So to explain the basics behind what is SEO, I am first going to explain how Google decides what pages are going to show up when people search for specific things.
How to drive traffic from search engines
The algorithm that Google uses is complex and there are numerous ranking factors for a page. Simply put, the criteria is:
The information that your page offers should be high quality, relevant information about what is being searched for.
For instance, if the search query is ‘what is marketing?’ and your page is about marketing, then the information on your page should contain relevant statistics that explain the rise and importance of marketing, as well as high-quality links to support what you say.
Google determines the relevance of your information by ‘crawling’ through your website and evaluating through the algorithm whether it is relevant to what the search query was.
The quality of the page is determined by several means, but the most prominent is the quality and number of other websites that are being linked to your page. If your site about laptops is being linked to sites that no one else on the web has linked to, and my site about laptops gets links from places that are linked to frequently, then my site will be assumed to be higher quality than yours. Some free online tools that you can use to check the quality of your links are MozTool or WSO.
There are also some additional elements that Google weighs to determine where your site will rank and these are:
How are people engaging with your website and content? Are they finding what they need on your site or are they returning to the search page frustrated? Do they even click on your link or are they ignoring it?
Unique content is always given preference over copied content or low-value content. It shows that you have a certain level of expertise on the topic at hand.
Google’s algorithm considers numerous ranking factors in response to searches and this process is constantly being refined.
What’s important for you to realize is that even though it may be very detailed, you don’t have to be an expert in what is SEO to rank for top search results. Some managed web hosting services can take this daunting task completely off your plate. The trick is to figure out the best working techniques and use them to your advantage.
The trick is to figure out the best working techniques and use them to your advantage.
In this article, I will guide you through some proven practices that will help you drive targeted traffic by optimizing your websites according to some SEO basics.
These are also less-competitive, for example, single word-keywords like ‘T-shirt’ will be highly competitive whereas a long-tail keyword like ‘Blue American Apparel T-shirts’ will be less competitive and will also be effective.
The next key element to understanding what is SEO is the Meta Description.
More often than not, the Meta Description is missing, too short, or too long! The ideal range for a Meta description is 71-155 characters and only 34% of results fall in this range.
Your Meta Description should always describe what is on your page however, it is more important that it lists the keywords that you have chosen to compete for in search engines.
For example, if the keyword you chose is ‘blue cotton socks’, then make sure you include ‘blue cotton socks’ in your meta description.
Another vital element that will help your website generate more traffic is Alt Text.
If you are using images in your article, then make sure to give them relevant titles as those images will then pop up when those keywords will be searched for.
For example, if you have pictures of a customized Superman water bottle on your article, then save the alt-text for the image as ‘customized superman water bottle’, and then that picture will pop up whenever that keyword is searched for.
60% of consumers are more likely to contact a business or visit a site when a relative image shows up in their search results.
Next, we have the Title Tag, which aims to provide a clear picture of what the content on the page is going to be about. The page’s title is going to be the first thing that a searcher see’s in SERPs and then he will decide if your page is going to fulfill his needs or not.
The title tag is the one that will be visible in SERPs, whereas the H1 tag is the displayed title on the page itself.
Despite the importance of the H1 tag, many new businesses do not use it.
SSL-enabled sites are essential as Google prefers these. As of late, there has been a rise in the importance of page security and now it is crucial for improving your trustworthiness, visibility, and security. By enabling SSL, you are decreasing the chances of interference from a third party between your web server and your visitor’s web server.
Internal Linking is also a very important part of On-page SEO. By linking to different relevant pages on your site, you are keeping your visitors engaged longer and are also making it easier for search engines to crawl everything.
69% of site users use internal recommendations to provide an idea of where to head next.
Adding backlinks is one of the most important off-page SEO factors.
The number and quality of the backlinks is what matters the most as Google rewards this by sending traffic your way.
Domain Authority is the number given to you by search engines, to determine the strength of your website. This number is in-between 1-100 and can be thought of as a grade for your website.
The higher your domain authority, the more preference Google will give you in search results. Some factors that affect your domain authority are the history of the domain name, how much time you’ve had the domain name for, number of backlinks and, the number of 404 pages. Maximizing your domain authority is a great way to boost your ranking.
Last but not least, social promotion is also one of the off-page SEO tactics. The page ranking may not be tied directly to the interactions on its social media posts however, social posts that are generating clicks are going to generate more traffic to your site! Using different social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. to promote your sites will benefit you. Here are some social media marketing ideas that you could use.
SEO helps you to build a level of trust with your customers.
Many customers are aware of the fact that companies who are ranking organically are there because of the quality of their site. In other words, they know there is a reason you’re number 1 or even in the top 5.
No full-screen adverts on mobiles. Presenting your customer with a full-screen advertisement to download your app on their phone will make Google decrease your ranking.
57% of users do not recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site.
Non-visible or misleading links and hidden texts are a huge no! There’s no point in adding links if your viewer isn’t able to access them. So never add links in just full stops or comma’s, instead target 2-3 words. 18% of links don’t even send users where they want to go!
No copied content! If Google finds two pages presenting the same information, it only indexes one of those pages. That is why original content is a key feature in SEO.
Search engine algorithms change all the time, but the key to figuring out what is SEO lies in knowing that the important things such as external links, domain authority, etc. have always been vital. One last thing that you should remember is that after applying all your techniques, track your SEO results and see try and understand what you can do better. Constantly update your website keeping in mind all these practices and you are sure to achieve results!