If you have a site online, you are probably familiar with the term SEO. If not, you will definitely want to be. If your site is not performing the way you would like it to, then you need to look at SEO as on of the reasons why. Sites with poor SEO will always under perform compared to those that have mastered it. But what is SEO and how does it help your site?
The Key to Driving Traffic
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. So far so good, but what exactly does that mean? Well, every time you go online to look for something, whether it be information on something you plan to purchase, or the name of your favourite author’s new book, you are using a search engine.
Google is one search engine that you likely use every single day. Bing is another. For simplicity, we’ll continue to refer to Google, given its position as the most-used search engine, but it should be understood that this applies to all of them.
Google takes the words that you type in (keywords) and finds relevant information. So if you type “what is the best shampoo for men?” Google will provide you with a list of articles on various sites, all discussing which shampoo you should be using.
But how does Google do this?
There are more than 1.8 billion websites online as of 2017. Obviously, you can’t look through them all to find what you want. That’s where Google comes in, finding what it thinks to be the best matches and providing you links to them. But even Google can have difficulty matching you with the right site and that’s why SEO is so important.
Optimization is defined as “the action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource.”. In this case, what SEO does is help Google find your site. It’s the big flag that your website waves in the air to say “I’m over here!”
If you want Google to suggest your site to potential visitors, then your site needs to be visible. A visible site is one that will get more traffic, or visitors.
How Does it Work?
There are several factors to take into consideration when looking at the SEO of your site, some of which will be on-site, some of which will be off site. For the sake of this article, let’s consider what you can do on your site to appeal to search engines. We’ll use the 3 C’s: Content, Clarity, Consistency.
Content is king. Whatever you choose to write about will determine whom you are trying to attract to your site. Your content should be well-written and readable. That isn’t to say you need to be the next Shakespeare. In fact, Shakespeare is not that readable for modern audiences. Most high school students struggle with the language and thus it becomes a bit of a chore.
You don’t want the same fate to befall the website that you are working so hard to create. The best approach is to write the way you speak. Imagine that you are writing down a conversation with a friend. You want your readers to understand what you are trying to communicate, not be impressed with your tremendous language skill.
Your content should also be focused and relevant. If you are writing an article on a new product that you have tried out that you think everyone should know about, keep your focus on that. Don’t give in to the temptation to toss in 20 other ideas.
You should be informative without running off into several other barely-related topics. This goes again to readability. Google likes content that provides a good user experience.
Do your best to engage your reader. If they don’t connect with your content they are unlikely to stay on your page or take any action that you are hoping for, such as making a purchase.
Make your site interesting. Add images, ask questions, or do anything you can to make visitors stay and become involved in what you are showing them. A visitor who comes to your page and them promptly leaves has bounced and your bounce rate can affect your SEO.
This is somewhat related to content, as mentioned above. You want your content to be clear for the reader. Beyond that, you want it to be clear to the search engines so that they will know what your content and your site are about. If Google doesn’t know what you’re talking about, they aren’t going to recommend you to anyone. To help make your site clear, put some thought into the following:
- Title Tags. These are used by Google to understand what your main topic is. These should be clear and concise, without any unnatural language. Keyword stuffing– trying to force a given word or phrase into your text when it doesn’t fit naturally– is not going to help you here.
- Meta description. Somewhat similar to a title tag, your meta description expands upon what your page is about, giving more detail.
- Internal links. These are links that connect the pages on your site. If you write a review on shampoo, you might have a link to another review on conditioner. These links help Google understand how the various pages on your site relate to one another, and their relevance for searches.
- Ease of navigation. You want your site to be easy to navigate. If a visitor can’t find what they need, they aren’t likely to stay long. Aim for simple menus with clear categories and sub-categories.
Having a clear, easy-to-navigate site makes for a more enjoyable user experience, which will translate to a better ranking in the eyes of Google. Clean and simple is the way to go.
Visitors to your site like to know what to expect. It can be hard to engage with a site that posts sporadically at best. Continue to produce quality content on an ongoing basis. This lets your readers know to check back often and lets Google know that your site is an active one that continues to be relevant, and not one that has fallen by the wayside.
There are other factors to consider as well; SEO is not a simple subject that can be learned by reading one article. Some companies hire SEO professionals to manage their website content to ensure that they rank well with Google and are visible to their potential customers and given the amount of business being done online, this can easily be a deciding factor in their overall success.
Learning how to implement proper SEO on your site will bring you the traffic that you need to be successful. If you would like to learn more (much more) about SEO and how to be successful online, learn from the best. Sign up at Wealthy Affiliate to learn the answers to all your SEO questions, and learn the strategies you need to succeed online. The entire first course is free and doesn’t even require a credit card for verification. Simply sign up and start learning from the leading educators in building an online business.
Once you sign up and create your profile (again, its free), I will find you and I will personally be available to you at any time to help you out.