SEO RANKING FACTORS – WHAT IS SEO?
Before we can get into SEO ranking factors, we need to define what SEO actually is. You’ve probably heard the term “SEO” before, but do you know what it stands for? What it is? What it involves? The science behind it? Why it’s so important? In the digital marketing industry, “SEO” is thrown around quite extensively, without any regard to the actual complexity of the process. For most, SEO seems like a simple subject, but it’s not.
In short, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of gaining traffic from organic (free) search. SEO is also part of SEM (Search Engine Marketing). Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo show search results based on a search query input by the user. Based on the search query, the search engine ranks the results based on what it believes to be the most relevant.
But how do search engines rank the results? What makes one search result more important than another? For Google, they send all indexed pages through their search engine algorithm. This algorithm determines the order in which results are displayed.
WHY IS SEO IMPORTANT?
Whether you’re a business owner with a website, or someone that has a personal website, getting more web traffic is very important and essential to the success of your site. Without traffic, your website might as well not exist. Aside from the increased traffic, a site is more trusted when it is at the top of the search results. Furthermore, a site has to be at the top of the search engine results to gain a lot of organic search traffic.
According to a study (Chitika) on organic page rank in Google search results, the first page on the list gets 32.5% of the clicks, the second page gets 17.6%, and the third page gets 11.4%. Over 60% of the traffic goes to the top 3 sites on the search results. Without SEO, this high page rank cannot be reached.
HOW DOES SEO WORK IN 2020? SEO RANKING FACTORS
Search engines gather information about every web page on the internet and present this information in a useful way using a search engine algorithm. This complex algorithm uses 200+ different ranking factors such as keywords, website HTML structure, credible links between one website and another, and keywords used in links to rank search results.
Based on these search engine ranking factors, the algorithm ranks the results. SEO is all about making sure a website has all of the ingredients necessary for the search engine algorithm to rank the website as high as possible in the search results. It is also important to mention that Google is looking for websites that offer the most value to users searching. Using black-hat (unethical) tactics might get you ahead short-term, but for long-term success, a website must actually provide value and stand out from competitors.
That’s a broad overview of SEO ranking factors, but let’s break them down a little more:
CONTENT & KEYWORDS
In SEO, keywords and content are everything. Nothing gets you a higher Google page rank than high quality and highly relevant content. Keywords help a search engine match a search query to the content on your web page. By optimizing content with relevant focus keywords, a web page is more likely to receive a higher page rank for those specific keywords when they are searched by a user.
Search engines like Google want to give users not only relevant content, but they want to direct users to credible sites as well. External links (also called back-links) are a great way to tell Google that you’re legitimate. A link from another website back to your site adds credibility to the content of your site. In essence, a lot of links mean higher search engine ranking. However, that’s not always the case because the search engine can detect if the links are from trustworthy sources or not.
In addition to external links, internal links between the pages on a site also have an influence on SEO and page rank. When we build our SEO campaigns, we put a strong emphasis on creating credible back links and internal links for optimal organic search engine ranking.
Your site’s organic page rank is strongly affected by content (keywords) as well as reputation (links). However, the technical SEO of your site plays a large role in how your content is indexed by a search engine.
Do you know what’s just as important about what a search engine can see on your website? What a search engine can’t see. Having correct heading tags on each page, alt tags for all images, an XML sitemap, a robots.txt file, etc. can have a substantial influence on organic search ranking. It is extremely important that your site is structured for the search engine and the consumer.
WHY INVEST IN SEO?
SEO is one of the best investments you can make as a company in terms of digital marketing, it only requires an up-front cost to optimize web content. Unlike paid search advertising (PPC), all traffic gained through SEO and organic search is free. Furthermore, SEO tends to have a much larger return on investment than paid search.
If you’ve made it this far, you can see that SEO ranking factors are highly complex and require a lot of time and maintenance to get just right. At Ranksey, we make SEO ranking factors easy. For a free Utah SEO consultation on your site, click here.