What Is SEO And How Do I Improve My Site?

What Is SEO

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There are over 3.5 billions Google searches every day and over 1.2 trillion Google searches each year according to Internet Live Stats. Once the search is completed, 33% of searchers click the first result and 18% click the second result. The percentage drops drastically down to only 2% of users clicking the 10th result. Then, less than 9% of searchers even go to the second page according to Search Engine Watch. So, how do we get websites on the first page of a search? We do that by focusing on a process called search engine optimization or SEO for short.

Why SEO?

If 92% of searchers do not go past the first page, then getting your site to the first page could increase the amount of clicks to your site by up to 400% if you get to the first result.  This allows for your customers and visitors to find you easier. Before we look into how to improve our seo, we must first understand how search engines even work.

How Do Search Engines Work?

Search engines use automated scripts, called “crawlers” or “spiders”, to browse the web. These spiders access a webpage and stores information about the site. Then, the spider follows a link on that webpage to access the next page. The spider stores the information into databases. When a user searches for something, the engine searches the database and displays the results to the searcher. There is a lot more to the technical process, but that is the general concept.

Optimizing Your Content

One of the biggest factors to your search engine ranking is the content on your site.  There are many techniques and strategies to improve your search ranking that revolve around how you deliver and link to content. Content can be anything from posts, descriptions, galleries, recipes, and more. The first step is to ensure that links throughout your site site are clear and concise. Since links are the method of travel for the search engine spiders, every page on your site should be accessible through a link of your site. If your site never links to a certain page, that page will not be seen by a search engine.

After you have links set up and improved, you want to have relevant keywords. For example, if you are a bakery in Miami that focuses on breads, you want to make sure that words like “bakery”, “Miami”, and “bread” are used throughout your site. Also, use words that users may search for instead of those common terms. However, don’t go over the top. You can’t create pages with the word “bakery” used a hundred times. Search engines look for something called keyword density which is where the search engines compare how many times you used a word against the rest of the content. Most of the time, I don’t recommend worrying about the exact amount of keywords you are using. Instead, ensure that they are present and used naturally in your content.

It is also important to consider multiple ways to provide value. Your visitors will love to see different forms of content including images, ebooks, charts, and more. Be sure to include a variety of content on your site. Then, ensure that your content has appropriate descriptions and shows up on relevant pages. For example, if you are a baker, you could include pictures of your different breads and label them with “Freshly made Italian bread” or similar.

Search engines like to see that you are updating your content often. If the content never changes, search engines will feel that your information is no longer relevant and will lower your ranking over time. This is why many people recommend to start blogging on your site. This will give you more opportunities to link from older content to newer content to keep your site fresh and relevant.

Out of most of the other factors, links between sites can have a large effect on your search ranking. If your small bakery website is linked to from a large news site, then your site will receive a boost in ranking. So, it is very beneficial to try to get your site and its pages linked to from other sites. This can be through having news sites review or interview your business. It could be posting on other sites and linking to your site. As you grow your audience, many of your visitors will post links back to your site which will improve your overall seo.

At the end of the day, no amount of seo will improve your content. If the content itself is not engaging, useful, or thoughtful, then visitors will not go to your site, will not link to it, and will not engage with it. Creating valuable and useful content will help your site be found much more than small tweaks.

Optimizing Your Site

There are many things to consider when discussing the overall seo of your site. One major area to focus on is the organization of your site. Your site should be well organized with content divided into logical sections. Your users should be able to easily navigate and find content on your site. Remember to have your urls set up as logical and readable paths. Search engines do factor in a small value to urls.

When spiders are looking through your site, one of the first things they will look at is the title tags and meta-tags of your site. The title tag is shown to users in many places on your site but is also shown in the search results. WordPress already places the title of your post or page in the tag which is good practice. You can use a variety of SEO plugins to alter the tag if you need to make slight changes. Most search engines show the first 70 characters from the title tag on search results so you usually want to keep the title less than 70 characters. Adding keywords to your title tags are a good practice to help let the search engine know what the page will be about. These SEO plugins will also allow you to alter the meta-tags. One of the most important tags is the meta description. This describes what the user will see on the page and is listed in the search results. If this is left out, the search engine will show what it believes is a relevant part of your content.

There are many many more things I could cover here in regards to site structure; however, it is easier to simply install a great seo plugin, such as Yoast SEO, that will take care of all the smaller tweaks for you.

SEO Tools

There are many great tools to help you improve your SEO on your website. The first I already mentioned was Yoast SEO. This simple plugin will take care of most of the tweaks for you and allow you to alter the title and desctiption tags. This plugin will also rate the seo of your post or page and make suggestions on how to improve it.

Hubspot’s Marketing Grader is a free website review tool that allows you to enter in your site and receive a grade on the seo aspects. This site will analyze your site and generate a report with recommendations on how to improve your SEO.

WooRank is another great website review tool. This site will generate a report with recommendations on how to improve your SEO.

Upcity Free SEO Report Card is a free tool that analyzes your site and competitor sites to see how you compare and makes recommendations on how to improve.

Now that you know the basics of SEO and ways to improve your own site, be sure to share this post with your users and visitors so that they can also learn to improve their sites.