What Does SEO Mean?
When you enter a search term or phrase into Google, Bing, Yahoo or any search engine, you’re engaging in the forefront of search engine optimization (SEO). The websites that return in the results are ranked on how the search engine felt those websites’ content was relevant to you and your search.
This is called the SERP or Search Engine Results Page. But how is this decided? Through the use of ever-evolving algorithms. According to Google, these computer processes and formulas take your questions or searches and turn them into answers. Google specifically relies on more than 200 unique signals that guess what you might be looking for.
Are the Correct Keywords and Phrases Being Used?
Keywords are the backbone for SEO. This makes it crucial that you ensure the best ones for your content are being used. How to know what the best are means asking yourself if they are relevant to the content at hand.
For example, you wouldn’t strategically place keywords for a healthy, four-course meal when you’re writing about cupcakes. Do a few searches with the keywords you have in mind and see what results come back. Is the information related to what you’re writing about? Good. The odds are your keywords and phrases will be beneficial to your content ranking in search engines.
But if you’re still unsure if you’re coming up with the right keywords, use a keyword research tool. There are several tools out there to help you see how a keyword or phrase would rank in monthly searches, how many times each month it’s searched for, how niche it is, and so on.
Quality Content Is Key
It all starts and ends with content. If your content is quality, there will be a high demand for it. However, it needs to be linkable.
Content accessible through a paywall, any type of required log-in, or in an otherwise search unfriendly format won’t be in demand and search engines won’t care if it’s award winning as long as it’s sitting behind a wall.
It goes without saying that the content should be very specific to the specific topic being addressed. And keeping along the lines of specifics, the purpose of any page on your website should be clear in the title tag, URL, and image alt-text.
What is image alt-text? YouTuber Rebecca Vendetti’s channel Live Simple, Live Organic explains this in more detail.
How Long Is Your Content?
As you’ve likely realized by now, a lot has changed in the SEO game in recent years, and how long the word counts of your content is wasn’t spared. The days of being able to post a 300 to 500-word blog and have it pull weight in a SERP are gone. Now, the longer the article, such as 1,000 words or more, the more likely it is to rank. Take this blog post for example; as of this sentence, we have 473 words, leaving us nearly halfway to the goal with plenty more to cover. More and more of these longer articles are being shared on social media, engaging readers for repeat visits, and ultimately being seen as more competitive to Google and other search engines.
With word counts carrying more and more weight, many companies are moving toward long form content, but what counts as long form? Well, it doesn’t have a strict definition but is generally accepted as whitepapers, ebooks, and any other content that has several thousand words plus images, videos, and other media attached. If you decide to go with long form content, that’s great, but don’t feel obliged to do so. Blog platform Medium found the most engaged blog posts took seven minutes to read and were about 1,600 words in length.
Have Your Images and Graphics Distinguish Themselves in the Masses?
Not every company has an in-house graphics or photography department, but creating your own to go with content will pay off in the SERPs. Not only does it create a better user experience for your readers, but it also sends a quality signal to the search engines about your website as a whole. While you don’t have to recreate the Sistine Chapel with your own images and graphics, keep in mind the image size in terms of loading on the page and what is the correct file format to use.
Why Use Onsite SEO
Being virtual friends is a hallmark in the digital age and being friends with search engines is a great thing. Well, you can’t really be friends with a search engine, but you can make your website and its content search engine friendly and educational.
To know if your website will be useful for a searcher, search engines ‘crawl’ the site to learn and understand the pages, including the structure of the site as a whole. The more information you have on your website, the more chances they have to understand what your company is about.
Using concise and relevant keywords and phrases are the best way to educate the search engines.
Reach Even Further with Offsite SEO
Offsite SEO accounts for the majority of rankability for a specific keyword. A quick refresher on what offsite SEO is the process of getting links to your content on other pages, sites, and blogs or link building. The more links for your website that are rooted in other sources, the better your offsite SEO will be.
The main benefit of off-site SEO is it shows how other websites and visitors view a particular website such as yours. This view is garnered through references from links, mentions on social media, and how often it is bookmarked and shared by like-minded readers.
Use Social Media and Other Forms of Digital Marketing
The better your content quality, the more Google will push it. Likewise, the more people that see and click to your website, the more your ranking in SERPs goes up, more traffic flows to your website, and you gain more exposure overall.
Social media is ever important. Through Social Media, people can share and engage with your posts, essentially acting as free brand marketers for your business, blog, and products. It’s a good practice to return that favor and share content from other similar businesses as well. This may sound counter-intuitive but it gets your company noticed on a larger scale.
Even more of an unseen advantage lies with offsite SEO, acting as a form of link building. Bookmarks, while not carrying as many factors weight as they used to, are still a good way to pick up steady traffic to your website.
Citations are also a great way to boost traffic to your site and your business, while making sure that the right information about your company is showing up in the SERP.
- Check out our blog: “Why LinkedIn Should Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy“
How Long Does SEO Take to Work? Have Patience
SEO tends to be a “long game”. Achieving the first page results with SERP ranking could take 3, 6, or even 12 months. This all depends on your industry, how many competing business exist in your geographical location, and utilizing best practices that Google has brought forth regarding SEO.
The good news is that changes to your SEO strategy can be noticed in as soon as two weeks.
The benefit to properly executing SEO on your website greatly outweighs the time it takes to achieve results. People that are looking for information similar to a subject you’ve published online or to find professional help that your business can provide, will now be able to find your information in abundance.
Not only will you show up higher than your competition or other publishers, but you will show up multiple times. Here is an example of a company who uses best SEO practices AND local citations to saturate the first page of Google.
It is even possible to see how many times a month web users search a keyword that is related to your subject matter or business services.
This is a great way of being able to calculate the amount of potential customers you will reach with proper SEO practices and marketing.
- Check out our blog: “What to Expect Your First Year of Inbound Marketing“
Elevare Can Help You with SEO Best Practices
If diving into search engine optimization seems like a daunting task, Elevare has your back. Our team has worked with search engine optimization on many websites through the years and is well versed in the latest best practices to get your website in the top ranking.
Whether you’re looking for a simple site audit of your current keywords and phrases, creating and optimization citations, or needing professional help on setting up Google Analytics, our search engine optimization service will get you where you need to be.
Remember, SEO takes time, so the sooner you get started, the better your digital presence will be. Together, we can launch your company to new heights.