If you’re not optimized, then you’re not present
The above phrase stands true for all companies that maintain any form of a digital presence in today’s age. Be it a website, a social platform or the presence on an aggregator app. It is imperative to be optimized for wherever you maintain your presence. Without this ‘digital optimization’ you will not be able to connect with your customers, even worse, your customers won’t even know where to find you.
The first step for truly being optimized for all digital platforms begins with optimizing your website for search engines. This is where you will be pulling all of your customers to your business, and you need to be at the top of their search result to get their business.
How does a Search Engine rank websites?
To know how Search engines rank webpages, it’s mandatory to understand what are Search Engines. Search Engines: A Search Engine is defined as a web-based tool, which searches the results of a specific targeted query, entered by the user on the Web and in return it provides you with a list of search results most appropriate to the keyword. A Search Engine uses robots/bots, or spiders to crawl the Web, from page to page and site to site.
Basically, every Search Engine uses its own algorithm to rank webpages making sure that only relevant results are returned for the query entered by the user. The result of a specific query is then shown on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
The science behind page ranking
Each Search Engine has its own way of ranking a website. Each and every Search Engine will have a different way to calculate the rankings by using their own algorithms. Plus, no Search Engine will produce the same result because of the different algorithms used by different Search Engines. For example, Google and Yahoo will probably never give the same result for a search query. There are certain factors on the basis of which Search Engines give rankings to the website’s pages.
Factors affecting Search Engines rankings
On Page Factors
On-page factors work on the website page so that the website is search engine friendly and also to improve Search Engine rankings for the keywords.
Off Page Factors
Off-Page is defined as the factors which help to improve the website ranking outside the boundaries of the web pages. These ranking factors are not directly controlled by the publisher.
What makes it important to rank on a Search Engine
The most important reason why you want to get first page rankings is that you want to be visible to everyone that will need your product/service. Google, for example, is the #1 search engine, and it provides for almost 12 billion searches a month. Approximately 1.17 billion unique searchers use it every month. In the US, It’s the number 1 search engine.
In fact, according to SearchEngineWatch.com, the top ranking websites grab 36.4% of the traffic, which is missed by lower ranked websites.
And if you are in business, you should also know that 93% of all buying decisions start with an online search.
Top Position Gets More Traffic
One of the other top search engines after Google, Bing, reports that websites on the top get 42% of the traffic; the second gets 11% and third only gets 8%. So, it clearly indicates why your websites needs to be on top.
How long does it take to rank to the top of a Search Engine?
According to multiple sources, the average time for websites to rank on Google through optimization (SEO) techniques is about three to six months.
That’s right - jumping to the front of Google’s results usually takes between 90-180 days, depending on the competitiveness of your industry and the popularity of your keywords.
What aspects of your website can you optimize?
As discussed above, on-page factors work on the page of the website and are essential for each website so that it can rank. These factors are within the control of the publisher. Factors such as the content of the website pages, Meta tags, Title tags and many more are listed below:
Content on the page The content that is there on the website should be unique and relevant to what the query or need is; this is what Search Engines look for. It is aptly said, ‘Content is the King’, as the ranking of the website depends on the content of the webpage. When the user searches for particular content, the content displayed by the website should be relevant and helpful to him to offer him/her good experience. Search Engines penalize websites that are not regularly updated with the current information.
Title Tags: This is an HTML tag that is used to define the text or the title of the search listings which is on the top of a Web browser. The title should be accurate and should give a brief of the page’s content.
URL Structure A key aspect in Search Engine Optimization is the URL structure should contain the main keywords.
Meta Description Tag: The Meta description tag is a brief description of your site or the page’s content which can be used by the search engines. The Meta description tag is like:
<meta name=”description” content=”Brief description of the contents of your page.”/>
Keyword Density This is the percentage of keywords or keyword phrases that appear on your webpage. A percentage between 1.25 to 1.5 is ideal.
XML Sitemap: It is advisable to have an XML Sitemap as this permits a Search Engine’s crawler to index the list of URLs for a website. An XML file contains only 50,000 URLs, and its size must not be larger than 10 MB.
Alt Tags To increase the ranking of the web page, it is essential to attract traffic through images by using the correct and relevant Alt tags for specific keywords.
Internal Linking Strategy: Internal linking strategy means that the web pages of any website should be interlinked with each other. This linking should be done wherever required so that the Search Engines does not spam it. The major pages of your website should be interlinked with the homepage.
Heading Tags The headings of the page are created with <hn> tag, where n is a number between 1 to 6. Generally, there are 6 fonts used for heading.
For example: <h1>Heading</h1>
These are the factors that are out of control of the publishers. Off-page factors do not involve text or content on the page of the website.
Some of the factors affecting the ranking of the web pages are:
Building Quality Link Building There is nothing better for a website to build good quality links for it. To increase the Search Engine Rankings, quality websites should be linked. If good websites are linked with your website, it means that your website has good and valuable content. By building external links to your website, you are trying to accumulate as many links as you can and rank higher.
There are many ways to increase link count:
Blog Directories These are directories like yellow pages that help in creating links as each entry is a backlink to a website.
Comment link In comment link, you can comment on some other websites in order to get a link for yourself.
Article Directories: If you publish your own article in the article directories, you will get a backlink to your website. Directories primarily accept original content, but there can be some directories which may accept articles that are reworded or spun.
Link exchange schemes: This is an interesting way to build links. The scheme talks about getting in touch with the webmasters of different websites and exchange links.
Forum Posting Forum postings are defined as online discussion websites where a group of people come and share their views about a particular topic. It can be an open discussion or a closed one. People included their links in their signatures.
Social Networking Social networking is very helpful in terms of gaining website traffic as it helps to extend our online network of contacts that helps in socializing with others. We can also share and promote our website on social media platforms and can attract the attention of the people through Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr, etc.
If we look from a bigger perspective, it is also a form of link building.
What must one keep in mind while optimizing his site to be at the top of any search engine?
Dedicate your resources to make good content: As the saying goes, ‘write for people first, search engines second.’ This basically means that you should be creating quality pieces of content that engage users because the search engines will recognize your efforts. You should understand, what is it that your users want to read and how can you provide content of value to them. Also, what you can do is go to back to your older pieces of content and update them to be better optimized for the search engine.
Get Backlinks from other trusted websites: The best way to rank to the top of a search engine is to get backlinks or references by other websites that are trusted by search engines. This shows that your website is trusted and is a legitimate source of information.
Curate original content It is imperative that you curate original content and not just copy and paste the material that is there on other websites. Original content even establishes authority as well as credibility. Original content about the products or services that you offer will let people know about the kind of work that you can do for them.
Optimize Meta Description It is critical that you write the proper meta description and relate it contextually to the content that is available on your page The purpose of a meta description for your page is simple: to get someone searching on Google to click your link. In other words, meta descriptions are there to generate click-throughs from search engines. Doing this will lead to a higher search ranking for your website.
Local SEO: Local SEO and Local Search is for imperative for optimizing the website for local results. Local SEO is a strategic process that focuses on emphasizing the optimization efforts of local brick-and-mortar businesses. Local SEO includes content, on-page optimization, and link building with a focus on localized user intent. Local SEO emphasizes on effective local online marketing. For smaller businesses, the most crucial aspect is for their website to show up in local searches for a relevant audience. The targeting results are based on geographic location.
In other terms, Local SEO can be used to look at SEO through the lens of a geographic location. Any local business can make use of this local SEO. Google and other search engines have now begun to pay more attention to the local searches. Hence, local search results are considered to be more relevant for local searches. If you are searching something on google.co.in (Google India), Google will also deliver results that are relevant to a specific geographical locality based on the IP address of the user.
Tools for SEO
The land of search is a competitive place, and if you want to be at the top if it is important that you have the best tools at the tip of your fingertips. Below, we’ve listed essential tools that you must have if you want a good standing on SEO. Harnessing the insights from these tools are critical for you to have a better position on your SEO.
UberSuggest A free keyword suggestion tool that uses a variety of different suggest services to create a detailed list of keywords for you. UberSuggest even saves a lot of time on keyword research and takes your keywords and extracts suggestions by adding a word or two in front of it.
SemRush Although SemRush is a freemium tool, it offers far more insights when you get the paid version of the software. The best benefit of SemRush is that it lets you get a 360-degree view of your competitor's online marketing efforts. It is the quintessential research tool as it lets you do the following things: Backlink Analysis, finding the top keywords of a site, estimate the traffic for any site and finding the ad copies of your competitors.
Google Search Console This is Google’s very own tool that helps users to monitor the performance of their website. Users can look at the ‘Search Traffic’ and the ‘Search Analytics’ tab to bring up a list of keywords that their website is currently ranking for. Following from a sort by ranking position, the users can start to optimize their website for the keywords that they are on the second page for, with a bit of perseverance and following the key rules of SEO, you should see your results come to the first page of Google.
Buzzsumo Buzzsumo is an excellent tool. It operates with an incredibly easy to use interface which allows you to quickly identify what content is working well around a particular topic as well as highlighting the major influencers. Another critical feature is BuzzSumo’s content intelligence that allows marketers to create, distribute and amplify their content marketing more effectively.
What must one keep in mind while optimizing their website:
While the rules for SEO stay the same across the board, in terms of publishing great content and providing your users with a good experience, there are other things one must keep in mind while optimizing their website.
Have updated content Google and other search engines prefer websites that have updated content that and one that is relevant to what the user needs. For example: If you’re a legal or a technological website, you should keep your user policies updated and showcase the most relevant information.
Have clean site architecture If you maintain a site that is being continuously updated with more and more content, it is critical that you have some sort of organization on your website. In terms of clean architecture, it is important for your users as well as for the search engine crawlers. This organization of content is paramount.
Optimize for Mobile: Most search results and users now come from mobile platforms, and hence, one must optimize the website for mobile platforms. This means to enable your website to be responsive on mobile, meaning that the formatting on the website will fit to whatever screen the user is using.
Optimize for crawl speed When it comes to optimizing your website, it is equally important that your pages are crawled and indexed fast by Google. There are many factors that can help with crawl speed, including your site speed, sitemap, and hosting performance. As a rule of thumb, always avoid duplicate content and block unwanted pages with robots.txt/robots meta to ensure optimal crawl speed.
Overall, it is vital to get an overview of your site and what you want to achieve with your website before you go on to optimize it. It is imperative that the optimization on your website is in accordance with the parameters set by the search engines. Doing this would not only better your standing, but it would also even resonate your presence across various digital platforms.
If you want to create a robust digital presence for your brand get in touch