SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, a term describing the process of optimizing a web page or a whole website to function at its full potential on various search engines.
It seems that SEO is on everyone’s lips these days, from digital marketers to business owners.
And it’s easy to understand why SEO is all the rage in the online world today if we consider the fact that it can ensure a business’ success if implemented correctly.
The first step to increase the traffic to your website is actually to understand what SEO is.
So what is SEO?
Here is a short video by Search Engine Land.
Search engines have an index, a list of all the websites on the Internet. When a user searches for words or phrases – known as keywords for marketers – the search engine will show the user the most relevant web pages related to the words they searched for.
As such, the SEO of a web page is important because it should “tell” the search engine what the page is about, thus maximizing the chances of it appearing in search results.
These two very popular terms in the SEO community refer to the tactics used when optimizing web pages and websites for SEO.
Black hat SEO is a term used for techniques that are not deemed acceptable by search engines.
It’s a way of cheating the system to get quick results but it is actually harmful because it can get your website penalized or even de-indexed. In simple terms, Google will remove your website from its search results.
Black hat techniques include
White hat SEO, on the other hand, means the techniques used for engine optimization are deemed as acceptable by search engines.
White hat techniques include
For more information on this topic. Check out our Black Hat SEO vs White Hat SEO article.
To ensure SEO is working effectively, it requires time, good strategies, and constant monitoring.
SEO is constantly changing which is why SEO specialists should always stay on top of current trends and remain a step ahead of their competitors.
Those working in SEO need to monitor the success of the strategies they are currently using through accurate analytics.
Here are some popular strategies and tactics currently used in SEO:
Mobile overtook desktop with over 50% of all web browsing now being done on a phone or tablet.
In 2005, Google had a major update known as Mobilegeddon. What this meant is that if a website didn’t have a mobile version by that time, it lost a significant amount of rankings in the mobile version of Google.
Furthermore, Google is now using a website’s mobile version as its primary index. Consequently, a business’ top priority should now be to optimize their website and its content for mobile too.
Also as of 2015, the importance of using HTTPS instead of HTTP has begun to increase.
The extra “S” stands for security, which is why websites with URLs leading with HTTPS are known to be more secure.
To encourage website owners to move to HTTPS, Google is actually boosting the rankings of websites that are secure.
Having other people or business’ linking to your website is also something worth considering today.
One of the best ways to generate backlinks is to do interviews, recommend your content to influencers or write for large publications.
Good SEO companies can help website owners with this initiative by coming up with great content marketing strategies.
For many years, using descriptive URLs has been a successful SEO strategy.
More recently, however, data indicates that shorter URLs may actually boost rankings better.
Generally, you wouldn’t want your URL to contain more than five words, as Google indicates that anything past that is not given too much credit.
As a rule, use primary keywords in the first part of the URL and try not to exceed five words in total whenever possible.
Providing good user experience (UX) is one of the keys to great rankings.
While at it, you still need to hold on to those rankings.
If your web page’s content shows up in search results but doesn’t outperform competitors, your rankings may begin to fall.
To ensure that your click-through rate remains strong, the metadata must be optimized for the chosen keywords.
Good SEO means engaging title tags and meta descriptions.
Keyword research remains a vital aspect of SEO and it means finding more than just one or two main keywords to use for your content.
You also need words or phrases that are related to the main topic.
Let’s say you are writing a blog post about “best headphone brands.” You will also want to include keywords such as “headphone markers”, “headphone companies” or “top headphones” which are all related searches your target audience makes.
A study by Google called “The Need for Mobile Speed ” shows that 53 percent of mobile users abandon web pages if they take longer than 3 seconds to load.
As a result, speeding up your website should be another top priority both for desktop and mobile.
In fact, site speed will most likely become an even more significant ranking factor in the upcoming year.
What is the meaning and motivation behind keywords?
What are users actually looking for when typing certain words or phrases?
These are all questions to consider when it comes to creating content for your website.
Today, it’s all about focusing on user intent.
Nonetheless, what long tail keywords to use and what keywords to focus on to drive conversions are also important factors.
We’ve discussed the do’s and don’ts of SEO and the most popular tactics in use today, but just where is SEO heading towards?
The most renowned SEO experts today seem to think Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the future of SEO. And it seems plausible if we consider the fact that Google has been working on their RankBrain algorithm for some time now.
RankBrain is a machine-learning AI system that aids Google in processing some of its search results. It helps the search engine translate semantic search queries and user intent.
While AI may seem like the end of SEO, search engine optimization experts will actually be required to change the way they think.
This switch to a more intelligent search engine may turn out to be beneficial because SEO professionals will need to think more as a business owner or as the search engine user.
Hopefully, you should now have a clear understanding of what SEO stands for and what search engines want to see in terms of rankings.
The next step should be to start using SEO effectively to improve your online visibility.
Just remember that whether your goal is for visitors to read your content or make a purchase, SEO can make all these things possible.