The scenario: You have the most amazing website layout known to mankind, the wittiest homepage,and (most importantly) this Christmas’ hottest toy, the Hatchimal, in stock! So, why isn’t your inventory flying off your virtual shelves? One problem might be that your website isn’t taking advanatge of SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. Wikipedia defines SEO as “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as ‘natural’, ‘organic’, or ‘earned’ results.” Basically, it’s how people find your website when entering information into a search engine’s search bar.
So, back to our scenario: Curious about your site’s page rankings, you type in “hatchimals near me” into Google’s search bar. Well, your website definitely isn’t on the first page results. Not on the second. Not even on the fifth of sixth. Finally, on page twenty-four of the search results, you find your store’s link. Ah, well there’s your problem right there. Your website is burried in the search pages which is a big problem because no one really searches past the first few pages.
How does SEO work?
SEO uses algorithms to determine page rankings. The higher the ranking, the more visible your site. The algorithms to determine rank are contantly changing too, so it’s important to keep up-to-date on the new requiremets. As of the date of this blog post, Google has released Penguin 4.0 as its newest algorithm.
Brent Johnson, cofounder and CEO of Cadence Preferred (a sales and marketing campaign, content, and training company), wrote an article for PC Magazine entitled 4 Google SEO Best Practices to Help Get Your Small Business Noticed. In this article, he gives four tips to keep on top of the SEO game despite the changing algorithms.
- Write Often
- Monitor Changes
- Go Small
- Review and Watch
Google often refines its algoriths so that it can weed out the cheaters. No longer can a website simply use only keywords to go up in ranking. Now, the algorithms are smarter
and able to distinguish between a list of keywords and actual content. Johnson says “If you want your website to rise in the rankings, you need to be publishing fresh, new content on your website as often as possible.” So, no skimping on content, slacker. Get writing!
Has your website suddenly gone down in rankings? This could be due to an upgrade in the SEO’s algorithm. Johnson recommends that you compare today’s traffic to traffic in the months before the upgraded algorithm. If there’s a significant drop, then you may want to review Google’s specifications to see what they look for in content.
Bigger is no longer better when it comes to screen resolution. We live in an age where our screen sizes are getting smaller and smaller. Search engines are now penalizing websites for not being mobile-friendly. If you’re not on the mobile-friendly bandwagon, now is the time to jump on. Besides, non-mobile friendly sites are so 2012.
Basically, keep an eye on your page’s ranking. Johnson specifically mentions Google Console as a good tool to track keywords and look for changes. He recommends you do it quickly because Google only archives 90 days of data. He further advises “monitor both your logs and the press over the next few months to identify changes so that you can react quickly to them”. In doing so, you may get an early lead on the changes and leave your competitor in the proverbial dust.
SEO can be a great asset and every website developer and/or business owner should learn how to use it and take advantage of the information it provides.
Website Example: Travelocity
Online travel reservation websites are fiercely competitive. Websites such as Travelocity, Hotels.com, and Exepdia want their websites to be the first offered link when you search for travel needs. In 2016, Travelocity turned its efforts to optimizing search engine performance through the use of an Adobe product, Content Optimizer, and claims to have noticed a 67% boost in SEO in just four weeks.
I decided to test Travelocity’s SEO results and typed in “travel deals” into Google’s search bar. Travelocity is the first link that was presented to me. Way to go, Travelocity!
So, how do you use SEO to keep your website alive and kicking? I’d love hear from you. As usual, send me your questions and comments below!