It might be close to rocket science or brain surgery, but SEO isn’t as mysterious as many make out.
So here it is—Search Engine Optimization: demystified and deconstructed …
Well, search engines like to see certain things either on your web pages (onsite SEO) or about your web pages elsewhere (offsite SEO).
They use formulas to analyze huge amounts of data about all the web pages they can find to determine which ones should be present and in what order when someone searches a relevant keyword phrase.
You should look at your target audience and your competition and “reverse engineer” what search engines want to see. Then, make sure that your web pages have everything in place in the right order and balance, both onsite and offsite—pretty simple, really.
How SEO Works
Although search engines are continuously refining how they rank web pages, there remain two key elements that are the foundation for a successful Page 1 result.
- Onsite: Your content and website infrastructure targets the best keyword clusters that match your website’s existing content and shows up in search engine results.
- Offsite: It’s how your website is referred to from other online sources which develops into a profile of high quality, on-theme, incoming links that have a relevant and active social media presence. It also creates citations (non-linking references) about you. At least half of your SEO outcomes are influenced by elements outside your direct control.
Everything else is about strategy, techniques, tactics and finesse. The search engines look at over 200 “signals” when evaluating web pages, and every year, they add over 400 refinements.
Every day, 25 percent of the keywords search engines get are ones they have never seen before. So, we focus on creating what we call “keyword clusters.” These are groups of keyword phrases focused around high volume “core” keyword phrases.
For example, a core keyword phrase might be “accommodation” and that cluster may include “accommodation New York,” “luxury accommodation,” and “boutique accommodation.”
Using the latest SEO tools and software, you should find the optimum balance in your keyword phrase list that delivers the best return on investment.
Matching Your Existing and New Content
One approach to onsite SEO is to match one keyword phrase from each keyword cluster to a single page on your website.
Typically, your home page will be focused on your “gun” keyword phrase and your main navigation pages will target your next most important keyword phrases and so on through your web page hierarchy.
Often, your website won’t have web pages to target some of the important keyword phrases you will want to focus on; in these cases, you’ll need to create new pages to reach these terms.
Behind the Scenes—the Code
Not all websites are created equal. Some websites are great and are ideally search engine-friendly, but many are not. A key part of your web development is to ensure that all the pages of your website are correctly indexed and that there are no technical impediments to your online success.
For a preview of how the search engines are currently indexing your website, go to Google and in the search box, type “site: www.yourwebaddress.com” and see how many pages have been indexed and how Google is displaying your pages.
Yes, “look and feel” is vitally important in motivating visitors to explore your website and in guiding them to act or buy, but they need to find your website first.
Offsite Link Profile
In the simplest of terms, a link from another website to your website is seen as a vote of confidence in your website.
Search engines believe that if other websites are linking to your web pages, you must have something good to link to…
…and they will rate your page that is being linked to more positively.
Today, search engines take into consideration many additional factors other than just the sheer number of links when evaluating your offsite link profile:
- The reputation or trust value of sites linking to your website.
- The theme or relevance of sites linking to you.
- The “anchor text” (the words that the link is embedded behind) in links to your site.
Offsite Social Profile
More and more, search engines are starting to consider social media references as important signals about your website and your company in general.
It’s not just about having a Facebook page, a Twitter account or a Google Plus page, but also how active you are and in what manner your social media associates refer to you, your company and your website content.
Offsite Citation Profile
Citations are references to your company name, address, phone number or website that may not actually link to you but are recognizable to search engines. Although these citations are indeed helpful across the board, they are particularly useful in enhancing your search results in maps and geolocation rankings.
While, SEO technology may seem intimidating, it’s important to understand so that your website and business gets the traffic it needs to be successful. Consider what changes need to be made to your site for optimal search engine results, and update as quickly as possible.