Search Engine Optimization

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! SEO can really feel that scary – and, unless you’re a zoo, those are HORRIBLE keywords. Wikipedia offers this quick definition: Search Engine Optimization is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results.

When looking to improve your SERP (Search Engine Results Placement) it’s important to consider both the quantity and quality of your traffic. Getting visitors to your website is the easy part, but if users are coming to you because Google tells them you’re a great resource for furniture when you’re actually running an organic produce farm, there’s not much benefit. You want visitors who are looking for the products and services you actually provide. Generally speaking, the more traffic the better – but quality and quantity is the ticket.

How it Works

Google (or Bing, Yahoo, etc.) sends out a crawler to collect information about all the content currently available on the internet. The crawlers return all that data to the search engine to build an index. The index is then ran through a complex algorithm that attempts to match all that data with your specific Google search.

Ranking Factors

Google has an extensive list of over 200 ranking factors, but here are the big ones:

  • top level domain keyword

  • domain age

  • domain history

  • keyword in title tags

  • content updates

  • outbound links

  • keyword in description tags

  • keyword density

  • content length

  • page load speed

  • duplicate content

  • grammar & spelling

Quality content really is key here, which is why blogging (with semi-regular frequency) is a fundamental aspect of your SEO strategy. High ranking content covers the keyword topic in an  in-depth (and readable) way.  Content must provide real value to the user – complete with featured images (and their appropriately alt-title tags) and well-written copy.

Google It.

Applying the basics of SEO to your website – so that your users can find you quickly and easily – is fundamental to the growth of your business. And it’s way more complicated than stuffing keywords into a yearly blog post. Integration with Google Search Engine Console and Google Analytics is key – the data has to drive the strategy. The strategy starts from the very beginning of your site development by choosing an SEO friendly domain name and has to be worked continually. It works if you work it.

Search engine algorithms change frequently and SEO tactics have to evolve in response. If someone is offering you SEO advice that doesn’t feel quite right – if what they’re promising sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember, no one can guarantee any organic results. Diligence, work, and data-driven strategy are the only ways to play the long-game of SEO and improve your page rank.