What You Need to Know About Search Engine Optimization – SEO
What You Need to Know About Search Engine Optimization SEO
Search Engine Optimization or SEO can sound like a daunting concept, but once you understand the basic structure, it becomes a lot easier to add to your business strategy.
What is search engine optimization (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimization is simply taking your website, or the content that you create, and making it more search engine friendly.
So, what are search engines?
Your objective is to create content that ranks well in organic search results, by organic I mean the placement of your link that is not paid for. For example, when you search for something on Google, you will then see a series of sponsored links at the top of the page. These are paid ads. While there are times and reasons to use these types of ads, the objective is to rank well without them, hence organic.
So, why should you care about ranking well?
Well, a higher rank means more exposure for your business, and more exposure means more traffic to your site, which then leads to more customers.
Google’s Goals, and the Goals of Other Search Engines
Before you can start optimizing your website for higher ranking, you should probably know what search engines look for and why certain pages show up first.
The goal of search engines like Google, is to quickly provide the person searching with the most relevant answer to what they are searching for. The only way they can do that is if the content on the web is structured in a way that is easy to understand, not from a human perspective because you and I have cognitive abilities, but from a machine perspective.
The idea is that when people are searching for something, they do it using certain words related to their search. The search engine then takes these words and finds the most relevant information.
For example, if you are searching for something to eat, you might search for “food places near me” in which case, the search engine will return every possibility of food around you from fast food chains, to nice local restaurants. The search engine does that by analyzing all the data it has using your location and the location of restaurants near you based on information found in these webpages.
So you may be asking how the search engine look for the information so quickly to give you a result in a few seconds. Well it didn’t!
The information that the search engines has was accumulated before through something called crawlers. All the search engine did when you searched for “food places near me” was scan data it already had.
How do Search Engines Choose Which Content Is Relevant to Your Search?
There are a lot of different factors that search engines take into consideration at the same time. While we don’t know exactly what criteria search engines are using, Google in the past has revealed a lot of helpful information that can give you a good idea of how to customize your content so that it ranks better.
You can take a closer look at Google Webmaster Guidelines.
For now, suffice it to say they factor several things into the equation.
One of these factors that you need to know is the coding of your website and the way it is implemented.
“Coding” sounds like a pretty complex concept that may think that you don’t have, but don’t worry. If you created a site using things like WordPress, Wix, Ementor, and other similar site builders, then your code is already in place.
This code has tags that you can change using the site builders, that will help you rank better because it gives Google and the likes to scan your website easily and deliver the right content.
Once Google scans the site using the aid of the tags you have implemented into your code, then it gets indexed and is then stored there for when someone is searching for similar content.
Another element that is considered is the key words and phrases that you implement into your content.
What are keywords & Phrases in Search Engine Optimization?
Key words and phrases are the words and phrases that search engines use to correlate between what the searcher is searching for and the content that you have created.
They serve as an anchor text that points to the types of content that you are creating.
Because search engines are capable of making semantic connections, they will then take your keywords and phrases and connect them to similar results.
Going back to our example on “food near me”, if you change your search phrase a little bit, odds are you will still end up with similar results because search engine can make that connection between the content you have created and the search query even if they are using different words.
So, if you search for “places to eat” even without the location, odds are the search engine will give you local options and not listings in New York City when you are clearing in San Francisco.
The last factor that we will focus on when it comes to ranking is known as page authority.
Understanding Page Authority When It Comes to Search Engine Optimization
Page authority is another way of asking “what makes your website credible?” The more credibility that your website has the more page authority it will attain, and that leads to higher rankings on search engines.
So how do search engines determine page authority?
Since the internet is not heavily regulated, anyone can claim to know something, create a website, and pretend to be an expert on it. That; however, does not mean that the information is correct, so to establish a way of giving credibility to a site, search engines put some criteria in place.
One of the prominent criteria is how many other websites are pointing back to your pages by adding links to your content on their websites. In the past, some business owners would pay other sites to link back to their websites; however, search engines can usually tell if the post is a spam, and will penalize these sites for doing so.
The idea is that the more others link back to your website, the more authority your website will have; however, there is a caveat. It can’t be any random website, it has to be something that is relating to your chosen field. The more trusted the website linking to your website is, the more emphasis the search engines will put on that linkage. For example if a well-respected company links to your site, it will have more weight when evaluating the ranking of your site than would an unknown site.