Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the simple process of ensuring a website can be found in all major search engines for keywords and search phrases relevant to the content of the website. Simply put, there are a set of standards websites must follow to stay competitive in popular industries. Many SEO experts refer to their work as “Quality Control”, replacing negative ranking factors with positive SEO standards.
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. SEO is typically a set of “white hat” best practices that webmasters and Web content producers follow to help them achieve a better ranking in search engine results.
What Are Search Engines Looking For?
Search engines want to do their job as best as possible by referring users to websites and content they are searching for. So how is relevancy determined?
Content: Is determined by the design, the text on the web page, and the titles or descriptions given for pages and headings. Keyword density is a huge factor. A user can’t search what isn’t there.
Performance: How fast does your site load? Does it work properly on all major search engines? Google and other search engines tend to route users to websites that load fast and have no user experience issues.
Authority: Does your site have good enough content to be linked by other websites? Backlinks and domain trust both help gain a competitive foothold when stacked up to other websites. As a blog or an information site, how many other journals link to your resources? Or maybe as a business, which affiliates and partners do you associate with? These links to each others website is the cornerstone of Authority and Domain Trust.
User Experience: Responsive design is all the rage right now, enabling your website to appear on all devices regardless of size. How does your website look and function on mobile? Is it easy to navigate around? Does it look safe to an anonymous user if you take credit card transactions? How high is your bounce rate? These questions can make websites sink or swim. A professional-looking website must also function as a professional website for Google to take notice.
How Do Search Engines Work?
For most people, Google is the first stop on the internet when searching for directions, places to eat, purchasing from an eCommerce store, finding local businesses and more. The first thing to understand when querying a search engine is you aren’t actually searching the entire web, but an index created by that particular search engine. Each search engine has their own unique index of web addresses. For example, searching “ice cream near me” on Google will almost always have a different set of results from searching on Yahoo! or Bing, since they all categorize businesses and keywords differently. But how do search engines find these webpages?
Crawling is where it all begins — the indexing of all content on a website. Crawlers, also known as a “Spider”, look at webpages across the internet and go from link to link to bring data about those webpages back to the search engines index. The crawl process begins with a list of web addresses from past crawls, in addition to the sitemap provided by the webmaster of your website.
How Can Search Engine Optimization Help My Business?
Nine out of ten people use the internet to shop for products or services.
The number one starting point is search. Gone are the days of bookmarks and customer loyalty. Today’s consumer is in charge. They know what they’re looking for and they know how to find it. If your company website isn’t on the first page of results it’s practically invisible.
- 97% of US internet users shop online
- 67.6% of all click-through traffic in Google’s search results go to the #1 position on the page (Google & Bing Study: 2014 Study by Caphyon)
- Organic search results are a compliment to a paid search campaign
- Improve search engine position
- Drive qualified traffic to your site
- Increase conversion
- Reduce Bounce Rate
- Engage Customers
- Be recognized as an authority in your niche
- Promote your local business
Check out our SEO tips specifically geared towards non-digital marketers!