Search Engine Optimization

Critical Ways Search Engine Optimization Can Improve Your Relevancy.

When people are in an “I-want-to-buy” moment, 64% of them use a search engine to find what they’re looking for. And of those who end up buying, nearly 40% are influenced by something they found in their search.

Most searchers click on one of the top three results and very few go beyond the first page of results in Google. If you want to have a chance of connecting with those searchers when they’re ready to buy, your site needs to rank near the top.

That’s the whole point of search engine optimization (SEO) – to convince Google and other search engines that your site is the most relevant for what you have to offer.

There’s much more to SEO than your search engine rankings though. Let’s look at some of the other ways SEO can help improve your business.

What Exactly is Search Engine Optimization?

There are two sides of the SEO coin – the technical side and the user-facing side. Technical SEO involves things like how quickly your website loads, the type of content management system (CMS) it’s built on, and the structure of the underlying HTML code on each page.

User-facing SEO includes things like the content you post on your site, the site design, and the structure of how the site is laid out. These things make the site easier to navigate and more useful for the people who come looking for information about your market.

The two types of SEO work together to help your site rank higher in the search results — but that’s not where your focus should be. What you should focus on more than anything else is providing what your visitors want and giving them a good experience when they land on your site.

That’s where a lot of businesses misunderstand the point of SEO. Yes, the goal is to get higher ranking and therefore more visitors to your site. But instead of optimizing for the search engines, you should be optimizing for your visitors.

How SEO Has Changed Over the Years.

In the early days of SEO, it was all about the technical side of things. If you wanted to rank for a certain keyword or phrase, you just used it as many times as possible in your web page.

This practice is known as keyword stuffing. It worked well for getting high rankings but it provided an awful experience for people coming to the site. This type of content was hard to read and rarely provided any real value.

As technology improved and the search engines got smarter, this type of spam stopped working. Google makes changes to improve its ranking algorithm regularly and it’s reached the point that many of the ranking factors they consider are directly related to the quality of the user experience.

If you think of it as visitor optimization, instead of search engine optimization, you’ll be more successful and will be more likely to stay in the top-ranked search results for the long-haul. If you’re looking at outsourcing this work, make sure you work with a reputable SEO service that won’t resort to those outdated tactics that can do more harm than good.

Why SEO is Important.

From the perspective of your business, there are several important things that search engine optimization will do, including:

Helps build your brand

Drives more traffic to your site

Helps your target audience find you

Boosts your credibility and authority in your market

Search results are based on a computer algorithm but most people consider a highly-ranked site to be “endorsed” by Google. When your site is in one of those top spots, it will help give your brand more authority and credibility.

Driving more traffic and helping your audience find you is an obvious benefit of being ranked near the top of the results but that’s the ultimate goal here — to grow your business.

The Positive Side-Effects of Optimizing for the Search Engines

While you might use search engine optimization to find new clients and increase revenue in your business, you’ll see a bunch of positive side-effects if you optimize well.

Focusing on the User and Their Experience

As we already pointed out, Google and various other search engines have improved their algorithms to the point where they can identify how effective your website is at meeting your visitors’ needs. So improving their experience will, in turn, help your SEO results.

Making your site more usable for your visitors should be a top priority. In other words, making it easy to navigate around the site and find relevant information. If a visitor clicks on your site in the search results and immediately clicks back and clicks through to a different site, that’s going to harm your rank.

There are some less obvious usability factors as well, such as the speed of your site. Studies have shown that going from a 1-second to a 3-second page load time will increase the probability of that visitor clicking away (known as a “bounce”) by 32%.

Increasing page load from 1 second to 5 seconds increases the chance of a bounce by 90%.

If your site doesn’t load fast enough, it won’t matter how good your content is – a lot of your visitors won’t wait long enough to see it.

Accessibility Features

Another factor Google considers when ranking pages is the accessibility features on the site. Features like image titles, “alt” text, and clean code make it easy for assistive technology like screen readers to do their job.

Whether a visitor needs those features or not, it’s factored into the algorithm that ranks your site. And for any visitors that do need it, having those features in place will make their experience much better. It could be the difference between getting the information they need and not being able to retrieve anything at all.

Optimizing for Mobile Devices

A factor that’s becoming a more important part of SEO is optimizing your website for mobile devices. Over 50% of all web pages viewed around the world were on mobile phones. Google saw that trend coming several years ago and started considering that when ranking sites.

Most modern phones will display a website designed for standard desktop browsers but it’s not a very good experience trying to make it work on such a small screen. Once again, designing your site to meet Google’s expectations will also make it more usable for your visitors, and vice-versa.

This is even more important if your business works with local customers. Because so many people search for answers on their mobile devices when the time comes to make a purchase, having a site that works well on small screens, along with effective local SEO, isn’t negotiable.

You’ll Be More Careful About What You Share

Google considers some types of websites to be “bad neighborhoods.” In other words, the content on the site or some other factor in how the site operates breaks one or more of Google’s terms of service.

If you link out to those types of websites, it can hurt your search ranking. Those types of sites are generally not designed with their users’ best interests in mind and might even be actively trying to deceive them. Considering whether a link is going to look bad to Google will also help your visitors avoid problems.

It’s not only about not sharing bad things, mind you. It’s also about diversifying what you share.

Having different types of content on your website, such as text, images, and videos, can help your site rank higher. And like so many other factors we’ve already covered, adding different types of media will also help your visitors.

Some people learn better by reading, others by watching a video. By sharing different styles of content, your visitors will be more likely to find something that resonates with them.

You’ll Be More Aware of Your Competition

Part of an effective SEO campaign, especially when you’re first getting started, is reverse-engineering the sites that already rank at the top of the search results. Figuring out what they’re doing to rank well gives you some insight into what you need to do to compete and what you can do even better to outrank them.

This will give you a ton of information about your competition that goes beyond competing for search traffic. You’ll also have a much better idea of what kind of offers they’re making, what their marketing funnel looks like, and various other aspects of their business.

Once a visitor finds your site, you still need to convert them into a lead or a customer. You can use this competitive research to improve your offers in general so prospective clients are more likely to pick you over your competition.

It’s All About the User

You’ll see and hear lots of talk about search engine optimization but it comes down to doing what’s best for the user. If you focus on providing quality information in an easy-to-understand format, you’ll be well on your way to ranking near the top of the search results. 

You can learn the rest with a bit of research but if you’d rather focus on what you do best and leave your SEO in the hands of experts, Reputed can help. We offer a range of services including our professional SEO service that will help you compete for the highest rankings. 

Get in touch today to see how we can help or let our team give you a free SEO analysis. We’ll give you some tips to help you increase traffic, generate more leads, and maximize your revenue. 

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