If you own a business or have a website, you’ve probably heard the term ‘SEO’ or ‘Search Engine Optimization’ before. And even if you don’t know much about it, you’ve probably heard that it’s important. In today’s marketplace, it’s no longer enough to just simply have a website. To be competitive, you need to make sure people can find your website when searching for the products or services you offer. That’s what SEO is all about. It’s the process of optimizing your site in a way that signals to search engines that your site is one of the best results for searches related to your products or services. Better search engine rankings equal more traffic to your website, which eventually contributes to more revenue and profits.
With Google alone using more than 200 factors to rank each site, and changing those factors hundreds of times per year, SEO can get tricky. While learning all of the ins and outs of SEO can take years, that doesn’t mean you can’t start with learning the basics of how SEO works and trying out some best practices for yourself.
SEO can be broken down into two major parts: on-site SEO and off-site SEO. Here is some basic info about each, and a few tips you can try on your own to start the SEO process on your own.
When Google evaluates your site to determine where to rank it for a specific search, they look at how well the content on your site relates to that specific search term. It’s important that your site’s content accurately describes your products or services in a way that’s user-friendly for the reader. How can you tell if your site content is keyword-relevant? Check these four main areas:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Page titles
- Page content
Title tags and meta descriptions are shown to users in the search engine results. Google looks at these elements to determine how relevant your site is, but it’s also important that it’s easy for users to read as well. Make sure each page on your site has unique and descriptive title tags and meta descriptions.
Optimized page titles and content are also important both for your visitors and for search engines. Make sure your page titles accurately describe the topic of the page, and that your site content also incorporates the terms that people use to search for your products or services.
In addition to determining how relevant your site is, Google’s search algorithm also determines how much popularity and credibility your site has based off which sites link to your site. Links can be thought of as a vote, and the more votes your site has, generally the higher it will rank. But it’s important to remember that it’s not only the quantity of links that is important—the quality of those links matters, too. Quality links act to drive traffic from another site to yours, which is why Google uses them to determine the popularity and credibility of your site.
So what are quality links? Here are a few examples:
- Your business was featured in a story on a local news channel and the story on their website included a link to yours site.
- A blogger was really impressed with your product or service and they blogged about their experience, including a link in the post so readers could visit your site.
- A business with a complementary product or service to yours includes your business information and link to your site on their “preferred vendors” page.
- Your business sponsors a local community group or club and they feature your business on their site with a link back to yours.
These are only a few of the possibilities available for building quality links to your site. Check back for a future post about our tips for link building basics.
Have questions about your site’s SEO or are interested in having a professional team optimize your site? Contact us today for more information about how we can help.