Posted by Stuart Jansen on March 23, 2017
You probably hear about it all the time: "You need to improve your SEO", but what is SEO, and how do you go about improving it?
SEO or "Search Engine Optimization" is simply the act of improving your website content and performance in order to show up in better positions on search engines such as Google. Improving your website can help search engines to index your content more easily, or make your website seem like a more relevant and authoritative result for a topic, which in turn, gives you better rankings.
So, how do you improve your SEO rankings?
Search engines have unique and secret algorithms to determine the ranking of a website on their database. It is impossible to know the exact factors that determine a website’s position, however, there are many major influencing factors that are well known.
To begin, we must understand the logic behind SEO rankings:
- Search engines are not a live representation of the internet; they are massive databases of website information indexed by crawlers that categorize core details from websites. As such, changes to websites, content, and keywords can take up to 3 months to be reflected on search engines because it takes time for your website to be properly indexed by crawlers.
- These crawlers have certain processes for navigating a website, so the cleaner the code and the more organized the site architecture, the easier it is for crawlers to find the information they are looking for.
- The search engine’s goal is 2-fold; 1) To get your website in front of a relevant audience, and 2) To ensure users are being served relevant websites from authoritative sources.
- Rankings are purely mathematical; no one is actually looking at the site to judge it. As such, the algorithm must find ways to mathematically imply that a site is serving good content.
With this logic in mind, some major factors that improve website rankings are as follows:
- Content Being Shared: The #1 most influential factor in SEO rankings is backlinking. If your site content is being shared frequently, especially by authoritative sources such as magazines and newspapers, it implies that your website is a true authority on a topic, and a relevant site for users to find.
- Frequent Content Changes: Crawlers index websites regularly, and websites which have frequent content changes will be ranked higher than websites that are stagnant. By updating your website content frequently you show that you are putting effort into being relevant and authoritative.
- Tagging: Algorithms look for connection between words in the content, keywords, and image tagging on a page. This confirms that the page is actually about a particular topic and not simply “keyword dumping” to drive more users to the website.
- Mobile Friendly: The majority of website content is consumed on mobile devices, so if websites aren’t responsive or mobile-optimized they will not show up as search results on mobile devices.
- Loading Speeds: Slow loading speeds are caused by un-optimized images and videos. Users don’t want to wait for a website to load, so poorly optimized websites will get poorer search rankings.
- Bounce Rate: If a website has a high bounce rate, it implies that users are not seeing what they expected to see on it. Rankings will be reduced because content will be assumed to be irrelevant.
- Clean Architecture: The whole algorithm, and your entire ranking relies on a web crawler’s ability to go through your code and find the information it needs. Sites must be cleanly designed and well organized.
From a website design perspective, there are many technical features we can implement to ensure your website is optimal for SEO:
- Responsive Design: Mobile-friendly websites rank better than websites that aren’t mobile optimized.
- HTTPS: Due to recent changes to Google's algorithm, not setting up website security protocol reduces website rankings.
- Website Structure: Clean code and organized architecture ensures that crawlers can index our websites easily.
- Website Optimization: Optimizing the website (CSS/HTML files, images, videos, etc.) improves page loading speeds, resulting in higher rankings.
- Blog Design/Optimization: Blog pages are a great tool for frequent content generation.
- Built-in Modules for:
- Automatic keywords and description generation
- Site map generation
- Monitoring Google position for the keywords that are important to your business
- Crawling your website to index all pages
- Setting up an automatic crawler to index new pages
- Setting up links that you want crawlers to ignore
- Setting up permanent or temporary redirects for old links
- Dynamic open graph tags generator
These website practices will set up your website as a great tool for SEO, but the key to successful search engine rankings is content strategy. We specialize in developing content strategies based on the main keywords you want to be associated with, to ensure all website content, images and tags are optimized for these keywords, and to develop blogs, news and whitepapers that feed your SEO rankings.
If you're looking to improve your SEO rankings, and develop a content strategy for your brand, let's talk!