It’s no secret that a website’s search ranking directly affects both the quality and quantity of traffic it receives. Websites that rank high for their respective target keywords will reap the benefits of more traffic and subsequently more sales. In fact, a study conducted by the online ad agency Chitka found websites ranking in Google’s first position received an overwhelming 32.5% traffic share, whereas websites just a couple listings down in the fifth position received only 6.1% traffic share.
But how exactly do you achieve the coveted #1 ranking in Google? This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play; Google, Bing, Yahoo, and even the lower-tiered search engines use advanced computer algorithms to determine where and how a website should rank. These algorithms are designed to look for certain signs or signals in websites that indicate it’s a relevant, authoritative source in its niche. If Google notices a particular website is filled with expert-quality content pertaining to home renovations, it will likely rank higher for keywords related to home improvement.
Search engine optimization can be described as the practice of optimizing a website so it ranks higher for specific keywords in the search engines. Going back to the example mentioned above, the webmaster of a home renovation website would obviously want to rank for keywords like “home renovations” and “how to renovate a home” as opposed to broader keywords like “homes.”
SEO consists of two components that are of equal importance. The first component is on-site SEO, which as the name suggests involves taking direct action within the website itself. On-site SEO may consist of performing the following tasks:
- Analyzing target keywords
- Writing and publishing content related to your site’s niche.
- Adding target keywords to your site’s title and Meta description.
- Uploading relevant images, optimizing them with keyword-rich alt tags and/or captions.
- Interlinking your site’s pages together.
- Using search engine-friendly URLs (e.g. yoursite.com/how-to-renovate-a-bathroom).
- Reducing server load times.
The second component of search engine optimization is off-site SEO. If the action is done “off the site,” then it’s considered off-site SEO. The most common form of off-site SEO is backlink creation. Search engines place an emphasis on a site’s backlink portfolio, checking to see how many backlinks are pointing to the site, where they are coming from, how long they’ve been active, and more. Creating backlinks from authoritative sources is a great way to encourage higher search rankings for your site. Social media marketing and branding are also considered forms of off-site SEO.
Of course, this is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to search engine optimization. Be sure to check back with our blog at Simplification Services for more practical SEO tips!