Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) describes the process of improving the rankings of web content in search results for keywords determined to be of value. SEO helps web pages rank better in organic search results, which are determined by the particular search engine’s algorithm. Improved rankings yield higher visibility and drive more traffic to the target website.
The Basic SEO Process
Step 1: Keyword Research
- Select the keywords that are relevant and important to the business.
- Determine the value of these keywords based on their relevance, revenue per conversion, volume of search traffic, and difficulty to rank for.
- Don’t neglect “long-tail” keywords, which are easier to rank for and can act as a stepping stone to more difficult keywords.
Step 2: Competitor Analysis
- Determine which competitors are consistently ranking well for valuable keywords.
- Analyze both their on-site optimization and their backlinks.
Step 3: Link Building Strategy
- Determine websites that would be potentially valuable sources of links.
- Create content or social strategies if they are relevant to the business.
- Consider emulating the SEO efforts of your competitors based on research from step 2.
Step 4: On-Site Optimization
- Designate or create landing pages that are optimized for a single keyword or specific group of keywords.
- Determine an internal linking structure to distribute link juice to these landing pages.
Search Engine Ranking Factors
Below is a list of the most important factors that go into determining the rank of web content in search engines. These factors affect the perceived relevancy, popularity, and authority of web content. For a more comprehensive look at ranking factors, see SEOmoz’s 2011 Search Engine Ranking Factors.
- keywords in title tags
- keywords in H1 tag
- keywords found in HTML text
- keywords in internal anchor text
- keywords in domain name and URL
- relevancy and trustworthiness of external links
- presence of unique content
- page and content freshness
- location of page in website architecture and internal link quality
- relevancy of linking web pages
- anchor text of links from other websites
- click-through rate on search results page
- domain age
- quality and quantity of links form other websites
- diversity of linking websites
- website uptime
- social media mentions