Search engine optimization (SEO) is about building authority and credibility on the internet. Search engine rankings that deliver the right traffic are the effect of having a good, original, informational, and easy-to-use website that people trust and link to because it makes sense to do so.
These days, people want easy and they want instant. In most cases, that means when individuals are looking for a product or service, those listed on the first page of Google will get their business. That’s where we come in.
Below are the basic services that contribute to either making your website better or increasing your reputation and authority across the internet. These services make up the nuts and bolts of the work that actually goes into properly done SEO, no matter who your service provider is.
While the World Wide Web didn’t launch until August 24th, 1991, various networks had been evolving since ARPANET, building the infrastructure that makes up the internet. The earliest tool that was used to crawl and index other websites was called “Archie,” which was short for “archive.” However, this search engine did not have a front-end user experience or a back-end algorithm.
Gopher was the first search engine to use hypertext in 1992, followed by Wandex, the first web-indexing search engine. Soon after, a parade of search engines materialized as the internet increased in popularity:
While the evolution of search engines prior to Google is interesting, it really doesn’t matter too much in modern SEO, which largely revolves around Google since its rise to complete dominance in the search market.
As of June 2017, Google dominates over 79 percent of search engine usage.
Because of its dominance, many of the best SEO practices stem from understanding and reverse-engineering the following updates:
As Google has become more and more refined in understanding the relevancy and authority of digital information, search engine optimization has become increasingly clearer, despite its increasing complexity.
Basic principles that are trending in the updates include:
At the end of the day, every update Google releases is a reaction to changes in the digital landscape and how people are traversing it. Google is using the data it gathers from billions of users in order to refine its results and provide people with the best possible information, resource, or site available.
Because of that, search engine optimization is really about being the best resource, and that’s something you can’t fake. The more people you have contributing to the evolution of your site, the better.
This version of SEO is quickly becoming outdated due to the fact that it closely follows the old mentality that SEO is about keywords, which is no longer the case. The reason behind this is the cause of one of the biggest myths on the internet: that you can ever “be on the first page of Google.” That is just like asking to be on the first page of Facebook, which makes no sense because every timeline is curated specifically for each individual user. Because of that, we can only ever look at averages.
Campaigns that focus on particular keywords often follow a simple strategy: Create a page that explains everything about your ideal keyword that is ten times better than the pages that are currently ranking at the top of your search engine results. Remember, Google wants to provide the best resource or service provider. So if your competition gives good definitions, useful links, and great illustrations, you’re going to need to build something that’s better and more useful. There’s just no way around it.
When link-building for the purpose of keyword rankings, you’ve got to understand that your site should answer questions already being talked about in other places. The links you build should primarily be on directories, publications, or conversations that directly relate to the content of the page you’re trying to rank, and that page ought to be a useful and relevant source for the sites and communities they support.
This is by far the most relevant replacement to keyword-based SEO. The purpose of content marketing SEO is to drive traffic around particular topic verticals by creating a library of useful content, credited to the author or business, that is used both onsite and offsite.
Effective content marketing is based on strategy, and not a shotgun effect. A great place to start is a keyword analysis that focuses on the questions and topics being searched by volume. By identifying common elements in those trends, along with weaknesses in the existing online content, you can create a solid roadmap.
Local SEO typically revolves around local service businesses, such as restaurants, bars, spas, salons, plumbers, roofers, painters, doctors, lawyers, and so on (basically anyone you can find on Yelp).
Unlike global SEO campaigns, these rely heavily on local citations and reviews. One of the most important aspects of localization is ensuring that as many directories and maps listings as possible feature consistent information. Yext is one of the best partners we have for this. However, APIs only go so far. Oftentimes, you’ll need to seek out and mutually claim local directories.
In addition to directory listings themselves, search engines also crawl and index reviews in order to understand the details of what services are provided, how helpful they are, and general emotional sentiments concerning the businesses. As a result, review generation and reputation management are likely to surpass all other forms of local SEO … as nature intended.
Product SEO, like local SEO, is heavily focused on the reviews. Search engines are not only learning to trust people, they’re learning to understand people and let the consumers drive the conversation. By essentially crowdsourcing its understanding of business’ quality and authority, Google can have a more reliable way to recommend the best product for any consumer.
However, unlike with most other kinds of SEO, Google is not our primary search engine. Amazon is.
That being said, you can still optimize your website for Google Search. The most common ways of doing so are through a woocommerce website, the Yoast Product extension, or the tools built into a CMS designed for ecommerce, like Shopify.
WordPress makes up over 25 percent of the entire internet, as far as page volume is concerned. A number of onsite plugins and extensions are very useful for any business owner or website manager. The most popular of these is Yoast, a WordPress plugin often compared to training wheels. It has simple on-page graders and meta fields, but it also allows for the direct adjustment of more advanced settings such as .htaccess.
One of the more complex sides of onsite SEO has more to do with the organization of the website itself. Consider your website your dissertation to the world. Google and other search engines are directly judging not only the content, but also the structure and format of how you present that information, including your URL structure, site map, and meta data. One of the best tools for quickly getting all of that in one place is Screaming Frog.
After the 2015 update affectionately known as Mobilgeddon, it’s now critically important not only that your website be technically responsive, but also that the user experience and user data confirm that it is, in fact, easy to use your site. The quickest and easiest way to do this is to use Google’s product to test your website. However, nothing replaces good old-fashioned multi-platform testing.
Having a historical understanding of what pages existed in the past, particularly when trying to recover lost rankings, is important. Unfortunately, not all sites keep historical records or change logs. Thanks to Archive.org, webmasters can look back on the historical content and look of any website. The Wayback Machine isn’t perfect, but it has been a lifesaver too many times to not mention.
Duplicate content is a big SEO no-no. Search engines are vigilant at finding the right source to attribute original work to. Because of this, they typically won’t index copy that has already appeared elsewhere on the internet. It’s surprising how many websites outright steal from other websites in an effort to fill out their content. By doing so, these webmasters are unknowingly shooting themselves in the foot. Using Copyscape is the best way to scan sections of copy to see if they appear elsewhere online, giving you an indication of anything that needs rewritten.
One of the first useful tools for understanding the links, authority, keywords, and ads connected to a site is SEMrush. This tool helps with position tracking, gaining more traffic, and competing intelligently by highlighting links and opportunities discovered on competitors’ sites. However, the most important feature is the core of their product, a backlink audit and analysis. We recommend taking a quick look at the 2017 ranking factors study.
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