Search engine optimization (SEO) involves improving a website to get higher rankings on search engines such as Google. Higher rankings lead to more traffic and potentially more customers.
In order to improve a website for SEO, the HTML coding and the content visitors see will all need to be optimized for you to see the full benefit.
Why Bother with SEO?
Any marketing expert will tell you that SEO is important to your website, although the level of the importance may vary. Fortunately, having good search engine ranking is basically free advertising. While a time commitment is necessary to get your site’s content and HTML up to par, it doesn’t require the upfront money that paid advertising does.
You’ll also know you’re getting quality leads. Visitors to your site will have searched for something related to your business, and hopefully they’ll be happy with the answers you provide.
You should focus on the following to ensure your website is optimized:
- Visitors’ interaction with your site – your bounce rate and the average time visitors spend on your site are important stats to know
- Timeliness of your content – anything outdated should be promptly removed
- Word count – meaty pages are great, as long as they don’t dilute your message
- Mobile responsiveness – your site should be easy to read on all devices
- Transparency – you should avoid bias or clearly note when an opinion is given
- Multimedia – use videos and images frequently
- Social sharing – make it easy for visitors to like and tweet your content
- Backlinks – encourage other sites to link to yours to show relevancy
What’s with Those Google Animals?
The exact algorithm Google uses is a mystery, but they do share some of what they’re looking for when they release updates. Here are major ones over the last few years:
- Panda – This 2011 update focuses on the quality of content on each site.
- Penguin – This was released in 2012 and designed to target websites that are “cheating” by having unnatural backlinks.
- Hummingbird – This update in 2013 involved improving the understanding of what people are actually searching for. Sites are encouraged to take an “answering a question” approach to each page.
- Pigeon – More weight on local results was the focus of this 2014 update.
What’s important will continue to change over time. In order to keep your site optimized, it’s important to read what’s new with SEO and adjust your site accordingly.