Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is becoming more and more important in one’s online marketing strategy. Basically, it is how to rank high in Google and be in its first page organically (not paid). I mentioned Google specifically because it is the favorite search engine with 80% of internet users worldwide.
So with thousands of competition in one’s market, how can one get up there in Google’s elusive first page, ahead of the competition and go in front of these searching customers? The list of algorithms to rank is actually a long list, but I will make it as simple as possible.
SEO actually has two parts: On-page and Off-page Optimization. Let us get into On-Page first, as SEO begins with this.
On-Page Optimization comprises of elements that the website developer/webmaster can control. These include, among others:
This involves using the right keywords for your articles, page titles and descriptions, and the website itself.
The aim of Keyword Research is to find keywords that are highly searched but low competition. This can be done with many keyword tools available in the market. From a properly done keyword research, one will be able to determine which keywords to use in each article, in each page, and the website itself.
The right keywords must be used in the SEO Title and Meta Description, which is actually how your post, page, or website will be indexed in Google, like this:
How fast does one’s page load? One of the ways to help make loading speed faster is to reduce the size of the images. There are many image compression sites to do this, and if one’s site is WordPress, there are several plugins for this purpose as well.
One can also reduce video size as well with free video resizing tools.
Most website builders have templates now that are mobile-friendly, i.e., it is responsive and adjusts automatically to any device. This is important because based on studies, 66% of internet surfers use a mobile device.
A good web design also allows a good user experience, especially when there are less steps needed to get to a certain page.
A Site Map in your website is like a road map one gives for search engines to know which pages of a website should they crawl and index.
These are only a few of many other technical factors for on-page SEO, however, these are the most common.
But On-page Optimization is roughly about 25% of the ranking factor. The heavier weight of the ranking is Off-Page. So what is Off-Page Optimization?
Off-Page Optimization comprises basically of two factors that are beyond what the website developer can control. These 2 factors are a measure of a website’s popularity, which to Google is a greater measure to rank a website.
So what are these two factors?
The more unique website visitors you have, and the longer they stay in your website (dwell time), the higher you will rank in Google.
Dwell time is measured because if website visitors leave only after seconds or a couple of minutes, this is perceived by Google that your website is a wrong result for the search that the visitor is making (called a bounce or measured as a bounce rate).
So how can you make a visitor stay long? Aside from writing articles the SEO-friendly way, having images and videos will greatly help.
A backlink is when other websites mention your website, thus, the other websites are your referring domains. Google perceives backlinks as a vote of trust. Hence, the more backlinks you have, the higher you will rank in Google.
Two important notes here about backlinks:
By quality backlinks, it means backlinks from websites with high Domain Authority or DA. Domain Authority is a rating of zero – 100, and the higher the DA, the more quality it is. Examples of quality links are, but not limited to, those from .gov, .edu, or .org. There are sites that will give you a website’s DA just by putting the website’s main URL in these DA-checking sites.
Achieving SEO is not immediate, and takes about 2 months at least, but its positive benefits are long-term when one’s website gets on the first page organically. As advertising online can be expensive, ranking organically in Google will definitely help one’s business without spending too much on advertising.
Finally, SEO work for one’s website is an ongoing process, as there are factors that one needs to check regularly to protect their first page status, like competitors, broken links in one’s site (those “Nothing Found” or Error 404) which can also affect a site’s ranking, knowing which page of one’s site or one’s competitor is getting a lot of hits, among others.