Internet search engines produce two types of results: paid ads and primary (unpaid) search results. Paid ads, which utilize pay-per-click (PPC) systems such as Google AdWords or other search engine marketing (SEM) tools, usually appear prominently—at the top of the list or on the side of the screen. Primary search results move through the Internet organically based on various aspects of their content, such as keywords and meta-tags. Search engines use algorithms to gather this information from websites and then organize and rank the results.
Building your website content based on various search criteria is called search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is an effective method of increasing your website’s visibility in search results. It also helps it consistently appear as close to the top of the page as possible. Top spots are highly coveted because most users don’t scroll down past the first page of results—or even all the way down the page. So how can you get your website to appear at or near the top of search results?
Main Things that Search Engines Look for
Key to implementing SEO on your website lies in knowing the specific details that search engines look for, which fall into two broad categories.
- On-page optimization. Keywords and key phrases that describe your service should recur frequently (2–3% of copy) on every page of your website. In SEO, all text matters, not just the basic text: titles, headlines, subheads, captions, and links to your blog posts all count. For example, in a cleaning and restoration business, key consumer terms such as “Fire Damage” and “Basement Flooding” should appear as frequently as your business descriptors, such as “Smoke Odor Removal” and “Water Damage Restoration.” But don’t take the easy way out: well-written, high-quality content is important. So are the words that work behind the scenes: meta-titles and meta-descriptions built into your site’s code for all pages, and meta-tags built into key terms, headlines, subheads, captions, blog posts, etc.
- Off-page optimization. This refers to various mentions and links that direct users to your site from other credible or relevant sites. Think of it as your site’s reputation. The more frequently your site is mentioned on social media, or the more other authoritative sites link to yours, the better. Blogs, press releases, marketing articles, social media, and so on also help make it easy for search engines to find and rank your site in search results.
SEO is complex, and it can take time for your site to propagate through the Internet and build results. Find more SEO strategies here.