Search Engine Optimization or SEO, is the process of or a series of steps that one takes in an effort to make their website or other online assets more visible to others when others are searching for content online using search engines. This is also often referred to as positioning one’s assets to be found by “organic” searches as opposed to “Pay Per Click” (PPC) where you pay a fee to the search engines themselves so that they will help your site to stand out and be found.
So what actually is involved in this process called SEO? What are the steps you want to take to build out your online assets so as to be more easily found? My list below is by no means complete but it will serve to give you a solid overview to tasks you can complete to make your site more visible.
Search Engine Registration: The first thing you will want to do is to get your website registered with the search engines themselves. Most search engines offer you a method whereby you can tell them about your site and site ownership and you can also tell them what webpages exist on your website through submission of a “Sitemap.xml” file to them.
Search Engine Indexing: Next you will want to tell them more about your individual webpages so that this information can be stored and “Indexed” in their internal databases for use when people are making “Organic” searches. Each search engine has their own method of accepting your webpage indexing requests for example; Yahoo-Bing allows you to submit 10 webpages for indexing a day and Google, the largest search engine in the world today, provides you with a webpage indexing request tool called “Fetch as Google” where you can enter your pages to be indexed. Remember when using this tool to register each page as a standard webpage and also to register these same pages separately for mobile pages if they are “Mobile Responsive” in construction as Google maintains separate databases for mobile pages and to get found organically on a cellphone, you will need to have them registered in this second database as well.
Link Building: This is the art of building links back to your site from other quality Internet locations usually owned by others. This is often done by leaving posts on other forums, asking other site owners to link their sites with yours, building a presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit, etc. and tying your presence on those sites back to your website, writing articles and press releases that mention your site, posting videos to places like YouTube and Vimeo that tie back to you, publishing e-books and more. The more “External Backlinks” you can create to your site, the stronger your site looks in the eyes of Google and other search engines and the better your site will rank within those engines organically.
On Site Optimization: There are also things you can do within your own website to strengthen your SEO rankings with search engines. You will be wanting to do keyword and keyword phrase research as you build webpage titles and write content for those pages, do the same for images you use so they are well described, link pages together so they can keep people on your site longer by easily giving them more access to additional related content on your site, create “Anchor Text” on your site which means taking strong keyword phrases and embedding hyperlinks to other locations on-site and off-site behind this text.
Content Creation: Write your website content in such a way that the webpage title and description are supported by your content words as close to the top of each page’s content as possible as this helps to validate these pages as being real and of value to the search engines when they render pages to their own content consumers.
Use of Videos, Audios and Images: Use them liberally on their site as search engines know that people to prefer to watch videos, look at pictures or listen to audios more than they like to read text – so use this strategy and be sure to richly describe them within your webpages’ “meta-data” and to also submit them for indexing to the search engines as well. It is tedious work, but will pay significant dividends to your site over time in terms of its visibility.
Build your webpages to be “Mobile-Responsive”: These days, search engines such as Google will not even display pages that are not responsive to people making “Organic” queries for content through them. If your webpage is not responsive, you will not be found.
Build Webpages Natively: Build your webpages natively as opposed to using templates wherever possible and test them for speed of loading. If your webpages and in particular your mobile webpages do not load completely within 2-4 seconds, your page will be penalized or not even be displayable through organic searches. Template pages tend to be “Fatter” so they take longer t load – which is why I make this point. Also keep your image sizes small – 4 megabyte images take much longer to load than 20K images…
Keyword Competitive Analysis: Do competitive analysis on your keyword research and where you place with those keywords in relation to your competitors. Look at what is making it to page one in an organic search for keywords and phrases you wish to rank for and research how hard it would be to displace them to get your content showing on page one of a search – and there are a number of tools out there that can help you make this job easier. Bottom line though is that you want to get to page one when ranking for the words and phrases that you choose and how you use them for SEO effect on your site – you don’t want to do all this work to rank on page 10 where much fewer content searchers get to.
Use Search Engine Dashboards: Search engines build informational dashboards for you to use to see how they are seeing your site and what errors they are finding on your site and they often offer suggestions for fixes and improvements. Use these dashboards! Get all you can from them about your site’s quality, make the fixes and let them know when you have fixed it so they can “recrawl” your site to register that it has improved. Doing this work is very important to maintaining good search engine rankings.
In summary, above are just some of the core things you will need to do to have a shot at getting to page one in search engines organically. Organic SEO takes a lot of work but those that put in the time to do this work on their sites are rewarded with organic traffic to their sites. Improving organic SEO should be a continual process for any company trying to do business online. Traffic is money and if others are doing this and you are not, they will be the ones making the sales you want to get. Often, doing this well means business survival itself.
About Dan Grijzenhout: Dan is a professional digital marketing strategist and consultant providing consulting services to businesses and corporations. Also an online trainer, Dan currently has over 14,500 students taking his entrepreneurial, business and marketing courses online.