One of the buzz words today in the online marketing community is SEO. But what exactly is SEO? This term is a topic that has a wide range of ideas and opinions surrounding it on what works and what doesn’t. Before starting any SEO plan, it is important to understand the basics and learn how different parts work together to help websites achieve high SEO rankings.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Generally, different SEO techniques can get a website or webpage ranked higher on different search engines. The most popular search engine is Google which uses a number of different factors when ranking a website. It first looks to its Google + pages. Google created Google + when Twitter decided to drop out of their partnership a few years back. Google was left with no real-time social media option to help with its SEO ranking searches which is why they created Google+. After looking at Google+ during its ranking process, Google then goes on to look at keywords and phrases as well as follow links. Most search engines follow this process, but we will just take a look at Google as it is the most popular and most used search engine.
Most people think of keywords or key phrases when they hear SEO. Surfers use phrases and words when they search for something in Google. For example, if someone is looking to buy a horse, they might type in simply “horse” but more than likely they will type in something like “Mustang horses for sale in Georgia”. People tend to be more specific when searching and this is where keywords come into play. By using the keywords “Mustang horses” and “Georgia”, a website could potentially rank very high in the search mentioned before. However, Google also looks at the content, the links, and even how the website is put together.
It is not just enough to use keywords everywhere and hope for a high ranking. Google is smart and this means that they look closely at the content and how the keywords fit. If someone were to just have pages and pages on their website with the keywords “Mustang horses” over and over, Google would catch them and rank them much lower. Content must be relevant and cannot be saturated with keywords. It is important to pick a few keywords or phrases that you want to focus on and include them in relevant content.
Another important aspect of SEO is having a lot of links directing to your website. Google looks for “do follow” links or links that link 2 pages together that can be followed via either page to the other. For example, if someone posts on a blog site that they are selling horses, they have to also post the link to that post on their website to get credit for a follow link. The goal is to get the websites that you post links to to also post about your website or links.
Designing a website may seem as though it is pretty straightforward, but if you don’t design it correctly it won’t rank very high in SEO. It may be the most visually pleasing website, but have very little SEO. Flash sites are horrible for SEO. Google can’t see things like videos or pictures. Google only sees text and links meaning that you need to compensate for anything not text. You can use what is called an “alt tag” in the code of your website. An “alt tag” is what shows up when a picture fails to load. So if you have a picture of a Mustang horse the alt tag should read “alt= Mustang horse”. Then you get SEO credit for the picture.
It is also important to have a site map for you website. Google uses the site map to better search through your pages. When doing its searching for SEO, Google uses what is named a “crawler” which means it literally crawls through the pages gathering information. A site map helps the “crawler” search the pages faster and better.
The main goal with SEO is to increase both your overall domain and page authority. What this means is that a site that ranks high in SEO will have a higher authority above other pages. To break it down, domain is the main part of your website; for example “www.horsesforsale.com”. A page is underneath your domain so “www.horsesforsale.com/mustangs”. It is possible to have a really good web page with high SEO but a low score in SEO for you domain, because of bad website layout or overall bad content.
When trying to increase a website’s domain authority, it is imperative to find other sites that have high authorities and link to them. When doing its ranking, Google will see that you have linked your content to reputable SEO sites and give you more points. It is even better if these sites link back to you.
The biggest thing that will help a website get high in SEO rankings is to have all their online marketing efforts integrated. What this means is to have all social media, all blogs, websites, and articles linked together with the same keywords and phrases in all of them. When Google does a search for “Mustang horses for sale in Georgia” and it finds your site which is linked to many other sites with valuable content and similar keywords you will get a high SEO ranking.
In the end, creating an SEO marketing campaign that has established keywords and resources to post to is essential. With focus and direction, it is very easy to have your website and content get lost within all the other websites on the Internet. SEO is something that anyone can do for generally little or no money. All that it requires is a little planning and you can make your website rise in the search engines rankings.