Consider the process of Googling a topic, product, service, etc. You type in the words you’re thinking (whether they form a coherent sentence or not), hit the enter key, and trust that the most reliable information appears within the first page. After all, who has the time to search beyond that, right? But what exactly determines what the search engines like and don’t like? How does it weed through thousands of pages on one topic in order to present you with the highest quality content? This is where search engine optimization, or SEO, becomes crucial within internet marketing.
Keywords and SEO go hand in hand. However, this doesn’t mean pick a couple of commonly searched-for words or phrases and incorporate them into your site content everywhere you can. Search engines are smarter than that and will identify attempts to cheat the system.
Essentially, search engines like Google use software that “crawls” each and every landing page included in a website, sorting out high quality and relevant content from spam and unoriginal or irrelevant content. So what exactly is it looking for?
1. Page titles
These can be found at the very top of your browser. Each page is saved according to its page title. The pages on your site should be titled consistently with relevant keywords found within content on your website. A common misconception is that the name, logo, or other signature component of a business should be included in the page title. However, think about what users are searching for because it’s probably the product or service you’re providing rather than your company itself.
2. Meta tags and meta descriptions
This component tells the search engine which words and terms are the most important to your site. They should be identical to keywords found within the content on your site. Meta descriptions are typically 50-60 words and include the targeted terms within your content.
High quality, user-friendly, and original content is the best thing you can do for your site in terms of traffic and valuable SEO. You will be rewarded by search engines for giving adequate attention to blogs, updates, and other content sources through higher rankings and penalized for copying the content of other sites through much lower search rankings.
There are no shortcuts when it comes to SEO, so don’t expect to get results overnight with one blog post stuffed with one keyword. It’s time-consuming and often times tedious work, that requires a very particular strategy. It can be difficult to set aside the time and energy to learn the ins and outs of proper and effective SEO when you have many other aspects of your company to grow and monitor, which is one of the reasons why hiring an outside source to improve this area can be extremely beneficial. Hiring a digital strategist that specializes in SEO techniques and practices not only takes some of the pressure off of doing it all yourself, but it also provides you with a knowledgeable team member that will help you understand exactly how SEO works and some of the strategies involved with optimizing your web content. In the long run, you may find that you’ve acquired the skills and knowledge to correctly manage SEO on your own, growing your business in ways that you never could have imagined. It’s hard to put a price on that.