If you’re in the market for a new website, you probably keep hearing the acronym “SEO”. You’re told it’s very important for your site to be successful! But what is SEO? We’ll give a brief overview of Search Engine Optimization today, with more in-depth articles to follow.
Search Engine Optimization
The mechanisms behind SEO may seem like a magic black box to the average person. There are many different variables that contribute to the success and ranking of any page on the major search engines results page.
Like most complex things, when you look at the structure of contributing factors piece by piece, things start to become clear. The most important thing to keep in mind is that if you want your site to rank well, you need to give your site visitors a genuine and quality experience.
Okay, not ACTUAL spiders. The major search engines send out bots called “spiders” to “crawl” your websites. They index your entire domain and analyze the contents of it algorithmically. Based on this analysis, the bot can judge the health of your site and what it can offer the end user. This is why it is valuable to ensure you are providing quality content, a high search ranking is primarily won by genuine and organic content.
Built, Not Bought
While there are a lot of advantages that a paid ad campaign can bring, the same does not apply to your search ranking. The only real way to see improvement in your ranking is by putting in the work required to optimize your website for the spiders. This is where an SEO Expert comes in, they can analyze your site using industry tools to determine where you are lacking and where you can improve.
What's Up, Doc?
One of the first steps an SEO Expert will usually take is to run a search engine position report, or “Site Audit”, on your website. This will show the strengths and weaknesses based on your site structure and keyword usage. Many issues are not readily apparent and can be fixed easily, but every issue--no matter the severity--will diminish your placement on the search results page. With the health audit in hand, the next step is to prioritize the issues on site by severity, and to fix them. Bear in mind that even when the major issues are rectified, it can take weeks or months to see a dramatic improvement in your site performance. This is especially true if the domain is well established.
Behind the Scenes
While having quality content is paramount, it is also important to have a logical and intuitive “sitemap” for the spiders to crawl. To start, you can facilitate this by using standardized URL formatting, properly labelled heading tags, and strong page title composition.
But what is considered “strong content”, anyways? This is where the bread and butter of Search Engine Optimization, Keywords, comes in. There are many professional tools on the market that an SEO Expert can use to determine the keywords that they should target. A popular tool, called Semrush, is capable of organic keyword research as well as listing your top competitors.
“So I Just Plug In Keywords and I’m Done? That’s Easy!”
Well, not quite. There are such factors as Keyword Difficulty and Keyword Density to consider. Choosing the proper keywords to target is a balancing act between finding a relevant keyword that is not overutilized, and one that is not difficult for a small site to rank for. For instance, a small apparel website will probably not be able to rank highly for a vague and highly competitive keyword such as “online clothing store”. Your SEO Expert will do extensive research to determine the best keywords to target in your industry.
To Infinity…and Beyond
This article is part of a series. There is an immense level of detail that your SEO Expert can go into to optimize your page further. If you want to learn more about how SEO works, check this blog regularly for more tips and insight from industry professionals.
Whether you’re a small business website just starting out, or an established site looking to improve your search rankings, Harmony has an SEO solution for you.