If you have ever been fishing, then you know that it involves a combination of strategies, techniques, tactics and pure luck to catch the biggest fish in the lake.
Well, fishing is a lot like Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO focuses on growing your websites visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results, kind of like using bait to increase the odds of catching a fish.
SEO uses technical and creative elements to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. The main goal of SEO is to get your website rank in the first position on the first page of a search engine.
How search engines work:
The process starts with a user (like you!) that has a question and needs an answer. Knowing that the internet can answer any question, you formulate a phrase and type it into your search engine of choice. In a split second hundreds of results appear, you then browse through the results looking for a link to click. Once you’ve selected that link, you scan the website for an answer to your question. If that site doesn’t answer your question, you go back and browse for another link.
Think of it like this. You are on a camping trip and you realize you are out of food. In order to solve this problem, you grab your favorite fishing pole (search engine) and cast it out into the lake. Suddenly you get a bite, you set the hook and you start reeling in, what you hope to be a 10-pound trout. Unfortunately, it’s just a little perch and you have to cast your pole out once again.
But you’re probably thinking, how do search engines (or fishing poles) return results?
Search engines do two things to in order to return results:
1. Crawling & Indexing
The search engine crawls the entire web searching for all different types of websites, PDF’s, images, etc. Along the way it indexes the documents and websites and stores their information in a database so it can be easily recalled when it is needed.
2. Providing Answers
When a user conducts an inquiry the search engine looks through the billions of files that are stored in the databases and does two things.
- Returns results that are relevant or useful to the searcher.
- Ranks the results according to the popularity of the websites that contain the information.
The search engine determines a website’s relevance and popularity by looking for content (theme; text on page, titles, and descriptions), performance (how fast your site loads and if it works properly), authority (good content to link to) and user experience (how does the site look? Is it easy to navigate?)
As a business, what can you do to increase your search engine ranking?
Search engines, like fish,require you to experiment with a combination of techniques in order to catch better search results.
To answer the question above, you’ll need to take a look inside your tackle box and make sure you utilize these items:
Internal Links (Fishing line)
Just like a fishing pole can’t catch fish without fishing line, a search engine can’t find a website without internal links.
Internal links allow search engine to easily browse and index the pathways of a website. This structure is made up of a series of links that point to other pages on the same website.
They also make up the main navigation, which allows the visitor to easily find his/her way through the website.
Keywords are the “building blocks of language and of search” – MOZ. Search engines keep track of websites in keyword-based indexes, which allows them to quickly retrieve results when a certain keyword or phrase is searched.
In order to find the right keywords for your target audience and then build content around those keywords. You want to naturally and strategically place your keywords throughout your website, using them in post titles, meta titles and meta descriptions.
Remember, don’t overuse keywords. Even though they help your ranking, you only want to rank highly for keywords people would use when they need something that your site offers.
Some search engines, like Google, can recognize when a you are trying to trick the system by overusing keywords and will penalize you by lowering your ranking.
Title Tags (Bobbers)
The title component of a page is supposed to be a concise, description of the content that the page contains.
A few things to keep in mind when creating a title is that search engines only show the first 65-75 characters of a title tag and then cut off the rest. Be aware of this limit and keep your keywords closer to the start of the title.
Moz suggests that businesses should mention the brand name within the title tags. They say that this helps increase brand awareness and also creates a higher click-through rate for people who like and are familiar with a brand.
Meta Tags (Fish Finder)
Meta tags are HTML tags that contain information for search engines about a specific website. The text is these tags is not displayed on the website’s pages, but are in structure of the page tell the search engine information about the content on the page. There are two elements to meta tags.
Meta Robots: Control search engine activity on a per-page level. They do this by telling it if a page should be indexed or not, if the links on a page should be crawled, if the page should be archived, or if a snippet of the page’s description should be displayed next to the title and URL in the search results.
Meta Descriptions: Provide a short description of a page’s content. Meta descriptions give the reader some insight to what your page is about, so you want it to be engaging, truthful and prompt people to click and learn more. In the search results, meta descriptions show up next to the title tag and the URL.
Content & Usability (Power Bait, Worms, Lures & More!)
Content can lure visitors in and make their experience on your website more enjoyable. Your website should be full of unique, original and valuable content that ranges from blogs and images, to infographics and videos.
Having high quality content will increase engagement and ensure that visitors have a positive experience on your page.
Search engines take into account how up-to-date your content is. This means that is it important to add new content to your website on a daily basis.
Another very important aspect of SEO is link building. This is the process of taking links from other relevant websites and putting them on your website. This process allows users to navigate between related websites and pages on the internet.
Search engines use link building to find new web pages and to determine how well a page should rank in their search results. They do this by evaluating the volume and quality of links pointing to a certain page.
- Quality Backlinks: Are links that come from a relevant, non-spammy domains that contains content that are relevant and similar to yours. Being linked to these sites have a positive impact on your SEO.
- Bad Backlinks: Are links that come from spammy, untrusted and unrelated sources. Being linked to sites like these can have a negative impact on your SEO.
Benefits of Link Building:
- Builds Relationships: Usually involves reaching out to other websites and blogs in your industry. Building a long-term relationship with trusted websites/brands within your industry can help improve your authority.
- Referral Traffic: Being linked on a highly visited website can result in more traffic to your website, which can result in an increase in conversions.
- Brand Building: Good link building integrated content creation can lead to you becoming known as a source of information within your industry. The more your content is shared, the better chance more consumers will see it and start to become aware of your brand.