The term “search engine optimization” understandably scares many people away from learning more. And, unfortunately, many of the people who do dive deeper into the topic read outdated information that misleads them into believing in techniques that were effective five years ago but can actually hurt you in the rankings today.
Internet marketing is a field important to stay current with. Search engine optimization has changed a lot in the past few years. It’s gone from being a magical bag of tricks to being about quality over everything else.
What you need to know about modern search engine optimization (SEO) is that search engines like Google want their users to be happy. That means they want their search result pages to be full of quality results that their users will find useful. If a user is happy with the website they’d landed on, they’re likely to spend a fair amount of time on that site reading and browsing.
Search engines have figured out several factors that contribute to how likely visitors are to be happy with any website, and they judge websites based on this information. It’s how they decide where to rank your web pages in their results. They put the sites at the top they believe visitors are most likely to enjoy.
That’s all search engine optimization is. You are optimizing your website so it is most likely that search engines will approve of it and therefore rank it well. And the best way to do that in today’s internet is to produce a quality site.
And that is something worth taking the time to learn how to do. If the content on your website is smart and relevant to your business, then the traffic you can bring to your web pages through that content will be high quality, targeted traffic. Your business needs SEO because it works to effectively bring people to your website in the long term. It has a low ROI compared to other ways to bring traffic to your website. For something that is heavily focused on making your site visitors happy, SEO is worth taking the time to consider.
So, we know that search engines are looking for quality. But what factors are considered when judging a site’s quality? There are a few things we know Google pays attention to now.
1. Your Site Needs to Be Fast
When a web page takes a long time to load, people exit in the first few seconds and go to find another page that will load more quickly. This is known as your bounce rate. Having a high bounce rate is horrible for SEO purposes, and for the success of your website overall. Optimizing your website for speed is one of the top SEO trends of 2019.
2. Links Matter
Five years ago, marketers focused on SEO would pay money to buy thousands of links pointing to their web pages. This is a horrible strategy in today’s world. Now, Google cares less about having thousands of links pointing to your website and more about the quality of those links. It matters that authority websites link to your quality content. That tells Google that the type of people who visit that website may also enjoy yours.
It also matters where you link to. Some people mistakenly believe that they shouldn’t link anywhere because it encourages people to leave their site. In fact, linking to quality sources is a natural thing to do (which Google likes) and again puts your site in the context of the sources you are linking to.
3. Content is King, As Long As It’s Great
It used to be suggested that you focus on using keywords a certain number of times on every page of your website. Today, the focus for SEO is more on creating quality content that your audience will enjoy. It’s important to have keywords for search results, but the context of those keywords matters more than anything.
Google’s robots are smarter now. If you put up content that is truly about one thing, like cooking, but you manage to oddly fit in keywords about cars, Google will not show your page to people looking for information about cars. They are more likely to not know what to do with your page and drop it down in the results where they don’t have to worry about it.