What is Search Engine Optimization?

May 26, 2015 | Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving your web presence in order to get found in search engines. In order to better understand SEO, we like to break it down into onsite and offsite factors.

What is Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving your web presence in order to get found in search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. It is an ongoing process that requires time and resources to properly execute. In order to better understand SEO and how it works, we like to break it down into onsite and offsite factors. Onsite factors involve HTML and content, while offsite factors involve social media, link building, and domain authority. It is important to note that this list isn’t all encompassing. While these are a few of the bigger factors at play, we don’t fully know what search engines look for when indexing websites. Understanding these 5 components is a good start to getting on Google’s good side and creating a digital marketing strategy that generates leads.

5 Components of SEO

1. HTML

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is the “behind-the-scenes” code on your website. This code is used to communicate to web browsers how your website should display. It is also crawled by search engines to get a better understanding as to what your site is about. Below are a few key HTML terms to note:

  • Page Titles: Meta tags that signify what the web page is all about. Every page on your website should have a unique page title that is under 55 characters and incorporates your keywords. Page titles can be found in the browser tab at the top of your window, on social media sites, and in Google search results.
  • Meta Descriptions: Meta tags that also tell search engines what the page is about. Again, every page on your website should have a unique Meta description that is under 155 characters and incorporates keywords. Meta descriptions can be found on social media sites and in Google search results.
  • Meta Keywords: Meta tags that let search engines know which keywords represent your content. The Meta Keywords tag isn’t necessary, as Google no longer factors it into search results.

2. Content

Content is the other onsite factor that plays an important role in SEO. When developing content for your website, keep the following 3 things in mind:

  • Quality: Remember to identify and use your targeted keywords within your content. Also, Google understands context so developing well-written, valuable content is an absolute must.
  • Quantity: Developing small pages with one line of content is no longer acceptable. Every page on your website should have at least 250 characters to be considered valuable by Google.
  • Frequency: You can actually train Google’s bots to crawl your site more often by keeping your content fresh. If updating your site content often is difficult, we recommend starting a blog.

3. Social Media

People often have a hard time understanding what social media has to do with SEO. The truth is social media has a lot to do with SEO! Below are a few ways that social media helps your website’s SEO.

  • Social shares increase your inbound links, in turn increasing your value in Google’s eyes
  • Each social channel is its own search engine. People are now turning to YouTube and Facebook to search companies and brands.
  • Social media increases your online presence by expanding the number of platforms your brand can be found on.
  • Social profiles turn up in Google’s search results, just like your website!
  • Google now shows tweets in mobile search results, a feature which will soon be rolling out to desktop as well.

4. Link-Building

Search engines view links as votes. Links signify to search engines that your website is well-liked and trusted by other websites on the internet. These inbound links, or links that point to your site from external domains, are important in two ways: quality and quantity.

  • Link quality matters: higher quality links lead to better rankings
  • Link quantity matters: more links leads to better rankings

Simply put, if Google is deciding between Site A, which has 3 inbound links, and Site B which has 4, site B is going to rank higher. But if Site A’s inbound links are from more reputable websites, Site A will most likely outrank Site B. While this isn’t a cut-and-dry breakdown, the algorithm does follow this basic system.

5. Domain Authority

Domain authority takes a look at all of these factors, plus some, and determines how reliable and valuable your website is. Other things like how long you have had your domain name registered will factor in as well. Domain Authority is a number assigned to a website to rank its importance in Google’s eyes.

If you need assistance developing an SEO strategy or maintaining any of the above components, contact Informatics.