The rate of technological development experienced by the world today is simply mind boggling. The quest for knowledge continues to rise up at a staggering, with people demanding immediate access not only to information but products and services as well. Brands that can satisfy this need almost instantaneously stand at the forefront to success, getting a sizable piece of whatever market a particular brand is competing in.
And in the online world, that means getting your business listed at the front of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) of the most popular search engines.
Having a website for your business is the first step but it takes several more very important paces before you can get a very strong online presence. Search Engine Optimization or SEO paves the way to the top of these search results and is a very critical element to your online success. Using the sets of processes that comprise a comprehensive SEO campaign, your business can achieve a higher level of brand awareness and your website can receive its share of targeted visitors.
Fully understanding the algorithms search engines use to determine which web pages should go on top of search results is a very complex and technical thing that only a few people can truly understand. What this article intends to do is to provide you with a basic understanding of what SEO is and how it can be a very important tool for your Internet marketing campaign.
Basic SEO Terms
Before you can delve into the nitty gritty of SEO campaigns, it would be to your greatest advantage to familiarize yourself with the basic SEO terms you will most likely encounter as you go deeper and deeper into the Internet marketing arena.
SERP is an acronym for Search Engine Results Page and is the main battleground for all activities included in SEO campaigns. Every search query made through a particular search engine returns these SERP pages. The whole point of SEO is to have your web pages rank high in SERPs based on a particular set of keywords, ultimately going for the first few pages of these results where it all matters
- On-page SEO
On-page SEO, or what other marketers also termed on-site SEO, refers to a set of processes designed to optimize internal elements of web pages to make them more search engine friendly. Optimizing these page elements make these web pages more relevant, easier to use and easier to navigate, giving your site visitors a better user experience. This is turn will signal search engines to give a better ranking importance to your pages. On-page elements include: title tags, mate description, h1 tags, keyword density, etc.
- Off-page SEO
Off-page or off-site SEO is the process of optimizing your web pages and make them rank better in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) by improving the link popularity of these web pages to certain keyword phrases. Generating a large quantity of backlinks however should not be the only focus in off-page SEO, but rather generate back links from relevant sites, preferably websites that already trusted by the search engines.
- Link Building
Link building is the process of generating links that points back to the main URL of your website or specific pages and posts within the site. These external links act like “votes” that will tell search engines the relevance of your web pages with regards to certain keywords, ranking your website higher in SERPs for that particular set of keywords.
- Title Tag
Title tag is an HTML element that contain the title for a particular web page, which in turn will be displayed in a web browser’s title bar when that particular page is displayed. It is a very important element for SEO as it contains the keywords that will appear on SERPs as clickable links. Each document or web page is allowed only a single title tag that is why it is important to create title tags that contain keywords that are relevant to the contents of that particular web page.
- Meta Description
The snippet of information that appears below the title tags in SERPs are called meta descriptions, and are basically HTML attributes that describes or summarizes what a particular page may contain. The optimum size of meta descriptions is 150 to 160 characters and should be written with the precise intent of letting searchers know if the information or content they are looking for can be found within this particular web page.
- Keyword Research
The process of analyzing and identifying the actual words search engine users type in when looking for information about a brand, product or service is called keyword research. These sets of keywords can be identified using the various free or paid keyword research tools available in the market.
- Target Keywords
Once relevant keywords for your brand, product or service are identified by the keyword research tools of your choosing, the next step is to create target keywords that will serve as the central focal points for the whole Search Engine Optimization process. Target keywords are usually a key phrase that may or may not contain your actual brand, product or service.
Rankings refer to the actual position of a particular web page in search engine results pages using one or more keywords. The higher the rankings, the higher the chances a web page get more targeted traffic. There are several factors that search engine use to rank websites and most of these can be done through incorporating white-hat SEO techniques.
Top 3 Important Aspects Of SEO
The whole SEO process is a very complicated and tedious process that requires consistency, effective techniques and good analytical attributes. A particular SEO campaign may not be able to tackle or include all the elements that can affect SERP rankings, but Internet marketers should focus on the following top 3 important aspects that should be included in any campaign:
1. Web Content
Search engine algorithms change on a regular basis but there is one factor that remains consistent all throughout – and that is good, original web content. The quality of your website content not only draws in the pageviews and site visits, but it can also increase your website’s credibility as a source of relevant content that targeted customers will find very useful, and will keep coming back to.
Talking about quality web content is so important that it requires a dedicated article written about it to expound more about how you can use them for your SEO campaign. In the meantime, the following describes the top attributes your website content should have:
- Content should be new and original – One thing that will surely influence search engines to rank your web pages higher in SERPs is unique, original and regularly updated content. Search engine spiders crawl the web for fresh and original content that is related to a particular set of keywords. They will place great importance to these pages in SERPS whenever someone searches for these particular keywords.
- Content should be relevant – In an effective Internet marketing campaign, the content of your web pages should be relevant to your industry niche, brand, product or service. Relevant content that is published on a regular basis will establish your website as an authority for a particular topic or set of keywords, letting search engines rank your web pages higher in SERP results.
- Content should be sharable – Content that is relevant and good enough to be shared in social media and other online channels increases the credibility of your web pages, the more people shared your sites in their different social media accounts, the better social activity that search engines can detect for your site. Which will ultimately make your site authority in your niche.
As mentioned earlier, link building is not all about generating as much backlinks as possible, as the number of backlinks is not the only factor that affects how search engines rank a particular web page. The quality of backlinks matters much with search engines, particularly if these links come from relevant and related websites that are already ranking higher in SERPs.
There are many possible ways to generate backlinks, and discussing them all in greater detail may be too exhaustive that it requires another set of articles. For this particular purpose, the following list summarizes relevant websites that has been proven to generate quality backlinks that search engines find very relevant. These include:
- Content marketing
- Guest Blogging
- Quality Blog Comments
- Infographic marketing
- Video marketing
3. Social activities (mentions, shares, social following)
Social media has gained a significant foothold that affects Internet marketing trends. It has evolved as a very important element in Search Engine Optimization and has come to be a very important and very significant tool for generating links, improve online reputation and solicit participation from online users.
Search engines give social networks greater importance in their algorithm. Quality content coming from your web pages that gets shared and discussed upon on various social media channels is given greater authority by search engines, ranking them higher in SERPs for particular sets of keywords and topics. Social media is all about engagement and this proved to be a very significant factor that can greatly affect your SEO campaign.
Search engine optimization continues to evolve as search engines streamline their criteria and algorithms in an attempt to provide online users with relevant information that proves to be very important for them. Understanding the basics of a good SEO campaign that delivers results, particularly the ultimate goal of ranking at the top of search engine queries, is an important first step in improving and optimizing your websites – and provide you a strong online presence that matters not only to your visitors but to search engines as well.