Whilst most users equate SEO with higher search engine rankings, few understand how this is achieved through a holistic view of all the contributing elements. Lets see if we can make a bit more sense of SEO.
In its simplest form, SEO or Search Engine Optimization is anything done to improve the ranking of a website on search engine results pages (SERPs). The goal for most businesses is to increase their website visibility or traffic and ranking high for targeted search terms or phrases on search engines like Google and Bing will do just that.
Great content encourages people to link to your pages and shows your pages are interesting and authoritative. This leads to search engine success. It's that simple!
What factors impact where my website will show up in search engine results?
Keyword Research - Understanding the keywords or phrases your target audience use when searching for your products or services and then optimizing your site and content for those terms.
Content and Content Architecture – Everything starts with content when it comes to website effectiveness, and that includes SEO. Your site should provide relevant, useful content related to the search terms you are targeting?
Foundational Elements & Best Practices – Are critical for proper site optimization and include items such as website architecture, URL structure, website speed and page load time, ability for search engines to crawl your website, HTML and Metadata including page title tags, headers (H1, H2, etc.), meta descriptions, and blog structure. It is also important that you select a content management system (CMS), such as Drupal, that was designed with SEO in mind.
– Roughly 50% of website browsing is now done on mobile devices, so it is critical for usability, engagement, and conversions, as well as website optimization that your site is mobile-friendly. In early 2015, Google officially started penalizing non-mobile sites in their ranking algorithm, pushing web browsers towards sites that are easier to navigate and engage with.
Content Marketing (ongoing updates) – Websites that are updated frequently and provide new, relevant content will be viewed as experts in their field by both site visitors and search engines alike. Strong content adds credibility to your organization and also drives enhanced search results.
Links to Your Website - From a reputable and relevant (for your keyword targets) third party site is like a vote for your site to show up higher on search results pages. A link from a higher authority, trusted website is worth more than a link from a site that only has a few followers.
Social Marketing – Initiatives support search engine optimization objectives in a number of ways. First, social sites provide relevant, although not always reputable and authoritative, links to your website. Second, social sites are a perfect place to post content from your website or new content that relates to your site. Your followers can then share that content, creating greater visibility and additional links back to your site. Finally, search engines are now tracking social influence. Organizations with significant social followings, social shares, likes, etc. will positively impact SEO results.