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SEO is the acronym for "search engine optimization," or the practice of increasing the flow of traffic to your website through unpaid search engine results. This is often referred to as “natural” or “organic” results. In short, it means how close to the top of an online search results list a website shows up – search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo! are a few examples. Maintaining a high SEO score is important for navigating consumers to your brand's products or services.
What goes into SEO? A long list of elements add up to a website’s SEO score. A shortlist of these elements includes domain-level and keyword-agnostic features, keyword usage, social metrics, user traffic and query data, domain-level brand features, page-level links, and H1 tags. All of these features and more are the behind-the-scenes cogs and gears that work together to turn your website into a destination for consumer web traffic. Your IT expert or web designer should know all about these terms and what role they play in your website’s SEO score.
Why is SEO Important? SEO considers how search engines work – the computer programmed algorithms that dictate search engine behavior, what users search for, the search terms or keywords that are typed into search engines, and which search engines are preferred by audiences. Essentially, SEO is all about how potential customers find your business before your competitors. A well-executed SEO strategy puts your business' site towards or at the top of your consumer's internet search, giving you the first opportunity to engage visitors.
How To Optimize. There are several methods for earning your website a high SEO rating.
- Structuring Data: Rich cards and rich snippets are two effective ways to structure data to communicate better with search engines. "Rich snippets" defines structured data markup that web designers include into the site's existing HTML. The snippets assist search engines in understanding the information contained on each page of the site. Rich cards are similar to snippets but are more focused on structured markup that displays content across mobile devices.
- Optimize for both text and voice search: Keywords and keyword phrases are essential aspects of SEO. A site's programmed keywords and key phrases assist in its ability to be discovered in a search engine; they are the SEO basics. However, as voice command continues to become a more popular feature of smartphones, optimizing for audible keywords and key phrases is becoming more vital to search engine success. Semantics are extremely important for voice searches. For example, a common phrase might be "Okay, Google, where can I get a hamburger downtown?" Optimizing key phrases for what consumers might actually say will push websites higher up on the SEP list.
- Videos, videos, videos: People love videos, and so do search engines. Embedding videos to a website is an easy way to climb higher on the SEO list. Even simple videos, without the need for expensive or specialized equipment, are extremely helpful in raising SEO scores. They are also better for consumers, 72% of which would rather learn about products or services through video.
- Quality content and experience: A search engine can read a lot about the information, keywords, and videos on a website, but they can't view, absorb, or interact with it as a human being can. Therefore, it is important that websites are user-friendly, simple to engage with, easy to share, and encourage return visits. The more users return to a website, the higher it climbs on the SEO rank list.
Search engine optimization incorporates many of the basics of website creation: who it is made for, what it is offering, and how the users feel about using the site. As long as the key concepts of the website’s purpose are incorporated into the behind the scenes design, obtaining a high-ranking SEO score should not be an obstructive challenge. When done properly, search engine optimization will play a major role in the success of any company or brand.
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