What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a strategy for improving your website reach. In a nutshell, SEO makes it easier for your ideal market to find you when they’re searching online for related products or services.
How does SEO work?
When you search for a term on Google, Bing, or another search engine, the resulting Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) provide a ranked list of potentially relevant websites. The search engines are looking at hundreds of factors, or signals, to determine the best order for the search results. Signals are diverse and constantly changing because they represent all of the factors that make up the user experience.
What do search engines look for in a high-ranking site?
Relevant keywords and phrases
This is a no-brainer. The content on your site should reflect the products and services you’re promoting. However, finding the most effective keywords isn’t just a matter of repeating one or two relevant terms throughout your site. The right keyword or phrase is relevant, timely, and competitive, and the most effective keyword today may be irrelevant next week. Remember, SEO may seem like it’s about fairly predictable search engine algorithms, but really, it’s about unpredictable and evolving people. That makes keyword research an ongoing commitment of following the concerns and expectations of your prospects as well as how they interact with search engines.
Engaging, fresh content
The best way to organically squeeze all those keywords into your website is through engaging content. Blog posts, whitepapers, videos, and other content play a pivotal role in discoverability for two reasons: bots and bottoms. Bots are looking for information that will appeal to users. When users find compelling content on a topic that interests them, they keep their bottoms in their chairs and their eyes on the screen. That’s how you optimize for search, discoverability, and conversion.
Once you’ve got words on the webpage, optimization is about refinement. On-site SEO includes all of the optimizing you have control over. Carefully chosen meta-data, like alt-tags and meta descriptions, as well as organizational features, like headings and navbars, help you get the most mileage out of your content by taking advantage of your site’s HTML.
While you don’t have control over every aspect of off-site discoverability, you can give your off-site SEO a boost, too. Backlinks, brand mentions, and social media sharing can all improve your website’s trustworthiness in the eyes of AI.
Why not game the system?
Some SEO firms will attempt to game the system by keyword stuffing and other black hat methods, but these often do more harm than good. Search engine AI have come a long way in the last few years, and they can differentiate between useful information and strings of keywords. More importantly, your prospects deserve useful information, and your brand deserves the best possible online representation. That’s why we recommend optimization within the context of meaningful content.