Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process or set of steps one takes to make one’s website or other online assets more visible to others when others use search engines to search for content online. This is also often referred to as positioning your assets to be found through “organic” searches, as opposed to “Pay Per Click” (PPC) where you pay the search engines yourself a fee to help your site get found stand out and be found.
What is actually involved in this process called SEO? What steps would you like to take to grow your online assets so they can be found more easily? My list below is by no means exhaustive, but it aims to give you a solid overview of tasks you can do to make your website more visible.
Search engine registration: The first thing you want to do is register your website with the search engines yourself. Most search engines provide you with a method by which you can tell them your website, who owns the website, and you can also tell them what web pages are on your website by sending them a “Sitemap.xml” file.
Search engine indexing: Next, you want to tell them more about your individual web pages so that this information can be stored in their internal databases and “indexed” for use when people perform “organic” searches. For example, each search engine has its own method of accepting your website indexing requests; Yahoo-Bing allows you to submit 10 webpages per day for indexing, and Google, currently the world’s largest search engine, provides you with a webpage indexing request tool called “Fetch as Google” into which you enter your pages to be indexed can enter. When using this tool, remember to register each page as a default webpage and also register the same pages separately for mobile pages if they are “Mobile Responsive”, as Google maintains separate databases for mobile pages and to be organic on a mobile phone to be found, you must also register them in this second database.
Link building: This is the art of getting links to your site from other quality Internet sites, usually owned by others. This is often done by leaving posts on other forums, asking other site owners to link their sites to yours, building a presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit, etc., and sharing your presence with those sites tie back to your website, writing articles and press releases mentioning your website, posting videos related to you on places like YouTube and Vimeo, publishing e-books and more. The more “external backlinks” you can create to your website, the stronger your website will look in the eyes of Google and other search engines, and the better your website will rank organically within those search engines.
Optimization on site: There are also things you can do within your own website to improve your SEO ranking on search engines. You will want to do keyword and keyword research while creating webpage titles and writing content for those pages, do the same for images you use so they are well described, link pages together so they easily keep people on your site longer To give them more access to additional related content on your site, create “anchor text” on your site, which means using strong keyword phrases and embedding hyperlinks to other locations on and off the site behind that text.
Content creation: Write your website content in such a way that the webpage title and description are supported by your content words as high as possible in the content of each page as this helps to validate these pages as genuine and valuable to the search engines when they render pages for their own content consumers.
Use of videos, audios and images: Use them liberally on your site, as search engines know that people would rather watch videos, view images, or listen to audios than read text. So use this strategy and make sure you describe it fully in your webpages’ “meta -data” and submit that to the search engines for indexing as well. It’s tedious work but will improve over time in terms pay off significantly on the visibility of your website.
Make your websites mobile-responsive: These days, search engines like Google don’t even show pages that don’t respond to people doing “organic” searches for content through them. If your website is not responsive, you will not be found.
Create websites natively: Build your web pages natively rather than using templates whenever possible and test them for loading speed. If your webpages and especially your mobile webpages don’t fully load within 2-4 seconds, your page will be penalized or may not even show up via organic search. Template pages tend to be “bolder” so they take longer to load – which is why I’m emphasizing this point. Also, keep your image sizes small – 4 megabyte images take much longer to load than 20K images…
Keyword competition analysis: Conduct competitive analysis on your keyword research and where you rank those keywords compared to your competitors. Take a look at what makes page one in an organic search for keywords and phrases you want to rank for, and research how difficult it would be to displace them in order for your content to show up on page one of a search – and there are a number of these tools out there that can make this job easier for you. But the bottom line is that you want to get on page one when you rank for the words and phrases you choose and how you use them for SEO effect on your website. You don’t want to do all that work to rank on page 10 where far fewer content seekers are reaching.
Use search engine dashboards: Search engines create informational dashboards that let you see how they see your site, what errors they find on your site, and they often offer suggestions for fixes and improvements. Use these dashboards! Find out about the quality of your site, make the fixes and let them know when you’ve fixed the problem so they can browse your site again to register that it’s improved. This work is very important to maintain good search engine rankings.
In summary, above are just some of the most important things you need to do to have a chance to rank on page one in search engines organically. Organic SEO takes a lot of work, but those who take the time to do that work on their websites will be rewarded with organic traffic to their websites. Improving organic SEO should be an ongoing process for any business trying to do business online. Traffic is money and when others are doing it and you are not, they will be the ones getting the sales you want to get. Doing this well often means business survival.