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In today’s world, the internet is everything. Whether you use it for shopping, social media, web searches or all of the above, having an online presence is unavoidable these days.
And if you run a business, owning a piece of the world wide web is vital to your success.
But once you’re online, how can you be sure people will find you?
The answer is search engine optimization.
What is search engine optimization?
More commonly known by its abbreviation, SEO, search engine optimization is the method by which a website increases its traffic or the number of visitors. More visitors means more eyes on the product or service being sold, and if a website depends on online advertising, the more visitors, the better. In short, SEO improves visibility by maximizing traffic to a website.
The benefit of SEO is that it capitalizes on the fact that people are searching for your content. This is not like cold calling, print advertising or direct mailing, where you reach out to customers and hope they purchase your product or services. SEO targets people who are actively searching for what you have to offer, so it is well worth it for a business to learn how to master search engine optimization.
So, how does search engine optimization work, exactly?
Well, to draw more visitors, a website needs to rank in a high position on Google and other search engines. Ranking high within a search engine maximizes the amount of traffic to a site. Think about your own search habits. Think about when you go to a search engine and type in a search term. For example, “best chicken recipe.” You hit search, and a flood of results fills your screen. Maybe you scroll to the bottom of the first page of results, but chances are that is as far as you will go. Aren’t you most likely to choose one of the top recipes to make?
As a matter of fact, research has shown that nearly two-thirds of traffic resulting from Google searches leads users to web pages that rank in the first three results. So as a business owner, you want your company to appear on that first page – the higher up, the better.
Think of it this way: You want your page to stand out in a sea of many. SEO is the key to a search engine displaying your site as a top result.
While searching on the internet, you may have noticed that results at the very top say “ad.” These are ranked so high because the business behind them pays for that privilege. Search engine optimization focuses on search results that are not paid.
Understanding algorithms and their importance to search engine optimization
You have probably heard the word algorithm in relation to search engine optimization, but what does one have to do with the other?
Generally speaking, an algorithm is a set of rules for completing a task. Technologically speaking, an algorithm tells a computer how to perform a task. In regards to online searching, an algorithm decides which results to display and in what order.
Search engines have complex algorithms, which they change often, but the following factors affect a web page’s ability to show up when certain keywords are searched:
- The appearance of a keyword – i.e. “best chicken recipe” – in the web page’s title, the tags used, and the meta description, which is the lines of text directly beneath a title that appears in a search result
- How a website performs on smartphones and tablets
- The number of organic (i.e. non-paid) links to the website. An organic link is a link from another website, blog or social media account. These are not paid, and the owner of the page being linked to has not requested the other website, blog or social media account link to them.
So how does search engine optimization relate to algorithms? SEO is a way for Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines to know that a web page is about a specific topic. SEO makes a website easy to find, meaning it must be part of a company’s digital marketing strategy in order of the business to be successful.
Search engine optimization tips and techniques
First, when it comes to SEO, be patient. Search engine optimization success does not happen instantly. It may take months to see results. Slow and steady!
Next, be prepared to adjust your SEO practices. Search engine algorithms change all the time – Google changes quite often, for example – so SEO practices that worked well for a business one year may not work the following year.
Then, set SEO goals. How else will you measure your success? For example, commit to increasing your page’s web traffic by a certain percentage each month, then use analytical software to track your progress.
Next, learn the art of writing SEO-friendly URLs. For example, a web page with the URL “10-best-chicken-recipes” will return better results than one with a URL that reads “best-ever-chicken-recipes-make-right-now.” Decide on your keywords early and stick with them; consistency is key.
Then, learn the art of writing page titles. A page title is the line of text that defines a search result and is what a person who is scrolling through search results will click on. Again, stick with your pre-determined keywords.
Lastly, become an online authority on the services or product you are selling. To do so, be specific in what you write and focus on quality. A company that sells shoes should tailor their online copy to specific items. This will lead Google to recognize your site as an authority, which will increase your ranking. Post smart and post often.
All of this may sound confusing, but here is why it’s important: Google processes 40,000 searches per second. That is 3.5 billion searches a day, which translates to more than 1 trillion searches a year. In order for a business to rise above the others, understanding search engine optimization is a must. If you need help, turn to one of the many businesses that specialize in search engine optimization; Saya Seo is a good choice for digital marketing and SEO in Wisconsin.