When it comes to the digital marketing world, SEO is one of the best (and free!) ways to gain more traffic to your website. While paying for posts is great, more and more consumers are getting skeptical about posts that are flagged “sponsored.”For those who aren’t quite sure what the term SEO is all about, it stands for Search Engine Optimization. This basically translates to the organic way of getting your content to show up closer to the top of certain search engines like Google.
Much like most companies, Google’s success comes from its utility and credibility. Because of this, when implementing SEO practices, it’s important to keep in mind that Google is going to present the information that it deems the most credible, secure, and relevant to its users. So how exactly does Google determine that your page makes the cut? Let’s take a look:
Using keyword phrases
One thing to keep in mind: technology is getting smarter. While keyword density was key to ranking higher with SEO way back when, Google is now looking not only at the amount of keywords you use, but the “keyword intent” as well. This means that simply cramming the highest ranked keywords into your blog isn’t going to work anymore. Now, backing up each keyword phrase with actual content proves to Google that you’re doing more than the typical keyword-cram. Search engines now look for the lists, tips, and examples surrounding the keywords that give it actual purpose. Pretty neat, right?
Optimizing your SEO Title/description
The title tag and the meta tag are what we would call the “first impressions” of SEO ranking. These are the words you’ll actually see on the search engine page, and they essentially tell Google what your page entails.
Title tags are exactly what they sound like – a title given to your article/page on the desired search engine. Since this is what the user first encounters, it’s important to take careful consideration into each word you choose. The shorter, the better.
- Don’t go over 66 characters
- Keywords should go first
- Keep it clear and concise
- Accurately describe page content
The meta description is the small blurb that describes the page with a little more depth. Oftentimes, the default will be a small snippet of the article. Meta descriptions are what differentiate your page from all other search results. Typically, a user reads the meta description in order to discern which page to choose. Since Google is constantly changing meta description limits, it’s useful to use SERP snippet tools to get the updated limits.
- Include examples of exact SKUs or services
- Use active rather than passive voice
- End with a call-to-action
Ensuring domain security
While the worldwide web brings a lot of useful information, it can also bring a lot of security issues. One of the most important factors Google looks for before putting your page at the top of the search results list is your link. Specifically, Google looks for the “s” in the “https” before your link to ensure that your website is SSL-certified.
The SSL certification assures Google and users that the information being exchanged between the user and the site remains between the user and the host by encrypting the data into information that only the user and the host can decipher. Knowing that a domain is secure gives users peace of mind that their private information is not being altered or shared with the worldwide web.
Monitoring your page speed
What’s more annoying than waiting for a page to load? Yeah, Google hates it too. As the technological advances grow, so does our impatience. Another big factor that Google looks into is page speed. A factor most easily forgotten, page speed is one of the most important factors that can either bring you up or down on the results list FAST. As of 2019, Google says that a page should take no longer than 2 seconds to completely load.
Increasing inbound links
In the world of SEO, almost everything is a popularity contest. While it isn’t quite the prom king and queen popularity we see in movies, Google – much like anyone else – heavily depends on the recommendations of others to determine who is giving out the most credible and reliable information. The amount of inbound links (aka backlinks) on a page is one way Google measures this. Inbound links are essentially all of the other hyperlinks that direct back to your website, in most cases, by websites or people other than yourself. For Google, the more people that are sharing your content, the more credible you must be.
Easy ways to increase inbound links:
- Offer to write guest blogs
- Link other blogs in your content
- Reach out to frequently trafficked blogs about linking your resources
- Send out free resources to companies
- Create consistent, useful content (how-tos, tips, etc)
- Share content of others
The best way to master the art of SEO is to constantly be on the lookout for new updates on character limits, keyword trends, or other tips. After all, the best part about technology is that it seems to get smarter every single day!