The key to landing on page one is Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO. It’s a means of optimizing a website to obtain quality organic or unpaid traffic. When you look at a search engine results page (like Google) and type in a query, the first results you see are paid advertisements. Below those advertisements are the organic search results that take up the remainder of the page.
The websites you see on page one of a Google search have been put there for a reason: they appeal to both search engines and users. But how did they get there, you ask? With a solid SEO strategy!
The strategy needs to take into account that search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing rate websites based on relevancy and authority to determine the best results for a user’s query. When a search engine crawls a website, it scans various elements to better understand what is on each page so it can deliver accurate, relevant results to users. When you optimize your website for SEO, you’re delivering better information to search engines so your content can be indexed and displayed within the search results appropriately.
To help you better understand SEO and the SEO process, let’s take a look at some key on-page and off-page SEO elements…
On-Page SEO: What Is It and Why Is It Important?
On-page SEO, also called on-site SEO, is a way to optimize your website for optimal organic visibility in the search engines. Here are some key elements:
• Title Tags are an HTML element of a web page that can describe the title of the page. They are displayed in the SERPs above the meta description and are a clickable headline that will send you directly to the web page. The title tag is also viewable at the top of your web browser tab. This should be an accurate description of what can be found on the page.
• Meta Descriptions give users a more detailed description of what is on a web page in the SERPs. While Google and other search engines do not crawl meta descriptions for keywords, they should describe what a page is about.
• Headings are the headlines on a web page and may appear larger than normal text. Because of this, Google gives them a little more weight when it comes to keyword rankings.
• Alt Image Text is used by screen reader software to help visually impaired users understand the content of the images on a web page. Search engines crawl this text to better understand page content as well.
Off-Page SEO: Why Does It Matter?
Off-page SEO refers to ways to optimize a website for search engine rankings outside of the website itself. Off-page SEO is important because it shows crawlers that your website is valuable, authoritative and popular. When most people think of off-page SEO they think of link building, but the truth of the matter is, off-page SEO goes way beyond that. Here are some of the key elements:
• Social Media Shares
• E-Mail Outreach
• Guest Blogging/Authoring
• Influencer Marketing
SEO for Small vs. Large Websites
Many people wonder if there’s a difference between SEO strategy for small websites versus large websites, and the answer is yes. For a small-to-medium enterprise website, the SEO approach will be different because there will be fewer pages to focus on. For a large-scale website, you’ll want to look for bigger issues that affect the website as a whole, rather than tackling them one by one. This is especially true when it comes to technical SEO recommendations.
Small Website SEO Strategies—it’s critical to determine your niche. Not only will this help you determine and flaunt what makes your business or product unique, it will also improve your chances of ranking well for keywords. From there, you’ll want to establish who your primary customers are and what words they use to describe your services or products. Incorporating these keywords (oftentimes long-tail for small business) into the website will improve organic search results significantly. Many small business owners simply put their products and contact details on their website and call it a day. To truly compete in your local market, it will be important to write relevant, user-friendly and search-friendly content on a regular basis. Many businesses choose to do this through blogs and press releases.
Large Website SEO Strategies—larger websites will require a different approach to SEO. When it comes to prioritizing the technical problems, it’s recommended to look for issues that happen across multiple folders within the domain. Large websites also often run into duplicative content issues, which will result in a lower organic search ranking if the search engines catch wind of it. For optimal SEO value, each web page must contain its own unique content. Site architecture can also be a major area of concern for large websites because if a user experiences anything less than satisfactory when it comes to internal navigation, there’s a good chance the website will have a poor user experience.
The Importance of SEO for All Websites
No matter what size website you may have, SEO should be at the top of your priority list to improve organic website rankings. Not only are SEO practices a great way to gain search engine visibility, they are also an easy way to improve user experience and domain authority.
This blog is the next in a series on Search Engine Optimization. Visit the start of the series here. In our next blog, we discuss how SEO has evolved over the past 10 years. In the meantime, if you need assistance in evaluating your SEO strategy or in developing a new strategy to drive more prospects to your website, contact R2integrated at www.r2integrated.com/contact.