What is all this talk about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
The textbook definition states: “SEO is the process of improving the volume of traffic driven to one’s site by a search engine through unpaid (organic) results as opposed to paid inclusions.” So there you have it, that’s Search Engine Optimization. Got it? Yeah, me neither.
So let’s back up….
The idea behind SEO is that the better your SEO is, the higher your site appears on search results pages. The goal is to be on the first page of results with the golden ticket being the number one returned match.
So how do you get there? Well, search engines use complex algorithms to determine website ranks on search results pages. Due to the complex algorithms, SEO is far from an exact science (for everyone, but Google) and no matter how hard you search you’ll never find a magic fairy that gives you the answers to all your SEO questions. However, if you continue reading, we’ll shed some light on one of the most asked questions: “How can I improve my SEO?”
Let’s Get Started…
Search Engine Optimization, a.k.a “SEO”, has dramatically changed over the last decade. Gone are the days of loading articles with your desired keywords and paying for backlinks. Google has thankfully figured out all of the tricks that led to a spammy, unreadable web. The great news is that an SEO strategy for 2017 involves principles that your business likely already believes in: Be real. Be generous and insightful. Be timely. Be focused.
Beyond those principles, we will add one more: Be helpful to search engines.
Be real: Speak in natural language using the vocabulary of your readers. Don’t load articles with keywords that you hope to rank high for. Google penalizes that behavior.
Be generous and insightful: Share your wealth of knowledge, and Google will reward you with visitors. Google is able to monitor user behavior to determine which websites are the most helpful authorities on any given keywords, so be generous with your insight and help others so that Google may in turn help you.
Be timely: Plan a content strategy that focuses on current issues in your industry and keep the conversation rolling. Set a realistic and consistent content creation schedule that your team can win with.
Be focused: Know which keywords you want to improve your search engine rankings for and make sure that your content strategy maintains a tight focus around those topics.
….and lastly, be helpful to search engines.
Here at Caffeine, our focus deals with the development process behind the scenes, such as: plugins, sitemaps, and meta descriptions…all of which are valuable at improving SEO because they are helpful to search engines. See below, for a brief overview of the “tech” side of SEO.
The use of SEO plugins such as Yoast allows you to add titles, meta descriptions, and keywords to your site posts. These are essential at improving your SEO.
A sitemap houses all the web page URLs within your site. If it is easily discoverable, search engine “crawlers” will find your site….which means so will other people!
When you Google a certain topic and are greeted by an abundance of web pages with short descriptions under them, you are reading “meta descriptions”. They are a snippet of the information you will find when you click on that link.
A Few Other Thoughts
Site load speed: Site load speed or page speed, is used often as an indicator of Google SEO. A slow page speed can negatively affect rankings.
W3C validation: If a site is rendering poorly, this could mean that there is a W3C validation problem, which in turn hurts SEO.
Mobile friendliness: If a site isn’t mobile friendly, Google penalizes it on mobile searches. Which once again, negatively affects your rankings.
So Where Do We Go From Here?
For us, due to the limited ability to track the success of SEO through content creation, we focus our efforts on the technical side by being helpful to search engines through methods mentioned above.
To be totally transparent, if your business is looking to improve SEO through content, we recommend you work with a company that specializes in creating content and keywords for SEO purposes.
At the end of the day, your best chance at SEO lies in hiring an experienced web developer who utilizes SEO plugins, builds sitemaps, and is mindful of site load speed and mobile friendliness.