SEO, also known as search engine optimization, is defined by Search Engine Land as follows:
“It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.”
The ultimate goal of SEO is to improve your site’s ranking so that you can bring the right people in from search engines.
If your site isn’t appearing in search results, or it’s performing more poorly than it once did, check your sites search performance.
While this sounds simple enough, there are two words in the definition that deserve most your attention: the process.
When it comes to SEO, things are always changing. What worked today may not work tomorrow. And what works tomorrow is not likely to produce results a few years in the future.
As a webmaster, marketing professional, or business owner, it is only natural to devote plenty of time, money, and resources to SEO. Through the right approach, you can generate free, targeted, organic traffic to your website.
Elements of SEO
Although best SEO practices change often, it’s important to stay current with what’s working in the “here and now.”
Even when search engines change their algorithm, many elements that were important in the past will remain essential in the future.
The most important elements of SEO can be broken down into two distinct categories:
- On page factors
- Off page factors
Let’s get started by first reviewing three of the most important elements of on page SEO:
Content is still king. While there are other elements of SEO important to reaching the top of the search engines, high quality content remains at the top of the list.
Here are some pointers for creating content:
- Quality over quantity. Gone are the days of moving to the top of the search engine rankings with thin content. Content length is more important than ever before.
- Research. While you don’t want to stuff keywords into your content, it’s important to implement those that people use to find your website.
- Be unique. Most topics have been covered time and time again. Even so, this doesn’t mean you can’t put a unique spin on your piece.
Without high quality content, you’ll find it impossible to achieve SEO success.
This includes many factors. To ensure success in this area, answer the following five questions:
Can search engines easily crawl pages of your website?
- Do you have a system in place for managing duplicate content?
- Is your site optimized for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets?
- Does your website load quickly?
- Do URL’s contain keywords related to the content?
Just the same as architecture, there are important HTML details that impact your search engine rankings. Focus on details such as:
There is a lot to think about in regards to search engine optimization (SEO) and the impact it has on your website.
While every detail is important, some deserve a bit more attention than others. And this is where title tags come into play.
Title tags—technically called title elements—define the title of a document. Title tags are often used on search engine results pages (SERPs) to display preview snippets for a given page, and are important both for SEO and social sharing. While that’s easy enough to understand, there are some additional details to become familiar with.
When it comes to the wonderful world of search engine optimization (SEO), every detail is important. If you overlook one detail – no matter how inconsequential it appears – it could have a negative impact on your rankings and traffic. A meta description is used to provide an explanation of the content of a web page. For this reason, it should be accurate and concise.
Off Page SEO
Along with these on page elements, here are some off page elements that deserve your attention:
Trust is one of the most overlooked elements of SEO. By building a strong brand, you will effectively gain the trust of your audience as well as the search engines. Here are some questions to answer:
- What steps have you taken to make your site a trusted authority in your niche?
- Do visitors spend time on your site, or quickly leave after arriving?
- How long has your website and domain been around?
- Has your website been penalized by Google?
- Is your website full of advertisements?
Inbound links remain one of the best ways to boost search engine rankings. By collecting high quality links from websites in your niche, positive results will follow. Here are some points of consideration:
- Just the same as content, link quality is more important than quantity.
- Have you purchased links in the past?
- What is the anchor text distribution of your link profile?
- Has your website’s homepage and internal pages received links from trusted sources?
Go back in time 10 years and social signals played no role in SEO. In 2016, this has all changed. Remember this:
- You want your content to be shared as often as possible on social media.
- Focus on a variety of social networks, such as Google My Business, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Two Types of SEO
All of the above is general SEO advice, focusing on both on page and off page elements to help boost search engine rankings.
As you drill down, there are two categories of SEO that may command your attention at some point:
1. Technical SEO
In short, technical SEO refers to any work that is completed in addition to content production.
Consider this the foundation that gives your content the greatest chance of ranking at the top of the search engines.
With the right approach to technical SEO, you make it easy for search engines to crawl your website and index your content. Without this, even the best content won’t rank well.
2. Local SEO
As the name suggests, local SEO is the optimization of a website for local results in search engines.
Local SEO is different than a general SEO campaign, with the following nine factors helping to determine rankings:
- Business signals
- Correct information
- Review signals
- External local signals
- Social signals
- On page signals
- Behavioral and mobile signals
- Link signals
The question of “what is SEO” can be difficult to answer. With this information, you should now have a better understanding of how SEO works and the steps you must take to achieve success.