If you have any relevance to the writing, marketing, or digital industries, you’ve probably heard the phrase “SEO” being thrown around. You might even start using the phrase because, well to be honest, you think it’s a good thing? Okay, so you have no idea what SEO even is besides the fact that it has to do with the Internet. Well, its time to you to crawl out of the dark and learn exactly what it is you and your coworkers keep discussing.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Google, for example is a search engine. On given day, people around the world search for millions of phrases, companies, song lyrics, etc. on Google. That’s only one search engine and it’s being used every second by someone, somewhere with an Internet connection. When you search something, there are endless amounts of results. More often than not, you’re going to click on one of the hits that shows up on the first few pages, because, well you’re most likely going to find your answer there.
These first few pages of hits on a search engine are very valuable for companies or bloggers trying to increases their views (and therefore sales). Here’s where SEO comes into play. According to Wikipedia, search engine optimization is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engines unpaid results. In order to get your website to the top of the list when someone searches for something relevant to it, you need to design, write, and link your page to others in a certain way. Third parties can actually do this for you. If you’re not a tech whiz but need your company to start thriving on the web, SEO consultants like Jimmy Huh can take care of that.
Google is the most widely used search engine and therefore most SEO consultants are targeting that search engine when creating ways for company sites to be listed first and foremost. In fact, 67% of all clicks resulting from a Google search happen on the first five results.
No one has been able to completely crack the code when it comes to understanding the algorithm that Google uses in order to sort the results. It has been determined however that things like relevant content, well-labeled pictures, relevant links and references, complete sentences with good spelling and grammar, standards-compliant HTML, and unique/relevant page titles all have a thing or two to do with it. SEO is basically a challenge to which there is different approaches to win.
On-page vs. off-page
The two broad categories are on-page and off-page. On-page refers to Google ranking factors that have to do with your physical page may it be your taglines, headers, content, or page structure. Off-page on the other hand refers to factors that not only you contribute to. These might be social network sources, blogs within your industry, competitor sites, and the history of the person searching the engine. Off-page SEO gets people to visit your site in the first place, but you need to keep them there using on-page SEO tactics. Successful SEO will utilize both equally. What you don’t want is to have a high bounce rate. By definition a bounce rate is how many times a visitor leaves your site after only visiting one page.
When it comes to on-page SEO you need content, quality, and keyword research. Google tries to sort through all of the possible results out there in order to deliver the best ones first, this is where content comes into play. Putting in effort to creating great content is the first step in successful SEO. Next, worry about quality. There’s no shame in using content from another site and twisting it to make it your own only better. Professionalism plays a major role in SEO. Lastly, keyword research is a crucial part in high rankings. You want to be able to strategically place them throughout the text without looking like your stuffing it in there for the purpose of using keywords. There are many more factors that go into creating great on-page SEO, but for the purpose of gathering a simple understanding of the concept, we won’t go into it further.
On the other hand, you have less control over your off-page SEO. One thing you can do is refrain from acting in any spammy manner than might make Google think that your site isn’t legit. In order for Google to rank you highly, it has to trust you. High authority, which is determined by Google, will also help with your ranking. Google will score you dependent on your domain authority by measuring how widespread your domain name is, and your page authority by measuring how authoritative your content of a single page is. Other factors include your bounce rate, domain age, quality of links, and anchor text.
Again, there are many other processes, measurements, and even geographic concerns that go into your sites overall SEO. Taking SEO on as a project is no easy feat. More than likely you’ll need the help from a SEO consultant to really see your rankings soar.