Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of optimizing website content and code with carefully selected keywords, meta data, tags and phrases. The goal is to improve the website’s SERP (search engine results page) ranking by reaching the first page of the results, and with our help, potentially making it the very first listing.
How do search engines decide what listing to place first?
Search engine results are based on proprietary mathematical algorithms, which balance and compare the qualities of a website against competing websites. These formulas determine how well a site ranks based on the relevancy of keywords and phrases that are entered and searched for. That was an extremely over-simplified explanation of SEO, as there are literally hundreds of qualities that search engines evaluate when determining rankings. An effective SEO strategy requires using the right techniques, however certain aspects are out of your control. Search engines make a huge number of adjustments to their algorithms every year and they make hundreds of considerations when crawling a site. The overall goal of a good Search Engine Optimization strategy is to make your website appear as the best search match and bring potential clients to your website. When properly executed, Search Engine Optimization will increase leads, conversions and revenue.
How does Search Engine Optimization work?
SEO is a dynamic process which needs continual tweaking and refinement in order to ensure continued success. These improvements are designed to improve the end-user experience, therefore website search optimization is a continual process. When determining SERP rankings, search engines look at both on-site and off-site factors. On-site refers to facets of webpage design that include internal content links, on-page content and title tags. Off-site factors include back links from blogs, product or service reviews, social media profiles, and citations on other, unaffiliated websites such as online directory listings.
There are generally two factors that search engines evaluate when ranking websites:
On-site SEO factors
- Website structure and sitemap – A cohesive website structure will enable search engine robots to crawl and index a website accurately and effectively.
- On-page content – Websites should be optimized with keyword-rich content, featuring relevant and accurate information.
- Internal content links – A sufficient number of internally linked pages work together and give credibility and authority to your website.
- Title tags – Comprehensive and relevant title tags, enriched with relevant keywords.
- Canonicalization – Ensures that automated search engine robots are able to read the website as intended and without errors.
Off-site SEO factors
- Website structure and sitemap – a cohesive structure will enable search engine bots to crawl your site accurately and effectively.
- Back links – High quality back links direct users from external websites and help give your website credibility.
- Social media – An active social media presence should be used to enhance your website and business authority.
- Off-site citations – References to your website, which are not back links, such as directory listings.
Last, but certainly not least, website code is Important
Most humans will never see the code of a website, but the search engine robots do! It is important that the back-end code of a website is treated with the same due diligence as the front-end. Pages need to be indexed properly and Canonicalization issues should be rectified. The sitemap needs to be structured logically and be easy to understand, as it acts like a series of road signs and directs the search engine robots around your website. This attention to detail will ensure a search engine robot can read the details of your site effectively and efficiently, ultimately improving its ranking.