Search engine optimization (SEO), is the set of rules/practices that should be followed to optimize websites/blogs. Proper SEO techniques improve search engine rankings, thus driving traffic to the your website. Additionally, SEO is an excellent way to improve website quality by creating a user- friendly site that’s faster and easier to navigate. It’s all about the user experience!
Why is SEO Important?
In today’s competitive business climate SEO is a key component to a website. Search engines reach millions of users around the world every day (if not more). Ultimately, SEO can make or break your business. If your organization has a website, blog or online store, SEO can help your business grow and stand out in your specific market.
User’s trust search engine results and if your business has a presence that ranks within the top positions for market keywords the user searching within your market will more likely trust your brand. The majority of web browsers choose one of the top five ranking results in their search engine (usually Google). The better your SEO practices, the higher your ranking, and the more traffic your website will receive.
The Evolution of SEO
Thankfully for businesses of all sizes, from solopreneurs to Fortune 500s, SEO best practices have matured beyond backlinking and coding to procedures/strategies that business owners have more control over (i.e. content marketing and social media participation).
Great content and great SEO are no longer mutually exclusive items. In today’s business climate, great content is the fuel that powers SEO. The better your content, the higher your search engine ranking. To be victorious in the SEO game, your business needs to deliver an exceptional user experience and build a robust online presence. You can’t have one without the other.
SEO Tricks of the Trade
Know What Works
If you are new to the SEO game, it’s best to start off with understanding which search ranking factors will have the greatest impact on your rankings. According to recent studies conducted by the SEO wizards at MOZ, the following factors have the greatest impact on SEO performance:
- Mobile Friendliness: Creating a user friendly mobile site is likely to increase your web traffic/page ranking by as much as 88%!
- Perceived Page Value: Creating a page that is relevant to the the industry will increase your ranking by as much as 81%.
- Readability and Design: Creating a website that is user friendly will increase rankings by as much as 67%
This is a shift from the days when paid links and anchor text would drive SEO results. In fact, MOZ’s reach indicates that these factors will drive your traffic down.
Optimize Mobile Search
Mobile search is becoming the norm for customers. If they can’t easily navigate your website from their smart device, most likely your potential customer will move on to the next service provider. According to Neil Patel, there is a 43% year-over-year increase on the total number of searches made through mobile devices, citing that over 1.2 billion internet users receive their online services through their mobile applications. So you’d be wise to make your website mobile friendly.
Focus on User Intent
SEO has seen a major shift from keywords to user intent. Your focus should use natural language, making use of long-tail keywords that are essentially more conversational in tone. When conducting SEO research, focus on relevant topics and themes where you can build your content, and not just the keywords themselves. Use website analytics, such as Google Analytics, to check which phrases are generating traffic. While these phrases are critical to your SEO strategy, how you use them is just as vital. Your keywords and phrases should not feel forced, but rather natural for the reader to comb through.
The Longer the Better
Back at the dawn of SEO, most websites would limit their keyword enriched content to 200-250 word articles and posts. However, 2016 saw ideal posts as being longer, with figures reaching up to 2,500 words per post! When creating these longer posts be sure to analyze your chosen subject. Identify experiences in your past (or your organization’s past) that are relevant to the subject and share these experiences with your reader. Know your intended demographic, and try to answer their questions before they have to ask them. These methods combined with keyword rich content will entice the reader to view, while increasing search rankings.
When in Doubt: Hire a Professional
SEO is a complicated and fickle beast! While the above tips and tricks can certainly help to increase your search engine rankings, you’d be wise to invest in your organizational online presence. Professional SEO consultants will research your market and provide the best keywords and phrases to increase your rankings. The goal is to become top ranked in the major search engines, such as Google, and professional help is worth its weight in gold!