Search Engine Optimization, SEO, is defined as the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results. However, I prefer the definition Barry Adams, Chief SEO Polemicist of Polemic Digital, offers in this article. He defines SEO as getting more relevant traffic to websites via search engines’ organic results.
I think SEO means something different to everyone but it is still here to serve one basic purpose…to get people to see your website in their search engines.
So how does that even happen?
First you need to take a look at your website’s analytics. I like Google Analytics but you could also use WordPress Analytics or whatever came with your website, just know that not all analytics are created equally and Google Analytics is considered the gold standard among all analytics collectors.
Within your analytics you will find the terms people use to search and find your website. From there you can see which terms are most popular and which ones are getting people to your website the most. After you figure out what key words are driving the most traffic you can go to a keyword database, such as WordStream.com, and search for your most popular terms and see what other, similar, terms are being searched the most.
Next, you need to search for other websites that use those same search terms to see who your biggest competition is. It’s always better to what you are up against, right?
So now that you have figured out what the best keywords to use are and who your biggest competition is you need to make an action plan. You need to take those keywords and create amazing content that includes them organically. It would be weird to just have random words and phrases thrown about so you need to make your content relevant and meaningful and at the same time use your keywords and phrases throughout the content.
After you make sure your content makes good use of your keywords you need links. But not just any links. You need to make your content so good and so reliable that people trust you and will link back to your site. Google loves links and the more links you have the more they see your website as “important” and then your page will make it further up the search page. So instead of your cat photography website being on page 21 of a Google search, it will be on the first page and be more likely to get clicked.
Now some people will disagree with me and say that just because someone links back to your site, that does not make it SEO. Some people out there think that SEO is strictly using effective keywords and hopefully being found in Google searches. However, with all the websites out there today I think that it takes a little bit more than you using a few keywords and a prayer to get your website higher up in the Google search pages.
I believe that building a brand that people trust enough to link back to and say good things about in addition to using your keywords and phrases is better for building good SEO and getting your website found in search engines.
So is that all there is to SEO? Unfortunately no. Google likes to play a little game where they switch up the algorithm so that what worked a few weeks ago might not work now.
Did you just say algorithms? What does that have to do with anything?
Search Engine Optimization is based on algorithms and each year Google can change its algorithm 500-600 times, mostly minor changes that won’t affect you but occasionally with huge changes. The most recent huge changes were The Quality Update (May 3 2015) and Panda 4.2 #28 (July 17, 2015).
So what can you do to keep up with all of the changing algorithms and keep your SEO game tight? As the saying goes, content is king. Keep your content fresh and relevant and know how to interpret your analytics so you can see if anything has changed.