The 2 big questions about SEO today.
1) What is search engine optimization?
To truly understand Search Engine Optimization, one must first understand the foundation upon which modern day search engines were built: Search engines, in particular Google, were built on search relativity. In other words, the search engines direct users to popularized sites so that they can view the content most relative to their search. The way this works isn't too difficult to comprehend.
When someone visits a website through Google, the website receives a ping, and, in turn, the number pings determines the search rank of the website. If the Google algorithm deems a users search as being related to your product or service, and you have more pings than other related results, you are going to rank first on the page, thus making you the most likely to receive related traffic. The importance of a sites ranking cannot be stressed enough. For example, a ongoing study by advancedwebranking.com shows that the first result in a search has a Click-through-Rate (CTR) of roughly 30% of the traffic, while the second receives only 15%, the third only 10%, and the fourth a measly 6%. More than 92% of people don't make it past the first page of Google Search Results.
From this, we can see the importance of having a website that ranks highly and the significance of SEO.
Now that we've covered why SEO is important, what exactly is SEO? SEO is the process of allowing your site to be accessible by Google so when people search, the website comes up and then receives the most pings on the network. As previously mentioned, by receiving more pings on your website it will rank higher in the results.
2) How do you get more pings on search engines?
The process of getting pings on Google can be done through a combination of ways explained here:
Create medium to long pieces of content that appeal to many people; like a company blog that addresses your customer's problems. For example, if you own a vitamin store it would be beneficial to release a piece of content like "natural remedies for common prescription drugs" because it would create a proposition for your audience where you have market expertise on the subject. Additionally, readers that decide they want to try a natural remedy will be highly inclined to buy from the website they are already on.
Make it easier for Google to find the images on your site and they will make your site more relevant within the search results because the algorithm is also photo dependent. Search engines characterize search rank for website and photo display similarly so the more "pinged" option is shown first. If the photos within the website are named correctly with good descriptions it will raise the search result within the Search Engine because it deems your website findable. Here are good and bad examples:
- Photo name: bad practice would be using the standard "PIC1397.jpg" and a good photo name would be "Omega3FishOil[insert vitamin store name here].jpg"
- Photo description (or <alt> tag for engineers): bad practice is "omega 3 fish oil" and a good description is "omega 3 fish oil from [insert vitamin store location, name here] that contains .45g of Fatty Omega Three fish oil sourced naturally" because it covers everything in the photo and provides a lot of key words for the search engine to grab on to.
Phrase page titles appropriately to content (known as H1's, H2's, and H3's for engineers): Properly titled pages make it easier for search engines to determine the purpose of content within a website without having to read through everything on the site. If the longer pieces of content within are synthesized and represented by the titles, then Google will properly associate the information with related searches. For example, sometimes the first link in search engines doesn't represent a search because the phrase searched or website shown in the search display confusing titles with multiple meanings.
Backlinks from popular websites, like someone creating a link on Bloomberg Stocks that goes to a financial advisor's website, make Google associate the linked website as more popular. It may be easier to think about this in terms a random person (any random website on the internet) and a celebrity (websites receiving <10x more traffic). If a random person starts dating a celebrity, then this person will become more popular and have a higher following. Similarly, a website that typically receives lower traction linked on a site with higher traction will raise the search result of the less visited site.
Key electrIQ metrics
- Organic Traffic: Look at this week-over-week and then month-over-month
- Keywords: We’ll take note of keywords we want to rank for but aren’t yet — these are the keywords we’ll focus on in the SEO implementation. We use software to track how well we are ranking for those keywords against competitors.
- Conversions: Goals will be created to measure how many organic conversions we are generating.
- Backlinks: Total # of backlinks and quality of backlinks. We always want to get more high quality backlinks to the site.
- Bounce Rate: Percentage of single-page sessions in which a potential customer left the site without interacting.
- Pages per session: The higher the better, as it means visitors are going to multiple pages on the site.
- Average Page Load Time: We want this to be as low as possible.
- Organic CTR: The percentage of clicks to impressions the site has in Google Search
- Top Exit Pages: These are the last pages that people visit before they leave the site. It’s important to track these pages because they are most likely our “problem pages”, causing potential customers to lose interest and go elsewhere. We always focus on these pages to identify why they are not up to par with the rest of the site and how we can improve the content and design to keep potential customers on the site.