Where your site appears in a Google search result is extremely important. Most users will not go beyond the first page unless they don’t get the answers they need. So being on the first page of results as opposed to the second page could spell the difference between success and failure for your site. To get yourself on the first page, you will need a high Google ranking. And there are different ways to get that. The most popular and most efficient way that’s free is through Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
There are plenty of sites that can help you with your SEO, like Omega SEO, if you think you can’t do it yourself. They’ll make your life easier and you’ll achieve your goal faster.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization SEO is essentially laying out your website and its contents to make it both more search engine-friendly and user-friendly. It covers the words used, the links embedded in your site, and the overall design of your website or page. The goal is to increase the number of visitors you get by obtaining a high ranking and in turn, a high placement on the results page of a search engine.
There are at least two approaches to SEO that are available:
- White hat SEO – This method focuses on the human aspect of SEO. It’s the long game for those who want to build their website and make a long-term investment. This includes the use of keywords and backlinks, among others. It is also commonly referred to as ethical SEO.
- Black hat SEO – On the contrary, this approach is focused on the search engine, and its accompanying rules and policies. It is more aggressive than white hat SEO and aimed at making a quick return on investment. This method may or may not entail following search engine guidelines. It includes invisible text, page swapping, and keyword stuffing. This is commonly referred to as unethical SEO.
However, there have been some who reference grey hat SEO. It’s somewhere in the middle of the two.
Then there are two categories:
- On-page SEO – These are what appear on your page which you have direct control over. Google uses these to determine the relevance of your site.
- Off-page SEO – These are variables based on other sources beyond your control. These include the market and competition in your location and the user’s search history. Google uses this to determine popularity.
Why use SEO?
Search engines offer targeted traffic to websites. They display your site to users who are searching for what you have. If they can’t display you in their search results, then you miss the opportunity to increase your page visits.
Google, like other popular search engines, uses an algorithm to determine which sites are considered primary results. These results are what you see on the first page when you search for something. It means the algorithm has deemed these sites as relevant to the search. With SEO, you increase your chances of being identified as relevant on more searches. This is especially true for Google because over 90% of searches are conducted through their search engine.
You don’t want to end up anywhere beyond the first page of results. As mentioned earlier, almost no one would go through the search results after the first page. Chances are, you’re essentially invisible if you land on the second or lower numbered pages. A majority of users either get the information they need on the first page or abandon their search for a different set of keywords if they are not satisfied.
How do search engines work?
There are two main functions of search engines – (1) crawling and indexing and (2) providing a ranked list of answers to the user. This provides a search result based on relevance and popularity. And this is what SEO tries to take advantage of by maximizing.
Each page, each document on the web has a specific link. And these links are how search engines find them and store the necessary data in data centers. This is so that they can display these links immediately as results whenever a user enters search words online. Search engines have “crawlers” or automated bots which crawl the billions of links on the web to keep the data which are indexed for quick reference in the future. This is the first function of crawling and indexing.
The next function is providing the needed answers to each user’s query. When a user makes a search, the search engine goes through the database and selects the relevant documents. Next, the results are ranked among themselves. The more popular sites are displayed first. This is based on the assumption and historical results that popular sites offer more important information to the user.
This isn’t done manually by someone every time someone conducts a search. An algorithm determines which data is relevant and then which among them is more popular. The algorithm considers hundreds of factors (which are not all made public by Google) which are referred to as ranking factors.
How do you make SEO work for your Google ranking?
Google recommends a white hat approach to optimization for their search engine. Create your page and the links to them with humans in mind. Make sure that everything is user-friendly. From the layout to the content and the URLs.
Keep your site’s content relevant by updating it on a regular basis. Use only reliable, relevant links and sources. Create unique titles for your pages. And always proofread the content to ensure that you maintain correct grammar. Label all of the documents properly so that they are easy to index. Your HTML must comply with the set standards, and always update them to keep up with any changes.
To get better results, you have to improve both of your on and off page SEO. A great off-page SEO will attract users to your site. Meanwhile, an amazing on-page SEO will keep them in there. If Google notices that users don’t stay on your site after it enters, then it might declare them as bounces. And the more bounces you get, the lower you rank. That’s something you don’t want to happen.
Even just a little bit of knowledge on SEO can greatly improve your site’s performance. It’s a good start to making your page more relevant and more popular. But it may also be good to ask for help. There are countless websites that offer SEO services for you.
Once you get your website optimized, you’ll see your page going up the ranks in Google in no time.