If you are a business owner with a website, you may have heard the words “search engine optimization” or SEO. Chances are that you ignored the words when you heard them, because you wanted to focus on your business, your own product development and making sales. And I don’t blame you. But SEO is something you should focus on if your business operates primarily online. If you have an e-commerce store, for example, search engine optimization is a must.
So, what is SEO?
When a person opens a browser and starts searching for something, the person will use certain keywords to find what they are looking for. If you have taken SEO into account when crafting your content, chances are that your website may show up on page one in Google, Bing or Yahoo. SEO is a term that describes various techniques to optimize your content for search engines.
You can’t just create a website and expect to be on the first page of search results, when you search for your website’s name. Unfortunately, you are competing with thousands of other websites with similar names, content, articles and so forth. You have to make your website original, unique and optimized. There are four major areas you can start focusing on right now; value, bounce rate, keywords and back-links.
One thing that search engines put weight on is value. In other words, the content on the website in question must provide valuable information for the readers. Value can include an interesting story, a captivating piece of journalism or an e-commerce store with products for sale. Even your product descriptions add value.
If your website isn’t offering anything of value or interest, people will quickly click back to the search to find another relevant site. When these users quickly bounce away from your page, Google will register the time spent on the site and compare it to the total amount of visitors. This percentage is called the bounce rate. If you have a high bounce rate, search engines may believe that you are misleading readers with your website, claiming you are offering certain content when you are not. You can track your bounce rate on individual pages and articles using Google Analytics.
To improve your bounce rate, you should write valuable content. This is why integrating a blog is so important. It will help give you exposure in search engines, which is an excellent form of marketing. A blog will also give you an opportunity to share value in other ways than just your products or services.
One way to improve your bounce rate is to use keywords to improve your exposure. If you are writing a travel blog about Florida and have a lengthy article about hotels, you want the phrase “Florida Hotels” to be 4 to 6 percent of your overall article – or other relevant key-phrases depending on your article direction. Because this phrase is a higher percentage than other phrases you may have used to craft your article, Google will pick up on this and rank it accordingly. If someone is searching “Florida Hotels,” chances are your site will rank well. Keep this in mind when crafting blog articles.
Lastly, you want to build up some back links organically. This goes back to the concept of value. If another website finds your content to be useful or valuable, they will link to your articles from their sites or social media accounts. This link is called a back-link; it links back to your website. The more back-links you have, the more search engines will think that your content is useful and valuable to people.
Unless you are writing on a very specific topic, you will have to put in hours of work to rank well in search engines. You are competing with websites that have been in search engines for years. But don’t put all of your energy into search engine optimization.
Yes, search engine optimization is important, but don’t think that adding 1000 back-links will secure you a top spot in Google. Since the beginning of 2011, Google has released 25 different algorithm changes that have had some major impacts on traffic for major websites. Back-links may be important in one update, but less important in another.
To ensure a great spot in Google, it really comes down to your readers. Make sure you are giving them valuable and usable information that is worth reading and exploring. Only then will you see the results that you have worked so hard to get.
Malene Jorgensen is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Jorgensen is passionate about online content, blogging, online business development and e-commerce. She owns an international media publishing company and a design studio. Jorgensen has written several books that are sold in over 50 countries. She is also obsessed with coffee and Twitter. You can reach Malene Jorgensen at Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram