SEO stands for search engine optimization. As you probably already know, there is a lot of information on the internet. Search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) sift through all that information and find the best websites for the people using their service. Search engines want to make their users happy. If a user doesn’t like the search results that Google pulls up for them, that user is going to go to one of Google’s competitors.
By optimizing your website’s SEO, you will make search engines favor your site and you’ll show up higher in search results, which will bring you more customers or clients. How often have you looked past page one in Google? I know I almost never do. Making sure your SEO is on point is one of the most important things you can do for your business.
What Do Search Engines Want?
Search engines use a variety of factors to determine if a website is going to perform well in their search results. Search engines want to see websites that use the same words users are searching for, are fast and secure, get a lot of visitors, and have engaged visitors that spend a lot of time on the site.
It’s impossible to have humans review everything on the internet so bots are used by the search engine companies to crawl sites and decide if a website will be helpful to users or not. By checking all the boxes for good SEO, you should be rewarded by the bots by ranking high in search results.
Keywords are basically words that people use when they’re doing a search engine search. If your website is using those same keywords, search engines will realize the match and throw your site into the results.
If you’re selling yoga leggings, you would want to make sure you use the term “yoga leggings” often on your website. You don’t want to appear “spammy” to the SEO bots and cram a ton of keywords together (yoga leggings, yoga clothes, yoga gear, yoga equipment). You want to be authentic and use the terms naturally instead of forcing them.
To see what keywords are searched for often, you can use the Google Keyword Planner or similar tools.
Nobody likes sitting around and waiting for a website to load. If your site doesn’t load fast, people are going to bounce from it quickly. The SEO bots know how quickly your site loads and if it loads slow, it’s not going to suggest the site to its users. (The site may still show up in search results, but it may be low in the list if better sites are available.)
Having large or a lot of photos/videos or a lot of plugins on your website are some things that can slow it down, among other things.
Not all web users will check for a website being secure when visiting it, but they should and search engine bots check for it.
Having an https instead of just http before a website means it’s secure (to an extent) and a lock icon will show up to the left of the web address.
Websites that have a lot of visitors tell search engine bots that people like that site so the bots will want to recommend it to its users which will help you rank higher. If you don’t currently have a lot of visitors to your website, it can seem discouraging that this is a factor in your search engine ranking. We all have to start somewhere, and if you focus on the other factors of SEO you’ll eventually get your visitors up as well. (As long as you’re being helpful!)
Engagement & Time
When users explore a website by visiting it’s different pages, that tells the search engine bots that the user is enjoying the site. It tells them that the user found something helpful. Having a blog is a great way to get engaged users.
The speed of your site ties into this as well. If your site takes forever to load, users will probably bounce quickly and that tells the SEO bots that your site is not what the user wanted.
The Tip of the Iceberg
This is a very simplified explanation of SEO and is meant to be a starting point for people who don’t know about it at all. SEO is constantly changing and it does take some time (usually a few weeks) for changes on your website to propagate once it’s been changed.
Have any questions? We’re here to help! Let us know in the comments below.