What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a combined development and marketing technique that maximizes the amount of visitors to your website organically (i.e.- without advertisements). The main focus of SEO currently is to ensure that your website is as high as possible on the first page of search results.
Seems easy, right?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO- a combined development and marketing technique that maximizes the amount of visitors to your website without the use of paid advertising.
Well initially, it was. At first, all you needed was to give the url (www.yoursite.com) to the search engine and it would automatically catalogue your pages to be indexed.
This indexing process stored information such as words words on the pages, words often used by the pages and even the links on your pages so that those could also be crawled at a later date. If the user searched a large enough number of words indexed for your site, it would show up in the search results.
Soon, however, site owners began to realize how important it is to make sure that your site is high in the search results.
Some of the first usages were simple meta keywords provided by the webmaster in the code for the website. Eventually, this was phased out because the keywords could be an inaccurate representation of the site itself, plus, this method was easily taken advantage of by spammers.
Eventually, the indexing algorithm relied on the percentage of the word’s use in reference to how many words were on the page. This was very heavily abused because webmasters would put keywords on the page that were irrelevant to the site’s true purpose.
Create content that teaches. You can't give up. You need to be consistently awesome. - Neil Patel
Eventually, search engines needed to be able to take back the control of the search engine results so that users would get truly relevant results rather than manipulated ones.
Unsurprisingly, Google was the pioneer in these efforts. They worked their way through simple rankings (which was fairly easy to manipulate as well), and on into more personalized algorithms for each logged in user.
Over the past few years, they have improved their search algorithms and have hidden most of the specifics that they use in order to help prevent the misuse of their algorithm.
Expert SEO Tips
1) Write good content
Good, relevant, recent content is something that the Google bots highly appreciate. Your users will appreciate it too!
On the same note, avoid duplicate content from other places. Google only indexes the content once, and if it’s not yours, your site may not be seen.
2) Ensure good user experience
If you are working with an agency, trust their designs. This doesn’t mean that their design must necessarily be the end all be all, but take their advice seriously. Do your own research into it as well, learn what good user experience looks like. Imagine that you are a user and work from there.
3) Make sure your website isn’t slow
Minimize large files that take significant time to load. Make pictures as small as you can without sacrificing quality. Use .png rather than .bitmap or even .jpg. Don’t insist on large animations or other elements that can significantly slow down a site. Again, trust in your agency if you have one.
4) Have a mobile friendly site
The number of mobile users exceeded desktop and laptop users in 2014, you will lose a significant portion of your traffic if you can’t be found by a mobile device.
5) Create links to other content within your site
If something is relevant to another page or previous post, mention that. It makes it easier to navigate your site, which brings us back to #2.
6) Generate meta descriptions
Meta descriptions are more important to users than to Google, but are still important. It’s essentially a short blurb about your site. Write these as if you wanted to describe your entire site in a Twitter post.
7) Check for alternative text on your images
Google can’t see your images, but it can read that alt text. This increases chances of your image appearing in Google Image Search, which can lead others to your site.
8) Make sure your domain name is succinct and useful
It does not need to necessarily have keywords in it, and it can hurt it to have keywords in it. Don’t use quirky alternatives to .com, .org, or similar domain names. Make sure that if you don’t use a www subdomain, that www.yourdomain.com will redirect to yourdomain.com.
Note: Also make sure full length URLs are descriptive as well. Using page titles rather than IDs in the URL makes it much easier to index.
9) Keep titles short
This ensures that the whole thing is visible by the user and the Googlebots, plus using accurate titles allows for easier indexing.
10) Register for Google My Business
This ensures that your information shows up for people who are in your area. This also helps with visibility on Google Maps and allows you to provide business hours and a phone number that can usually be called directly from a mobile browser.
When you think about it, a lot of these different bits of advice boil down to #2- User Experience.
Bonus Tip: Make sure you’re registered for social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, and ensure that you’re using them properly.
You want the user to have a good experience, and so does Google. It’s profitable for them because more people use their engine, and it’s profitable for you because visitors will return and use your products or services.
Google has an SEO Guide that contains clear, easy to follow information, with elaboration on most of what’s listed above.
If you’re interested in improving your website’s visibility in the Google search results, give us a call at 434-984-0804