We often get asked how to increase online visibility and build SEO-friendly websites. But what does SEO really mean and how can you make sure you’re doing it correctly? We know it can feel a bit overwhelming…but have no fear! Rule29 is here. We also (kinda) promise not to rhyme again. Alright, let’s get into it: here is our ultimate guide to understanding SEO that will help you master this essential tool in no time at all. First things first: SEO is short for search engine optimization.
You might have a great product and even a great website. Still, those things alone do not necessarily attract new visitors by themselves. Every business needs to attract new customers to flourish, and online visibility is a crucial tool for attracting new customers.
Today, there are several different tactics to secure more traffic for your website. Advertising and engagement on social media are two popular ways of increasing your online visibility. Another method to generate more traffic is to use paid-for adverts. However, Statista reports that paid-for ads can account for less than 5% of an average website’s traffic. That’s right. Less than 5%.
Despite all these methods, appearing on a search engine results page (SERP) is still the most significant website traffic source. This traffic is called organic traffic. It is often the first and best entry point into a business’s sales funnel. That is basically fancy mumbo jumbo that in short means: people Google a service, you appear on one of the top-ranking Google pages for that search. Okay great. Now that we got that down, let’s understand how search engines work.
The big search engines, like Google and Bing, crawl the internet using bots to find the most relevant content when users type in a search query. These search engines will rank your website higher when it relates better to the search terms that users are looking for. The more relatable, clear, and understandable your content is to what the user is searching for, the higher your website will rank on google search pages. Search engines utilize a large set of factors when analyzing web pages. So, TLDR: Getting visitors requires optimizing your content according to what people are searching for.
Years ago, getting higher rankings on results pages was quite simple. You just had to ensure your website contained more relevant keywords than competitors. And before we get too in the weeds, keywords are phrases that people will type into a search engine when they’re looking for something.
Suppose your business sells blueberry pancakes (omg we’re hungry). In that case, a logical keyword would be “blueberry pancakes”. Unfortunately, business owners quickly realized that they simply had to add a ton of these keywords on their websites to make them feature higher in search results. So, over the years, Google has refined its ranking factors and started using artificial intelligence.
These days, the algorithms are asking whether the content is helpful to the user’s search intent and experience. If you want your website to succeed, you need to learn how to tell the search bots that your website is relevant and authoritative for the intent of searches. Doing this is known as search engine optimization.
Most search engines do not publish a list of ranking factors that they look at. Otherwise, unscrupulous web designers and business owners will cheat the system to rank higher than legitimate businesses. We know. It makes it harder for the good guys like us.
However, most experienced agencies have a pretty great idea about the latest SEO ranking factors. They use their years of industry experience, keeping up to date with trends, and following public statements made by internet powerhouses like Google to determine those factors. There are likely hundreds of variables that the artificial intelligence churns through to determine what website is genuinely relevant to a user.
At Rule29, based on our skills and close-knit ties with the industry, we’ve created the following shortlist to help you quickly and easily improve your SEO.
Spamming keywords is not enough nowadays and will only harm your website’s online presence. People will not return to your site or link to it if they do not find value there. You need to put out well-researched, quality content consistently. It should expertly answer users’ queries to improve your website’s standing on SERPs.
Understanding keywords might be the most important thing you need to know about SEO. Your website’s content needs to address the search intent of users. It’s essential to do keyword research to understand your online audience and what they’re looking for.
Using a website that loads slowly is, let’s be honest, THE WORST. And search engines know this. If your website is loading too slowly, you need to consider compressing images or reducing redirects. Otherwise, search engines will penalize you for it. When they punish your website, you’ll end up with fewer visitors to your website.
Over half of all internet browsing is via mobile devices. You hamper your online visibility if you cannot reach those users. It’s essential to ensure you’ve got a mobile-friendly website. A mobile-friendly website looks perfect, no matter what device a visitor uses to view it.
A website that is easy to navigate is going to rank higher. Keep your website logical, and make it easy for visitors to get to where they need to go. Fancy navigation or page names are fun, but can hurt you when it comes to SEO. Users should be able to quickly find where they need to go.
User engagement is measured by how many clicks a page gets, how long people spend on it, and whether they click on the back button to leave your website. Search engines monitor this closely and learn if a website doesn’t offer visitors great content.
Having backlinks remains a fundamental way of demonstrating your web authority. Your backlink profile is known as an “off-site” factor. Rather than being about your content, it’s about whether other websites link to you. A good backlink profile demonstrates that your online presence is meaningful. This could be maybe a client of yours linking to your page on their site or being featured as a qualified partner from another source. Winning awards is also a great way to get featured on other sites.
Search engines favor websites that are secure and trustworthy. Your website must use HTTPS encryption. Older HTTP websites essentially transferred data between the server and the user as plain text. Hackers can easily intercept this communication and steal valuable data. If your website doesn’t begin with an https: extension, you need to correct this.
More and more business is happening online. To stay competitive and thrive, people need to find you online. SEO is an integral part of your strategy for optimal online visibility.
At Rule29, we can help you craft the perfect SEO strategy for your business. All you have to do is contact us. We’ll quickly help you improve your SEO and provide your visitors with a high-end user experience.