Understanding The Basics Of Search Engine Optimization
The Vast Majority Of All Online Experiences Between A Business And Its Customers Still Begin In The Exact Same Way: With A Search Engine Like Google.
Why Is SEO So Important?
It’s been estimated that 92.96% of all global traffic comes from three sources: Google search, Google Images and Google Maps. When you also consider the fact that search engine optimization (SEO) drives literally 1000% more traffic than organic social media according to the same study, it’s easy to see why this is a topic that is so worthy of your attention.
But the key thing to understand is that SEO success is often less about one major move and has more to do with a series of smaller, more strategic ones. They may not look like much initially, but when executed properly they add up to something far more powerful than they could be on their own. Therefore, if you want to master the basics of SEO and finally enjoy the success that you’ve seen for yourself, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
Content Is King: The Key To Modern Day SEO
Regardless of whether you’re talking about a broad SEO campaign or something smaller and more locally focused, all SEO essentially revolves around the exact same thing: content. This means not only things like blog posts but also eBooks, white papers and more.
It’s important to keep in mind that while keywords play an important role in the type of content you’re creating, the days of being able to cram as many keywords as possible into a blog post and send it to the top of the search engine results pages are officially over. Google regularly changes their algorithm in an effort to stop this from happening, to the point where if you’re found to be abusing the system you could get penalized and de-listed entirely.
All of this is a long way of saying: don’t do that.
Just Play By The Rules And All Is Well!
But while Google does keep the actual mechanics of its algorithm a closely guarded secret, one thing is for sure: if you focus on creating compelling, high quality content, the system will largely take care of you. That means content that reads like it was written by actual people, for actual people, no matter what.
It’s All About Keywords And Search Terms
The right keyword strategy will get your website in front of potential customers who are looking for your services today and are ready to take the next step. How do you make sure you are picking the right words? You need to know exactly what people are looking for and answer their search queries! Sound simple…
You must target actual words and phrases that real people are using to do their research. It is important to think like a potential customer who does’t know industry lingo and search for products and services just like them. Use different devices and browsers to get a real picture of the situation.
Once you know the correct AND most profitable words, now you need them on your website in a certain way that makes sense to both searchers and the search engines. It must be easy for the search engines to understand what your website is about.
Not only do you need to analyze what your customers are looking for, but you need to make sure you are keeping tabs on your competitors. Remember, SEO is not a secrete and if you rise in rankings, your competitors will take notice. Be prepared to counteract them.
Keyword Research And Quality Content Will Win The Day
In general, creating quality content involves writing blog posts and other types of collateral that answers the searchers question in the best possible way. Before you sit down to write a new piece, ask yourself questions like:
- What does this person want to know?
- What are they looking for?
- What do they need to hear?
- How can I help them?
That last one is particularly important, as it puts their best interest front and center, not yours. If you’re able to answer someone’s question or address their concern better than anyone else, you’ll quickly see your SEO improve as a result.
Plus, the better your content is, the more likely other sites are to link to it organically – which is another factor that Google looks for in determining rankings at any given moment.
Google is looking for unique and original content.
Even More SEO Best Practices
Other basic steps you can take to improve your SEO performance includes adding your main keyword as early on in your content as you can. Again, don’t overdo it and “stuff” that keyword into the content in ways that don’t make sense. But Google puts a lot of emphasis on terms that appear towards the top of a website which means you need to do so, too.
How SEO Works With Good Content
Finally, go out of your way to make sure that your content (and your entire site, for that matter) works as well as humanly possible on mobile devices. These days, the majority of your traffic is coming from people on smartphones and tablets, not desktops. That means that if your page works great on a desktop and takes forever to load on an iPhone, it will harm your SEO, not help it.
Is Your Site Mobile Friendly?
Likewise, make sure that your site is as mobile friendly as possible by using responsive web design best practices to your advantage. The longer mobile users engage with your site, the higher your domain will rank on Google – but it’s hard to get to that point if your site is a mess on smaller touch-screen devices in the first place.
Build Your Site For Users, Not Yourself
SEO Basics – Some Notes
Just having a website is not going to guarantee that people are going to find it. Your site needs to be optimized for the search engines from the ground up. Each page on your site has the ability to draw in visitors and convert them to customers. Don’t waste the opportunity to grow your business by not proactively managing your website.
The “internet” is always in flux, new technologies emerge, new search algorithms are constantly released, and people develop new habits. Your strategy for SEO has to change and evolve along with this growth. What worked last year to get to the top of Google is now outdated and no longer successful.
Ever wonder why your competitors rank better than you for Google searches relating to your services, products, or location? Are you looking for new markets and customers online, but can’t seem to connect with potential clients? Your website might not be optimized for the words and phrases people use when searching for your business or what you offer.
An effective website is one that drives visits, converts customers, and shows consistent growth. Sounds simple enough, right? But you know that success is a moving target, and keeping your website optimized is a full-time task.