What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, In simple terms, it means the process of making your visible to the different search engines like Google for relevant searches. The more visible your website pages have in search results, the more likely you are to gather traffic and attracing more people to your business or products through organic search engine results.
What is involved with SEO?
Let’s break that definition of SEO down and look at the sub-parts:
- Organic search results. Paid ads make up a large portion of many SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Organic traffic is any traffic that you don’t have to pay for. It is anything that shows up on a search engine that is not paid for through an ad.
- Quality of traffic. You can attract a lot of website traffic, but if they’re coming to your site for the wrong reason such as Google telling them you are a resource for them you’re a resource for the Amazon River but you are really just a Amazon affiliate website selling Gaming Headsets, that is not really quality traffic. You want to attract people who are genuinely interested in your business and products that you offer.
- The amount of traffic. Once you have qualified and interested people clicking through to your page from the SERPs, the more traffic the better. As mentioned before organic search traffic is any unpaid traffic that comes from SERPs, and unlike paid ads, it is free.
How SEO does its job
You might think of a search engine as a old fashioned yellow page phonebook you open by visiting (or these days speaking) a question to into a search bar. The search engine be it Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft’s Bing, Wikipedia, Siri or Alexa or whatever search engine you’re using answers with a list of links to web pages that are designed to answer your question.
Have you ever stopped to think about how the search engines decide who to list and how they rank them?
The search engines like Google has a crawler that goes out and gathers information about all the content they can find on the Internet. These crawlers take months to gather all the information on the internet but employ an algorithm that crawl certain pages faster than other based on that pages authority. The crawlers brings all the information and content back to the search engine to build an index or hierarchy. That index is then fed through their algorithm that tries to match all that content with your search query.
There are a hundreds or thousand of factors that go into a search engine’s algorithm, and here are the top 10.
- Mobile Friendliness- Google in particular has moved to a Mobile First Indexing ranking factor, so if your website is not optimized for mobile viewing you will be hurt. This is one reason we love sites being built on Groovepages as it is the first major platform to have sites being built using its builder to use this technology.
- A Secure and Accessible Website. This is what is known as SSL and is noted by having a lock icon located on the websites search bar.
- Page Speed (Including Mobile Page Speed). The search engines know that slow loading sites are more likely to be turned off by visitors.
- Domain Age, URL, and Authority. These factors into how much a search engine trusts the content on a page.
- Optimized Content. Search engine algorithms relies on keywords. These are the words and phrases searchers use when they’re looking for information. They’re also the words and phrases that describe the topics your site is about. Google wants content to be high quality and have some length to it. Our experience shows this to be at a minimum 1250 words. While writing more words just to stretch out the length is never advisable, if a subject calls for depth, give it depth.
- Technical SEO. Involves adding keyword phrases in page titles, which is where Google first looks to determine which content is relevant to which search, using header tags to show content hierarchy starting with your title at h1 and then use h2 or h3 for subheads, creating a meta description that both entices readers and includes your keyword phrase, keeping those meta descriptions short and catchy at around 160 characters, using keyword phrases in image alt tags to show how those images are relevant to the main content, including alt tags also help people who are visually impaired enjoy your site with screenreaders and using schema markup to tell Google what kind of content you’re producing.
- User Experience: Search engines use artificial intelligence to better rank website pages. Google calls that signal RankBrain. This includes other signals that affect your search engine ranking. These include: Click-through rate (CTR): the percentage of people who click to visit your site after an entry comes up in search results. Bounce rate: the number of people who click on your page and quickly go back to the search results not seeing the results they are looking for and Dwell time: how long visitors stay on your site after they’ve arrived
- Links: Links are a crucial SEO ranking signal. There are three kinds of links to think about: All three are typically tied to a descriptive anchor text. They are 1.Inbound links 2. Outbound links and 3. internal links. inbound links are also referred to as “backlinks.” Backlinks are links to your site from external websites. Your goal is to get as many highly authoritative sites to link back to you. Outbound links are links like what we have posted above when we linked to sites like Google and Wikipedia, sites with high domain authority. They help improve your pages trust factor. Internal links are links linking your own content on other pages and can help tie pages together for both Google and your visitors, making each page more valuable.
- Social Signals. Google’s has said that social shares are not a direct ranking factor. Links from Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or Facebook aren’t counted the same as links from other authoritative websites however. There is no denying that the highest-ranking pages in Google search results usually have a lot of social shares. Though this is probably due to a few related factors: More social shares generate more traffic to the page itself and social shares give you a better chance at creating more backlinks. One thing not really discussed much is that these shares from these high authority social sites also stand a very high chance of being indexed by the search engines really fast. We have found that posting on sites like these provide a real boost to rankings.
- Real Business Information: This is more for local businesses but the presence or absence of business information is one of the most crucial local SEO ranking factors. Using NAP (Name, Address, Phone) in your content helps to tell the search engines that your business and keywords match up together.
Those are the main ranking factors for SEO.
We cannot stress enough that optimization is what everything boils down to. It is where the content creators make the pages readable for the search engines make the search engines understand what they’re seeing, and the users who arrive via search will like what they see and spend time on your site.
Optimization can take many forms. It’s everything from making sure the meta descriptions, title tags, images are all informative and the right length to point to internal links at pages you’re proud of.
Learning about SEO
This section of this post is here to help you learn anything you want about SEO to help you with your website.
Here’s a quick overview:
Building an SEO-friendly site
Once you’re ready to embrace SEO, it’s time to apply those SEO techniques to a website, whether it’s brand new or an older one you are renovating to make it more modern.
Content and related markup
A website isn’t really a website until you have content on the pages. But SEO for content has a lot of variables.
You’ve already learned a lot about on-site topics by delving into content and related markup. Now it’s time to get technical with information about robots.txt. Robots.txt is used primarily to manage crawler traffic to your site, and usually to keep a page off Google, depending on the file type:
Dig deep into everything you ever needed to know about links from anchor text to redirection. Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. SEO best practices dictate that anchor text be relevant to the page you’re linking to, rather than generic text. The blue, underlined anchor text is the most common as it is the web standard, although it is possible to change the color and underlining through html code. The keywords in anchor text are one of the many signals search engines use to determine the topic of a web page.
Some other things you can do to optimize your site are to use videos or animated images to increase users time on site.
Use Comparison Keywords, Comparison Keywords are terms that compare different things, like:
Why are these types of keywords worth targeting? People searching for Comparison Keywords are looking for specific answers. For example, somebody that types “website design” into Google is probably new to starting up a online business. But somebody searching for “Wordpress vs Wix” has a feel for website design and is looking for a specific platform. They just want help deciding between two different options. Finally, comparison keywords don’t usually have that much competition.
The evolution of SEO
Search engine algorithms changeoften and to keep pace SEO techniques are constantly evolving in response to those changes. Those who do not follow Google’s guidelines and best practices can have their rankings wiped out by an algorithm change.
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For a video transcript of this blog check out this video.