SEO is part of the broader topic of Search Engine Marketing (SEM), a term used to describe all marketing strategies for search. SEM entails both organic and paid search. With paid search, you can pay to list your website on a search engine so that your website shows up when someone types in a specific keyword or phrase. Organic and paid listings both appear on the search engine, but they are displayed in different locations on the page.
Because the sole purpose of a search engine is to provide you with relevant and useful information, it is in everyone’s best interest (for the search engine, the searcher, and you) to ensure that your website is listed in the organic search listings. In fact, it is probably best to stay away from paid search all together until you feel you have a firm grasp on SEO and what it takes to rank organically.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) generally covers two areas: Paid Search Advertising and Organic Search Optimization.
Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is the most popular or well-known method of advertising your products and services on the Internet. Even though PPC is one of the best forms of advertising, like all advertising, your exposure stops when your budget runs out.
With organic search, once you achieve a page one Google ranking you will begin to receive up to 75% more visitors to your website than with traditional Google PPC. So how does one go about achieving these often-elusive rankings? Once you know the secret to obtaining search engine visibility, you will be motivated to participate in the process of developing your online brand.
Big search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo are constantly indexing hundreds of millions, if not billions, of webpages. How do they know what to show on the SERP when you enter a search query? The search engines consider two main areas when determining what your website is about and how to prioritize it.
- Content on your website: When indexing pages, the search engine bots scan each page of your website, looking for clues about what topics your website covers and scanning your website’s back-end code for certain tags, descriptions, and instructions.
- Who’s linking to you: As the search engine bots scan webpages for indexing, they also look for links from other websites. The more inbound links a website has, the more influence or authority it has. Essentially, every inbound link counts as a vote for that website’s content. Also, each inbound link holds different weight. For instance, a link from a highly authoritative website like CNN will give a website a bigger boost than a link from a small blog site
When a search query is entered, the search engine looks in its index for the most relevant information and displays the results on the SERP. The results are then listed in order of most relevant and authoritative.
If you conduct the same search on different search engines, chances are you will see different results on the SERP. This is because each search engine uses a proprietary algorithm that considers multiple factors in order to determine what results to show in the SERP when a search query is entered.
A few factors that a search engine algorithm may consider when deciding what information to show in the SERP include:
Geographic location of the searcher
- Historical performance of a listing (clicks, bounce rates, etc.)
- Link quality (reciprocal vs. one-way)
- Webpage content (keywords, tags, pictures)
- Back end code or HTML of webpage
- Link type (social media sharing, link from media outlet, blog, etc.)
Once we find out that content is all we need to achieve search engine visibility, we see many business owners get excited about participating in their website marketing with great results.
The best way to get a return on your website investment is to create an asset out of your website. This is achieved by adding content to your website on a regular basis. This strategy is called “Content Marketing”. By adding content pages you increase your chances of ranking for “long tail” keyword phrases. These are phrases of 3 or more words that often result in highly focused and targeted search results.
The way Google prioritizes its search rankings is done in two ways:
- On-page optimization – at the very basic level, it is where the good content comes in with the related keywords being used in headings, sub headings, bullets and internal link text.
- Off-page optimization – These are external links that point to your website from other websites. These links are seen as recommendations and build credibility for your website. Google ranks your web page based on the number of valuable related links. You could view this as a voting system; the one with the most related votes will do well.
Other websites will link to your website if you have good content that they wish to refer to. In this case your website will acquire links without much intervention from you.
Many webmasters soon realized that external links would get their website ranked well and that is when they started to use techniques that are seen or termed as “Black Hat SEO”. A term used when one engages in activities that try to manipulate the search engine rankings.
The objective with link building is to get links back to your website using your “product keyword” or variable thereof in the link text. This is seen as a valuable link and not easily manipulated.
Links can be created by the following link building strategies:
- Blog posts that promote, discuss or compare products
- Article marketing – where one writes product related articles and submits to “Article websites” where webmasters can use your article on their websites. The rule is that they cannot change your content and must leave the authors signature where links are pointed back to your website.
- Reciprocal links from other industry related websites. Where webmasters agree to swap links with one other using requested “valuable” link text.
By taking full advantage of Search Engine and Social Media Optimization you are able to reinforce your website or brand presence on popular search engines without paying extra for it. Here are some steps you can take to optimize your website organically:
Content Marketing A resource website should have articles related to the product or service that you are offering. Websites that contain 100 pages of content or more are likely to achieve higher rankings in search engines and increase your website’s ability to be found for long-tail keyword searches.
Create Incoming Links Link building and link popularity is important for all websites. Link popularity refers to the amount of text links that lead to your website from other sites and is the single most important factor that a search engine algorithm considers when ranking a web page. Effective link building is achieved by blogging on a regular basis, submitting your websites to online classifieds/directories and by taking advantage of the many social media platforms that are available – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.
Combine SEO with SMO. Brand your name with social media marketing. Websites like Facebook, YouTube, linkedin and Twitter can be leveraged effectively to grow your business. By spreading your content over social media channels your website will gain many more search engine positions.
Developing a search engine optimization game plan is the key to the success of your website. It takes careful keyword research which is an activity that can take many hours followed by carefully sorting them into specific product or service silos to ensure creating relevant content that will attract targeted “long tail” searches.
Let us help you by creating the optimal website content blueprint to ensure a successful “lead generating” website. With BRAND ENERGY DIGITAL tools and techniques, we can quickly identify and obtain creative content ideas that will develop your website into a resource website that will establish your credibility in your industry.