more quickly. take some time to build up your brand.
Off-page also takes into account your bounce rate, or the amount of viewers who leave your website after only viewing the first page. You can minimize bounce rate by producing and organizing quality content.
More than just your appearance and reputation, you need to consider your audience’s background. For instance, if someone in the USA searches for “comforter,” they’re looking for blankets, but a searcher from the UK could be looking for a baby pacifier.
To specify to Google that you want to reach certain countries you could include them as keywords, but consider going multinational.Perhaps most important is the searcher’s history. If the searcher has visited your site before, search engines will recognize you as a relevant source for that individual.
Lastly is your socialization. The more people who like you, the better!If links to your website are shared more often, you’ll appear more relevant. Some ways to get influencers to share your content is by contacting them before you publish or even by quoting or interviewing them.
Additionally, the number of shares you get might seem important, but the far more dependable way to become popular is to consistently publish quality content and build a reputation for yourself.
SEO may seem intimidating, but once you build up good habits, these tweaks will become a breeze.
Good luck optimizing, and don’t forget to share this article with your friends and partners if they’re looking for tips!