What is SEO and why is it important?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a method used to increase the likelihood of a website showing up on the first page of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Having a structured and developed SEO strategy is very important for any business as it funnels client traffic towards the webpage which therefore helps to increase the profitability of a business.
Any search engine’s primary function is to present impartial search results to the user that display and offer all the relevant information in relation to whatever the keywords are.
So, how do search engines know which information is relevant and which is not?
There are many variables that a search engine takes into account when it comes to organizing, differentiating, and ranking the most relevant and highest quality content online. Some of these key SEO elements include backlinks, permalinks, meta descriptions, content and keywords, H1 tags.
Ben Givon’s break down of some of these key SEO elements:
- Meta descriptions – this is a summary of around 150 characters, which is tagged in the HTML, that offers a quick and brief description of what the webpage is all about. Search engines are most likely to display the meta description of a website when it correlates with the words or phrase that is searched for by the user. Therefore, taking the time to perfect your meta description can really work wonders when it comes to SEO and search engine rankings.
- Keywords and content – this refers to how many times a keyword is referred to within your content, H1 tag and meta description, that is the same as or relates to the searched-for phrase. However, too many keywords can saturate the content and can damage SEO.
- H1 tags – basically a H1 tag is the title of the webpage and works towards improving search engine rankings. H1 tags are often not the most important tool and aspect used for SEO development, however, they remain a crucial element of search engine optimization because they let internet users and search engines know what the website’s content is about.
- Backlinks – this is a hyperlink or referral that connects one website to another. Backlinks are crucial for search engine optimization because the more backlinks your website has the higher the search engine ranking.
- Permalinks – this is the permanent URL link of any given website. It is recommended to use keywords within the permalinks to help with SEO and driving consumer traffic to the website.
Achieving a higher ranking on Google and other search engines takes time. A business needs to continuously work at improving and perfecting their SEO strategy. With technological advancements come changes in the way search engines work, which means that the criteria for ranking high on SERPs also constantly changes.
Search engines prefer content that is unparalleled and unique
Unique content is what Google looks for. Unique content has made its mark as a part of the growing marketing techniques for search engine optimization. Internet users use search engines in order to obtain all the relevant information they are looking for, which is the main reason that Google is valuing unique content so much when it comes to search result rankings. A website that has an abundance of interesting, relevant, and unique content, for example, videos, images, and blog articles have a higher chance of ranking high on Google’s search result pages because it increases the likelihood of backlinks which ultimately draws traffic and leads to the website.
What is off-page optimization? “Off-page optimization refers to all the measures that can be taken outside of the actual website in order to improve its position in search rankings. These are measures that help create as many high-quality backlinks (incoming links) as possible.”
Taken from searchmetrics.com.
What influence do backlinks have on SEO?
A backlink is very influential on search engine rankings because the more websites that use backlinks to refer to your website’s content the higher you will rank on search engine results. However, not all backlink referrals carry the same importance. Famous and globally recognized sites such as Facebook and Amazon that use backlinks carry far more importance, in terms of SEO and search engine rankings, compared to backlinks from smaller, less-known websites.
Creating new, unique, compelling and relevant content helps to increase both traffic to your website and the potential for backlinks. Google prefers websites that publish regular, unique, and keyword dense content that users actively search for.
Enhancing the marketing tool of web 2.0 sites which are essentially websites that incorporate social media networking. These types of websites encourage social sharing, whether that be of blog posts, images, videos and so on. This is a great way to expand your audiences and boost the chances of additional backlinks.
Stone Temple Consulting’s Founder and CEO, Eric Enge, comments on the most effective forms of search engine optimization:
“Be prepared for continuous learning. SEO is a highly dynamic field that is always changing. In 2 years, one of the hottest topic areas may be building conversational interfaces to plug into Google Assistant, Cortana, Amazon Echo, Siri, and other personal assistants. For most people, that’s not even on the roadmap today… Improving content quality. Instead of adding pages, many of these sites should focus on improving the quality of the pages they have. This also happens many times per year — we’ll work on the top category pages of a web site, and add new content, or replace existing content, and traffic soars, often more than doubling the traffic to the pages we work on. It all starts by having a user focused view of what should be on the page.”
Taken from link-assistant.com.
The speed with which it takes for the page to load is an important element of search engine optimization. A slower website often discourages visitors and potential clients, “47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.”
The older the domain the better the SEO ranking. So, maintaining the same domain name can help with your search engine optimization strategy. Similarly, should one of your content posts become out of touch with your audience and the times then you should focus your efforts on modifying that post rather than deleting it or creating a new piece. By doing this you get to keep any social networking shares and backlinks it may have acquired.
What are SERPs?
SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages are the search results pages that are accumulated by search engines after a user searches the internet for something. Search engines are developing with new advancements in and growing popularity of mobile devices. Google has observed that a larger portion of traffic emanate from mobile devices and has therefore updated its ranking algorithm to include mobile site load speeds and compatibility. For example, a website that is not optimized for mobile devices will rank lower on Google’s SERPs.
Using Google Ads can sometimes be beneficial for SEO however it can become extremely costly; therefore due diligence and research is required before delving into this option.
A well thought out and developed search engine optimization strategy can be effective for your business when done correctly. With SEO you will be able to increase consumer traffic that visits and uses your website. One of Ben Givon’s tips for an effective SEO strategy involves competitor research. This involves taking the time to research what and how competitors use SEO strategies like keywords to rank on the first page in Google SERPs.