The world of digital marketing is extremely fast moving, and the best approaches and techniques can seem to change and evolve practically overnight. However, one thing that simply won’t go away is search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of optimizing a website to appear as close as possible to the top of Google’s search results pages for relevant search terms. The ways and means of search engine optimization have changed over the years, but the goal remains largely the same. In this short guide we aim to explain the basics of SEO and give you a grounding in a few simple techniques that can help to bring your site up to speed.
What is search engine optimization?
As we touched on in the introduction, SEO is the process of optimizing your website for relevant search terms on Google and other popular search engines. SEO is an ongoing process, and many brands use detailed analytics data to ensure that their sites perform as well as possible for the terms that apply most closely to their products and services.
In years past SEO was easy – all you had to do was cram your site with as many mentions as possible for ‘diamond engagement rings’, for example, to rank well for that search term. However, Google quickly found that this was an imperfect approach, as low-quality websites could easily rank well for specific terms by applying a few underhanded SEO techniques. Now, Google promises that its users enjoy the best possible experience by ensuring that search engine ranking relates directly to site quality and relevance. So-called ‘black hat’ SEO techniques are no longer effective.
Why is SEO important?
Search engine optimization is important because it gives your website authority in the eyes of Google and other popular search engines. By applying some basic SEO tips you can help to move your site higher up the Google SERPs (search engine results pages) and therefore bring it to the attention of more potential customers and clients.
However, there’s more to it than that. Changes to the way that Google ranks websites have meant that high-quality sites that are easy to navigate and use are now rewarded with a superior search engine ranking. SEO is a win-win – any changes you make to enhance the user experience of your website will result in a more favorable Google search ranking.
How can I optimize my website?
There are countless techniques to help you optimize your website, but these suggestions are quick, easy wins to boost your search engine ranking:
- Start a blog and maintain it regularly. Google loves regular, relevant content, and the best way to ensure that you’re creating it is by starting a native blog and updating it frequently. Write for your audience rather than for Google, and post multimedia content such as videos and photos as well as articles and other written content.
- Responsive design. It’s really important to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile devices as well as desktops and laptops. Responsive design will help to improve the user experience and thus boost your SEO.
- The importance of links to SEO is diminishing, but it still pays. External ‘authority’ links can be gained by encouraging product reviews or by guest blogging, but a really quick win is to link internally to other pages on your site when blogging or otherwise uploading new content.
- Social media marketing. Actively engage in social media marketing – it’s one of the best ways to boost SEO and improve brand loyalty.
- Audit your site. Conduct a site audit and analyze the user journey. If there are any bumps in the road then you need to smooth them out – excellent user experience equates to a positive search ranking.
Fully optimizing your website is a lot of work – and the work never stops. It’s an ongoing process, so if you’re looking to improve the authority and visibility of your site now and in future, contact us today.