Improving Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important because it makes your website appear more prominently in search engine rankings for the most relevant terms.
Great SEO helps websites see improved traffic, a reduced bounce rate, and higher conversions.
What is SEO?
Webopedia defines SEO as, “a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP) — including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.”
Since online search is dynamic and unique to each point in time, it should be an integral part of a site’s ongoing content management.
SEO, Then and Now
SEO’s history spans back into the 1990s when the World Wide Web was established. Automated web crawlers (sometimes referred as “spiders”) were used to index all the publicly available pages of content and then rank them. Initially, companies used tactics like “keyword stuffing”, or repeating words again and again in an effort to gain higher rankings on the lists for those words.
In 2011, Google revolutionized the process with the creation of a machine learning tool that greatly improved upon how web content was evaluated and introduced the Panda Update. Previously, Google employees had manually combed through thousands upon millions of webpages to look for good content and rank it. Now the formula for great results was far more complex and constantly changing. After the Panda update, 12% of websites were hit hard, and top rankings were displaced due to bad quality issues and SEO tactics. Some penalized practices were bad content (such as thin, irrelevant, automated and aggregate content), bad user signals (low click through rates, a high bounce rate, low amount of returning visitors), and bad usability (slow website loading speed, 404 errors, and bad design).
This major shift in technology was a game changer for SEO and significantly changed how companies needed to approach it. From 2011 onward, the search engine playing field has been leveled. Now all sites are evaluated on relevance and integrity of content to its users. Instead of trying to “trick” search engines with deceptive tactics, machine learning -based rankings actually penalize for those practices. In extreme cases, sites can actually be blacklisted.
Three Ways to Improve Organic SEO Results
Truly great SEO requires time, expertise, continuous learning and adapting. There are three basic pillars to improve existing SEO and create great SEO, and they boil down to the following basics:
- Good CodingFrom a technical standpoint, if you have an SEO problem, you likely have a site problem, too. In addition to meaningful content, the site needs to be well-coded with the right details. Proper headings, links, title tags, image titles, and alternative text will optimize your ranking for organic search results. Put another way, bad URL structure and HTML will always drag your rankings down.
- Responsive DesignResponsive design ensures that websites work seamlessly across devices. Due to the growing percent of mobile web traffic, search engines now rank sites that are responsive higher in results. This is because search engines aim to provide accurate and user–friendly results; search engine users want sites that load quickly and are easy to navigate on their mobile devices.
- Marketing StrategySearch engines reward sites with good, useful content. Creating a marketing strategy that will benefit potential clients by providing them with information they’re looking for anticipates needs and adds value. A great marketing strategy helps content creators build content around keywords that are relevant to your products, services, and client needs (which will improve organic search ranking).
There is not a one size fits-all solution for a great SEO score / search engine ranking. By improving your website’s SEO, potential clients can access your business information more easily.
Through implementing a robust CMS platform, (such as Sitefinity, WordPress or Sitecor), users are guided into better SEO through tagging options, clean code, websites responsive in nature, and helping teams work together within the CMS to collaborate on a great marketing strategy.
Stormhold Digital is a full-service digital agency that provides creative, design, technology production, and digital strategy consulting that is proven to boost SEO rankings for our clients.