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What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

shutterstock_266707376SEO stands for search engine optimization. In a nutshell, it refers to techniques that help your website rank higher in organic, unpaid search results. These techniques will make your website more visible to people who are searching for your product or service in search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and more.

There are several elements that will improve the SEO of your site and its pages. Search engines look for a number of factors that include title tags, keywords, image tags, internal link structure, inbound links, and beyond. They also look at a site’s structure, design, visitor behavior, and additional off-site factors that determine how high your site should be ranked in the results page.

Why should I care about SEO?

Billions of people are performing billions of searches on a daily basis. This traffic is not only powerful because of the sheer volume, but because several searches are very specific with high intent. People are searching for things that are both directly and loosely related to your business. They are often looking for opportunities to connect with businesses that can answer their questions, solve their problems, and become a consistent resource. The better you optimize your page, the higher chance you have in getting top rankings when these searches are conducted.

Keyword Targeting

The first step in SEO is figuring out what you are optimizing for. In other words, you need to identify the terms that people are searching for that you want your website to rank for in search engines. These terms are known as keywords. It is imperative that you understand who your prospective customers are and what they are likely to search for. Make sure you think about what kind of language and terminology they will be using. This will provide you with an initial “seed list” of potential keywords. Using that list, take your keyword targeting a step further by using Google’s own keyword tool or a third-party site like Uber Suggest.

On-page Optimization

Once you’ve generated your keyword list, the next step is implementing those keywords onto your site’s content. Each page on your site should one targeted core term along with some related terms. Some basic, yet critical elements you will want to be aware of are title tags (the text that appears on the tabs at the top of your browser), meta tags (a concise description of the tool, its benefits, and a call-to-action), and most importantly, the actual content on your pages. When it comes to content, make sure it is unique to your business, engaging, and has the potential to be shared by third parties.

Internal linking

It is important to pay close attention to the information architecture on your site and how your pages are organized. This can impact how the content on your page ranks in response to searches. This is because search engines view links as “votes of confidence” that help users understand what the page is about and how important it is. The actual text used to link pages is called anchor text. It uses descriptive text to link a page on your site in order to help Google and other engines understand what the page is about. Make sure to keep it concise and don’t shove multiple keywords into your linking text.

There are several other factors to take into consideration when it comes to SEO, but these basics will help get you on the right track and prioritize your efforts. Remember that there is no way to 100% optimize your page and no site is perfect at executing every aspect of SEO. Make sure content is your priority and all of your efforts are diligent with intent behind every step!