Search engine optimization is the process of improving the position of a website’s organic ranking in a search engine. The goal of SEO is to improve the visibility of your website by getting it above the fold in search results in order to drive more traffic to it. SEO is mostly dependent on the structure of the site, the content of the site, links to the site and a little sometime called RankBrain.
Search engines are a primary source of traffic. Most people will open up google or type a term directly into the browser bar to get directed to google. Having your site be found by others is important if you want to drive traffic to it and search engines provide targeted traffic.
Without SEO search engines might not be able to find your site at all! The website would be ignored and that means lots of lost opportunities for getting traffic to your site.
To understand SEO it is really important to have a basic understanding of how Google works. Google has a web crawling bot (which is sometimes called a spider ). The bot crawls the web in order to discover new and updated pages so that they can be added to the Google index. Sites are considered spider friendly when the crawlers can use the sitemaps provided to discover links to other pages. Spiders pay extra attention to new sites, changes to existing sites and dead links. These spiders give Google the ability to index over 100 million gigabyte of information (or if you’re living in the past that's the equivalent of 953,200,000,000 floppy disks).
Google also writes programs to give their users the best results. This includes features like spell correction, auto complete, synonyms finder, and search methods. In about an eighth of a second Google decides what to show you by asking over 200 questions. The results you end being shown are based on a database of filled with real world people, places, and things. Your results also will be displayed in a specific way in order to give you a small preview of the information like the title and a short description of each site.
Before getting started with SEO it’s also helpful to know that there are two types of strategies to it: Black hat and White hat SEO. Some Black hat strategies include: duplicating content, stuffed keywords, invisible text, redirecting users to another site or page and lines from sites with non relevant content. Warning, the people at Google are pretty smart. There are lots of things in place to discourage Black hat strategies so don’t use them it’ll hurt your rankings in the long run. White Hat (the strategies we want to focus on) include: relevant, content, well labeled images, standards compliant HTML, unique/relevant page titles, relevant links/references and complete sentences with correct spelling and grammar.
The first rule about SEO is that it is a game of keywords. When users look up information the exact words they use are called keywords in order to utilize SEO to its fullest potential you must be well aware of keywords related to your niche or topic. There keywords also carry different weights depending on their search volume and other factors. Finding and using the right keywords through keyword research is a way to target your audience more effectively.
Next we need to have on-page SEO. This is a way to optimize each web page in order to receive a higher rank and gain more relevant traffic inside the search engine. Remember that content is always king and plays a huge factor in this. Content should be unique and updated on a relevant basis. Titles should be catchy and pages need to be filled with relevant keywords and links.
Website layout is also taken into consideration. Any categories on your site should relate to each other and needs to be user friendly. Load time is extremely important since it can be the deciding factor of someone browsing your site or leaving to go check out the next search result. Google takes dwell time into consideration which is the time a user spends browsing around on your site.
Finally don’t forget about your sitemap! A sitemap is a simple directory that has information about the web pages that are contained on a website. When a search engine crawls a site they will look at the sitemap to identify which information can be applied to a specific search query.
Off-Page SEO is just as important as On Page SEO. Off-Page SEO involves activities that occur offsite which improve the position of your site in the search engine results page. These activities include things like: link building, social media marketing, guest blogging and influencer marketing. Link building is one of the most popular and effective strategies. Essentially by building external links to your site your rank will increase. The best strategy to link building is to have create quality content and have other reputable sites to mention your content! Encourage others to link to your site on social media platforms, try to work with someone else and do a guest blog or find an influencer who is willing to promote your site to their audience.