Search engine optimization (SEO) seems to be everywhere in digital marketing. But what is it? SEO is the activity of changing a website so that search engines rank it more highly on search engine results pages (SERPs) after a user types a query into a search engine.
If you know how people search on the internet, then you make your website fit those requirements and leave it to the search engines to sort out. However, it is far more complicated than that. Let’s take a closer look at the three main factors that impact your SEO success first. They fall under the categories of technical, on-page, and off-page SEO.
Technical SEO are your website factors that affect how your website performs and how search engines find it. Technical SEO includes page loading speeds, URL structure, site structure, schema, crawling, indexing, and more.
The content of each of your web pages is considered the on-page SEO. This includes items visitors to your website can see such as text, images, video, audio, but it also includes elements that are visible only to search engines.
Essentially, anything related to your website that is not found on your website is off-page SEO. This includes such items as social media marketing, PPC advertising, link building, user-generated content, and reviews.
Three Key SEO Success Categories
You can create greater SEO success in three main areas: search experience optimization, optimization of content for people, and voice search optimization.
Search Experience Optimization
Often referred to as the new SEO, this is optimizing your website for how people use search engines and optimizing every place your brand will be found. This is much more than optimizing it just for search engines; here, you think about how people think when they’re doing searches.
Google looks at the new SEO as a series of human moments, and the four main ones to focus on are best described as:
● I want…to know
● I want…to go.
● I want…to do, and,
● I want…to buy.
By thinking of SEO in these terms, you gain a better understanding of how people use search engines, and by optimizing your website to address these moments of the search experience, you have a leg up on your competition.
Different Platforms Benefit From SEO
Aside from applying optimization for search engines, and people, you should also extend that treatment to wherever your brand resides on other platforms. This can be YouTube optimization, Google My Business optimization, app store optimization, social media optimization, and third-party optimization. Essentially, any platform that can be searched for your brand can be tweaked with the basic principles of SEO to increase your visibility.
Optimization of Content For People
Even though search engines are responsible for people finding your website online, you still have to put a great deal of emphasis on optimizing content for people. In other words, instead of viewing this as content creation just for ranking purposes, you have to shift that focus and create content for potential customers. Here’s how you do that:
Understand Keyword Semantics
Keywords have always played a role in SEO, but Google has changed algorithms so that the search engine now understands full queries rather than just noticing keywords in one. Keyword semantics is another new way that Google looks at keywords. Google identifies the many different keywords that surround a single topic. Google also understands first-time queries by creating associations that aid in delivering results that make sense to the user.
Know that Content Is Still King
Content is still the most important element of your website. Without it, you gain zero visibility. Google says that 60 percent of queries contain no less than four words. They also say that 1,900 words are the average word count for a first-page result. By listening to your audience through blog posts, contests, and other forms of engagement, you can learn exactly what content they want. Give them that and watch your visibility increase.
Optimize for Voice Search
How we use the internet is rapidly changing – more and more users use voice communication to search the internet for their needs and wants.
Voice Search Optimization
There is something known as Position Zero. It is the only result that search engines will provide in response to a voice search. It is spoken back to you by Google. To reach Position Zero, you have to remember that this spot is mostly question-driven. For Google to offer your website as the answer to a voice question, you need to do the following:
● Discover the most common questions your audience has about your brand
● Develop content that addresses those questions directly
What Do We Know About Voice Search?
As reported by Digital Authority Partners, voice search is still just making an impact. Though Google reports that it makes up only about 10 percent of all searches, that figure is increasing each year. Voice search will be a predominant means of searching the internet in a very short time. But you can prepare for the shift now by doing three key things:
● Prepare your website for a voice-first search environment
● Target Position Zero as you optimize for voice search
● Ensure your content can be searched on voice-enable devices
The internet and new technology are constantly evolving. What may be effective in getting traffic to your website this week may change before you know it. That is why you need to quit thinking of search engine optimization as a process that only search engines understand. By optimizing your website for people, you are going to be easier for them to find through search engines. It is one of the biggest factors that will determine the SEO success of your brand.
Content will always be what gets your website visibility, but by creating content for people, not search engines, you stand a better chance of reaching your desired audience. And understand that the future will include voice searching capabilities. Stay ahead of that change by optimizing your website with voice search in mind. By addressing these factors on your website, you will experience SEO success.