If you own a business or do any marketing (even self-marketing) online, you should know about SEO. While the world of SEO may seem mysterious, there’s no reason why you can’t get started toward online success today.
First, let’s discuss what SEO really is. The term stands for Search Engine Optimization, which really means the optimal ways to drive organic search hits to your website. Organic website hits, unlike paid advertising, are driven by different factors depending upon the search engine algorithms. There are several major search engines, and while they use various different formulas to drive their hits, all have some basic principles in common.
In the not so distant past, SEO relied primarily on a website’s keyword content rather than its actual content or industry reliability. Therefore, it quickly became a common practice for websites to “stuff” keywords into their pages without regard to the flow of language or even the meaning of the webpage. This led to clumsy websites that wasted a browser’s time with inaccurate, unreliable, and often irrelevant information during search time. In order to meet increasingly higher demand for accurate engine searches, browser providers were tasked with finding a better way to determine where to send traffic.
In current SEO, web browser providers do not release their specific algorithms to the public at all in order to facilitate real, relevant, and reliable hit results for consumer browsing. However, it is known that two major factors raise a website’s ranking on all of the common search engines. First, a website must have highly credible and often changing content. Second, it must have numerous reliable backlinks. Ironically, the old style of keyword stuffing will lower a website’s search engine rankings, so it is important to update any sites you may still have utilizing this strategy.
What exactly is highly credible and often changing content? One excellent example is any writing that establishes you as an industry expert. Blog posts and white papers can be large drivers for search hits by creating depth to your site. Of course, rankings go up the more people who read each post, so advertising them in your social media sites is the leading way to drive multiple advertising streams.
The other primary SEO tool is to develop backlinks. Backlinks refer simply to links from other websites that point to your website. This can include links from partners, testimonials, or client social media sites. Be certain to keep pages fresh and interesting, and before you know it, backlinks will start popping up.
If you are hoping to use SEO to drive your sales, job search, or any online endeavor, it is critical to use a website analytics tool. Ranging from free plugins to expensive solutions for multinational enterprises, even the most basic of the tools can show you what search terms led to your site, volume of hits per time frame, and backlinks to your site. This information should guide the content you post, marketing campaigns, and future webpages on your site.