Websites & SEO – Why It Matters
One of the most important pieces of having a successful website is having a successful SEO strategy. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and if you’re not utilizing it, your website is most likely suffering as a result. You can have the best content and the easiest to use website, but if it is not SEO-optimized, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of internet traffic.
So what exactly is SEO? Basically, it is the science of making your website rank higher in search engine results. In today’s jungle of websites, search engines are in charge of deciding which websites will be the most relevant to your searches and have the best content for you. Websites that show up on the first page of Google results have a much higher rate of traffic, and that number increases the higher up in the results you are. But being on that first page doesn’t happen by chance; it’s a digital art form that requires a lot of work.
There’s a multitude of different components that make up SEO, but here is an overview of the main ones:
1. Content Optimization
This may look like a fancy phrase, but it’s actually a lot less complicated than it sounds. Content optimization is making sure your website matches what the search engines are looking for. Every search engine uses tools called “crawlers”, programs that scour practically every website on the internet. They look at things such as content quality, how easy to navigate the site is, how organized the structure is, does it have an SSL certificate, etc. They then take their findings back to the search engine and the site is then given a rank.
However, a site can be given several different rankings, depending on what keywords the crawlers find. Keywords are one of the cornerstones of SEO. Search engines tend to rank sites higher than others based on their choice of keywords used in their content. For example, if you searched for “quality furniture” in a search engine, it would look through their indexes to see what websites that have stored under those keywords. It also considers the quality of the content of those websites and, based on where in the world the search is coming from, automatically displays results that it believes will be most beneficial to the searcher. SEO is the way of making sure your website is what the search engines are looking for. Some ways of doing this are:
- Keyword optimization. Based on the purpose of your site, the next step is to optimize your content around a few specific keywords. Analytic tools are a huge part of this, as they tell you what keywords are popular, what keywords are trending, and even suggest better keywords to use. You can then re-word your content and even the code behind the scenes to give your site a better chance of getting noticed by search engines. It’s a fine art, however; using the keywords too often or too little, or using them in the wrong place can have a worse effect on your rankings than not using them at all.
- Image descriptions. This is basically adding a text description of images and videos on your website so that the crawlers are able to know what it is picturing, as they are unable to view images and videos.
- Meta tags. These are in charge of the website information that shows up under the site names in search engine results. Having strong keywords and short-but-sweet descriptions of your website makes a big difference in your search rankings.
- Site accessibility. One of the biggest factors in search engine rankings is user accessibility. While search engines used to be focused solely on content quality, they now place a heavy emphasis on content presentation as well. They look at how easy to use the site is, if the site map is organized well, etc. Basically, the better experience a visitor has on your site, the higher your ranking becomes.
- SSL certificates. Having a secure website is a must for today’s digital world, and SSL is taking the internet by storm as the top player in digital security (you can check out last month’s ebook and blogs for more information). In fact, in the time since we wrote that content, search engines have added even more weight to having a SSL certificate and have started removing websites that don’t from their search listings. This is a huge shift and proves that your website must have a SSL in order to be seen.
2. Easy to remember URLS
Another key part of SEO is making sure your URLs are optimized as well.
For example, take a look at these two URLs:
Now, which of these two would you be most likely to remember? Obviously, the first one. The easier a URL is to remember, the easier it is for visitors to find their way back to your site. While it is most important to make sure your website comes up in search results, it is equally important for your URLs to be optimized in case visitors can’t remember what they searched for and need a second way to return to your site.
3. Link Building
Much like humans create communities that create better communication between a large group of people, so do websites need a digital community in order to rank higher in search results. The most common way of doing this is through link-building. That is, linking other websites that have similar goals to yours to your website in return for them doing the same. Crawlers look at how many links a website has directing traffic to it, as well as directing traffic to other similar websites. If your site has a lot of links from reputable sources pointing visitors to you, the crawlers will assign a higher rating to your site. Conversely, if you link to reputable websites on your site, crawlers will reward you for your neighborly goodwill as well.
Summing It All Up
As you may have guessed, SEO can quickly become a complicated process. It all boils down to this: the better your website is for visitors to have a quality experience, the higher your search rankings will be. Due to the many different aspects of SEO, it can seem overwhelming at first. The importance of SEO, however, far outweighs the daunting challenges it can pose. If you are interested in boosting your traffic, let us know! We’d be glad to partner with you and do your SEO for you, allowing you to focus on what really matters: growing your business.