What is SEO?
When launching your own website you will come across the term Search Engine Optimization(SEO) more times than you care to remember. To be successful, SEO is something which should be at the forefront of your thoughts when making any changes or additions to your website. But what in the world is SEO?
Before we look at SEO in detail let us look at the definition of the word optimization:
“The action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource”
In effect, this is simply the process by which you can most effectively utilize the resources, i.e. your website, before you. In this instance the goal is simple, improve rankings to get more visibility in search engines.
Customer experience, search engine rankings and popularity
There are many factors to take into consideration when looking at SEO and how best to maximise your traffic and income. These include:
In the past, we have seen successful basic text only websites as well as those which have interactive graphics, slideshows and are visually attractive on the eye. Over the years we have seen changes in the approach to website design and the best designs are somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. There should be enough graphics to catch the attention of visitors, while not impacting the load speeds. There should be enough content to inform customers of what you have to offer, ensuring the search engines are able to pick up on your keywords and content themes, while not going over the top.
As we touched on above, keywords and key phrases are vital when it comes to search engine rankings and are an integral part of SEO. If the content on a particular page is not focused laser-like towards the product or service you offer then, search engines and customers might be confused about the message you are trying to communicate. Focus content, utilize a small group of keywords and key phrases. This will get you better rankings for focused subject matter compared to those pages which offer more general information.
Tablets and mobile devices are now an integral part of e-commerce. As such, website designs and menu options not compatible with mobile devices will have a negative impact on your search engine rankings. Just this year we saw mobile device/tablet Internet traffic hitting 51% of worldwide Internet traffic, pushing desktop devices off the top position. This perfectly illustrates how important it is to make sure your website design and functionality are compatible with mobile devices. If this you ignore this element, you will not only lose customers but your search engine rankings will plummet.
Popularity breeds popularity
Whether you are just beginning your online journey or you have significant experience of launching websites and new businesses, the basic fact is that popularity breeds popularity. If you have a particular product or content which is both informative and well-written, this will attract visitors. The more popular your site becomes, the more it will be mentioned on other websites and back links will follow as sure as night follows day. If you think of back links as a term of endearment, a vote of confidence, you will understand their positive impact on your search engine rankings. While there is nothing wrong in actively promoting your content and products/services, the most valuable back links are those which occur naturally.
This is why Google and other search engines frown upon paid posting of articles simply to obtain back links. If your website is well structured, the design is compatible with mobile devices and the content is better written/more informative than your competitors, the traffic and valuable back links will follow.
SEO tools and how to improve rankings
In a case of what came first, the chicken or the egg, you need to know what is wrong with your website SEO before you can put it right. This is where a professional DIY SEO tool comes in handy. There are many different issues to take into consideration such as:
- Broken links and coding errors
- Website design
- Mobile device compatibility
- Load times
- Monitoring where your traffic comes from
- Comparisons with your competitors
SEO tools create a detailed report ranking issues which the search engine algorithms will take into consideration when reviewing your website. However, what use is a simple report without guidance? How do you actually improve rankings?
The majority of SEO tools simply hit you with an array of rankings for specific subjects so you know what to do but not how to do it. There are many basic improvements you can do yourself but some of the issues will be a little more complicated and need a degree of expertise and experience. Of course this is something paid plans offer and which you can learn to do overtime. Aim to find an SEO service which is personalized to your specific requirements and budget.
In many ways it is the ability to mix-and-match elements you can do yourself, often without any deep experience, and our technical knowledge which create the perfect match. However, SEO is an open-ended project because trends and algorithms change on a regular basis.
Monitoring your websites
Using professional SEO tools like this one, you can run regular reports to monitor changes in your ranking for specific factors. You can also check how your website is performing against competitors and where you can make improvements. However, one thing many people fail to recognize about SEO is the fact it is a fluid and ever-changing process.
If we look back 10 years, a mobile compatible website design would not even have registered on search engine algorithms. Today, it is fast becoming one of the most important elements of your website. The same can be said of security with regards to SSL certificates- HTTPS encryption - a seed of thought many years ago but now a fully-fledged leading light.
By now if you do not have SEO, you should seriously be considering it. You can test Ranking.name SEO for free plan today and receive a detailed report of your website SEO, what needs to be improved and how to do it. Knowing what to do is only half the battle, knowing how to do it is the game changer.