Everyone wants to be on the top of a Google search results page. But, here’s a question: Is it possible to achieve this without tons of money spent on pay-per-click advertising, like Google AdWords, to make it happen?
Understanding how search works and what you can do to maximize your visibility in terms of SERP (search engine results pages) can help. In this blog, I’ll cover some top-level concepts that can improve your understanding of the process and key you into specific areas on which to focus. In my next blog, I’ll offer up specific suggestions on what you can do to create an SEO plan that doesn’t break the bank.
Don’t feel bad if this is one of those areas that seems confusing to you. Search engine optimization is probably one of the most misunderstood marketing practices and there are many ways to get it wrong. There are entire businesses that have been built around SEO (search engine optimization). MarketVantage is one that has focused in this area. If you look at its blogs, you’ll find detailed discussions on many ways you can improve SEO, including some of the challenges you may face.
How search results are calculated
Each SERP is unique, presenting results based on a wide variety of factors, including not only the keywords entered, but also the user’s location, browsing history, and social settings. Google uses about 200 factors in their ranking algorithm, which is quite complex and not altogether public. However, you, as a digital marketer, have more control influencing these factors than you might think. You can find a complete list of them here.
SERPs offer up results in two ways – organically and paid. Organic search results rely solely on the search engine’s algorithm. Paid results are those purchased to be displayed. Organic search results are based on keywords and phrases used on your website, and can be improved through SEO techniques. Both on-page SEO and off-page SEO (defined below) can significantly affect whether your site makes it to the top or not.
The level of detail that is considered by Google’s algorithm is mind-boggling. Keywords, page loading speed, usability factors, reading level, links to and from other websites and website activity are all considered. In addition, the frequency of when a page is updated plays a key role in identifying active websites, which is why content such as blogs can be so effective in increasing your SERP.
Use both on-page and off-page SEO techniques to influence your ranking
On-page SEO practices are used by web content creators and web site owners to make sure their content is easily discoverable via detailed page metadata, clean HTML coding, and the inclusion of keywords. The objective of on-page SEO is to speak the language of search engines, helping crawlers better understand the context and meaning of your web pages. This is where most digital marketers tend to focus. On-page SEO can be challenging for content creators. You need to be able to write for both humans as well as machines. Fortunately, there are a ton of websites out there that can help you determine appropriate keywords to include, how to write a catchy title, what are stop words and slugs, etc.
Off-page SEO goes beyond website design and refers to promotional techniques that can be used to rank a website higher by giving search engines signals about the quality and usefulness of your site. Off-page SEO is an area of opportunity where you can improve your SERP through link building and exchange, submissions to directories and search engine indices, and blending your social media and SEO marketing techniques. It’s this area of off-page SEO where an integrated digital marketing strategy can really make a difference. Again, there are multiple tools you can find on the internet that can help you take advantage of off-page SEO. Neil Patel’s blog focuses on 13 specific SEO tools that help with link building. An interesting point he makes about how to boost your SEO with off-page strategies is that, while you are doing this, you will also be increasing your brand awareness and credibility in general.
Think you might need help?
At Porter Consulting, we have an excellent understanding of the many ways to build your brand, improving your visibility and ultimately improving your SERP. Our social media builder is designed to assist you with the tools and resources you need for social media marketing and we have many who can help you with building content for posts and blogs. Our partners include SEO-savvy consultants, like MarketVantage. If you’d like to explore opportunities working with our professionals, we’d love to hear from you. Learn more at http://porterconsulting.net/index.php/marketing-and-branding/