How SEO Works
Let's talk about how SEO works. I'm going to cover the basics to give you an idea of the steps you need to complete to get your pages and posts to show up higher in search results.
First, it's all about keywords and phrases. As I like to say:
"If you don't know the words and phrases your target audience is plugging into the search engines, how the hell do you expect your pages to show up in their search results?"
Short answer - they won't.
You need to do keyword research to find the phrases and topics your prospects are entering into the search engines. This is the exact information they want to know about your products and services! We all use the internet to find information, so we can make better, more informed decisions. So, what of the best better, informed decisions you can make is to do keyword research!
Next, you need to plan out a content strategy using those keyword phrases you discovered in your research efforts. You should have one unique keyword phrase for each product and service page you'll create, plus other pages like your home page, what you're about, and how to contact you, among others.
For each page you create (and blog posts), you'll use that specific, unique keyword phrase in these page or post elements to do SEO:
- Page title tag
- Page description tag
- Image alt text tag
- H1/H2 tags
- Page content
By consistently using the same keyword phrase in all of these elements, you're telling the search engine crawlers that this is the phrase you're optimizing the page or post for, and it's the topic or subject of the content.
How SEO Works For The Search Engines
Assuming you've created some pages and posts, it's now time for the search engines to discover what you've done. Automated programs called "crawlers," "spiders" or "bots" go all throughout the internet and discover new or updated content. They come across your content, and they send information about the page and post elements above back to the search engine's index.
When someone types in a phrase that's the same or similiar to what you've used, assuming the search engine thinks your page's content is relevant enough, it'll show up in their search results. I'm giving you the 50,000 foot level. There's a lot more to crawling than just this.
How SEO Works For Links
Not only do you need to optimize and write great content, links coming into your site from other relevant domains matter a great deal to rank better in search results.
You'll need to do link outreach to get other sites to put links on their pages that point back to yours. Just make sure they're relevant to what you offer. Let's say you run a site about Chesapeake Bay sailing conditions. Getting links from marinas up and down the Bay are highly relevant, as are links from vendors who sell sailing gear, clothes, equipment and accessories.
Distributing Your Content Via Social Media
While posting your content on relevant social media sites is not a direct SEO factor, getting the word out about your site and getting web visitors from diverse sources is always a good idea. Using the social media sites your target audience participates in can drive more traffic to your product and service pages for more conversion opportunities.
How SEO Works With A User-Friendly Site
Believe it or not, your SEO efforts also include designing a site that is user-friendly. Easy navigation, clear calls to action, highly relevant content and a sitemap all contribute to a user-friendly site where your visitors look at more pages and stay longer on your site.
Nowadays, Google puts some emphasis on having a secure site that protects searcher information you collect - one that is HTTPS vs. HTTP. If you haven't converted your site yet, be sure you schedule this to happen sometime in 2018, as HTTPS is a minor ranking signal, but will probably increase in importance in the next 12 months or so.
Host A Mobile-Friendly Site For Better SEO
It's all about the mobile experience when visiting websites. The other big push from Google is making a mobile-friendly version of your site available. Sometime in 2018, Google will be switching from a desktop-first to a mobile-first indexing, so if your site isn't ready for mobile devices, you still have time to make that happen.
Review Website Performance To See How Your SEO Is Working
Once you start publishing pages and posts, you need to measure their performance. Using Google Analytics, review these common metrics to determine how well your SEO is doing:
- Number of visitors
- How many pages they view
- How long they stay on your site
- Which pages are getting the most visits
Ideally, your product and service pages should be heavily visited, and if they are, and you've done a great job of communicating what you offer, conversions should be high. If these pages aren't getting visits and the job done, you need to look at them with a very critical eye and improve them to get more sales.
At a high level, this is how SEO works. If you'd like to learn more about each of these areas in-depth, we can set up a SEO training class for you.
Until we meet again, keep it safely between the ditches!
All the very best to you,
Image courtesy of Pixabay