SEO is vital for the success of any business online. It can be THE reason a potential customer buys from you or your competition instead. This article will examine why SEO is important and how to use SEO on your website, for your business.
First, what is SEO or Search Engine Optimization, exactly?
SEO is the practice of making your website stand out to Google and other search engines so your site ranks high whenever someone searches for products and services you sell. This is the opposite of PPC ad campaigns. It can be called organic, free or natural search – because it’s not something you pay Google to do. Google will put your website in the top spot if your website is the most relevant of all the other websites out there, to what someone is searching for. As mentioned in our previous article, How to Get Found on Google, it’s extremely important to get to the top spot in a Google search:
- 94% of searchers will click a link on the first page
- And only 6% will click through to the second page
- Plus more than 50% of searchers will click on the first link
This tells us a lot. First, it’s crucial for your business to rank very high in a search – the top website will get the most clicks and anything beyond the first page will likely never be seen. But it also implies that people trust search engines. Most people are immediately clicking the first link. They’re trusting that the top site is the best site to visit to find what they’re looking for.
Having the top spot in a Google search gives your brand more value.
It tells people that you’re the authority when it comes to your products or services – that’s why Google must put you at the top. It should be mentioned that it’s also important to rank high with Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. But Google is, without a doubt, the most used search engine on the net. Just take a look at these statistics from August 2014:
There were 18 billion searches in the U.S. during the month of August. Here’s where they were:
So how do you get to the top of a Google search with SEO?
It all starts with the coding. Google and other search engines “crawl” or scan every website out there.
Search engines look for a few things:
Coding and SEO
For coding, search engines are looking for titles you may have never seen because they’re imbedded in your website’s code. This tells a search engine what that particular page is about. A website optimized for SEO would have a great title – one with words people are searching for.
Links and SEO
Links are also important. If other websites link to yours, the search engines take that as a sign of your website’s relevance. Links to your site are kind of like endorsements by other sites. But you have to be careful about this. Google and other search engines know that people have tried to increase their ranking by getting their site linked all over the place and they have formulas to detect this. For linking to help your search ranking, it’s important to be linked from other reputable sites. The better the site that links to yours, the more it will help you rank higher. Not just any site will do.
Content and SEO
Content is crucial to SEO, as well. In addition to crawling your coding and reviewing links to your site, Google and other search engines will also review every word written on your website. Then, when someone performs a search, Google will know which site should have the information that person is searching for.
Sites with more content have a better shot of reaching the top spot in a Google search simply because they’ve got a lot of words for Google to scan and potentially deem relevant to the searcher. However, search engines also look for sites that add and update their content regularly. Not only that, the quality of your content is important. Using duplicate content from another site or from your own won’t help. You need your site to be original and unique so it’ll stand out from the crowd.
Simply having a lot of content will help your website. But if you really want to rank first in a Google search, that content should be optimized for SEO. This is where keywords come in. This takes some time and research but it’s well worth it.
Keywords and SEO
Keyword research involves figuring out what the most common terms people search for in relation to your content. So if you sell home furnishings online, you’d want to know if more people search for “couch” or “sofa” for example. Once you research how people search for the kinds of products or services you sell, you can adjust your website’s content accordingly. But just as Google knows when links aren’t legitimate, Google can also tell if someone’s overloading their page with keywords. There needs to be a balance. They keywords need to make sense in your content.
Relevancy is the key when it comes to SEO
Your coding should be relevant to your content, the sites that link to yours need to be reputable sites and your content should explain exactly what you sell or provide to your customers. SEO isn’t about “tricking” the system. It’s about showing search engines that YOUR site is THE site to go to when someone searches for something you sell.