How to Compete | Novice SEO Guide
Simply having a website, no matter how it looks does not mean that your business will immediately receive more traffic. Capturing leads and making sales involves a lot more then just design in the back-end. Speaking of having to do more… what exactly is this search engine optimization? Oh, and why did the SEO cross the road?
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This term describes the practice of optimizing web pages to achieve high ranking positions in search results of Google and other search engines. SEO is not like pay-per-click advertising; instead, it focuses on improving organic rankings. If you would like your website to get more sustainable traffic for the long-term, search engine optimization needs to be a part of your digital marketing strategy.
Taming the Beast – Google
Considering that Google has a 92% market share in search engine traffic as of June 2021, their algorithm should definitely be your primary focus. The ranking of your website in Google search results is determined by their algorithm. Although the methods that the algorithm uses are kept secret, experience in SEO work has developed a solid idea about the important factors that your website must have in order to rank higher.
Part of the SEO process is your on-page optimization. On-page SEO is exactly as it sounds – it includes all of the elements that are in and around the pages that you are trying to rank higher in search results, along with a few key technical aspects. Some of the big factors that contribute to the quality of your on-page SEO fall under the structure of your content; the usage, placement and relevance of key words, page title and meta description relevance and length, the amount of content per page (recommended 300+ words on pages that you would like to rank higher with), outbound and internal links (yes, linking to other related websites and allowing follow through helps search engines understand your content!), and ALT attributes (alternative text – this lets search engines understand what is going on in the pictures on your website). The two key technical aspects that fall under on-page SEO are the speed of your site along with the quality of your code.
The other part of search engine optimization involves off-page SEO, and this includes a variety of factors that are not on your website itself. The big off-page SEO factors include links from other websites to your own, social media platforms, and any other marketing activities that are completed away from your website. The most important off-page optimization factor is the number and quality of links pointing towards your website. The more high-quality websites that link to your site, the higher you will rank on Google (and other search engines!). Social media will also impact your digital presence and that doesn’t only include your own accounts. Creating custom social media titles and meta descriptions with high quality images and a well-created call to action will drive traffic towards your website when your audience shares your content (let your customers help!).
Don’t Rush It!
For all of our clients, our company has always recommended to play it by the book and use natural and organic growth instead of trying to spoof Google and other search engines. Using a long-term strategy will not only help you create reliable and high quality content, but it will also save you from getting the hammer from Google. Paying for backlinks (external links that link to your website) and various other ‘quick’ methods to success will almost always result in failure at the end. If you attempt to spoof Google, it will eventually catch up to your website and once you are blacklisted, it’s very difficult if not impossible in most cases to begin ranking again at all.
Sure, you might not start ranking right away or you may not be amongst the first search results for a few months after you start, but when you do accomplish that top search result, it will be well-earned and something that you can hold onto for the long run. Don’t believe that it is easy to stay on top under any circumstances though – permanently ranking well in Google demands extensive and ongoing SEO strategies that focus on every aspect of your website and its marketing. Your UX (user experience) will need to be at the top of your industry and your strategy must be ongoing and consistent once deployed.
If you remember from earlier in this article, I asked why the SEO crossed the road. It’s nothing exciting, he just wanted to get hit with traffic! I never said I was funny, but it makes perfect sense. Taking that leap to step up your SEO game is critical to a successful digital marketing strategy. I hope you were able to learn something new and helpful about search engine optimization, whether you decide to work with us or try some of these things by yourself. Remember not to stress readability recommendations too much – your audience needs to be first, and more importantly needs to be able to find what they are looking for. Put that first and SEO second, and you are well on your way to digital success.