Beginners Guide To Search Engine Optimization
Behind every notable website; there is a unique design, easy navigation, and an effective marketing strategy. For the majority of business owners, the foundation of their online marketing efforts relies profoundly on their website. However, with the rise in popularity of the internet, so did the amount of websites on the web. Nowadays, it seems that most businesses have a site whether as an online place holder or to leverage their online presence in the hopes of attracting customers that otherwise wouldn't have known about their business.
Having a website is a great start when it comes to obtaining an established online presence. After all, "Google it" became a verb for a reason. Most consumers these days start their buying journeys online. Why? Because all of the information that they want to know is available to them right at their fingertips. With a few clicks and taps of their computer keyboard and cursor, they can find the product or service they need or want without ever leaving the comfort of their home.
Believe it or not, most of these purchase journeys begin on a search engine.
Picture this: I need a pair of new running shoes.
I go on my phone, tablet or computer and type in "Size 8 Running Shoes" into Google.
What happens next? I immediately receive an answer.
Running shoes in my desired size in a few colors
Stores close to me that sell running shoes
Ads on current sales of running shoes
Pages upon pages of stores, brands, online sites selling shoes
This is no accident.
This is no fluke.
It's not a magic trick or sorcery.
I didn't receive these perfectly tailored results because these websites got lucky.
I received those results for a myriad of reasons all calculated and meant to give me the best possible choices available.
Who's the mastermind behind all of this? It's not a who- it's a what.
What's a search engine?
A search engine is a software program designed to search for information on the world wide web. Search Engines rely on algorithms(a series of computer programs) to help them know what a website contains within in it. As a user, you see the aesthetics of the website, as an algorithm you see the computer coding. Since it's initial launch, Search engines have changed and adapted throughout the years fine-tuning the results they offer users. Just like other business search engines provide a service to its users.
What's an algorithm?
Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! use computer programs to give you the results you receive when you type in a query. These computer programs have evolved over the years becoming smarter and able to provide you with better and more accurate responses to the questions you type into a search engine.
How do search engines get to know the content of a website?
Over coffee, of course. Just kidding. There are several algorithms that use different methods of identifying the credibility, content, and structure of a website. They do this through "crawling" or searching through a website's coding. In whereas you see the finished product, algorithms rummage through the back-end of a websites code and "index" or build a library with the content it finds. To organize information on the web in what is billions and billions of pages, a search engine uses its "programs" to crawl web pages and identify certain keywords to help them index and reference later when a user types in a query. To make things simple to understand imagine that a search engine is a library. Within this library, there are millions upon millions of books(websites). How will you ever know what all the books are about?! Don't fret; there are a handful of librarians(algorithms) that know the exact content of every page and have that knowledge on hand for whenever you need(indexes).
How do I get my website found on search engines?
There are several ways of getting your website found on search engines:
Directly: By typing in your URL (website name) or business name into a search engine. This is usually done only when the user knows either your URL or your business name- either obtained by a business card or some other form of marketing.
Search Engine Marketing: Promoting your website by paying search engines to boost the visibility of your site in search results.
Search Engine Optimization: Optimizing your website with the key factors used by search engines to rank your site.
How does SEO work?
Search engine optimization or SEO is the marketing effort focused on growing organic visibility(non-paid) in search engine results through the use of best practices and tactics. Like it was stated earlier - Search engines have two major functions: crawling and building an index and providing search users with a ranked list of the websites they've determined are the most relevant.
Remember that each algorithm has its own job in determining the content of your website. It is because of this that there are a few best practices that you can implement on your site to help you when it comes to getting your website ranked higher than others.
The world of SEO is complex, but most people can easily understand the basics. Simply put, there are a few major components that go into a successful SEO strategy.
- The content on your website (common keywords and phrases that are looked up frequently)
- How easy your website is to navigate
- How fast your website loads information and refreshes
- How credible your site seems compared to the competition
- How many times a user has landed on your webpage and has gone back to the search field
- How many other websites share or link back to your site
- Website hierarchy; is everything in its right place?
Why is SEO important? Because you can have the best site in the world, but if no one is looking at it, it doesn't do much for your business or brand.