SEO is a term that has been around for quite some time, but what does SEO mean and why should you care? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s a way of improving your site’s rank on search engine result pages. Essentially, the higher your site ranks in a search engine, the more traffic you will get from that search. SEO works by attracting visitors to your site through certain methods such as link building and content marketing. With SEO being an important factor in how successful or not successful your website may be, it can be difficult to know where to start when trying to acquire SEO skills. This article aims to provide some information on what SEO is all about so you can make informed decisions on how best to improve the rankings of your website.
First of all, SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization which can be defined as the art and science of enhancing the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines in the “free”, unpaid, “organic” search results. SEO is concerned with the “natural” search results as opposed to PPC, which is a paid service for ads.
SEO is a way of enhancing your website so search engines will notice it and want to share it with their users. If your SEO is working successfully then your website becomes more visible on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
What factors influence SEO and rankings
There are a number of factors that influence SEO and search engine rankings. Some of the most important ones are as follows:
- User experience
- Technical optimization
Content is king when it comes to SEO, and the quality and relevance of your content will be one of the biggest factors in determining your rankings. Make sure you are producing high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience. In order to rank higher, you’ll also need links from other high-quality websites. They are a proxy for the authority of your website which is another important factor – the more authoritative your website is, the higher you will rank. And finally, make sure you are providing a great user experience – if people don’t enjoy using your website, they won’t spend time on it and share it with others.
Finally, technical optimization is really important as search engine bots crawl the web to find relevant content. SEO tools can do a lot of work for you, but SEO has to be done right for it to work, and search engines need to first be able to find and understand your website.
SEO can be complicated, but SEO skills are something everyone should have if they own a website or blog. SEO is not just about building links (as some claim) – there’s much more to SEO than that, and it is an extremely important driver when it comes to web traffic.
On-page SEO techniques
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing your website’s content and HTML code to improve your site’s ranking in search engine results pages. There are a number of techniques that you can use to optimize your content, and the most effective ones are discussed below.
Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions
When you create a title for your page or post, make sure to include your target keyword. The same goes for the meta description – use your target keyword to describe the content of your page. This will tell search engines what your page is about and help them rank it higher in the search results.
Use keywords throughout your content
In addition to using your target keyword in the title and description, make sure you use it throughout your content. This will encourage the search engines to rank your page higher in the SERPs. Some SEO tools can help to automate the process and give clues about what keywords to include.
Link to your most important pages
When you link to a page on your website, that page is also more likely to appear higher in the search results. Be sure to use internal links on your website extensively, and link back to your “pillar” pages from posts or pages that are topically related.
Use SEO plugins
There are SEO plugins that you can use to help optimize your content, including Yoast SEO (for WordPress and Shopify) which is one of the most popular SEO plugins available. Having an SEO plugin installed will allow you to quickly and easily edit your SEO settings without having to ask your developers, so it’s a good SEO practice to have SEO plugins installed.
Write relevant SEO-friendly content
Targeting SEO means that you write your website’s content with users and SEO in mind. SEO-friendly content is written in a way that will help your website rank higher and drive more traffic to your website. It firstly needs to answer search demand and secondly, SEO-friendly content will use keywords and include title tags and headings.
Off-page SEO techniques
Off-page SEO is the process of optimizing your website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages through methods other than on-page SEO. There are a number of off-page SEO techniques that you can use to improve your site’s ranking, and some of the most effective ones are discussed below.
One of the most important off-page SEO techniques is link building. The more links you have from high-quality websites, the higher your site will rank in the search engines. You can increase your link popularity by submitting articles to article directories, blogging, and participating in social media.
Another effective SEO technique is to claim your business’s listings on major directories like Yellow Pages. When you create a listing for your business on a directory site, you are creating a citation. Citations help to boost your website’s authority with search engines by associating it with listings on high-authority directories, and this helps it rank higher in the search results. You might wonder what NAP stands for, it’s short for “Name, Address, Phone number” which is the minimum information required by many business and website directories.
If your business is mentioned on websites other than your own, it will signal to search engines that other sites believe you are reputable and authoritative. Make it a priority to search for your brand name across the web, and contact sites that mention your brand to also request a link as linked mentions are much more valuable.
Google My Business (GMB)
Another SEO technique that can help to improve your SEO rankings is using Google My Business. It enables you to claim and verify your business listings on Google Maps, and this signals to search engines (Google specifically) that your business is reputable or at least that it actually exists, as new listings are verified. Using GMB will allow you to have more control over what appears in the SERP Knowledge Panel, and enable you to include SEO keywords in your profile summary, a website link, and images. You can also update your customers on opening hours, new services, and announcements.
Tools and resources for SEO optimization
Tools and resources for SEO are essential for helping you to optimize your website for search engines. SEO is a complex and ever-changing field, so it’s important to stay up to date with the latest changes and updates. The following are some of the best tools and resources for SEO:
- Google Search Console – it is a free service offered by Google that provides information about your website’s visibility and indexing in Google search results. It also provides you with the opportunity to submit and manage your site’s sitemap. SEO professionals consider Google Search Console to be an essential SEO tool.
- Bing Webmaster Tools – it is a free SEO tool offered by Microsoft that provides information about the search engine visibility of your site. Similar to Google Search Console, it also allows you to submit and manage your site’s sitemap. SEO professionals also consider Bing Webmaster Tools to be an SEO tool that they can’t live without.
- Google Keyword Planner – this SEO tool enables you to get the latest keyword ideas related to your niche, perform SEO trend analysis. It can also be used to compare search volume and competition for keywords, which can help you decide on SEO strategies. SEO professionals use the Google Keyword Planner as usually the most reliable keyword data source.
- Google Search Central Blog – this SEO resource provides the latest SEO news, updates, and information straight from Google. SEO professionals use it to keep up to date with changes in search algorithms, as well as with feature announcements and official notices.
- Bing Webmaster Blog – this SEO resource provides you with all of the latest SEO news, updates, and developments from Microsoft’s Bing Search team, so it’s one of the best SEO resources to follow if SEO is your thing. SEO professionals use the Bing Webmaster Blog to stay up to date with changes in algorithms, webmaster tools, and official Bing announcements.
Here are some of the best SEO tools that we recommend if you want to try even more, and all of them are worth it! If you want to learn about SEO in a more traditional way we also recommend great SEO books that you should read.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a way of improving your site’s rank on search engine result pages. Essentially, the higher your site ranks on a search engine, the more traffic you will get from that search. SEO works by attracting visitors to your site through certain methods such as link building and content marketing. SEO can be complicated but with the tools and resources mentioned, you should have all that’s necessary to start ranking high in Google or Bing! Good luck and let us know if we can help further!