What is SEO? SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches. The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to garner attention and attract prospective and existing customers to your business.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a powerful marketing tool that many companies overlook when first creating their website and content. An ideal scenario for many companies would be to have an automated lead generation system.
- SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound sourced leads have a 1.7% close rate.
- Leads from inbound links (referrals) are five times more likely to become customers than outbound leads.
The report offers many additional insights into inbound marketing. I recommend reading through the full report when you have the time. Hopefully, you are now eager to dive into Search Engine Optimization and I have four main starting points for you to focus on.
A Quick Test: Does Your SEO Need Improvement?
At the same time, many websites don’t realize they’re ignoring SEO or actively making it difficult for Google to discover their content. Here are three quick ways to know if your SEO needs improvement:
- A Google site search for your site (site:yoursite.com) yields fewer results than the number of pages your website actually has.
- Your URLs are filled with random symbols and numbers that don’t make sense to visitors (“http://www.art.com/gallery/id–b20122/costume-fashion-posters.htm?ui=).
- The page titles on your website don’t accurately describe what’s written on the page. If any of these are the case, it’s time to spend at least a couple of hours thinking about SEO. No, you’re not going to displace Yelp, SimplyHired, or TripAdvisor overnight, but you can position yourself to get more traffic from Google.
1. Choose if your Site is “Long Tail” or “Head”
It’s important to decide early on whether to focus your SEO attention narrowly or broadly—you’re probably not going to win on both. “Head” sites aim to rank well for common terms that are searched for thousands of times a day, like “how to get a job.” Long tail websites, on the other hand, try to rank well on Google search results for specific, more uncommon searches—the goal being to attract search volumes that, when combined, total that of the more common keywords.
2. Organize Your Content Using Bread Crumb Navigation
Your goal should be to allow Google to easily access and understand all the pages on your site. Google crawls through your pages with “spiders,” and when they come to a random page, they try to follow the links on that page to get to other pages. If they can do that easily, Google can more quickly index your whole website and pull pages in to its search results.
3. Optimize Your Page Titles
When you do a Google search, the blue links displayed below the main result are usually the website’s page titles. So, if you have accurate and descriptive page titles, Google will better be able to know if it should present your content to its users. For example, on our price guide for used cell phones, the page title is Used Phone Prices | Phone Price Guide. Often times, you’ll see sites where all the page titles are the same (for example, if we’d called every page “Price Guide”)—and that doesn’t help Google know what the page is about.
4. Build Original Content
Google wants to direct its visitors to original primary content—not a re-post of something that’s already been published. So, even in the early days of your site, it’s best create your own content, rather than syndicating from other sources. Similarly, be choosy about who you let republish your content. If Google thinks the other source is the primary source and you’re the derivative, it will penalize you. On the flip side, if your content is the best (and only) answer to a very specific query, there is a high chance you’ll be rewarded by Google.
5. Get Inbound Links
Google wants to send users to websites that are considered “authorities” in a subject area. Today, Google primarily calculates this by seeing if reputable sites are linking to you. Google also looks to see what words those websites use when linking to you to understand what your site is about (this is called “anchor text”). For example, if lots of sites link to Priceonomics calling us a “price guide,” Google will eventually figure out that that’s what we are. In the future (or perhaps already), Google may also look at social cues like tweets, Facebook likes, and Google +1’s to calculate authority.