SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” and it has been a key concern for businesses since the birth of digital marketing. Put simply, SEO is the process of improving your website’s rankings on search engines when people search for terms relevant to your products or services. The higher you rank, the more likely you are to increase leads and conversions.
How Does SEO Work?
Search engines use bots to crawl pages on the web, collecting information about the sites and indexing it. Then, the search engine’s algorithms analyze the index, taking hundreds of factors into account, to determine the order sites should display in search results.
In the early days of search engines, algorithms were very basic, and didn’t have the ability to determine page quality. This led to many businesses, both legitimate and otherwise, to participate in a tactic known as “keyword stuffing.” Instead of focusing on filling their website with quality content, they repeated keywords over and over again to trick search engines into giving them a high ranking. These days, keyword stuffing will do the exact opposite: search engines will give you a lower quality ranking, which dramatically decreases your chances of landing on the first page of search results. These days, the ideal keyword density for your webpages is just 1-2%.
While each search engine’s exact algorithms are a closely held secret, we know that many ranking factors relate to either user experience or website quality. The most important are content quality, keywords, page speed, mobile-friendliness, and security. Another important factor is how easily and effectively bots can crawl your page.
All of these factors are designed to indicate which websites are the most relevant and authoritative, in order to provide users with the most efficient search experience possible. Unlike paid advertising, you can’t pay search engines to increase your rankings on results pages. That is why these rankings are called “organic” search results.
Why is SEO Important for Digital Marketing?
SEO is an extremely important part of digital marketing for one very obvious reason: world-wide, people conduct trillions of searches every year. Search results are often the primary way that websites drive traffic and generate leads. Having a higher ranking increases your visibility, sets you above your competition, and can help generate significantly more income.
Basic Principles for a SEO-Friendly Website
Wondering what some of the basic do’s and don’ts are for building a SEO-friendly website? Here are our top takeaways for correct SEO.
- Design your pages and content for users, NOT search engines.
- Have an appropriate amount of original content on each of your website pages.
- Don’t include any deceitful content aimed at misrepresenting your product, services, or business in general.
- Avoid trying to “trick” search engines into giving you a higher ranking, i.e. keyword stuffing.
- Try to highlight what makes your business unique, valuable, or engaging.
- Keep page titles clear and relevant.
- Have at least one social media page you actively post on.
- Make sure your page loading speed is competitive.
- Use alt attributes for images.
- Make sure all page URLs are clean, concise, and have relevant keywords.
- Use automatically generated content, or content from a competitor.
- Participate in linking schemes or “cloaking.”
- Hide links or text on pages.
- Create “doorway” pages.
- Add an excessive number of links that take users away from your site.
- Use the same or similar content on multiple pages.
- Not Sure How to Handle SEO? Hire an Expert
As technology – and our relationship with it – has evolved over the last decade, businesses have been forced to become increasingly tech savvy to try and beat out their competition for leads and conversions. By implementing a SEO campaign, you can build a strategic source for organic website visits that will help your business succeed for years to come.
If you’re not sure how to handle SEO for your business, then your best bet is to hire an expert to partner with. A quality digital marketing company will know the best way to implement SEO tactics in order to follow all proper best practices – and keep you from inadvertently implementing something that might flag you as someone who is trying to game the system.
At Gulf Coast Web, we have over 25 years of experience in managing all types of digital design and marketing campaigns – even for companies outside of our immediate area. Our staff consists of highly-trained digital design advertising professionals who are both passionate about their jobs and excel at what they do. Contact us today to book a consultation with our team. We look forward to outlining exactly how we can help you grow your business with our digital media agency services.