The core focus of SEO is to expand the company’s visibility in organic search results. It can help companies rank higher for more pages in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). In turn, it can attract more website visitors and increase the chances of getting more conversions.
When asked to explain what SEO is, I often choose to call it a strategy to ensure that when someone searches for your product or service category on Google, they will find your website.
But this simplifies the discipline slightly. It does not consider factors such as the information needs of different customers. However, it does reveal its essence.
In short, SEO drives two things—ranking and visibility.
This is the process used by search engines to determine where to place a particular webpage in the SERP.
This term describes how prominent a particular domain is in search engine results. With high visibility, your domain is prominent in SERP. When many related search queries do not see the domain, search visibility decreases.
Both are responsible for achieving the main goals of SEO-traffic and conversions. There is another reason why you should use SEO. Discipline can help you position your brand in almost the entire buying process.
In turn, it can ensure that your marketing strategy matches the new buying behavior. Because, as Google admits-customer behavior has changed forever.
Today, more people use search engines to find products or services than any other marketing channel. The number of shoppers choosing Google instead of Amazon has increased by 18%. Compared with other retail websites, 136% of people prefer search engines. B2B buyers conduct an average of up to 12 searches before interacting with the brand.
Moreover, they prefer to complete most of the buying process by themselves.
For example, from HubSpot Research’s recent survey, we found that 77% of people will research the brand before interacting with it. Forrester revealed that 60% of customers do not want any interaction with salespeople. In addition, 68% of people prefer to research on their own. 62% of people have developed their own criteria to choose the right supplier.
Moreover, this process has never been more complicated. Finally, Demand Gen’s 2017 B2B buyer survey found that 61% of B2B buyers started the buying process through extensive online searches. In contrast, only 56% of users directly visit the supplier’s website.
But how do they use search engines in this process?
Early in the process, they used Google to find information about their problems. Some people also asked about potential solutions.
They then evaluate available alternatives based on reviews or social media hype before consulting with the company. But this happened after they exhausted all sources of information.
Therefore, the only opportunity for customers to notice and consider you is to show up in their search results.
How does Google know how to rank a page?
Search engines have only one goal. They are designed to provide users with the most relevant answers or information.
Every time you use them, their algorithm selects the page most relevant to your query. Then, rank them, showing the most authoritative or most popular first.
In order to provide users with correct information, search engines analyze two factors:
The correlation between the search query and the content of the page. Search engines will evaluate it based on various factors, such as topics or keywords.
Authority, measured by the popularity of the website on the Internet. Google believes that the more popular a page or resource, the more valuable its content is to readers.
To analyze all this information, they used complex equations called search algorithms.
Search engines keep their algorithms secret. But over time, SEOs have determined some of the factors they need to consider when ranking pages. We call them ranking factors, and they are the focus of an SEO strategy.
As you will see soon, adding more content, optimizing image file names, or improving internal links may affect your ranking and search visibility. That’s because each of these actions will increase the ranking factor.
Three Core Components of a Strong SEO Strategy
To optimize a site, you need to improve ranking factors in three areas — technical website setup, content, and links. So, let’s go through them in turn.
1. Technical Setup
In order for your website to rank, three things must happen:
First, search engines need to find your page on the Web.
Then, it must scan them to understand their topics and identify their keywords.
Finally, it needs to add them to the index-it is a database of everything found on the web. In this way, its algorithm can consider displaying your website for relevant queries.
It seems simple, doesn’t it? Of course, there is nothing to worry about. After all, since you can access your website without any problems, should Google?
Unfortunately, there is a catch. Web pages are different for you and search engines. You think of it as a collection of graphics, colors, text and links with their formatting.
As a result, it cannot see the image on the page (note the element with the arrow.) It can only recognize its name. If the image contains an important keyword and we want the page to rank it, then it will be invisible to search engines.
This is where the technical settings (also known as on-site optimization) come from. It can ensure that your website and pages allow Google to scan and index them without any problems. The most important factors affecting it include:
Website navigation and links
Search engines crawl websites just like you. They click on the link. The search engine crawler is located on the page and uses links to find other content to analyze. But as you can see above, they cannot see the picture. Therefore, set the navigation and links to plain text.
Simple URL structure
Search engines don’t like to read long and complex word strings. Therefore, if possible, keep the URL short. Set them so that they contain as few main keywords as possible for the pages to be optimized.
Search engines use load time (the time it takes for a user to be able to read the page) as a quality indicator. Many website elements affect it. For example, image size. Use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool to get advice on how to improve your webpage
Dead links or broken redirects
Invalid links will send visitors to a page that does not exist. The broken redirection points to a resource that may no longer exist. Both provide a bad user experience, but also prevent search engines from indexing your content.
Sitemap and Robots.txt files
A sitemap is a simple file that lists all the URLs on your site. Search engines use it to identify pages to be crawled and indexed. On the other hand, the robots.txt file tells search engines what content not to index (for example, specific strategy pages you don’t want to appear in searches.) Creating both can speed up content retrieval and indexing.
Pages containing the same or very similar content can confuse search engines. They often find it almost impossible to determine what should be displayed in search results. Therefore, search engines regard duplicate content as a disadvantage. Once you find it, you can punish the site by not displaying any pages at all.
Every time you use a search engine, you are looking for content, such as information about a specific issue.
Indeed, this content may appear in different formats. It can be text, such as a blog post or a web page. But this could also be a video, product recommendation or even a company listing.
For SEO, this helps increase the scope of the search.
There are two reasons:
First, the content is what customers want when they search. No matter what they are looking for, it can provide what they need. And the more content you post, the better your chances of gaining greater search visibility.
Similarly, search engines use content to determine how to rank pages. This is the idea of the relevance between the page and the user’s search query that we mentioned earlier.
When searching the page, they determine its subject. Analyzing elements such as page length or its structure helps them assess its quality. Based on this information, search algorithms can match a person’s query with the page they think is most relevant to him.
So far, you have read this guide and you know that if there are no two factors (relevance and authority), no page will be ranked.
In order to provide users with the most accurate answers, Google and other search engines will give priority to the pages they think are most relevant to the query but also popular.
The first two areas (technical settings and content) focus on improving relevance (although I admit that some of their elements can also help highlight authority. Links, however, are responsible for popularization.
Without actively locating its content in search results, no company can survive for a long time.
By increasing the visibility of search, you can bring in more visitors, which in turn leads to conversions and sales. It’s worth the time to become an SEO expert.