What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for your website’s appearance in search engines and, as such, it is widely used as an Internet marketing strategy in the companies. In order to achieve an effective SEO, it is good to follow some rules and guidelines that we have collected for you in this article.
What is SEO?
SEO is a process rather than a one-time adjustment. Its main purpose is getting traffic from the so called “organic” search results on different search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc). This purpose is achieved by optimizing a website (using different approaches like choosing a relevant website structure and information architecture, as well as a content management system, adding the website to different directory services, editing its content so that it is SEO friendly, participating in social media, etc).
What are search engines looking for?
The main purpose of search engines is to refer users to content that is most relevant to what they are actually looking for. In this reference, there are a few things to consider when creating/optimizing a website – content, performance, authority, established external link and overall user experience. Given the fact that search engines’ algorithms are very strict when it comes to penalizing websites that use disapproved SEO techniques (known as “black hat” SEO), it is a better idea to follow their guidelines and use only approved SEO techniques (“white hat”). Otherwise you risk your website’s rank to be reduced or your website’s listings to be completely eliminated from their databases.
Website optimization began in the mid-1990s. This early optimization was rather simple – all you had to do was submit the website page to the search engines. They then sent a “spider” that “crawled” the website extracting links and keywords indexing the information found. Soon after the website owners started to understand the high value of their websites being visible in the search results and this led to different stages that SEO went through up to its current form.
SEO for Google
Google is the biggest and most frequently used (especially in Europe) search engine so it is very important that your website is optimized according to Google’s requirements. The first (and most important) Google’s “preference” is high quality content. That means that your first task should be making a keyword research that will help you identify the ways to get more traffic to your website. Another feature that Google values is creating your website using simple techniques (like HTML & CSS). Other features you should have in mind when optimizing a website for Google should include improving the website’s structure on all levels, optimizing its content in terms of text, images, and heading tags as well as making effective use of Google website’s analysis techniques (Google Analytics), quality (Google Webmaster Tools) and promotion (Google AdWords).
What makes a good great website?
When it comes to brand awareness (and that’s among the top aims of all businesses), mediocrity is not tolerated. If you want results, you should look for the best and not put up with less. A great website takes more than SEO. The key elements of an effective website include:
- APPEARANCE – don’t ever forget that your website may be the first (if not the only) impression a potential client receives of your business. If it is attractive, it is more likely to keep your customer’s attention. According to Google a user should stay on your website for more than 10 seconds, otherwise the search engine would consider this website visit for irrelevant and this would increase your website bounce rate.
- CONTENT – while your website’s style is important in order to attract visitors, what will keep them engaged is the information they will find there. With the lack of salesmen and shop assistants a regular shop has, your customers will heavily rely on the information you present in your website in order to make a decision.
- FUNCTIONALITY – even if your website looks great and has a lot of interesting information in it, it will still be useless if it has poorly constructed components like broken links, misspelling, etc. Moreover, it will ruin the good impression you just built in your customers with its great appearance and style.
- USABILITY – this is a key component of a great website. It includes simplicity, fast-loading pages, logical navigation, minimal mouse-scrolling, compatibility with different platforms and browsers, as well as responsive design for mobile devices and smartphones.
SEO has changed a lot during the past decade and it evolves with every passing minute. That’s why your approach to SEO is crucial to the way you want your customers to perceive you and your business. Think about SEO more in terms of a way to build your brand rather than in terms of trying to manipulate the search engines. Remember that the real aim of website optimization is not about your webpage being the first in the search results, but rather about your clients being content with what they find in your website.