Search Engine Optimization
SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization, is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERPs) — including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.
Advertising with Google won’t have any effect on your site’s presence in our search results. Google never accepts money to include or rank sites in our search results, and it costs nothing to appear in our organic search results. Free resources such as Search Console, the official Webmaster Central blog, and our discussion forum can provide you with a great deal of information about how to optimize your site for organic search.
Optimizing Visibility in Search Engines
It is common practice for Internet search users to not click through pages and pages of search results, so where a site ranks in a search results page is essential for directing more traffic toward the site. The higher a website naturally ranks in organic results of a search, the greater the chance that that site will be visited by a user.
SEO helps to ensure that a site is accessible to a search engine and improves the chances that the site will be found by the search engine.
Optimizing Organic Search CTR
SEO is also about making your search engine result relevant to the user’s search query so more people click the result when it is shown in search. In this process, snippets of text and meta data are optimized to ensure your snippet of information is appealing in the context of the search query to obtain a high CTR (click through rate) from search results.
SEO may also be called search engine optimizer when using automated tools to assist with the optimization process.
SEO certification refers to the information, practice, education or training that leads to an individual’s certification, or skills assessment and knowledge, as it relates to search engine optimization and search engine marketing. Many SEO certifications are online courses or collection of webinars and online exams that you do at your own pace.
SEO is the process of optimizing your website to get organic, or un-paid, traffic from the search engine results page. In other words, SEO involves making certain changes to your website design and content that make your site more attractive to a search engine. Though search engine optimization can get quite complex when it comes to all the different factors that impact your ranking, the basic process is not as difficult to understand. Search engines want to provide the best service for their users. This means delivering results on the search engine pages that are not only high quality but also relevant to what the searcher is looking for.
Search engines will scan, or crawl, different websites to better understand what the site is about. This helps them deliver more relevant results to those who are searching for certain topics or keywords. Similarly, the search engines will scan the site to determine how easy it is to navigate and read, rewarding user-friendly sites with higher rankings on the search engine results page.
SEO is the process that organizations go through to help make sure that their site ranks high in the search engines for relevant keywords and phrases. For instance, let’s say that you have an article about how to build a birdhouse. In order to get your content in front of the right people, you want to try to optimize your this blog post so that it will show up as a top result for anyone who searches for the phrase “build a birdhouse.”
There are many benefits of SEO for your business. By improving your SEO, you can work to expand your visibility on the search engines. This helps you reach and engage more potential customers. By creating more engaging and effective SEO-focused content, you can increase your chances of bringing in more targeted organic traffic.
Content is effective in both attracting the search engines and helping your organization make connections with site visitors.
The more quality, relevant content pieces that you have on your site, the more likely search engines will be to rank your pages higher on the search engine results page. Similarly, the more engaging and effective content you have on your site, the more likely your visitors will be to spend some quality time on your website and maybe even make a purchase.
The secret to creating content that is optimized for both the search engines and your human site visitors is to create a variety of different types of content pieces that are well-written and on topics that are most relevant to your audience. Here are just a few types of content that you can focus on to help improve your content offering and, thus, your search engine rankings:
- Blog posts and articles
- Social media content
- E-books and whitepapers
- How-To Guides and Tutorials
- Videos and audio recordings
- Info graphics or other visual content
Another important thing to consider when creating content for your site is SEO keywords and phrases. These are relevant words and phrases that a search engine user might type in when looking for answers to their questions or relevant products and services. When you create content around these keywords and phrases, you improve your chances of ranking higher for these keywords on the search engine results page.
The on-page SEO factors are those elements that happen on your website. These are the things that you have complete control over, meaning that you can work to improve these factors over time by following best practices for SEO. This goes beyond just your content marketing to the deeper levels of your site’s HTML.
Here are just a few of the on-page SEO factors that can help you improve your search ranking:
- Title Tag – The title tag on each page tells the search engines what your page is about. This should be 70 characters or less, including both the keyword your content focuses on and your business name.
- Meta Description – The meta description on your website tells search engines a little bit more about what each page is about. This is also used by your human visitors to better understand what the page is about and if it’s relevant. This should include your keyword and also provide enough details to tell the reader what the content is about.
- Sub-headings – Not only do sub-headings make your content easier for visitors to read, but it can also help improve your SEO. You can use H1, H2, and H3 tags to help search engines better understand what your content is about.
- Internal Links – Building internal links, or hyperlinks to other content on your site, can help search engines learn more about your site. For example, if you are writing a post about the value of a specific product or service, you can link to the product or service page in your blog post.
- Image Name and ALT Tags – If you are using images on your website or within your blog content, you will also want to include your keyword or phrase in the image name and alt tag. This will help search engines better index your images, which may appear when users perform an image search for a certain keyword or phrase.
When strategically placing your SEO keywords and phrases on your pages, it’s important to avoid over-optimization. Google and other search engines will penalize your page if it attempts to use keywords too many times throughout the content.
In addition to the on-page SEO elements that your organization has control over, there are also off-page SEO factors that can impact your ranking. Though you do not have direct control over these off-page factors, there are ways that you can improve your chances of having these factors work out in your favor.
Here are a few of the different off-page SEO factors that can impact your search engine rankings:
- Trust – Trust is becoming an increasingly important factor in a site’s Google ranking. This is how Google determines whether you have a legitimate site that visitors can trust. One of the best ways to improve trust is by building quality backlinks from sites that have authority.
- Links – One of the most popular ways to build off-page SEO is through backlinks. You want to be careful here as spamming sites with your links is a quick and easy way to get your site banned from the search engines. Instead, take the time to build relationships with influencers and fans who create quality content and will link back to your site in their own content.
- Social – Another important off-page SEO factor are social signals, such as likes and shares. When it comes to boosting SEO, you want to look for quality shares from influencers. The more quality content you publish, the more likely you will be to get people to share your content with others.
Though you do not have direct control over what happens outside of your organization, you can increase your chances of improving off-page SEO simply by creating quality content that others will find valuable. The more relevant and interesting your content is, the more likely others will be to link to your content and share it on social media. The more people trust your content, the more the search engines will as well.