What Is SEO?
SEO might be the most popular marketing buzzword on the internet. Maybe it’s IMC? Or PR? Or is it market?
Well, I know for sure that the most popular word on the internet is ‘Facebook’ with a search volume of 2,147,483,647.
SEO can become very complicated, especially when you start to try optimizing it for your business.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in essence, is quite simple. It’s the practice of boosting both the quality and the quantity of traffic to your website, using organic search engine results. Organic results are website listings, ranked by the relevance of what the person searched for.
Think about when you want to make a decision or need a question answered, what do you do?
More than likely you turn to Google.
So do between 81% of other shoppers and 89% of B2B buyers. And have you ever clicked past page one on Google? I doubt it because I don’t either. Being highly ranked in organic search engine results is essential for your business.
When you optimize your website, blog or any other piece of content for SEO purposes, you boost your chances of being seen by people. You also improve the probability of being seen by the right people, your potential customers.
In summary, SEO makes your website more visible to people searching for keywords that relate to your business. This, in turn, drives more traffic to your website thus increasing your chance of a sale. With that introduction, let’s get into the SEO essentials you need to know.
Important Factors That Affect SEO Rankings
Google’s mission statement is; to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
If you design your content to help Google with their mission, they’ll reward you with a better listing spot.
Well, no not really.
SEO requirements change like the weather. It’s tough to keep up with all the latest changes and developments. However, if you want to be featured on page one and convert your hard work advertising online into sales you’ll have to stay up to date on the latest factors.
Many experts debate over which factors are most important for your SEO success. The truth is no one outside of Google knows exactly.
But there are some factors that have been shown by experts and quoted by Google themselves to improve your chances with their algorithm.
Let’s take a look at the SEO essentials you need to know so you can optimize your business to be more first-page-friendly:
A Secure and Accessible Website
Google uses bots to create the unique listing seen by a user every time they search a query using the search engine. Having the right URL for your website is essential. The easier you can make it for the bots to ‘crawl’ your website the better. This means having:
A secured HTTPS domain
A well-coded website
A site map that lists all the pages of the website
How quickly your page loads for users both on desktop and mobile has long been stated as one of the key SEO essentials in improving your website’s ranking.
Most web pages nowadays are fast. So fast that being milliseconds quicker than your competitor can make all the difference. In a survey by Google, they found that an extra 0.5 seconds in loading speed for the search engine caused a drop in traffic of 20%!
Jeff Bezos has been quoted saying that every 100ms of latency in the Amazon site cost them 1% in annual sales.
Google wants to make the user experience as fast and friendly as possible, so having a quick website will definitely benefit your business. They also provide mobile-friendly test services that let you check your website’s speed for free.
Since the move in recent years to mobile, mobile-site optimization has become one of the top SEO essentials for all online businesses. More people now use mobile rather desktop for web searches. This means that Google now uses a mobile-first index when ranking results. Having a website that isn’t optimized for mobile runs the risk of being ranked lower.
Your mobile site should:
Use large reader-friendly fonts
Automatically resize to fit the screen
Include an accessible menu for easy navigation
Links To/From The Page
Your website should include inbound (links from other websites to yours), outbound (links to other websites from yours) and internal links (links within your own website). Links are a way for Google to quickly check the reliability and authority of your website and to show that you are providing meaningful content to the user.
Backlinko.com suggests using 2-4 outbound links per 1000 words.
Domain – Age, URL, Length & Security
A study by Ahrefs showed that almost 60% of websites that have a top ten Google search ranking are at least 3 years old. But being an old website doesn’t mean you automatically rank higher. Having a domain name that includes a keyword can increase your SEO standing.
Unless you’re Facebook of course and you can become so big that your made-up business name becomes the most search keyword in the world.
Try not to make your domain name too long. Make it memorable and relatively short so it doesn’t get cut off in previews on Google search.
The .com domain extension is the most valuable and most used suffix by a large margin. Having a domain name with the .com extension will benefit you with the Google bots.
If I haven’t stressed it enough already, use keywords! Please?
There isn’t a specific number of keywords that you should aim for. Some experts believe that 5 keywords with a relatively large monthly search volume should be targeted. If you target a keyword with too large a search volume you run the risk of getting lost in the sea of other articles.
The best advice is to find keywords with a monthly search volume of 1000+ that relate to your business. That way your hard work won’t get overcrowded by others and you have a good chance of featuring highly.
The famous saying that “all publicity is good publicity” might not always be true, but it is good to get your brand out there. Getting mentioned in the media or by other recognized publishers shows the Google bots that you are a real entity and that people want to hear from you. You can piggyback on the news website to gain extra reliability for your website.
This is closely related to the “brand features” above. It’s the same concept but with social media instead of news agencies. The quantity and quality of mentions to your website on social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can greatly increase your SEO ranking.
It’s vital to have a presence around the main platforms of the internet and social media is definitely one of them. Get out there into the social media world and start sharing your thoughts so that people can discuss and interact, and hey you might even go viral!
Let’s Wrap Things Up
SEO can seem complex from the outside, but once you dig down a little it can be navigated with some work and research. Becoming educated in SEO essentials will be extremely beneficial for you and your business.
Optimizing your content could help give your business the boost needed to make more profit and grow to new heights!