What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization refers to a website getting traffic from a search engine organically. Meaning you did not pay to rank that position, you rank naturally by optimizing your website in various ways.
What does Google do?
Search Engines like Google consist of: a spider, an index and an algorithm. A spider crawls through your website and follows the links on your website; it saves your pages in a database called the index. This index is updated every time the spider goes back to your website. After indexing your website Google can now display it the search result. Google has a particular algorithm that decides which pages it will show and in what order. Nobody knows what this algorithm is but what we do know is that Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.
There may be over a hundred ranking factors that Google looks at when examining your site. If you work towards these important factors you are off to a good start.
- Keyword Research
- Site Structure
- Off Page SEO
- UX (User Experience)
- Optimizing Images
- Crawl Accessibility
- Site security
You have to choose the right focus keyphrase which is the keyword that you want your page to rank for. Doing your keyword research beforehand is a vital part of good content. Your keyword can be one word like ‘jacket’ or a phrase like ‘jacket for gym’ How do you even know where to begin?
The two most important things to consider when doing research for your focus keyphrase:
- Your competitors – Ideally you want to focus on keyphrases that your competitors are not ranking for. On the other hand you could try rank for the same keywords your competitors are ranking for which is the more aggressive strategy.
- Your audience – What words would they be using to search for a business like yours? You need to think like your audience and figure out how your audience will be searching for your product, service or information you provide.
How important is keyword research?
Content is a crucial part of every website but especially for SEO. Visitors stay on your website if your content is clear and written properly. This is a signal to the search engines that you’re providing relevant information. Your focus keyphrases need to be distributed into your content therefore it needs to be optimized for search engines. The main thing to remember when writing content is to be original and always provide the correct information for your visitors.
Your visitors and Google need to navigate through your website easily. Both your visitors and Google approach your site structure in different ways. Your users use links to navigate to other pages and find what they are looking for. Search engines follow links to find out what content on your site is coupled and to determine the importance of that content.
Off Page SEO
Refers to actions taken outside of your website to increase traffic to your website and raise the ranking of a page.
The main off page SEO methods to achieve are;
- Link building – The process of having incoming links to your website from another site. This results in more traffic and adds value to the page it links to and to your website itself, which helps the search engine understand the topic of the site.
- Email marketing – Sending out newsletters for your readers to link back to your site. Your newsletters need to have good content; they must be important and relevant as well as catchy.
- Social media – Social media is important for SEO because Google recognizes your social profiles and brings them up in the search results. If people are talking about you on social media or you are getting a lot of traffic to your social profiles you’re relevant!
UX (User Experience)
UX stands for User Experience and refers to how a person experiences your website while navigating through your pages. Google looks at elements like:
- Mobile friendliness – The use of mobile is increasing everyday. Having a website that looks and works just as good on mobile is essential.
- Site speed – There is nothing more frustrating than a website that takes long to load.
- Links – A lot of quality links to your website indicates that people most likely had a good experience with it.
- Site structure – Your links need to link to relevant pages and your content needs to be easy to read.
Optimizing images for SEO
Having images on your website attracts visitors. Most users prefer images to text which leads to more traffic. Your images need to be the correct size to ensure fast loading and it needs to be optimized for mobile use.
As stated in the beginning Google has spiders that crawl through your website and save pages in the database. In order for this to be possible your website needs to allow for spiders to crawl through all your pages and follow all your links to display your website in the search results.
Website security is very important for your SEO. An unsecured website can get hacked easily and that can mean your website might lose all its rankings in a short time. Visitors also feel safer on a website that is secure so the chances of them staying on a site or purchasing an item are much higher than a site that isn’t secure.