When attempting to start learning about web design many of us have faced the well known mantra of the SEO (search engine optimization). To start addressing this topic is necessary to clarify what a search engine is and why it needs to be optimized. A search engine is simply a program that searches online for keywords. Basically, the search engines are the ones sending individuals to your site if they do not know your URL. The most famous and by far most used searching engine in the world is Google.
What Google does is to every now and then send “spiders” or “bots” to check on a website and find what out what it is about. By doing so, Google has the chance to find out how relevant your website is to satisfy the search of a term. Therefore, Google automatically evaluates all your content, the description of your images, the comments, the participation, where it has been shared and by whom, etc. All in order to complete the data for an internal secret algorithm that will decide the relevance of your page. When Google decides you are relevant enough you will go up in the positions of the search results list which will increase the chances of being clicked, getting a new subscriber and potentially converting a sell.
You can pay Google to have a sponsored advertisement to get the first position (which is know as SEM or search engine marketing) but the only way to achieve a first place for an extended and stable period of time is to optimize your website in a natural way. Optimization techniques include every aspect related to your website, from the structure to the URLs and the images, with the purpose of being found easier by the spiders and “giving them the impression” that your site is ideal for certain searches. The SEO consists of a rather complicated number of “tricks” or advices, related to your online marketing channels, whose primary purpose is to put your website near the top of a key search.
According to this purpose, there are two different sides of the same coin in SEO: the organic and the corrupted. The organic or white hat SEO content is the one that is created in any website related to your own website and content. That content will lead the engine to see how relevant you are in a certain search. The corrupted side of the SEO, or black hat SEO, appears when the creation of this content has been purposely duplicated, commented, and distributed (usually in exchange for an amount of money) with no other purpose than staying in the first place of the search without really being the most appropriate result. Google is very aware of these kinds of techniques and prosecutes or punishes those by taking their sites out of the program or down in the results list.
With this explanation we can start to form a picture of how complicated being noticed by Google can become. Being in the first places of Google serves business and blogs for a number of reasons. It gives prestige and trust. As a consumer seeing the first place means you are the right choice “you must be the best, otherwise why would you be so high in the search rankings”. In a Hubspot marketing statistics report, 44% of the consumers today start the purchase process by using a search engine which have accustomed them to find everything they are looking for in a very limited number of clicks. On top of this, the sponsored results shown at the beginning only receive about 2% of the click rate in contrast with the 60% rate that the first three organic results have. If you are effectively positioned as one of the first three results and you happen to be a local company, approximately 60% of your clicks can lead to a purchase.
Now, understanding the importance of positioning or repositioning your site, it is time to learn some general tips from different sources:
- Use a language that Google understands. The first thing is to make sure your website is compatible with Google’s bots, otherwise your site will not be found. [Source: Fernando Maciá for Marketing TV]
- The architecture is also a key factor. A messy website can mislead Google. If Google does not get deep enough, part of your content will never be seen in the search engine. To avoid this, the easiest way is to create a sitemap which is a document that lists all the URLs under your domain. [Source: Miguel Florido]
- Take a look at your own competitors. Another very basic but very relevant tip is to research other websites that have a first position before your keywords. You can receive inspiration and good ideas of how to do the same yourself. [Source: Fernando Maciá for Marketing TV]
- Be aware of the competition for each keyword. Continuing with the previous advice, the competition can have gathered a number of first positions on some keywords. You can always try to compete in all of them, but if it seems impossible to overcome other big businesses, you must try to find secondary keywords that will also result in some traffic and are not as used. Even more, to properly stalk your competitors and their keywords you can use any of the several tools created for that purpose, although the most widely used is still Google AdWords. [Source: Moz.com]
- Titles! Your website must have a great title. Unless the consumer knows your URL, the title of your site is the only thing you are competing with when they Google a keyword. Specialists recommend short and up to the point titles for more effective click rates. In addition, we can not forget about all the URLs in a domain, they play a key factor in the keywords found by the bots. Some experts strongly recommend using titles in your URLs and not code systems. [Source: Javier Martinez]
- Upload new content regularly and update your old posts. Experts recommend quality updates and not minor daily ones. Moreover, review old posts and change the date as well as about 10% of the content because it is recommended in order to catch the attention of the bots and raise the relevance of old posts. [Source: Miguel Florido]
- Written content is the most effective. For some years it has been predicted that SEO and content optimization was dying, but in 2015 the importance of these techniques has increased considerably. Written content is the easiest found by bots because sometimes they do not properly understand multimedia content. To support this data QuickSprout stated that pages with an average of 2,000 words are in the top 10 results, which supports the fact that the more content you add the more keywords Google will find in your site. [Source: Hubspot.com]
- Describe your multimedia content. For a more effective online content marketing, multimedia content is absolutely necessary. Video content is precisely the focus of current online marketing. It is predicted to have 69% of the online consumer traffic in 2017. To properly optimize multimedia content a transcript or at least a description in the same URL is preferred. The importance of tagging and describing the images on your webpage so it can be found by the bots is of importance as well. [Source: The Guardian]
- Avoid duplicated content. Your content is very important, however, duplicated or mirrored information on your or other websites are punished by Google. [Source: Shout me Loud]
- Don’t re-write information, link your posts. This is a great tip to avoid duplications and increase the mentions to your URL by implementing link strategies. The links help the bots to find deeper places in your site while it allows the users to do the same. Also, in Google’s bots logic, the more links that lead to your page the more important you must be. [Source: HTML Goodies]
- Create social media pages and use them. As earlier mentioned, Google notices every mention of your company on any public site. Therefore, unless your Facebook is not private, mentioning your blog or company on it is not so effective. The best way is to create a company page for your site in any relevant social media. Since social media sites appear in search engines, they will contribute to increasing your rankings if the content engages visitors to like and share the posts. [Source: Kissmetrics]
You can visit Google Support to receive specific tips to optimize your site. Otherwise, leave a comment or feedback and we look forward to providing you with tailored advice for your company.