SEO is based on how search engines such as Google and Bing rank the relevancy of your webpage. Though the algorithm used is complicated, many ways to improve SEO are actually quite simple.
SEO is incredibly complex and constantly evolving, but there are a few core aspects that are surprisingly simple, such as mobile optimization and local v. national.
How Do Search Engines Know What's On Each Web Page.
Special search bots called "spiders" crawl through web pages. As these spiders crawl the web, they add pages that have been correctly optimized to their index and catalogue them. Then when you search a term, the search engine goes through its index of trillions of sites and picks the pages it thinks are most relevant to what you're looking for.
How Search Engines Base Rankings
Exact ranking algorithm are kept incredibly secret and are continuously updated, but if you create a site that customers will find useful and reputable, you will naturally improve your SEO.
Knowing Your Current Website Ranks
Plenty of tools exist to help you understand how you rank in searches. But there's also a simple way if you just need a basic idea–Search terms your customers may use and see where you rank. Important note- use an incognito window so your search isn't personalized, since this could affect your results.
On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO
On-page SEO is about the practices you can implement on your own website, such as the content of the site. Off-page SEO is about what happens outside of your site, such as improving inbound links. Both are important and necessary in order to obtain a high ranking.
If you only have a website that works on desktop computers (or only works well on desktop computers) you're hurting your SEO. If your website doesn't load quickly on mobile devices you may be penalized in search rankings. So many people access the internet through mobile devices that not having a site optimized for mobile use is bad for your overall marketing strategy, as well as negatively effecting your SEO.
White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO
White hat SEO works to improve your site so that visitors find it more useful. On the other hand, black hat SEO is a deceptive way to increase your SEO. Black hat SEO's goal is to trick search engines into thinking your site is relevant to them than it is actually. Though it may sound tempting, the consequences of black hat SEO often far out weigh any potential reward.
Local vs national SEO
If you have a physical location, such as a bakery in Atlanta, your target customers are likely local. If someone in L.A. is looking for a bakery there's no reason for you to show up in their search. If you have an online platform, you'll likely need national SEO, since your target customers aren't only in one area. Depending on your business, you may also consider a combination of both local and national.
How to improve SEO
The overall goal of SEO is to provide relevant information from reputable sources. Creating quality content is the best way to do this. Some specific ways to improve your content include adding keywords, links, and reducing repetitive content. The better your SEO, the more easily potential customers can find you. No matter how great your marketing strategy is, if customers can't find you, you're not going to move the needle.
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