By now, if you use the internet for your business and don’t know what SEO is, I have just one question for you…
What rock have you been living under all these years?
Is it well-appointed?
Jokes aside, SEO is very real, very necessary, and still very mysterious to many people.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, it is, essentially, how “findable” you are to consumers in the search engines.
Now, this is a big deal. Remember that 60% of all clicks go to the top three results in google’s search engine.
And approximately 95% of people don’t even make it off the very first page of Google’s index.
Imagine being presented as the top result for consumers any time they search for something similar to your brand or offer?
You’d make a lot of money rather quickly, if you could handle the scale of it all.
That being said, SEO is your ability to rank higher in the search engines and, consequently, get more clicks and more people to your offer.
All without having to pay a recurring fee, advertising, or anything else. If you can manage it effectively, SEO is practically free.
That being said, today, I’d like to discuss some of the ways in which people use SEO to benefit their organizations!
That way, You can make the most of it in YOUR organization as well, and start to benefit from increased exposure and “find-ability!”
We’ll also discuss some of the best practices that you can use to make SEO work for you, so you won’t have to expend alot of your hard-earned dollars when you could do it yourself!
So, without further ado, Let’s begin!
Factors of SEO
There are plenty of things that affect the SEO score (a relative measure of the SEO that goes on your website).
Generally, the higher the score, the better and more optimized your site is for searchers! Which results in more exposure over time.
Here are many of the key factors of SEO that we’ll discuss and manage in a way that works for you.
Now, you may be asking, “what in the world is crawl-ability?!” and you’d be right to ask that question!
This is a factor that many people rarely even consider!
Crawl-ability is a search engine’s ability to scan your website and determine what it is about. Essentially, it’s like opening the door to have a conversation with google so that you can tell them where to place your website.
Overall, a site that a search engine can’t “Crawl” means that search engines will have a difficult time determining what your site means, and where to place you in search results.
By using a website builder that is well-coded and by creating a sitemap for search engines to utilize when navigating your site (you can do so with Yoast SEO plugin) then you can manage the visibility that search engines have over your content.
Also, consider security, although it is determined to be a low-ranking SEO factor, it is still a factor.
Enable SSL certification on your site to ensure that your site is secure to searchers and, therefore, more trusted by search engines.
Website Page Speed
How often have you come across a site that took more than a few seconds to load?
Probably not often, and if you did, you probably got frustrated with it.
The faster the website, the more that google considers the website to be optimized for user experience. Both on mobile AND desktop.
What this means is better overall user experience, more time spent on traveling the site, and more chances for you to make your offer known to your audience as well.
All of which are great things to consider.
Generally speaking, a website that loads in LESS than two seconds is considered standard by today’s expectations. Every second above that and your website may be docked or the SEO may be hurting.
There are many resources that are free for you to use that not only tests your website for speed but also gives you suggestions on how to make your site faster.
Google Pagespeed Insights, Pingdom Tools, and GTMetrix are all examples of great helpful sites that help you monitor pagespeed.
A “responsive” website is one that functions and scales well on both mobile devices AND desktop devices.
Overall, because more and more people are viewing the internet through mobile devices, a website that is not mobile-friendly becomes a hindrance to search engines and presents a sign of poor user-experience.
Both of which harm the SEO ranking of that site.
In fact, responsive web-design is actually considered a large factor in SEO, especially with later updates to googles search engine algorithms.
It’s not hard to convert a website to be mobile-friendly, and if you don’t you run the risk that your website becomes needlessly under-ranked in search engines, which further affects your ability to gather awareness around your brand or offers.
– Your site needs to re-fit itself to match the device it is being viewed on.
– Use larger text for smaller screens.
– Create accordion menus to save screen space on smaller devices.
There are plenty more considerations, but this is the basic idea.
Website Domain Authority
Domain authority is a combination of how old your website is, the relevancy of your URL, and how many backlinks you have gathered.
The more content you post that is quality and ground-breaking for your industry, there is a higher chance that others will reference it, and earn you what is appropriately called a backlink.
Backlinks are highly valuable bits of quality-assurance that google uses to determine if your content is worthy of being shown higher in search engines.
Websites with many backlinks are generally considered more valuable, more authoritative, and more in-demand than others.
This combination of characteristics causes google to believe that your content is obviously quality, and will present you to more users who search for relevant topics.
When it comes to age, most of the top-page google results are from websites that are at least 2-3 years old.
Any newer, and you will have a difficult time ranking that highly. This might be a good thing for those of you who have owned a website for some time but have yet to optimize it!
Website Content Optimization
If “crawl-ability” is google’s ability to view your content, then content optimization is like providing them a clean and clear definition of your brand that is easily understood and easy to rank in searches.
Likely, the single most key facor in your search optimization success sis your ability to rank for specific keywords.
Keywords are the topics that you center your content around and are relevant to the services you offer, the products you sell, or more.
Think about it this way, Google wants to ensure that the content they give to their searchers fills the needs that their searches want filled. That way, google becomes a hero the way that every business wants to be.
In order to do that, google needs to ensure that the content on your site is relevant to search engine queries, and thus, the keyword is the best way they can track those things.
If most of your website is about ice-cream, do you think you are going to rank highly for searches about business or economics? Probably not.
This is why it is so important to niche down your website and content to fit only the needs of the people you serve. That way, your content remains consistent and a search engine would have no qualms with presenting your site to searchers.
It’s important to note that you optimize for what people search for. For example, I don’t want to optimize my website to target keywords that don’t relate to my niche. This would harm my SEO.
The easiest ways to determine what most people are searching for is to open up google and begin typing a keyword.
generally, the suggested searches that google provides is related to how many people search that word! They are likely high-traffic sources of keywords that are often searched!
Also consider the length of your content itself. Google punishes “thin-content” websites because they provide little actual value.
Google also praises websites with larger posts and information (think of posts of greater than 2,000 words!)
These posts get more top-ten positions.
Also consider video content!
With more and more people (79% in fact) stating that they would rather watch a video than read a blog, video is becoming a dominant force!
For more on video, and how you can make the most of it, read my post titled How To Create Excellent Video Content.
General SEO sounds like a cop-out kind of SEO category, but these are the things that you simply can’t place in other SEO circumstances.
Firstly, consider adding relevant tags (and images) that directly relate to your content to further enhance Google’s ability to determine your content’s relation to search results.
If I was trying to rank my website for “ice-cream” I would add tags like “ice-cream, creamery, popsicles” and more relevant words.
Use header tags so that google can distinctly recognize topics (and so that you increase your chances of being put on the 0-position rank)
The zero-position is the point at which a question becomes answered directly on the google page itself.
Heres an example:
Add relevant and catchy meta-descriptions (the short blurb description under a link on the search engine pages) and be sure to add your main keyword there as well.
Keep it at or around 160 characters.
Use keywords alongside your images to ensure that search engines know that those images are relevant to your topics, further increasing your sites credibility.
Overall, there is a lot that goes into handling SEO on both your end and in Google’s algorithm.
The key here is to be careful with your keywords, to use them methodically, and to ensure that your page speed and user-experience is optimized.
This alone accounts for most of the best practices that businesses can employ on their own to see large returns from their results.
Some more proactive things that you can do is gather more backlinks, link to your own pages in new articles, content, or more, and reference other people’s links to create outbound links to relevant content!
Hopefully, I’ve helped you better understand and manage your SEO abilities!
If you’d like to learn more, or see what I can do for you and your brand/business, don’t hesitate to schedule a call with me here!
Many thanks and happy branding!
Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin
-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life, and, coming soon: KICK*SS Content Marketing, How to Boost Your Brand and Gather a Following.
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