Modern society has come to rely on the world wide web for a myriad of purposes.
With the vast majority of internet usage being spent on information seeking, entertainment, and shopping, a company that does not have a website may as well not exist in the eyes of the modern consumer. To combat this, companies have been investing thousands of dollars into creating the seemingly perfect website to promote their organisation.
However, many businesses are discovering that the initial excitement of launching a new website soon wears off for one simple reason – it’s nowhere to be seen in Google search results. While this may appear perplexing at first glance, there’s almost always a number of factors that were not considered during the development and launch stages of the website. The main reason is usually the lack of search engine optimization SEO applied to the site.
First and foremost, business owners should ensure they have submitted their website’s domain name to Google and all other major search engines. As a website can take between three and six weeks to appear in search results after the initial launch, the URL submission stage should be completed as early as possible.
While getting a website listed is an accomplishment in itself, the work involved in getting it ranked high in search results that your future clients are using, has only just begun. Because consumers typically only ever consider visiting websites that appear on the first page of results, it’s imperative for a business to ensure their site ranks as highly as possible. Such an accomplishment is achieved through implementing sophisticated Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques, which considers and applies many different factors throughout the process.
In order to climb up the ranks of Google to page one listings and experience increased organic traffic, qualified leads, and increased revenue, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of SEO, and why and how they are applied.
What is a keyword?
A keyword is a portion of the search term consumers use to find what they’re looking for online. In many cases, this can include the entire search term, which is known as a key phrase. By including keywords and phrases relevant to your product or service in your website content, Google is able to find and display your site when people search for the specific words or phrases they use when conducting a web search.
The number of keywords you select and focus on is critical. Too many and Google may penalise you due to suspected keyword stuffing – an SEO crime that can be costly to recover from. Too few and your site may not be considered relevant enough to appear in search results. A good number to focus on is three to five keywords and phrases that are highly specific to your business.
Why are keywords important?
When a web user types a search term into a search engine, the sites that are deemed most relevant to the specific term used – along with a plethora of other factors – are listed in order of relevance according to the search engine’s algorithm. Millions of websites are scanned for these keywords, then displayed in the best order the search engine sees fit.
Depending on how competitive the niche or industry is, some keywords may receive several hundred or even thousands of searches each day, while others may get considerably fewer. Google often displays popular searches that closely match what is being searched for as a dropdown format in the Google search field and you will seem the drop down menu automatically pop up when you start typing in your phrase. This is a good method for finding keywords relevant to your business.
What are meta tags and what are they used for?
Meta tags are the foundational elements of a website that are never seen by the consumer but are vital for ensuring the site is found by a search engine. The information they provide gives a search engine a brief summary of what the website is about and compares that information with the content within the site.
They are similar to keywords except that they are hidden deep within the code of a website, only to be seen by the search engine. Just after the turn of the millennium, Google stopped listing sites alphabetically and began to use meta tags along with several other factors to offer increased relevance in search results.
Ensure you include meta tags in the coding of your website, and make sure they correspond with your chosen keywords and phrases.
What Is a search engine algorithm?
An algorithm is essentially a formula a search engine uses to process and refine the millions of potential results based on a certain search term. They are used to help the search engine determine out of those millions of possible results which should be displayed, and in what order.
These algorithms are being continually developed and improved upon in order to return the most useful and relevant information to a web user’s queries. To prevent an unfair advantage, Google and other major search engines do not fully publicise their algorithms. Rather, they release information suggesting what updates they have made. It is then the responsibility of the website owner or manager to ensure changes are made if and when necessary to satisfy the updated algorithm.
Although various tweaks often have to be made to adhere to an updated algorithm, there are a number of factors that tend to remain consistent throughout SEO. These include ensuring the selected keyword appears in the title of the page, the header tags, and the meta tag; the number of organic links that direct back to the page from other websites; and the website’s overall performance across a variety of devices such as desktop, mobile, and tablet.
From Google’s humble beginnings to the search engine giant they are today, the company has certainly developed at an incredible rate, and continues to do so. Each algorithm update offers its own unique challenges, with the ultimate goal of providing the consumer with the most relevant, informative and personalised search results.
Exciting times are ahead for SEO, and as long as business owners follow correct SEO practices and alter their strategies for each update whenever necessary, they should certainly witness an increase in organic traffic and qualified leads, and therefore higher revenue than their competitors.
Senka Pupacic has advised and worked with companies across the globe and is the founding Partner and Principal Consultant at Top 10 SEO Services, www.top10insydney.com.