Search Engine Optimization is a set of actions that support a businesses SEO strategy (targeted keywords, product names, brand names, etc.) to promote the visibility of a website on search engine return pages (SERPs) with a goal of achieving the coveted #1 position.
Prior to going any further on this topic it is important to state that it is NOT possible to guarantee a Google # 1 position for a targeted keyword if:
- that keyword is highly competitive where many websites are seeking a SERP position for the same keyword
- your website has a much lower Domain Authority than your competitors.
(Domain Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz.com that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. If your competitors have a higher Domain Authority metric and if all things are equal in the way each website/webpage is designed, your competitor will always rank higher than you.
This metric is calculated by combining all other link metrics—linking root domains, number of total links, etc.—into a single score.)
Search Engine Optimizations breaks down into two components:
1. On-page SEO
How relevant is your website for a given keyword? Consider someone conducting a Google search. When they type in a keyword and hit search – Google will only present websites that are both ‘relevant’ to the search term and have a high Domain Authority (See off-page SEO below).
This is the process of building a high-performing search engine optimized website. The first step in the process is keyword research to determine what language and keywords your target market use to find your products and services. Google provides access to their keyword usage database, and we use this to determine what keywords/language should be used on any given page on a web ite.
In the example below, the Google database shows that the search term ‘search engine optimization’ is the subject of 110,000 searches each month in the United States.
In addition, to providing information on the number of searches for a given keyword, the database also provides a list of alternate keywords. This is very useful when it comes to search engine optimizing a web page because now we have a good insight into the language that our target market uses when trying to find your products and services.
If you have a 20-page website, you have 20 opportunities to market your products and services because the search engine optimized content will be different for each page, and this provides a path for the search engines to evaluate each page. Failure to make each page unique results in the search engines being unable to differentiate one page from one another.
Web Strategic Marketing typically targets two or three key words per page, and different, if possible, on each page.
When the keyword research is complete, the target keyword/keyword phrases for each page and building the target keywords into the SEO elements on each page. The primary web page SEO elements are:
- Page URL
- Page title
- Meta description
- Page headings
- Anchor link text
- Image alt tags
- Repetition within the written content
This is an iterative process because as the search engines (continually) change their search algorithms the website’s SEO strategy must also evolve.
To fine tune the website’s search engine optimization performance, we evaluate the web site analytics (see example below) to understand:
- How the web site is used
- How effective were the keywords
- What pages are viewed and what pages are not
- What steps can be taken to increase the number of site views via organic search (a typical search engine result which is fee-of-charge compared to paid search which is fee-based)
2. Off Page SEO (popularity) the process of optimizing your web pages outside (Off-Page) your website by connecting other websites to your sites using specific, keyword, based language. As discussed above, there is a transparent metric to determine the strength of a website’s off-page SEO and that is the Domain Authority.
In the graphic below the Domain Authority and the Primary Domain Authority metrics of links and linked websites are detailed side-by-side for two different websites (whose names will remain anonymous to protect the respective businesses). The website on the left has a Domain Authority of 36 which is significantly larger than the website on the right. This means that if both were equally relevant, then the website on the left will always rank higher in the search engine results. The primary driver of the Domain Authority is the number of connected root domains and the total links from those domains, in the examples below you can clearly see that the site on the left has a significantly higher number of linked websites and links from those sites.
Seldom thought is to given to this aspect of search engine optimization yet it is often more important than the relevance of the site because you can have a 100% SEO relevant website but if the Domain Authority is very low then the website will have a poor search engine performance.