Search Engine Optimization

What is SEO And How Its Work In Search Engine?

SEO is primarily concerned with ensuring that your website ranks higher in search engine results, thereby driving more traffic to your site and potentially more business. However, while SEO used to involve adding a few keywords to your site for search engines to find, SEO in 2015 is far more multi-faceted and needs to be part of a wider digital marketing plan. Because of this, many companies turn to website design and marketing experts such as Pronto for support.

Create an SEO strategy?

Forget what you think you know about SEO and recognize too that it is not a static solution. The rules are changing all the time as online behavior and capabilities develop over time. Naively thinking you can just ‘wing-it’ or that you don’t need to think about SEO could stop you from reaching your full business potential. As well as adapting you need a solid monitoring and tracking system in place for your SEO. Here are a few points you need to consider when working out an SEO strategy:

  • Who is your target market? –

    SEO today is not about just grabbing as much traffic as possible but attracting potential customers who are interested in what you have to offer. Think about demographics, what your market is searching for and how, as well as where customers are located. The more finely-tuned you can be on these basics, the more you can target your SEO effectively. Google Analytics is a good place to start with your investigations!

     

  • Mobile markets are bigger than desktops –

    You don’t need statistics to show you that the online mobile market has exploded in the past few years, overtaking desktops last year. Optimization is about creating a website that fits this new style of online browsing. If potential customers are looking for you using mobile devices then make sure that you provide a quality user experience. If you are not sure how your website measures up then you could simply try out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test by entering your website URL.

  • Search engines are expanding –

    When you think about search engines, do you automatically think of Google? The tech giant has such a big share of the market that ‘Googling’ has become a verb we use when we are searching online. However, this is changing, with browsers looking at other search engines, such as Firefox opting for Yahoo as its default. Search engine DuckDuckGo has gained in popularity too for those who favor searches without personalized tracking.

  • Keywords need to correspond with ROI –

    Rather than focusing on one keyword and using it to chase your website up the ranks, keywords are much more about considering what your target market is actually tapping into the search engine. Intent or long tail keywords require you to zoom in on what users are doing, how, and when. Keywords are still relevant in SEO but they need to be precise and throwing a smattering of keywords into the mix is not enough.Also, certain keywords may get many hits but are these the best hits? It is not always about numbers but how these translate into conversions, revenue and profitability. Don’t measure keyword success in simple numbers but find out what the ROI (Return on Investment) is for your SEO efforts.

  • Clear website and quality content is king –

    A user-friendly website, with clear navigation, SEO keywords and optimized with relevant, quality content is what is really going to build up traffic. Each page needs to be built around keyword themes, with unique content, so that search engines can crawl through your site easily and rank you higher. You want your site to really respond to what your potential customers are looking for, so keep the content natural and focused; don’t strangle the style and meaning of your site with keyword stuffing which is a turn-off to search engines and users alike.

  • Quality links count –

    In the old-days, not so long ago, the name of the SEO game was link-building; getting as many links as possible out there on other sites. Inbound or back links are still incredibly important and can act as a stamp of legitimacy for your site. However, today it is all about quality not quantity, with links on relevant sites potentially bringing in more referral traffic and more users from your target group. The result? Better brand exposure and SEO with greater opportunities for conversions.

  • Social media has a pivotal role –

    Last, but my no means least, social media is an evolving platform that has changed from a medium to share content only to a viable marketing device. Users will often come to your website via social media so to optimize your online presence, in line with SEO, you need to create an up-to-date, engaging, and personalized approach that often steps outside the realms of classic marketing campaigns.

  • Monitor and track –

    A vital element of any SEO strategy is to follow how it is working. Google Analytics or another analytics tool can provide valuable data for understanding how changes affect your traffic volume and ultimately your conversions. To be successful with your digital marketing strategy you need to know what works and be able to quickly and effectively adapt if a method is not working how you perhaps envisaged.

How To Developing an SEO-friendly website

At a fundamental level, an SEO-friendly site is one that allows a search engine to explore and read pages across the site. Ensuring a search engine can easily crawl and understand your content is the first step to ensuring your visibility in the search engine result pages.

A search engine utilizes a web crawler for this task, and we are trying to work with the search engines rather than against them. Unfortunately, there are many ways to make a website, and not all technologies are built with search engine optimization in mind.

Building an SEO-friendly site requires careful planning and a structured approach to representing your business and the services you provide. For many businesses, this can be complicated — it’s not always easy to document exactly what you do.

Assuming you have all that good stuff in place, let’s dive in.

Fundamentals:

There are a few core elements that set the stage for a well-optimized website design process.

Domains

Your business may use example.com as the primary domain. But you may have others. Ensuring your domain makes sense and relates to what you do is super-important. Ensuring that all variations and subdomains correctly point at the main site and redirect to a single canonical version of the site is important.

Our business is called Bowler Hat. We operate in the UK. We are a web-based business. It naturally follows that our domain is www.bowlerhat.co.uk. All subdomains 301 redirect back to the main URL www.bowlerhat.co.uk. We have few domain variations that 301 redirect back to the main URL. This all makes sense.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that having-my-keywords-in-my-domain.com helps. It just looks daft. It can help a little for local businesses, but ensure you are mapping to the real world. Be sensible.

Hosting

Your hosting is also important. A slow site makes for unhappy users. Your hosting should follow common-sense rules. Be situated where your audience is situated. Be fast. Be platform-specific, if necessary. WP Engine is a great example, as it provides a platform tailored to WordPress websites.

CMS

The CMS (content management system) you choose for your business can hugely influence how successful you are. WordPress is a great option in many situations, but it’s not the only one. It certainly is wired up at a basic level in a way that Google can understand. This is not to say it is the best choice for all situations, but certainly, it’s a good starting point for most businesses. Just be sure that the CMS you choose is the right one for your situation, rather than the one your chosen web company prefers to work with.

Crawling & accessibility

The first step is ensuring a search engine can crawl your site and understand what it is that you do (and where you do it).

Indexation

To understand your site, they have to be able to read the content of the page. This means that the main content of your site should be text-based behind the scenes. Not images. Not flash or video. Even in this ever-advancing world, your main content should still be text-based. There are some great tools, like web fonts, that mean you can still look the part, and your images have a place, but be sure to talk in clear language about what it is you do so the search engine can read and understand your offering.

Images, videos, PDFs and content are also important and can be a source of search engine traffic. Again, these need to be discoverable and indexable.

Link structure

To index your content beyond the home page, you need internal links that the search engine can crawl. Your primary navigation, search engine directives and tools like XML sitemaps all help the search engine crawl your site and discover new pages. Tools like Screaming Frog can help you ensure that your site can be easily crawled by a search engine.

Information architecture and structuring your site

I have always like the filing cabinet analogy for website structure. Your site is the filing cabinet. The major categories are the drawers. The subcategories are the folders in the drawers. The pages are documents in the folders.

  • Cabinet: your website
  • Drawer: high-level category
  • Folder: subcategory
  • File: individual document/page

Context is indicated not only by the site it exists on but also by the position within that site. Our own site has a drawer for services, and each service has sub-services in folders. Your site will be largely the same.

If we consider the following structure of the Bowler Hat site as an example:

Home

– Services

– – Service Area

– – – Individual Service

Home

– Services

– – SEO

– – – SEO Audits

So, there is a page in this information architecture that is simply /audits/.

The /audits/ page exists in the SEO folder in the services drawer. Nice and organized. This can follow through with other SEO elements to clearly indicate context far beyond that which can be indicated by the document alone.

This is relevant to blog posts, articles, FAQ content, services, locations and just about anything else that is an entity within your business. You are looking to structure the information about your business in a way that makes it understandable.

Some sites may take a deep approach to structuring content. Others may take a wide approach. The important takeaway here is that things should be organized in a way that makes sense and simplifies navigation and discovery.

A three- to four-level approach like this ensures that most content can be easily navigated to within four clicks and tends to work better than a deeper approach to site navigation (for users and search engines).

URLs

Context is further indicated by the URL. A sensible naming convention helps provide yet more context for humans and search engines.

Following are two hypothetical sets of URLs that could map to the Services > SEO > SEO Audit path laid out above — yet one makes sense, and the other does nothing to help.

www.example.com
www.example.com/services/
www.example.com/services/seo/
www.example.com/services/seo/audits/

www.example.com
www.example.com/s123/
www.example.com/s123/s1/
www.example.com/s123/s1/75/

Of course, the second set of URLs is a purposely daft example, but it serves a point — the first URL naming convention helps both search engines and users, and the second one hinders.

Navigation

Your navigation is equally important. When a site is well-structured, the navigation works with the structure, the URLs and other components, like XML sitemaps, to help solidify what each page or piece of content is about.

Navigation is more than just the menu at the top of your website. It is how you signpost users to the most relevant part of your site. Navigation can be a tool to raise awareness of additional services and includes not just text links but content on all pages and in the templated design elements of your site.

I have always liked the signpost analogy. I walk into a supermarket and look for the signs to find what I need. Your website is no different. If a user is referred and searches for your brand name, then they will land on your home page. They then need a signpost to get them to the relevant service. And it had better be easy to find!

It is very easy to get this wrong, and careful thought must be applied — before you build the site — regarding the needs and wants of your users. A website is a digital component that should execute the strategy from your marketing plan. Understanding users here is crucial so you can ensure you are meeting their needs.

Navigation should not need any real cognition — it should not make the user have to think. The following image is a sign from my local home improvement store. Which direction takes you to the car park and which direction takes you to the deliveries entrance?

My brain follows the “customer car park” line from left to right, so I of course turn right. However, the customer car park is to the left. There is nothing there to clearly illustrate which is right or wrong.

I have to think. Or in practice, I go in the wrong direction a few times before I learn. However, if users don’t find what they are looking for on a website, they will return to the great ocean of competition that Google search results represent.

Ensure your navigation is crystal-clear — if one user can make a mistake, many others can, too.

Common problems

There are many potential issues with content that can’t be found or can’t be understood by the search engine that can work against you. For example:

  • Orphaned content that can’t be found
  • Content only available via site search
  • Flash files, Java programs, audio files, video files
  • AJAX* and flashy site effects
  • Frames — Content embedded from another site can be problematic.
  • Subdomains — content split into subdomains rather than sub-folders

Be sure that important content is easily discoverable, understandable and sits in the overall structure of the site in a way that makes sense.

Summary

If everything is done well, a human and a search engine should have a pretty good idea what a page is about before they even look at it. Your typical SEO then just builds on this solid foundation that is laid out by your information architecture and site structure