There is no denying it, we reside in an internet driven world. If you really want to see your business become successful and grow online, it is dire that your website and your content can be easily found. It is impossible not to notice that there are many benefits of using social media platforms, other online channels and referral websites. Despite all that, one of the most productive ways to bring in targeted traffic, meaning traffic that will convert into sales, is to rank high in the search engines. This is where search engine optimization comes into the picture.
Search Engines and SEO
Before we delve into strategy and some tips for better optimization of your site, you must understand how the search engines work. In a nutshell, a search engine’s job is to provide the user with the best possible answer in the shortest amount of time.
Surprisingly, rankings will shift depending on the user that is doing the searching. Two people can conduct the same query at different locations, but experience a slightly different result based on individual search history. Google is starting to understand and give results based on our own personal search patterns. It is important to understand that none of these keyword rankings are set in stone. The spot you are in currently is not where you’ll be permanently. It’s going to continually change based on a number of different variables.
There is a whole list of different factors that figure into the algorithm. The reason for this is to help Google get the most natural results available. Again, the idea is to deliver the best answer to the user in the shortest amount of time. If this happens to be your site, you will end up with a higher spot in the rankings. When your site doesn’t produce these results, it will appear lower in the rankings.
There are a number of things to consider when optimizing your site for searches. Link building is important for pointing traffic to your site. The term simply means to link external pages to one of your webpages. It’s not necessarily the number of links that’s important, so much as it is the quality and context of these links. You must make sure that the links make sense in regard to what you are offering.
For instance, you own a carpet cleaning business, appropriate backlinks are needed. You want to make sure that you have links that pertain to carpet cleaning and carpet cleaning supplies or the cleaning field in general. You can’t have links from an unrelated industry or a random page that really doesn’t have anything to do with what you do. Google see will see this and consider those links to be spammy. They view this as using spam tactics. This can really hurt you and your site’s reputation.
Make sure the person who is building your backlinks is qualified and understands Google’s policy. Low-quality links will actually do more damage rather than help promote your site to the search engines.
Another important element is good, quality content. Content is invaluable as it is what fuels the internet. When people search for information online they’re looking for trustworthy content that’s going to answer their question or solve their problem. Whether you write your own content, or hire a professional writer, you’ve got to be sure that the words make sense to readers.
This is where Google’s AI technology Rankbrain kicks in, trying to better understand how people use the search engine to find solutions to their problems. Users search the internet differently depending on the types of issues they have. Sometimes when using Google, the tone will be more specific and use keywords, other times questions may be more general and asked simply out of curiosity. Rankbrain is trying to understand these tones, sort through the context of the situation and then deliver the best match for that particular user’s query.
Also, Google now has a mobile index and a desktop index. Just like before, you will see different rankings as well as other things when you’re using a mobile device instead of a desktop. For instance, if your site has accelerated mobile pages, you will see them rank higher in the mobile platform since you’re delivering fast content. This makes a better user experience so Google is placing more relevance on this, while on the desktop version, they may be looking for more in-depth content.
Google has reevaluated and focused attention on the end user because they know that those users rely greatly on their service. If Google is able to retain their status as the #1 trusted source for information, the company will grow to unimaginable heights. That makes their brand much more valuable and helps them hold on to their market share. Google will continue to evolve and provide outstanding service to the end user because their longevity depends on it.
Know Your Target Audience
One thing every company should do before starting a SEO campaign is to understand their users. This can easily be accomplished by installing tracking software on your site. Google Analytics also provides great insight into your user’s preferences and demographics. Understanding your market while getting to know their likes and dislikes, their keywords and the types of phrases they use to search will prove beneficial when planning your campaign and creating content.
Once you understand who your target market is, it is now time to put in the work. Being knowledgeable about your users will help you to know what content will work best. Long form or short form is really going to depend on your specific market and how they prefer their content presented to them. This is the very reason why short articles can outrank long pieces of content depending on the niche. Another fine example of where quality is much more important than quantity.
Image Credits To: Christian Schnettelker