SEO is an acronym that means search engine optimization. These are techniques that mainly help your website to become more visible to people looking up for your products, services or brand in organic search results by use of search engines such as Yahoo, Bing or Google. If you have a business, and you would like to exercise online marketing, it is paramount to achieve better search rankings since organic search traffic has been proved to be a driver of business growth.
You can always hire someone externally or internally to do your SEO but beware that it might cost you if that person is unaware of the modern rules of SEO. Google even warns on the risks of doing this and therefore it is crucial to outsource professional and experienced expertise to manage your website. Various factors will determine how fast or slow it will take to see results from SEO and what kind of results you'll see. The list of the factors includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Quality of content
- Whether a site is big or small with a weak or strong domain authority
- Quantity of the content you create
- How your content impacts your audience
Google typically ranks websites considered to be most useful and relevant on their first page of its search results for any given search term. They can identify the most relevant and helpful websites through the use of a sophisticated algorithm or rather a mathematical process that takes into account more than 200 different factors. Although Google does not let users know what the factors are, SEO consultants know what the most critical factors are through a combination of experience, testing, research. For instance, most SEOs would agree that the following ranking factors are all important:
- Site speed
- Keyword usage
- Quality of inbound links
- Site structure
- Number of inbound links
- Time spent on site
Although the algorithm is designed and set-up by people, the rankings given to websites are entirely determined by the results of the algorithm. No manual intervention can adjust or alter the outcomes given by the algorithm regarding the ranking of specific sites. The website that is ranked first is the one that scores highly in the algorithm while taking into account over 200 factors. Google is constantly updating, reviewing and adjusting their search results which mean that a website ranked first today might not rank in the same position tomorrow.
A site rises, falls or stays where it is in the search results depending on how it compares with competing websites e.g. other websites that want to rank for similar keywords. A site that is ranked on the fourth page for a particular keyword phrase can improve the performance of its site by using high-quality backlinks while adding new content to rise in the rankings.
How much the site will rise depends on the existing quality and authority of the sites that are above it and how much value the algorithm of Google places on the improvements made on the website. The site can rise only a couple of positions or rise straight to the top position. No voodoo magic can guarantee an SEO a #1 ranking. Nevertheless, paying attention to the factors that Google's algorithm values and working actively to improve on them can help to increase the ranking of your website in Google
SEO strategies have been changing over the years, and you should be up to date with the latest ones.
For example, the content strategy for on-page keyword usage for 2010 required writers to use the keyword in the title, the h1, and probably h2 as well as few times on the text without keyword stuffing to rank highly. This strategy later evolved in 2010 as Google would understand synonyms so one could use a keyword once while showing that it is highly relevant and related to other similar words. This was where keyword groups were born.
Other changes include the anchor text manipulation that insists on branding. For example, back in 2010, the best way to rank for a keyword was to attach a link with the keyword in an anchor text. Many website would pay for links with their target keyword in them then slip the links in unrelated articles.
In 2013, Google realized that if you have dozens of links for "slinkies" but none about your brand name, no one would know who you are as there's too much information and too many scams out there. It occurred to them that people would feel more comfortable or at ease with brands, and most are willing to click on links that will connect them to recognizable brands.
In the contemporary world, it is crucial to improve customer loyalty and brand awareness. Lack of a brand in the online market competition means you are relying wholly on Google to send you visitors which makes you more vulnerable to changes Google will make to their algorithm down the road.
SEO will stay with us for a long time to come, and a significant portion of it will identify and understand your competitors for particular search terms since they can differ from your competitors in real life.
SEO is one aspect of strong online marketing, but you have to be a generally good marketer to be successful and competitive in the long run. Despite the continuously changing rankings, you should still be able to understand the trend and adjust so as to make it. However, SEO alone cannot make your business and even if it does currently, it won't necessarily be in the future.