What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process by which content on the web it optimized and tweaked to yield greater web traffic. Google uses complicated, constantly evolving search algorithms to determine what searches lead to what websites. Relevancy, popularity, credibility, freshness, and other factors to deliver the most accurate and relevant results for each individual search. If you seek to maintain visibility and success for your website, you must learn how to perform search engine optimization on your website and any content you wish to upload it. When you perform adequate SEO, your content is not only more accessible, but more appealing to potential customers, clients, and even people just stumbling upon your website.
When done with care and attention to detail, Search Engine Optimization appeases all three parties involved in the search process. For Website owners or managers, content ranks higher with search engine algorithms and yields greater results. For search engines, content is quantified easier, sorted, and run through the search engine system more efficiently. For people using search engines or using a website, the content not only easier to comprehend, but is more appealing and leads them to the appropriate answers to their search query with greater efficiency as well.
It is important to understand that Search Engine Optimization is not a one time only process. The fact that a website or article fights SEO standards today doesn’t necessarily mean that it will hold up to SEO standards tomorrow. Remember that there are three parties involved in every search; the Website, the Search Engine, and the person searching. The demands of these three parties are always changing, and often not in the same way. Websites convert to use new formats, create new features, and are always pushing for more content. Search Engines are always tweaking algorithms, adapting design features, updating standards for content evaluation, and making their platforms easier to use for searchers. The everyman or woman using search engines are also constantly refining their search patterns, even if they don’t realize it. A single users will often have dozens of searches in a single day and search engines are responsible for delivering upon each query with satisfactory results it a timely manner, most often within fractions of a second.
If you have performed Search Engine Optimization in the past, you are on the right track. However, this does not mean that you are free and clear. If you have noticed a downturn in traffic or results, it may because your optimization is out of date. Search Engine Algorithms are constantly being updated, and you may be catering your website towards parameters and metrics that are no longer in play. 2021 is no exception, and has seen the rolling out and further emphasis on continued updates. If you haven’t updated your website already, you may have noticed fewer and less favorable results. But don’t worry, this post will help bring you back up to speed and ahead of the competition. Below is a recap of the updates we’ve seen recently, as well as how they’ve affected your website and how you can improve your website to keep ahead of the competition.
Websites, and the technology we view them on, have become increasingly advanced, even within the past few months. The standards of Search Engine Optimization have changed to match these advancements. Even compared to a few years ago, there are changes that your website could and should be making in order to keep up with the evolving demands and constraints of search engine algorithms.
In case you hadn’t noticed, mobile phones are everywhere, and they are smart. In fact, Mobile Phones have been the leader over laptops and desktops in internet usage since 2016. These handheld devices are the dominant access point to the internet for billions of people all over the globe. As such, Google has moved forwards with a mobile-first policy on their search engines. They have adopted a mobile-first indexing policy that impacts your website greatly.
Google’s Mobile-First Indexing Policy means that Google is prioritizing their search results based on the quality of the mobile site, rather than the quality of the desktop site. This is a massive change in tradition, as the desktop site has always been regarded as the primary indicator of quality. However, since Google has made the mobile site the top priority, you need to make it your top priority as well. The desktop version of the website is not irrelevant, but it no longer has top billing. When designing your website, you need to ensure that it runs smoothly and looks aesthetically pleasing when viewed from a phone or tablet. Your mobile site needs to be developed with just as much attention as you developed your desktop site with.
Believe it or not, Google has a tremendous say in whether the quality of your content is viewed as “good” or “bad”. In fact, Google evaluates the quality of everything it recommends on a search page. While there is no concrete formula for evaluating quality, Google uses several metrics to ascertain whether your content is “good” or “bad”. These metrics include, but certainly aren’t limited to; freshness, relevancy, site reputation, and more. It is your duty to ensure that your content adheres to these metrics, and there are simple “do’s” and “don’ts” that can be followed to ensure that you are in fact producing quality content for your website.
Some of these “do’s” are simple, such as the fact that your content should be free of grammatical and spelling errors. A quick way to deter algorithms and users alike is to use the incorrect “too”. It is also important to ensure that your information is correct and that any statements are factual. An easy way to assure search engines of this is to link back to credible sources. This also provides users with an easy way to verify and learn more about your topics. One of the easiest ways to ensure that your content is quality content is to make sure that your content isn’t cluttered. Make sure to space keywords out, don’t overuse images, and keep your paragraphs organized to ensure that users and search engines don’t get lost in a mess when visiting your website.
The Home Page
Your Home Page is a user’s first impression of your website and your business. If you are not putting your best foot forward, you are leaving a bad first impression, one that can hardly ever be made up. Your Home Page needs to immediately let search engines and the users know what your business is, what it sells, and give them an inkling of the message and mission of your business. If your home page doesn’t do this, you will quickly lose the attention of the user and the recommendation of the search engine.
Correlating all of the available elements of your home page to effectively and concisely convey all of these elements of a positive first impression may seem daunting, but it isn’t. An effective home page utilizes visuals and minimal text to convey these ideas. Your front page doesn’t need to be jam packed with information, rather it should be laid out in a simple, organized manner. Utilize menus and headings to keep your home page open and present the user with options rather than overloading them with information right off the bat.
If your website isn’t fast, it is slow, and that’s the biggest misstep you could take on the world wide web. Your website may need a tune up or an upgrade if you hope to keep your visitors satisfied with what they are finding. The longer a webpage on your site takes to load, the less engaged and less satisfied visitors are with what you have to offer. Internet users want things to load quickly and to be accessible to them as soon as possible. When someone searches on their phone, they want quick results. Remember, this percentage now succeeds the amount of web traffic that comes from desktops or laptops. If your website is outdated or running slowly, visitors will turn to another source and your Google rankings may be hurt in the process.
More to Come
Ten years ago, few people had smartphones, now more people have and use smartphones than they do computers. Not only are these devices becoming more numerous, but they are becoming more advanced in the process. Items such as smart watches, Alexa’s, Google Home systems, smart lights, and many other products are all evolving to work in relation to the ever-expanding capabilities of the internet. As these devices become more connected and more central to how we use the internet, the standards of search engine optimization will change yet again. It’s important to start thinking of ways to future proof your website today, and the best way to start is by meeting these changes to SEO when they come, not after they’ve affected your website traffic.
Your website is for potential customers, clients, and visitors to find your content and use it to better their own experience, it is not made for you. If visitors do not feel like a priority when on your website or if content is not easily accessible for them, your website will be penalized by search engines and in the mind of your potential customers.
Keep in mind that the best way to put the user first is by following the other updates for Search Engine Optimization. If your website is up to date, visually appealing, loads quickly, and provides easy navigation and access to your content, then your chances of appealing to and appeasing users increases greatly.
Content Quality can be one of the most difficult portions of Search Engine Optimization to master. How can you ensure that users are having a positive experience when using your website? How can you be sure that your content is providing users with the appropriate answers and/or services? The best way to ensure that your content is of the highest quality is to self-evaluate it.
You need to take steps to ensure that the content on your website reflects your brand and your message. Contradictory articles or mistakes in the website may indicate that your website or business does not really believe in its mission or that it is run carelessly. Leaving a good impression on users throughout their visit to your website is crucial if you want them to return and for your web traffic to grow.
You also need to make sure that users are presented with the best work you have to offer. If you are presenting potential customers with poorly written articles or services that do not live up to their claim, the potential customers will easily be turned off from what you have to offer. A simple way to prevent this is by monitoring what is on your site. If you maintain your website yourself, then take the time to double check your work, make sure that articles are written properly and that they are factually accurate. Do not offer services that you cannot deliver on, and don’t make any false promises just to lure people into a purchase. Your website is representative of you, so make sure that you are putting your best foot forward by striving for the highest quality content.
As the Search Engines continue to lay out their priorities and their changing standards, it is important that you improve upon and revise your website to meet both the search engines’ and the users’ standards. Factors such as mobile-website quality, speed, display/appearance, functionality, and organization are ever important if you want your website to continue to rank well. If you strive to ensure that your website meets these expectations, stays “on brand” with your mission and is relevant to why users search for it, then you are practically ensuring the success of your website and business within search engines such as Google and Bing. Do not let the competition get the advantage, follow the guidelines laid out in this article and you are sure to notice results.