Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an ongoing process of improving where your website appears in search results on search engines like Google or Bing. There are many search engines but for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on Google, since over 80% of desktop users use Google as their preferred search engine.
One important thing to remember is that how high up you appear in search results cannot be forced. Even paid advertising with Google AdWords doesn’t guarantee high placement. But, by putting a lot of effort into your SEO and creating engaging content, over time, you can greatly increase your ranking.
There are two main factors that affect where your website appears in Google’s search results. Relevance and Authority.
What is Relevance in SEO
Relevancy is the more commonly and more frequently maintained SEO component. When a user searches Google, the most relevant content for that particular query will be returned. For example, if I search Google for “guitar equipment pietermaritzburg”, the results should be the most optimal. I don’t want to see results for other cities. I’m also not interested in seeing results for blogs about looking after guitar equipment.
How to Improve Your SEO Relevancy
If you sell guitar equipment in Pietermaritzburg, you’d definitely want to include keywords such as “acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass guitars, musical equipment, sales, pietermaritzburg” into your sites description as well content. Your image alt tags should also have relevant keywords to reinforce relevancy. Additionally, if you have online shop or a catalogue, every products description and image should also contain these important words.
Be careful to avoid keyword spamming. Adding keywords that are irrelevant to the content will lower your ranking and really just have an overall negative impact on your brand’s image.
What is Authority
Having an authoritative online presence is way more important than relevant keywords. Authority is affected by the number of other websites linking in to yours. Not only that, but the quality of those websites is also a huge factor. Sadly, authority is something that most people tend to overlook, yet Google delivers search results that have a higher authoritative presence than the search terms queried. For example, if you searched the word “apple” right now, I guarantee that the top result will be the technology company and not your local grocer.
How to Improve Your SEO Authority
This one is not as easy to control. Sure you could ask people to link to you, but if they’re going around linking to everyone who asks, then you may want to second-guess their authority. The best way to gain traction and start getting those organic links are by creating high quality content. That is what we focus on at BluSilva. Creating engaging content such as interesting blog posts gets people talking and eventually other website will link into yours as reference. Often, you’ll find that these websites have huge followings already.
The best part about it is that your links will most likely be there forever, keeping you in good standing with Google’s ranking requirements. And if the websites linking in have adhered to the same rules, your are now part of a network of ongoing SEO success.
Other Factors That Affect Your Page Rank
SEO can broken into two main categories. On-Page SEO (things you can influence) and Off-Page SEO (things you can’t really influence).
On-Page SEO checklist
Here’s a list of things you can do to obtain a higher rank in search results:
- Make sure to put relevant keywords in your page description, page titles, content and image alt tags.
- Make sure your website is user-friendly.
- Keep your image size as low as possible and make sure your code is compact. Your site load speed affects your page rank, especially on mobile platforms.
Off-Page SEO checklist
These are things you can’t really influence, but definitely need to consider.
- Creating great content strengthens your authoritative position, so make sure that every bit of content you create is unique and interesting.
- Market niche affects your page rank. Certain types of industries make it difficult to rank simply because there are so many people doing it. While you can’t directly change that, still think about what makes you unique and change your On-Page SEO to focus on that.
As I always say, “content is king”. I’m also a big fan of planning. You should spend a considerable amount of time thinking about your audience, planning your content and considering what keywords you’ll use. Above all, be unique and keep creating great content and you will see positive (search) results.