The internet consists of 60 trillion pages—and it’s still growing. Your website is part of that number. Yet, the odds of a potential customer stumbling across any of your webpages are astronomical. That’s why developers created search engines. They increase the odds that searchers will find your website. However, with your competition online as well, the odds are still stacked against you. You can improve those odds with search engine optimization (SEO) and creating an SEO strategy.
Search engines such as Google and Yahoo! use constantly changing algorithms containing many ranking factors to score webpages based on keywords, key concepts, backlinks, site navigation, authority and website usability. The search engine uses this score to determine where a webpage appears in the results from a specific query. Research shows that people don’t usually look further than the top 5 listings on a search engine results page (SERP).
SEO is a framework of practices for improving your search ranking. The goal is increasing traffic to your web content. In addition to boosting your content discoverability, good SEO tactics can enhance your authority, build your users’ trust levels and your brand loyalty and improve website social media promotion. Good SEO practices often improve user experience and website usability.
SEO best practices
While you might already be doing some SEO, there are some concepts, tools and best practices that can improve your success. First, an effective SEO strategy requires moving away from using keywords and instead emphasizing concepts. This type of SEO targets general concepts, which speak about a searcher’s intent, rather than focusing on specific keywords. According to Google, search engine ranking trends are moving toward rewarding search experience personalization and providing localized search results. This includies items such as images, videos and real-time news in indexing and search results. In addition, your website will fall out of grace with Google and other search engines if your website is not optimized for mobile users.
As you evaluate your SEO strategy consider the following tips:
• Search engines determine SERP positions based on the number of links to a page on your website, according to the Reliablesoft.net article. Incoming links from well-known and trusted sites will positively affect your ranking, whereas the opposite is true if the links are paid for or come from article directories or link farms. An effective link-building campaign begins with creating content that people find valuable and worth sharing.
• Link sharing uses social media to spread your message and increase your reach. Link sharing can build your authority, increase trustworthiness and build brand recognition. The key is to create useful, sharable content.
• Google AdWords is a tool that boosts potential customers’ ability to find your site. This service allows users to create ads containing relevant keywords. When people use Google to search for the keywords, it triggers your ad to appear at the top or side of the search results page. You only pay when a user clicks on your ad and is directed to your website.
• Headlines, subtitles and meta tags have long been an important ranking factor for search results, however, in recent years meta tags have lost their punch. With so many competing websites vying for users’ attention and using the same meta tags as yours, it’s difficult to stand out. Titles and subheads add context to your keywords. Google will use title and header tags to interpret the content’s meaning and return pages that match user intent.
In addition, an overall SEO strategy needs to integrate many different tools and tactics. It’s important to incorporate both paid and organic SEO solutions in your internet strategy. Searchers will typically trust and click on organic search results more often than paid or pay-per-click (PPC) ads. However, well-optimized webpages indicates you are well on your way to implementing a well-performing PPC campaign. When a webpage on your site ranks well for a keyword or concept in organic search results, build a PPC campaign around that keyword that points to that webpage. Using both approaches together can enhance your site performance.
The Value of SEO Strategy
In the end, SEO ultimately is built around quality content that provides the solutions users seek. That’s why it is important to create value for consumers before you try to influence how easily they can find that content. No matter what tools and practices you use in your overall SEO strategy, if you don’t provide great content that addresses potential consumers’ needs and challenges, your efforts could be for naught.