How To Improve My Website Ranking In Google – SEO
Have you ever wondered how to improve your website ranking in google? Ever wanted to know why some web pages always come out top in search results and also seem to get more traffic than others with similar or perhaps even better content? The technology behind it is quite simple, it’s called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, for short.
What is SEO?
There are several definitions of SEO but all agree on the point that Search Engine Optimization refers to the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic or visits that a website records from relevant searches, as well as increasing the visibility of a brand through non-paid (otherwise known as “organic) search engine results. It would also involve the process of optimizing your online content such that a search engine presents your content as one of the closest related to a certain keyword searched.
To put it simply, SEO is demonstrating to search engines that an online content is the most relevant to a keyword or topic at hand. This is because the goal of all search engines is to show the most relevant results to users.
Whichever way you decide to look at it, SEO is about visibility. Increasing your website’s visibility to relevant searches. But why is visibility important? The more visible a page, the more traffic the site records and with that comes market value.
How search engines work
To better appreciate the importance of Search Engine Optimization, its best to understand first, how search engines work. To provide some context, when a user carries out a search on a search engine such as Google, the search engines employs the use of an algorithm in real time to present the user what the search engine deems the most “relevant” result. In achieving this, the search engine goes through its index of billions of web pages and other related online content to provide results that best match the search terms. The question then is: how does the search engine determine the best match?
Following the filed patents of search engines such as Google, it’s easy to conclude that search engines prioritize websites on the following grounds.
This is perhaps the most important part of a search engine’s functionality. If you carry out a search for “best holiday destinations”, you certainly won’t be interested in seeing results about construction. This is why a search engine scours through its index of websites for websites or web pages that closely related to the topic or keyword. This is still not simple as it seems. Considering there are millions, even billions of search results for a single keyword, the search engine is unable to simply rank the most closely related web pages to the key word at the topic. For example, a google search for the best holiday destinations has 4.8 billion results. Since you can’t possibly go through the entire results, search engines have prioritize the results, putting the very best results top for the users. In achieving this, search engines have to employ other elements such as
This is the search engine’s method of determining the accuracy and trustworthiness of online content.
To do this, the search engine considers the number of webpages that are linked to a page. These links from other pages are called back links. Usually, the more backlinks that a web page has, the higher it ranks on search engines.
Interestingly, this element is a new functionality used by more recent and sophisticated search engines such as Google.
Not every content that is relevant and authoritative is useful to a search engine user. Search engines optimizes their indexes to position only the most useful content at the top of search results.
To determine usefulness, search engines consider what is known as “User Experience Signals”. This relates to user interaction with search results. To put it simply, search engines rank content that users enjoy and visit more.
How SEO works
Having examined how search engines produce their search results, it is much easier to understand how Search Engine Optimization works. Whether your preferred search engine is Google, YouTube, Bing or Amazon, what SEO does is to optimize your site or online content for the search engine.
To put it in clear terms, SEO ensures that a search engine recognizes your site as the most suitable results for searches. As previously highlighted, these search engines employ the use of an algorithm which takes into account the elements of relevancy, authority, usefulness, among others.
Organic vs. Paid Results
For every search engine result page, there are two classes of results on these pages. The results are either organic or paid.
- Organic Results
Also known as natural results, these are results that make the search engines pages or are ranked entirely on their merit. When it comes to organic results, it is impossible to pay search engines, such as Google for example to rank higher. Considering that they are given priority, several ranking factors come into play in ranking organic search results. These kinds of results are presumed to be the most trustworthy, most relevant and authoritative content available on the topic or keyword searched.
SEO is most concerned with organic results. To speak of SEO is to speak of having your online content, website or web pages rank high in organic research results.
- Paid Results
There’s already a give away on what this class of results are. They are essentially paid ads that appear either on top or beneath the organic results.
Unlike organic results, paid results are not subjected to numerous ranking factors used in organic listings. They are ranked based on how much advertisers are able to pay for visits from a set of search results.
White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO
When it comes to optimizing results for search engines, there are acceptable practices and others that do not conform to best practices.
White Hat SEO refers to those practices, techniques and strategies that are in line with search engine rules and are geared towards improving user experience and creating more value.
In sharp contrast to White Hat SEO, Black Hat SEO refers to practices, techniques and strategies aimed at fooling search engines and escaping search engine optimization rules. Websites that employ the use of Black Hat SEO stand the risk of being penalized, and in some cases totally removed from the search engine’s index.
Why do you need SEO?
It is clear that SEO has gained a lot of traction recently, and for good reason. To demonstrate its importance, the following are reasons why you need SEO.
- To build your brand
For new businesses looking towards breaking into the market, SEO can be used to build and sustain brand awareness, which means that your website enjoys more visits and records more sales.
Search Engine Optimization requires that you create content that fall on all fours with the needs of users which increases user interaction. After creating quality content, it is also required that you find ways to get other web pages to link or reference your content. With all of this in place, you are consciously building a brand that aligns with the image you have for a brand.
The internet is a global tool that can be accessed anywhere around the world. There are however content and websites that are location bound. For example, for a business with a physical base, its website has to reach users that are within its geography. For a restaurant based in the United States, for example, there’s no use recording significant website visits from search engine users in Russia.
Geo targeting therefore becomes a powerful asset. By including keywords that reflect your location or address, it is easier to attract search engine users that are within your location.
- Web traffic
This is one of the most outstanding features of SEO. By increasing the traffic that a website records, you also boost the website’s visibility and rankings. Most search engine users never go beyond the first page of search results, and some rarely visit more than the first five listings on the results.
If you are interested in having prospects find your website through a search engine, you have to consider using SEO to rank among the first five listings and even more precisely, become the first on the listing.
Basic SEO tips for websites
- Define what your website is about
- Use Keywords where they matter the most
- Use a permalink that includes keywords
- Remove whatever slows your website down
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