SEO stands for “search engine optimization” which is how to get traffic to your website organically. There are natural search results and paid search results. The organic way of SEO is preferred and can be more valuable than just paying your way to the top.
What most people don’t understand is that there are many different types of SEO. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest or Tumblr are mini search engines. They are all built on different algorithms that take into account multiple different factors to determine whether or not your content will get found. Establishing yourself on these websites can help get your business found faster. At it’s core SEO is all about getting found in search engines. At the same time it’s more complicated than just starting a website and hoping for the best.
Because of all the different factors there are several different ways to optimize your website to get found in a search engine. Most people are only familiar with one way but there are 200 main signals and 10,000 sub-signals in Googles search algorithm alone (searchengineland.com).
There is one thing we do know for sure and it’s that all of these factors work in some sort of hidden combination that only Google knows. The factors are shrouded in secrecy and the only way we can discover them is through careful research and testing of different methods. While most of them are kept secret there are some things we can do that work and work very well.
A big shortcut to understanding SEO is to always keep the person in mind who is trying to find your business. What can you provide them that they are looking for that can provide them with a solution?
There are plenty of successful companies out their utilizing only a few key SEO methods to get websites ranked at the top of search engines. Lets breakdown the different types of SEO and how you may be able to utilize them with your own company
On-Page SEO Factors
This is the more technical aspect of SEO and takes careful detail and planning to successfully implement. On Page SEO factors include things such as good URL structure, relevant title tag, content of the page and Image alt text.
If you would compare it to a car, if everything was set up correctly, you’d end up with a Porsche. A Porsche is a quick, powerful and fun car to drive. Everything flows in a way that when you drive it you’re at a completely different performance level than if you drove a Saturn. When people sit in a Porsche it just feels different and so does driving it. It delights you when you’re behind the wheel and provides even more than what you wanted but in a simple and subtle way.
If a website has solid on page SEO factors it will load faster and will be easy to navigate. Everything you need is right there in front of you and you never feel overwhelmed or lost. It’s useful and relevant to what you’re looking for. It goes above and beyond what you may have been expecting upon your search for your problem or solution. When you go to that website you want to go back to it or tell your friends or family about it.
On Page isn’t as simple as adjusting a few things across every website. Much like a car, every website out there it takes a different kind of finesse. They are all set up a little differently and on different platforms. Putting unleaded gas or diesel into a Porsche would ruin it. A Porsche needs premium quality gasoline or it just won’t run.
Same thing with a website. You have to prime it and set it up correctly for the search engine spiders to crawl and scan the web pages efficiently. If the Google-bots can’t scan your website very well it won’t rank it very well either.
On Page SEO is all about priming all the necessary pathways for Google to crawl it more efficiently.
Content is King
All we hear about is that you have to have quality content on your website. What is quality content anyways? Quality content in a nutshell is how useful it is to the person who finds it. It’s relative to what people are searching for at that point in time. Good content can withstand the test of time or it can be good for that specific moment in time. It’s all relative to what you’re trying to accomplish with that particular piece of content.
If you write an article about how to master Frisbee Golf on your blog 10 years ago that is still being shared and read today that’s great content.
On the flip side, if you share a news story of some tragedy that happened specific to that day and it was shared and read 1 million times that can be good content as well.
It can be news based and informational or it can teach you how to do something. Content can be a picture, video, article, tool, or game. Great content serves a purpose for the person who has found it. It solves a problem and provides a solution or it directs you to a way to solve a problem or find a solution.
The best way to make content is to do keyword research. See what people are looking for or how you can solve their problem and fill their need. You could even weave content into a current pop culture phenomenon such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Good content is relate-able and shareable to the person who finds it. The goal with good content is to both help and inform other people. This is opposed to the old way of advertising which is all about the advertisers bottom line.
Good content also helps with SEO as you can naturally target the keywords that people are entering into Google Search on a daily basis. The more articles or pages you have on your website about Star Wars: The Force Awakens on your website the more that signals to Google that you could be an authority on that subject. If your article gets shared thousands of times your website could be considered an expert on that subject. If people are sharing your content then that could be a clue that it’s good content which means it’s good content in the eyes of Google as well.
Great content also creates back links. Other websites will want to link to your website if they like and agree with what they see. If a big time website, such as Disney, links back to your website that sends a very powerful signal to Google. Disney ranks very highly in Googles algorithm because it’s a website lots of people visit regularly and there is always fresh content on it. Disney also owns the Star Wars franchise so if it links to your Star Wars website that means that the most reputable website on Star Wars in the world sees you as an authority on Star Wars.
SEO is not limited to the internet. Cultivating relationships with companies and people can go a long way in helping your SEO.
When people think of SEO they don’t think social media is part of a much larger puzzle. Most business owners see social media as a waste of time and something only their teenage daughters utilize on a daily basis.
Social Media is arguably the most important aspect of SEO as you can establish your website or message on other highly trafficked websites. These websites are where people let other people know that you’re a good company to work with. They also share your content for you making your job easier and driving traffic back to your website.
On social media you can find highly concentrated communities of ravenous fans. If you write an article on how SEO and A Game of Thrones are similar you could share that in a community of people who watch the show.
For example, you could share your content in a community forum about A Game Of Thrones which would increase the chances of it getting shared thousands of times. Imagine if you shared A Game Of Thrones in a forum for wedding planners? That may not be as well received considering what happened to Rob Stark and the Red Wedding.
Social Media also has an effect on your SEO bottom line. It’s not always quantifiable by looking at analytics. When your post is shared on multiple different social media websites it’s letting Google and other search engines that you have a more reputable website.
You’re also posting a link to your website on a website that has the highest possible page rank. Page rank factors in SEO and websites such as Twitter and Facebook have the highest rankings in search engines possible. Posting your link and sharing it on these social networks can boost your SEO in more ways than one.
What about “White Hat” versus “Black Hat?”
All the above SEO tactics are white hat and if you utilize them properly you will drive traffic back to your website. The black hat tricks can give you high numbers up front but eventually you will be penalized causing more work for you. You may end up having to file paperwork with Google or get a whole new website and URL.
Going about content and SEO the right way also provides a much better experience in search engines. With all the different factors that go into SEO at the end of the day it’s all about providing a solution to a problem. People go to search engines to find a solution. Your business provides a solution to a problem or a need.
There is no magic SEO bullet. Using a combination of everything all at once helps your website rank higher in search engines while providing a much smoother search experience.