Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic through search results. These search results come from search engines like Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. SEO produces traffic to your website that is essentially not paid for. For example, before you clicked on this article, you probably searched about SEO on Google and stumbled upon our blog. SEO is the optimization of your website in accordance to what the search engines are looking for. Search engines like Google have crawlers that collect information on all sites to create an index. This index is then used in an algorithm to help match the right web sites with the user’s search. Hence, the ultimate goal of SEO is to understand how these crawlers and algorithms work and design your website accordingly.
It is in your best interest to leverage SEO, as it results in the quality and quantity of traffic. This is because as one optimizes their website SEO score, they will appear more often in search results. This ultimately increases the traffic and its quality. For instance, users visiting your website will be more interested in your content, as they would have searched for something related to your website. Hence they may interact more with your site. This eventually leads to higher conversions.
However, you may be wondering what it is that puts your website at the top of the searches? These search engines take into account many factors, and this article will focus on exploring the major ones. It is important to note that these companies are always adjusting their algorithms and don’t reveal them. This means the factors discussed in this article may be different in the future. Nevertheless, we have compiled the major factors based on what SEO professionals currently understand.
Content Optimization for SEO
One of the key aspects of content optimization is the keyword. The keyword is basically the word or phrase you want your website to emphasize so that when a user searches a similar term, your site appears. For example, if you own a bike website, you want to emphasize the word “bike”. The more times this keyword is used, the more the algorithm will relate your site to the keyword. It is important to note that you have to use the keyword in different parts of your website, such as your title tag, description tag, H1 tag, and pages copy.
Additionally, you need to research your market before settling on a specific keyword. In other words, you should be investigating what type of words your target market searches for. For example, simply using the word “bike” may be too vague as not everyone searching “bike” is purchasing one. To illustrate, a user ready to buy a bike may search for the exact name of a bike they want to buy. You also want to make sure your keyword has a high ranking, as it means it has more searches. You can find these rankings through third-party SEO ranking checkers. Another aspect to consider is the length of your content. The top ten results usually are below 2,500 words, which is why you should stay below that threshold. In conclusion, you should make sure the content of your site is relevant to what your target market is searching for.
SEO Social Metrics
Social metric basically means the social media links your website has. For example, if you link your company’s social media, you will create a connection that makes your website more accessible. Doing so makes your site more interactive and immersive, as the user will be able to learn more about your company, which plays into the search engine algorithms. Other examples of social metrics could be users sharing your articles on social media. This increases your SEO score, as it ultimately shows that your content is relevant and resonates with the audience. In fact, if the news mentions your company, you become even more relevant to potential searches. Therefore, you should be keeping track of your public relations, while making sure to stay active on social media.
Usage and Traffic Data
Although it may sound unfair, your current usage and traffic rate also plays into whether you are placed higher on the search list. Yeah, I know this sounds like the usual need of experience to get experience. However, these metrics show how relevant a website is. For example, if you already have a lot of traffic, it shows that many viewers are finding your information relevant to what they are looking for. Hence, the search engine algorithms can tell that your website is more relevant than other sites that have fewer views. For instance, the search engine algorithms look into the click-through rates and bounce rates of a site. If your bounce rate is high, it may mean that many visitors are not finding your web site relevant or useful. In other words, you could start improving your SEO score by driving more traffic through paid channels.
The domain age is another factor in which you really don’t have much control when your site was created. If we look at the statistics, around 60% of the top ten links from searches are 3 years old or more. Hence, it seems they like to prioritize older sites. This makes sense, as the older they are, the more established they are, which means they probably already have a lot of traffic and are already optimally designed for searches. All in all, this is a factor you don’t have much power over, but it is something you are striving for, as it will be one of those factors that help your SEO score in the long-run.
The speed at which a site loads is very important for SEO. This is because if a site loads slowly, users may click out of it immediately, rendering your site useless and irrelevant. Hence, you should be taking into account the content you put on your site, as it could slow the loading time. For example, you should look into the number of images and videos you put, as those add loading time. Of course, I am not saying you should remove all of your media, as they do contribute to a higher SEO score, but you should try optimizing the sizes of your images and videos so they load quicker. In fact, feel free to test your website’s speed here and let us know how it went in the comments.
Another part synonymous with page speed is the mobile-friendliness of your site. You want to ensure that your site loads quickly and properly on both desktop and mobile devices. After all, more and more users access sites through their phones. Therefore, you should also optimize for the smaller screen. Here is another link for you to test the mobile-friendliness of your site.
At last, similar to the social metrics section, the search engines will also look into the internal and outbound links. These are links to other websites, which goes to show that your website is interconnected with other content, making it more relatable to any searcher. Internal links are basically pathways to other parts of your website. One example is if I were to add a link here to another one of our pages. These illustrate that your site has much more to show, as its content is intertwined with one another. This increases the chances that a viewer may find what they were searching for. On the other hand, outbound links are pathways to external sites, like the links to test your website’s speed earlier in this article. With the same rationale as the internal links, external links help enhance your SEO score.
All things considered, these are just some of the major factors that influence the SEO score of your website. However, there are many more that this article could not cover. Nevertheless, I hope this article has helped you understand the basics of SEO, so you can enhance the traffic of your own site.