Definition of SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the act of building your website in such a way that it ranks well on Google. A 2014 study from Advanced Web Ranking concluded that 67% of searchers stay within the top five search results, and only 5% make it to page two.
Thus, the goal of the SEO expert is to use organic means to get as many first page results as possible and to ultimately make it into the top five.
SEO strategies are built around page titles, website organization, load times, keywords, descriptions, link building, authority building, and content.
Google is constantly shifting and making algorithm updates, so in order to keep up, the SEO Specialist must remain agile. Also, because of this, the industry has risen and fallen in importance over the past ten years. Since Google isn’t going anywhere, SEO will also retain its importance, but anyone involved in the industry must stay adaptable.
Principles of Good SEO
There are over a hundred principles to keep in mind when working on SEO. However, that number is ridiculous and overwhelming. It helps to narrow that down to the five most important principles in SEO, and as long as you keep focusing on these, your website will be in good shape.
Top Five Principles of Good SEO
- Site structure
Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of SEO. We don’t always think the same way we utilize Google and the way you search for something is not necessarily how other people search for the same thing. It’s necessary to research extensively to capture the best keywords that are relevant to a product or website.
Finding core keywords for pages on your website is the first step in SEO. Finding variations and related keywords and phrases is the next step. These are the basics of building effective web structure and content.
It’s surprising how creative keyword research needs to be. For example, when when using Las Angeles in a phrase, you should find the most impactful version of the words: Las Angeles, LA, L.A, and the City of Angels.
Having a good basis of thorough keyword research before jumping into make changes to your site is important. This will guide everything when deciding which pages, content, and blog articles will impact your rankings.
Google has bots that tour your website when it is indexed. They enter and click around just like a user. They are looking at the content on each page and counting how many pages there are. They are also skimming for duplicate content and backlinks.
If a large section of your website doesn’t link to any other pages on your website, it won’t indexed with the rest of your site. This could deeply impact the ranking of your main site, as well as the section that isn’t indexed (obviously).
Likewise, if there are several pages on your site that are lacking content, this could impact the whole whole site. Every page on your website should have solid, relevant, and original content. The Google bots have become almost human-like in their perception, so just create the best and most informative website possible for your potential clients, and you will be set.
The more authority your website gains, the more it can help out other websites. When you link to a website with lower authority, they will get a bump from yours. This is the same when you earn links for outside websites with quality content. Websites with the highest quality authority are universities and government websites.
Authority does matter. If you can earn one link from a high authority website, it will count more than twenty links from low quality websites. So, when strategizing link building plans, keep that in mind.
You can check your website authority score on tools such as Ahrefs.
Every page on your website is ranked separately. For example, if you are a website that sells shaving cream, but you have a blog post that talks about the best techniques to avoid nicking yourself while shaving, that post will not rank for shaving cream, but rather techniques for shaving. So, you want to plan all of your pages accordingly.
Every page should be considered and hold relevance to your site, whether they are for building a reputation for your company as a leader in the industry, link building with quality content, or bringing in potential customers.
Content is arguably the most important element of SEO. Even if everything else about your site is set up well, if your content isn’t great, your website will not rank. Every page of your site should have quality, relevant content.
It should be thorough and compare in length to other websites you are working to compete with in rankings. Preferably, your content will beat that of the competition. You also want to ensure that your pages are linking with relevant content to other pages on your website.
Should You Make Your SEO Local?
If you have a local company, you should definitely optimize your local SEO. You should ensure that your website has all of your local information clearly displayed. There is also quite a lot of information you can supply Google with to boost your chances of showing up high in local search.
Google reviews, for example, will bump your ranking chances. Your blog articles should focus on local themes. For example, if you own an ice cream shop in Seattle, you should write blog articles such as “How Seattle residents eat ice cream.
The Benefits of SEO
Good SEO will help build your business. Poor SEO means your chances of success are slim. With more than 200 million websites out there, SEO will help you stand out. If you have solid SEO, your site traffic will increase and your product will be viewed by more people.
To top it off, SEO is organic and will ultimately be cheaper than funneling thousands of dollars into ads that may or may not be successful.
Understanding Google SEO Metrics
Assuming that you are using Google Analytics to view your website traffic and behavior, here are some things to watch for:
Organic traffic - This is where you can track which visitors are coming from your Google SEO rankings. That is the essence of SEO after all.
Landing Page - This will indicate which of your pages are doing well, whether it’s due to ranking or your keywords being highly trafficked.
Bounce Rate - This will tell you which percentage of your visitors are taking off quickly after visiting your page. This might indicate that your keywords aren’t relevant, your content isn’t great, or the visitor found what they needed quickly and didn’t need to see anything else on your site.
Typically, you want a low bounce rate, meaning that people are taking some time on the page and/or traveling to other parts of your website.
Conversion rate - This refers to the portion of your traffic that is converting into sales. If this is low, that might mean that your SEO is good, but not in terms of what you are selling. You may need to shift the focus of your pages to bring in more relevant traffic.
SEO Tools that Can Help
Ahrefs- A comprehensive tool that shows you how you are ranking, which keywords you are ranking for, who your competition is and how they are ranking. It also allows you to do quite a lot of keyword research and create a keyword/website plan.
Screaming Frog - A website auditing tool which uses spiders to scan your website to see where you can improve and pull down a comprehensive view of how things are looking right now.
Google Analytics- A powerful view of traffic to your website where you can analyze trends back as far as you have had it installed. You can look at who is looking at your website, where they are coming from, and if they make purchases.
Google Trends - An accurate view of what people are searching for and how they are searching. Test out your keywords before you implement them with up-to-date information.
Google- Nothing will be able to tell you how your SEO is working better than Google. Tools can give you a general idea, but you don’t know for sure until you type the search term into the search bar and see where you fall.
What SEO Can Mean for You
SEO can be the difference between a failing business and a thriving business. It can be difficult to get a grasp on the different elements of SEO, but once you do, you’re well on your way to increasing your web traffic, your web presence, and your business.