What’s SEO and Why Too Much Focus On It?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of tweaking and updating your website code and content to rank higher in the search results organically. The ultimate goal of the Search Engine Optimization is to have your content ranked topmost.
If i do a search on Google, Google uses an algorithm to rank the results retrieved. The results are in form of a top-bottom list of web pages known as Search Engines Results Pages (SERPs). The list presents you with the most relevant results of your search, ranked in order of relevance.
Sounds too technical and intimidating, huh?
Fortunately as a blogger, it’s not mandatory to master the technical aspects of SEO. If you understand how SEO works, you are in position to align your content to its requirements. In so doing, your content becomes SEO friendly and ranks better.
Type of Online Searches
What has SEO got to do with online searches?
To reply this question you need to understand the typical behaviours of online customers. Whenever you do a search on Google, you will receive two types of listings; sponsored links and organic search listings.
For sponsored links (usually at the top of the search results page), advertisers pays to get listed. This paid-up ads often match customers interests with the appropriate advertising messages. Organic search however rely on the search engine algorithm for visibility through application of sound SEO strategies.
Search Engine Optimisation therefore determines if your content will be visible or not.
Why Do Online Businesses Require SEO?
As of January 2021, there were over 4.66 billion active Internet users, close to 60% of the global population (www.statista.com). Obviously, such a huge number of potential customers presents a stiff competition. The big question is; how do i stay ahead of the competition by being the most appealing to these visitors?
The website that draws the most traffic stands the better chance of transforming the traffic into business. SEO underlying focus is to drive organic traffic to your website.
Your website will only become a trusted and preferred information source, if visitors consistently find answers to their problems. SEO ensures that your website contains not only relevant but high-intent content for organic visibility. This will in turn lead to traffic, leads, sales and ultimately profit for your business.
The use of search engines to build and sustain brand is the backbone of Search Engines Marketing (SEM). Application of SEO enables online businesses to monetize the value of the search process. The better optimized a page is (using SEO), the higher a ranking it will achieve in search engine result listings.
What are the Advantages of SEO to Businesses?
- Enhance Organic Search Results Listing- SEO is a customer-centric and targeted process outside the paid-up advertising. As a result, a website stands to gain immensely from organic discovery and visibility from matched intentions and interests of the customer. An effective SEO strategy will greatly help in delivering relevant web pages to relevant audience through pertinent search queries
- Increased Web Traffic- SEO ensures your website is offering what visitors are looking for by enabling organic visibility. It drives high-quality traffic to your website with minimum effort of enticing the visitors.
- Good ROI (Return on Investment)- The end result of any marketing effort is revenue generation. Google’s organic rankings for example, are based entirely on what its algorithm determines to be the best results for any given query. This means that once you’ve created a page that the search engine deems worthy of directing their users to, it can continue to attract traffic to your site for months (or even years) after you publish it.
- SEO is long-term Marketing Strategy- Although the impact of SEO in business usually immediate, over time this will be compounded stretching long after initial efforts.
- Brand Credibility and Trust- Google for example will rank web pages based on created content, website speed, and mobile usability. While most online visitors will not take into account such factors, they trust search engines such as Google for relevant and valuable content. A highly ranked search result implicitly translates into persistent patronage by visitors.
Search Engines Operations & SEO
Understanding how search engine works is an integral part of SEO. Better understanding will lead to better SEO strategies.
It is also important to understand how search engines work so that you are to focus on value addition areas. Search engines can be compared to digital libraries. In place of volumes of books, journals and other reference materials, the search engines have index for billions of web pages. Upon typing a search phrase in a search engine, it looks through all the pages in its database and tries to return the most relevant results.
While different search engines may use different techniques in their functioning, the underlying principles is hinged on the following;
- Crawling – use of small programs called web crawlers use links of known websites to discover new websites, scan the new websites and pass its content for indexing.
- Indexing – authenticate and store the website contents into the search engine libraries (database)
- Ranking – scoring the index content based on set parameters.
To accomplish this, the search engine use an algorithm, a computer code that rank web pages based on predefined criteria. It’s this code that SEO always attempt to align your content with.
Google.com for example https://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/search/howsearchworks/algorithms/ has this to say about its search algorithms;
How Does SEO Optimize Searches?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies is a continuous battle to deliver more visitors to your websites so as to convince search engines that your site is worth sending searchers to. This involves choice of keywords used on web pages, frequency of updates and design of the website for ease of consumption by search engines algorithms.
The first step in creating search engines’ friendly content is to know keywords or phrases that are relevant to your content. You will then determine if it is appropriate to build content around the particular keyword or not. Use of keywords is therefore an integral aspect of designing SEO strategies and foundation of SEO success.
Keyword research entails looking and analyzing search terms that people enter into search engines and aligning them with the search engines’ algorithm. It tells you what topics people care about most and which is likely to result in a visitor taking a business decision e.g. sale.
7 Ways to Improve Content for SEO Ranking
Its not in contention that SEO drives online business. If you focus on high-quality content, you can optimize your webpages to turn up higher in search engine results. After all, majority of visitors to your website tend to only look at the first few lines of the SERP (search engine results page). You cannot therefore avoid SEO in your online marketing strategies.
The big question then is how to improve your SEO especially from nontechnical perspective. Here are some tips on improving your SEO efforts.
The pivotal role of Keyword Research in SEO strategy cannot be understated. You must ensure that your content is created using both primary and secondary keywords. While the focus should be on primary keywords especially for landing pages, the secondary keywords play a big role in providing more details that are not contained in the primary keywords.
How do you perfect the use of keywords? Use keyword research Tools such as Jaaxy Keyword Research Tool. You will be able to generate different combinations of keywords before subjecting them to competition.
The structure of your URLs can improve SEO rankings particularly the on-page SEO. A good URL be short and descriptive. You can improve the value of your URLs by;
- Use of keywords – Your URL should include one or more of target keywords.
- Easy to understand – It serves as a guide to readers to know what the webpage is about.
- Be concise – Majority of search engines don’t process too long longer URLs.
Backlinking is when other websites link to your webpages as a source of information. The message relayed by backlinks is that your website is an authority on a particular topic thereby enhancing your ranking. Backlinks are a critical ranking factor and therefore you should strive to receive them from authoritative sources.
Some of the methods to build links to your website include;
- Become a guest writer for other websites especially in your niche.
- Contributing in professional associations in your niche.
Featured Snippets are short snippets of text that appear at the top of Google’s search results in order to quickly answer a searcher’s query. You should therefore strive at all costs to rank in featured snippets. As a result, Google’s Featured Snippets is a extremely lucrative spot that all online marketers fight to occupy when it comes to search engine results pages (SERPs).
Featured Snippets impact SEO in at least two broad ways;
- It is an opportunity to get more clicks from the organic search results, without higher Google rankings.
- Featured Snippets increase the number of no-click searches (when a searcher doesn’t click on any of the search results). This is so because the Featured Snippet often gives someone the answer they’re looking for.
You content must be aligned to the search engines algorithm at all times. It’s the only way to gain favor with search engines. Write a clear, factual and properly structured content. Learn more here how to structure your content for search engines.
Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
Besides the keywords, page titles and meta descriptions impact greatly the value of the content you write. Always have it in your mind that these two aspects of your content matter in search results. A Google user might decide whether to click on your page based only on these short sections.
It is important that the search engines fully understand the content you present for ranking. Ensure therefore you write reasonable content that is comprehensive enough for the searchers and also for the search engine to fully understands it. Too short articles may be ranked lower by Google.
One of the parameter search engines use is originality of the content. Plagiarized content not only denies you good ranking but also lowers your authority in that topic. Original content is a gem in Google ranking.
All search engines have ultimately the solitary goal of showing the best, most relevant results to their visitors. On its part, the SEO target is to demonstrate to search engines that your content is the best result for the search at hand. Any SEO strategy has to first understand the criteria used by the algorithm before embarking on optimizing efforts.
Just as customer is the king, traffic is the king in online businesses. SEO is responsible for driving traffic to websites and therefore the foundation of monetizing websites or blogs (Read the basics of making money online).
Since the bulk of online searches happen on the Google search engine, it is imperative that every SEO effort understands and cater to Google’s algorithm. If you want more video views for example, then you have to target the YouTube’s algorithm.
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