short for search engine optimization. "digital is now the company's main marketing channel with the majority of investment going on SEO"
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way for businesses to improve and guide traffic to their websites organically and to help them appear higher up on search engines such as Google.
SEO is a way for search engines to recommend your content to their users at the top of their search. For example, if you sell candles, you want your site to be top of the search when someone searches for candles. Ultimately, the higher your site ranks, the more visible your business is, and the more traffic and sales your business is likely to generate.
So, what do I need to think about when it comes to SEO?
What’s the most important factor?
SEO is always changing, so you need to keep up to date and change lanes when shifts happen. There is no magic factor when it comes to SEO, all of the factors matter and it will depend on the algorithm.
Will my SEO work straight away?
The search engines themselves are the only things that knows how the algorithm works. Therefore, no one is ever going to get it spot on. Your SEO could work in a few days or could take a few months.
What’s better on-page or off-page SEO?
Off-page SEO refers to SEO strategies that happen off your website, such as backlinks. On-page SEO refers to changes you make on the site you own that impact SEO, such as keywords. The truth is both are important and as I mentioned earlier, it all depends on how the algorithm is at that time.
After all this, you may be thinking, well then how do I get my SEO to work?
Firstly, there are a ton of technical SEO factors; site structure, anchor text, URL structure, and many more.
These details matter but the foundation of SEO is high-quality, optimised content. If you can get this right then the rest of your SEO should follow and be much easier.
You need relevant, well-optimised content, that earns links, to gain your place further upon search engines.
How do you produce high-quality content?
Keywords are still important, but the context they’re in matters more. Search engines now analyse the context of your site and look for related secondary keywords that share the searcher’s interest.
Make sure to include clear, keyword-rich titles, meta descriptions, alt attributes, H1 tags, and URLs. By doing this, it tells search engines that your site is relevant and helps them to rank it higher.
The length of your content matters, but relevance and actual content matter more. Google says: “The amount of content necessary for the page to be satisfying depends on the topic and purpose of the page.”
Other factors that are important when it comes to SEO are metadata, links, and user experience.
Metadata is the title and lines of text that show up on the search results page. These bits of text can help encourage people to click on your link and therefore, drive traffic to your site.
Optimising your metadata is pretty simple:
Include relevant but not repetitive, keywords, and variations in the title and description.
Keep it short. Some search engines cut off meta descriptions at around 160 characters.
Be clear and concise, so users know what to expect. Like reading the back page of a book.
Links are another important aspect of SEO. Essentially, links work like ‘votes’ by telling search engines that other sites think your content is helpful and relevant. The more high-quality links you acquire, the higher your site will appear for related key terms. However, the quality of your links matters more than quantity. If you invest in link building (backlinks) as part of your SEO efforts, try and target getting links from well known, high-traffic websites.
Lastly, there is User experience (UX). This element plays another important role in how well your website will rank on search engines.
Ensure the time on page and CTR are high, and the bounce rate is low. Optimising your site for high engagement can help.
Make your site is easy to navigate. Navigation bars, drop-down menus, internal links, and a site search will help.
Site speed matters a lot.
Overall, SEO is all about figuring out what works for you and your site, based on your business landscape. The only way to figure out what works for you is through trial and error, and to keep trying out different ways of using your SEO. SEO is all about finding out what works for your site or client and then changing it when it stops working.
As technology continues to progress, we will have to deal with new ways of searching, new devices, and new types of searches (like voice search), but the one thing that will remain constant is why people search.