3 Simple Steps to Improve SEO

2019-02-07

SEOSearch Engine Optimization

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is an integral part of marketing for any business that relies on their Internet presence. It’s a term that you may have heard before and it’s worth understanding if you’re looking to build or expand your web presence.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO is the process of improving your visibility on search engine results. Webpages and other Internet content are ranked by search engines (e.g. Google, Baidu, Bing, etc) based on what they think is the most relevant results to their users.

The idea behind SEO is understanding how to boost your webpage’s ranking on the search engines so users can find you easier. SEO is very useful because if done right, it can be a form of effective, low-cost marketing.

How Can I Improve SEO for My Website?

So what steps can we take to perform SEO? We first need to understand how search engines work. While every search engine has their own optimizations and specific algorithms, there are a few commonalities shared that we need to understand in order to improve or page ranking.

Below I’ve listed key characteristics of search engines and tips to improve your SEO.

1. Content

The first point is simple, but the most important. Search engines increase your relevance (and hence ranking) if there is a lot of content. Search engines will often look at various types of content as well, whether there are videos, presentations, articles, etc. As a result, generating content should be one of the key priorities in the SEO process. And the content should be generated regularly. Search engines will also prioritize webpages based on how fresh it is. Given all things equal, older content will rank lower than newer content.

This is why many companies with a strong search engine presence will regularly publish content as a way to not only keep their customers abreast of latest news, but also generate more content for SEO purposes.

2. Backlinks and Authority

Search engines also give higher rankings if there are many other websites that link back to your website. In other words, the more links to your webpage, the better. Sounds simple right? Well, not quite. There are a few other nuances that search engines look for.

Firstly, search engines will look at the “authority” of the website linking back to yours. Authority refers to the reputation and popularity of the website. For example, Wikipedia linking to your website will give you a lot more points than an unknown website. Authority also has a cascading effect – i.e. more websites with higher authority linking to your site also boosts your authority, and ultimately your ranking. If you’re interested in searching the authority of websites, you can use Moz’s Open Site Explorer:

https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/

Secondly, not all backlinks will improve your ranking. Many websites, particularly article/blog sites, enforce a “No Follow” tag.

In short, a “No Follow” tag tells the search engine to not count this as part of its ranking scheme. You may wonder why someone would want to prevent backlinks from being counted. The answer is to reduce people from spamming links to increase their ranking.

Now that we know how backlinks work, we can use a common SEO strategy, which is to share links to our webpage/content on social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

3. Keywords and Metadata

Understanding the keywords to target is also an important part of SEO and often requires a lot of research. This requires a good understanding of your customer base as well, so you can target the right keywords and get the right kind of visitors to your website. Keyword research is a large topic in itself and is even an area many marketing professionals specialize in, but there are a few basic questions to think about:

· Are the keywords aligned with my website’s content? It’s not enough to have a user click into your website, but also keep them there.

· Are the keywords easy to understand?

· Are the keywords too popular? This question also requires consideration on what part of the market you plan to target.

For example, if you focus on a broad keyword such as “computers”, this casts a wide net and may potentially give you many visitors, but you will also be competing against the millions of other websites that focus on this keyword. An alternate strategy would be to be more niche, for example “gaming computer re-seller”, which is a lot more specific, but may net you more relevant visitors.

For details on choosing keywords, you can also use Google’s Keyword Planner:

https://ads.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/

Keywords should also be included in the metadata of the webpage. For example the title as well as the meta tag.

While this does help, it might be less important compared to the earlier days of the Internet. Google, in particular, no longer places relevance on the meta tag, although other search engines such as Baidu do. It is important to regularly check the Webmaster rules for key search engines, as they are also evolving and will affect how you perform SEO.

What’s Next?

Well, SEO is not a one off task and requires ongoing effort. Content generation is ongoing, search engines are continuously evolving their page ranking rules and algorithm, customer preferences and keyword searches are always shifting…

Feedback is also crucial in the SEO process. You should be continually reviewing analytics to determine how effective your changes are. Are there more users after targeting different keywords? Has the bounce back rate been decreasing? (i.e. users visit your website and click “Back” immediately, which also lowers your page ranking). All these considerations need to be fed back into your SEO process.

For information on Google Analytics, you can go here:

http://www.google.com/analytics/

Conclusion

Despite the simple concept, SEO is a large and often complicated subject. And while I’ve gone through some of the basics, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Applying the above fundamentals can already make a big difference in your web presence, but if you need help with your own website, Workeroom has SEO specialists who are available to help you here.

SEO specialist at Workeroom