Ranking high on the search engine is no simple task for any business—especially when Google’s search algorithm takes in over 200 factors to rank a website.
As its name implies, search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing websites and web pages for visibility on the search engine. Another important term to understand is SERP—the search engine results page. Ranking closer to the top of the SERP signals to searchers that your website is a reputable and trusted source. This not only builds recognition, but also dramatically increases the click-rate and organic traffic generation to your website.
Five Key Statistics from Impact
- On the first page alone, the first five organic results account for 67.60% of all website clicks.
- 57% of marketing executives say on-page content development was the most effective SEO tactic.
- 91% of all pages never get any organic traffic from Google, mostly due to the fact they don’t have backlinks.
- In 2019, 52% of all worldwide online traffic comes from mobile, 45% from desktop.
- 61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority.
As studies continue to present the infinite benefits of SEO, marketers from every industry strive to take their place on the search engine.
Optimize Your SEO Today
To ensure SEO success, let’s take a look at a few essential actions items that can take your page to the next level.
- Improve page loading speed. A slow website not only harms the visitor experience, but also negatively impacts your ranking. There are many ways to increase your page speed, some of which include: compressing files, removing unnecessary characters and formatting in code, and reducing page redirects.
- Build backlinks organically. Having other websites link back to your website is extremely beneficial for a site’s authority and referral traffic. That being said, these links should be produced naturally from reputable sites to avoid being penalized.
- Produce high-quality content. This seems obvious, but another factor that affects SEO is dwell time, the amount of time people spend on your website per visit. If you have prime, up-to-date content, then your visitors are far more likely to return and peruse through content for significant amounts of time.
- Optimize your images. Believe it or not, image file format and size can negatively affect page loading time. I recommend keeping your image size between 1500 and 2500 pixels and using JPEGs instead of PNGs, as they typically have better compression levels.
- Add alt-text to images. Alt-text is the short text phrase that appears when an image is loading slowly. Consider rewriting the alt-text, adding relevant keywords to strategically level up your ranking.
- Optimize for mobile devices. The number of searches arriving from mobile is continuing to outgrow that of desktops. A site that is not optimized for mobile risks a hindered user experience and a lowered ranking.
- Insert a top-notch meta description. These descriptions make it easier for search engines to understand what your content is about, and are displayed to visitors on the SERP. Each meta description should be descriptive, unique, include keywords, and stay between 50-300 characters for greatest success.
- Identify the keywords that are most relevant to your audience. Remember to conduct your keyword research in advance and place them where they fit naturally. Always refrain from keyword stuffing because this type of behavior can lead to a search engine penalty.
Understand the Metrics
Many times, SEO will lay the foundation for future marketing campaigns. To ensure your webpage is delivering to its full potential, website owners should monitor and track the progression of the following key metrics.
- Organic Traffic: number of people visiting your site from the search engine. This helps to measure the success of your optimization efforts.
- Bounce Rate: percentage of people who “bounced,” or in other words, left your website without taking any action. A low bounce rate is a good indication that your content is providing the value that your visitors truly desire.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR): proportion of clicks in relation to the impressions on the search engine results page. This metric is one of the best indicators to the effectiveness of grabbing visitors’ attention.
- Domain Authority: relevance in a specific subject area or industry. The best way to use Domain Authority is for comparison with competitors. The score ranges from one to a hundred, with higher scores representing greater strength.
- Referring Domains: number of unique domains from where the links originate from. Most times, unique domains will provide larger impact than sites that already link to you.
- Page load speed: time it takes to fully display the content on a web page. Many variables influence the page speed as stated before, so keep track of how implementing and removing features can affect this.
A necessary requirement of any SEO strategy is monitoring what works and what doesn’t. Fortunately, the internet has a handful of free resources to help.
The Best Free SEO Tools
Let’s review the top tools available for you at no cost.
Understanding your niche and audience is the key to being successful in SEO. It can be intimidating at first, but when done correctly, SEO can drive your business to achieve real goals and fortune.