If you have great SEO rankings in the Search Engine, you are a winner among your competitors. The top three results on SERP have click-through rates of 30% to 10%. However, this percentage drops to just 2% by the ninth position. If your site is not visible on page one for relevant search terms, it will not achieve its full potential.
This is where SEO comes in.
Businesses going through a website redesign or just starting to build their website may find generating SEO rankings quite intimidating. What is SEO, and how can you apply it to your business? In this simple guide, we will tell you the meaning of SEO and how you can use it to generate long-term results. But before answering these questions, let’s first find out how Search Engines work.
How Search Engines Work
When you search for something on search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo, an algorithm works in real-time to get you the most ‘relevant’ ranking results. They scan their index of hundreds of billions of pages to find a result that best answers your search query. But how do they determine the ‘best’ SEO rankings for users?
Google, for example, does not make its algorithm public; however, based on statements and filed patents from Google, we know that web pages and websites are ranked on the following:
When you look for a term in Google, the first and foremost pages that will be displayed are closely related to your search term. However, there are millions of relevant pages for every search term, so they take three more elements of their algorithm into account.
If a page has backlinks, then this determines if the content is trustworthy and accurate. The more links that a page has, the higher will be its ranking.
A content organized into distinct sections and written in a way that is easily understandable by everyone will rank higher than completely disorganized content.
What are SEO rankings?
Optimizing your website to get increased organic rankings or unpaid traffic from SERP (Search engine results page) is called SEO. It also means that you need to make specific changes to your content and website design to make your site more engaging in a search engine. This also helps to display your website on the search engine results page as a top result.
Although achieving better SEO rankings may seem complicated due to various factors, the search engine optimization process is pretty simple.
Search engines aim to provide the best service for their users. They scan or crawl various websites to understand what the site is about to deliver results that are not only of high quality but also relevant to the search query. Furthermore, these search engines scan the site to determine how easy it is to read and navigate them, thus rewarding a higher ranking to user-friendly sites.
How Does SEO Help Your Business
Search Engine Optimization helps businesses ensure that their site ranks high in search engines for relevant phrases and keywords. By improving your SEO, you can enhance your visibility and overall rankings on the search engines. As a result, you'll be able to reach and engage a larger number of potential customers. With effective and more engaging SEO-focused content, you will be able to bring in more targeted organic traffic.
Factors that Influence SEO Rankings
Now let’s look at the factors that can influence your search engine optimization ranking. These on-page and off-page factors include:
Content helps to attract search engines while helping your business connect with site visitors. Your written and visual content helps to emphasize your SEO meaning further. The more relevant, quality content pieces on your site, the higher your pages will rank on the search engine results page. Consequently, visitors to your site will spend more quality time on your website and even make a purchase.
The key to creating content optimized for your human site visitors and search engines is to create multiple well-written and relevant content pieces. Following are some examples of types of content that can help improve your content offering while improving your SEO rankings:
- Social media content
- How-to guides and tutorials
- Blog posts and articles
- Infographics or other visual content
- Ebooks and whitepapers
- Video and audio recordings
2. Relevant Keywords and Phrases
It is also important to consider SEO keywords and phrases when creating content. These are relevant phrases and words that a person might type in when searching for relevant products and services, thus increasing your chances of ranking higher on the search engine results page.
3. Fresh Content
Another vital factor that can impact your SEO rankings is how fresh your content is. The term freshness means how often your company posts new content on your website. However, this does not mean that the only way to keep your content fresh is by creating brand new content. You can freshen up your content by updating your posts by adding new statistics and information over time or rewriting your posts to make them more effective.
Although creating content can take time and resources, it definitely pays off in the end. Consumers require quality content to understand your organization’s outlook better, while search engines look for great content. Start by making a few blog posts until you build a considerable following on social media. Once you have acquired a group of loyal followers and fans, you can create various media types to engage and attract new leads.
What is On-page SEO Optimization?
On-page SEO elements are those factors that are present on your website. You have complete control over them and can improve them by working on them over time.
The following are some of the on-page SEO factors that can help enhance your search ranking:
1. Title Tag
The title tag, which is present on every page, tells the search engines about your page's content. This can be up to 70 characters or less and should include both your business name and the keyword your content focuses on.
Sub-headings greatly help to make it easier for visitors to read your content. Moreover, it can help improve your SEO. You can use tags such as H1, H2, and H3 to make it easier for search engines to understand the nature of your content.
Meta-descriptions inform search engines what each page is about. Visitors also find them useful as they show the relevancy of your page. These descriptions must include your keyword and provide comprehensive details about your content to the readers.
4. Image Name and ALT Tags
Always describe your video and visual media with the help of ALT tags. These help search engines locate your page, particularly for people who use screen readers or text-only browsers.
5. Internal Links
Hyperlinks are a great way to make it easier for search engines to learn more about your site. For example, if you are creating a post about the benefits of a particular good or service, you can hyperlink it to the relevant page in your blog post.
6. Avoid Over-optimization
However, it is equally important to avoid over-optimization. In case you use keywords repeatedly throughout the content, your page will be penalized by Google and other search engines. You should also make sure that each individual piece of the content focuses on only one or two keywords. This will result in content that is relevant and specific.
Using too many keywords at the same time could have a negative impact on your sSEO rankings. As a result, you may be with content that is unfocused and thin.
7. Site Architecture
Another factor that plays an important role in your search engine rankings is your site architecture. Ensuring SEO definition on every part of your web page is part of the optimization process. Your website design should make it easy for the search engine to crawl or scan your content and pages.
Creating a sitemap, building internal links between the pages, and submitting your sitemap to search engines help improve your site’s crawlability and give search engines a better understanding of your website content.
Another concern relating to your site’s architecture is whether your website is mobile-friendly or not. A large number of people search for brands and information on their mobile phones. Therefore, it is best to ensure that these visitors are able to read, view, and navigate your site from their mobile devices. This not only enhances user experience but also affects SEO optimization.
What is Off-page SEO Optimization?
Off-page SEO factors are those elements over which you do not have direct control but can be used to work positively in your favor. These include:
Trust in an increasingly essential factor in a website’s Google ranking. This helps the search engine to determine if you have a legitimate site that can be trusted by visitors. You can improve trust in your site by building quality backlinks from websites that have authority.
Backlinks are a great way to build off-page SEO. However, you should be careful as linking your website with spamming sites can result in getting your site banned from the search engines. Build long-lasting relationships with fans and influencers who create quality content and will create backlinks to your site in their content.
Social signals such as shares and likes also help to boost SEO. However, you should look for quality shares from influencers. People are more likely to share your content with others if you publish quality content.
Benefits of SEO Optimization
Using SEO optimization helps build a strong web presence and allows you to bypass your competition to gain new customers. Other benefits of SEO optimization include:
1. User-Friendly Websites
SEO helps businesses create a smoother, faster, and user-friendlier website. Today, SEO is not just about optimizing for the search engines; it is also about improving user experience. Uncluttered, clean, and well-structured websites urge casual visitors to stay longer, thus increasing page views and decreasing bounce rate.
Moreover, highly relevant content is preferred by readers as it solves their pressing issues, answers their questions, and makes it easier for them to find on your site what they are looking for. Effective on-page SEO makes the users happy, which in turn makes search engines happy as they prefer to provide high-quality information to their users.
2. Brings in More Customers
Businesses invest a lot of money in marketing to ensure an increased customer base and to stand out from their competition. An SEO optimized website helps bring in more honest customers and grow twice as fast as compared to organizations lacking one.
SEO is an affordable and effective marketing strategy that brings in customers that are genuinely interested in your product or service. By investing a very little amount of time, money, and energy, this marketing technique will get more targeted traffic to your website and help you convert more visitors into customers than any other marketing tactic.
3. Outrank the Competition
Let's take an example of two similar businesses. Both are in the same industry, sell similar products, have similar prices. But one has an SEO optimized website while the other doesn’t. Which website do you think will attract more customers from local searches? Which of the two companies is likely to grow faster and become more successful?
SEO and search engines are very powerful. If your competition is doing SEO marketing, you must ask yourself why you have not invested in such an effective strategy yet.
4. Build Brand Awareness
Another great benefit of getting higher rankings on SERP is building brand awareness. When your website appears on the first page of any major search engine, it creates a sense of trust among customers as compared to brands that do not have a strong web presence.
Major search engines, namely Google, Bing, and Yahoo, can make or break your brand. That is why businesses need to invest in SEO and gain top rankings for the key terms related to your business.
5. Better Conversion Rates
Websites that are SEO-optimized are easy to surf and read, load faster, and are compatible on various platforms, including tablets and mobile. Such websites are able to hold the attention of your visitors for longer, thus ensuring that they become your loyal subscribers, customers, and returning visitors.
Now that you have learned about SEO and seen how it works, you can easily make changes to your site and boost your company’s rankings on the search engine result pages by improving your SEO. The effectiveness and meaning of SEO are affected by many factors; however, the most important thing is to keep your content relevant and valuable for your intended audience.
Also, remember that search engine optimization will not work its magic overnight. It might take even a few months for you to enjoy the results of your arduous work. Focus on following SEO ranking practices and creating relevant content to bring in a large number of new organic site traffic for many successful years.