Website owners everywhere know that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key to drawing users to a site, but not everyone understands exactly what SEO is. In fact, a basic Google search for “how to optimize my site” brings up 43.3 million results. Read on to understand a few of the basics to SEO, and how they can be leveraged to improve the traffic to your website.
What is SEO?
So let’s go big picture—forest, not trees—for an overview and worry about the fine points later. Search Engine Optimization is essentially figuring out how to make your site or blog appear higher on search results for your topic. The goal is to do this organically, which means attracting new views by what’s on your site, without any secret programming tricks or by buying visitors.
Here’s a simple formula:
Great content + quality links = Search Engine Success!
Content can be the words and images on your site, whether it’s info that rarely changes or news items or blogs that are always being updated. And it’s the relevant, great quality content (the kind that best serves the reader) that earns a site an improved ranking.
In past years, searches didn’t really care if your pages made any sense, and it was the writer’s choice if they were just strings of keywords. But now, Google has refined its process and looks for pages with legitimate information. Pages with quality content are rewarded, while pages with that are trying to “cheat” the process, get dinged.
According to Social Media Today, focusing primarily on keywords can be “too much of a good thing.” Instead, it suggests writing longer posts and curating other people’s content, which means you can collect articles from others or link to their sites. That way, you don’t have to always be writing. Or you can add your own opinion to other people’s pieces, which will add to its length and portray you as an influencer.
Social Media’s Influence
Social media has added new wrinkles to SEO, but the goal is the same: attract more visitors.
Visitors can come to your site directly from a search, but they can also come by clicking on a link within a social platform, such as Facebook or Twitter. Companies can use these new online public gathering places to let visitors know about their products or services, and drive traffic to the site. They also can educate the audience about their industry, or simply build loyalty and create fans.
Like LifeLock, which shares information about online security trends on its Facebook page, uses the page to provide customers with helpful security tips, thus reinforcing the company as an authority in its industry. Some companies may share coupons or discounts, while others may use social media to alert audiences of special events or promotions.
The best SEO efforts, according to Search Engine Land, should be less focused on achieving pure optimization, but simply making the experience interesting enough that visitors want to stick around. The rest will come naturally.