SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In a nutshell, it is the act of optimizing websites using keywords, so they gain a high position on Google’s search engine or other search engines. A high ranking means that when someone runs a search, the site will be one of the first to appear in the results. SEO provides a website with a top ranking in organic (non-paid) search results.
Understanding Google’s Algorithm and SEO
Google’s algorithm is a secret but most people who understand SEO have a good idea of how it functions and what it takes to gain a high rank. Google sends out what is often referred to as ‘crawlers’ or ‘spiders.’ These crawlers/spiders go through the content seeking out relevant keywords and phrases to determine what the site is really about. The data gathered is then used to determine your site’s relevance when someone enters a search using similar words.
Search Criteria Importance
To make sure your site contains the pivotal keywords you need to consider what search criteria your target audience will be entering to perform a search. Once you have a general idea of the keywords, you can then build content around those words.
Balancing Keywords in SEO
There is a delicate balance between too few and too many keywords. If you overdo it with keyword stuffing, then Google will give your site no credibility, but if your website lacks too few keywords, then Google will be unable to determine what the site is even about. Another factor is also the placement of the keywords and the overall number of words in each piece of content.
Placement of Keywords
Once you have determined your keywords, you will want to make sure they are placed correctly and in the right amount throughout your content. You will also want to use the same keywords in your meta description. Some sites let their web designers handle the metadata.
On-page SEO Factors
The content that appears on your site is what decides the site’s search result position. The material must be linkable. Link-building generates traffic to your site and others. The process also gives credibility to your site.
Keep it Fresh and Reputable
Keywords are also what gain your site ranking on Google. However, the content that contains the keywords must be well written and reputable to stay on top. You also have to keep the content fresh. The crawlers/spiders know when a site is stagnant and lacks fresh content. Without an influx of new material, your site will start to lose ranking.
SEO Criteria to Gain a High Rank
Ideally, your site should have the following SEO criteria rank high on a search and stay there:
- Well written content
- Labeled images
- Relevant links
- Reputable sources
- Complete sentences that contain acceptable grammar
- Standards compliant HTML
- Unique and relevnat page files
SEO is constantly changing and evolving so you will need to stay on top of what’s new to ensure your site continues to rank high on Google and other search engines.