SEO: How To Rank #1 In Search Results

Wondering why Google isn't showing your website at the top of search results? Maybe it's because your content is not optimized for search engines. This is how you improve the ranking of your website or online store.

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What Is Search Engine Optimization?

Marketing through search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engines, such as Google, Yahoo or Bing.

This form of Internet marketing, which is an important aspect of search engine marketing (SEM), consists of structuring your website, optimizing your website's content, link baiting, link building and using social media.

The most relevant and useful result for a search query

This is done so that when a search for a certain term in a search engine is performed, one that is possibly related to your business, your business's website will be ranked higher on the search results page, meaning your website will appear more frequently in the search results list and you will ultimately gain more visitors to your site.

When SEO meets SEA/SEM

SEM began in the late 90s when search engines were beginning to be developed. Large search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, realized that pay-per-click programs, ones in which businesses could advertise using search engines, were quite profitable. Business consultants began offering assistance to businesses concerning advertising opportunities with search engines and helping business owners by using SEO to improve their business's Internet presence.

Search Engine Marketing vs. Search Engine Optimization

It is important to mention that SEM and SEO are not identical, but rather complementary. SEM could perhaps be considered an umbrella term that incorporates SEO. 

SEO means organically optimizing your business's online presence

SEO, when done properly, involves organically optimizing a business's Internet presence, as compared to improving visibility with money. 

SEM includes both organic search results as well as paid search results

SEM, however, consists of both organic search results as well as paid search results (Adwords). A more recent evolution in the field of SEM is the use of social media marketing (SMM), which is a type of marketing that utilizes social media to advertise one's business.

The most important steps for your SEO strategy

Although the individual steps for SEO will depend based on which search engine you are aiming for, there are some basic steps that overall apply. Here is an overview of these steps along with a brief description.

1. Market Research

Initially, it is important to determine which direction your website should take and what you have to compete with. This involves investigating major search engines to find out what sort of websites are ranking for the keywords you view as important for you and your business.

2. Keyword Research

Assess which keywords people are searching for and how these can be incorporated into your website. A number of online keyword research tools allow you to access search estimates for various search engines.

3. Website Structure

It is important that your business's website is easy to navigate; the set up of your site should be intuitive for visitors. Search engines use programs often called spiders or webcrawlers that automatically fetch web pages for later processing by a search engine which will index the websites to provide fast searches.

Be as effortless for the spider to crawl as possible

The main goal in optimizing a website's structure with regards to SEO is to create a page in which the spiders can access or 'crawl' the most important content as early on the website as possible, i.e., making sure that core sections of your page appear higher in the code. This ultimately increases the priority of more important content.

3. Content Optimization

The content of your site is certainly important. Not only does interesting, well-presented content attract prospective customers to your business, but also optimizing your content for search engines will get your website more hits. Search engines often look for keyword density and how well a particular website matches a search term. By defining 10-20 key terms and creating specialized pages with relevant information will help your website show up more frequently in search engines.

4. Link Building

In order for your website to get indexed by a search engine, meaning that URL is added to the list of searched websites, it is important that your site be linked by other websites. For example, by participating in websites with forums, with which your business's target customers often take part, you will on the one hand be able to connect with your customers, but you will also be creating new links to your website.

Search Engine Optimization: Conclusion

As a marketing strategy, SEO is not necessarily appropriate for every website; depending on your goals, other marketing strategies may be more suitable. Moreover, for those who are less computer-savvy, speaking with a marketing consultant will help you better understand the SEO process and get you and your website on the right track.

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