Search Engine Optimization is a term you’ve probably heard thrown around a lot before, but what it actually involves is constantly changing. The tactics you used three years ago to boost your website to a page one rank might not even have you cracking page ten these days. The shifting Internet landscape means that companies must keep on their toes, lest they fall behind. It’s a challenge even for SEO experts! But it’s a challenge worth contending with if you want to get the best marketing tool you have — your website — in front of the eyeballs that will lead to clicks.
The fact of the matter is that your website is doing you no favors if it’s twiddling its thumbs on page 17 of Google’s search results. Let’s be real: only the maddest among us would dare scroll past page 4! So if your website isn’t getting traffic, what good is it as a marketing tool? If potential customers can’t find your site, aren’t clicking, and, even more vitally, aren’t converting… is it really worth the bytes and bucks required to run?
To understand what search engine optimization is, you first need to know two things. The first is how a search engine works, while the second is that Google enjoys 90% share of the global search market — so to that end, it’s the only search engine worth talking about. (Bing, who?)
Google gets its search results by using what’s called a web crawler to collect and index the information from hundreds of billions of web pages — kind of like how your local library uses the Dewey Decimal System to make sense of all its books. Except in this case, Google parses every word from every one of those books, and creates an index so large that it eclipses the catalogue of every library in the world combined. Google then uses several proprietary algorithms to assign each web page a score based on its relevance to users based on keywords. In addition to keywords, it considers the perceived expertise of the website, its usability, your location, and numerous other factors. The exact algorithm is a secret, but it is what determines what you see when you do a search. The higher a page scores against its competitors, the higher it will appear in the list of search results.
Search Engine Optimization is taking all the things we know about Google’s algorithm, and intentionally manipulating aspects of a website to rank as high as possible. If that sounds like gaming the system, that’s because it is. But don’t feel bad about it for one second — everyone is doing it. And if they aren’t, they absolutely should be.
The fundamental theory behind Google’s algorithm is that the more links there are to a target page (your website), the more you can assume that the target page is an authority. It’s why you see Wikipedia on up at the top of nearly every search you make. Its expertise on any given subject is unmatched. Conversely, it can be assumed (rightly or wrongly) that websites with fewer links to them are less authoritative. That doesn’t mean they’re bad; just less “relevant” to your results.
Frustratingly, this perceived expertise is difficult to gain organically — you can’t just force people to link back to your website. But that doesn’t stop companies from embarking on backlinking campaigns from low quality sources. Though not the whitest of white-hat endeavors, it is effective… but only when done correctly. It’s entirely possible for the practice to backfire, especially since backlinks from higher ranking websites carry more weight.
The safest bet to optimize your website for search engine results is to provide the expertise users are looking for on your website. Ever heard the saying “content is king”. Think about it, you already have the knowledge. Why not share it in a way that lines up with the keywords your potential clients are searching for? This of course calls for an intentional rewrite of your website’s content, which can be quite an undertaking, but the result is that you will see your website rank higher over time.
Equally as important is how easy your website is to use. Believe it or not, a poorly organized website with dead pages and irrelevant links can really hurt you in the long run. If this means retooling your entire website so that it’s more user friendly and keeps eyeballs on your site for longer, increasing the likelihood of a conversation, that’s a worthy investment. Your website is your biggest marketing tool — it needs to be able to speak for you when you’re not in the room. It needs to be effective at nudging customers into your sales funnel. It needs to be the digital version of your best foot forward, which means taking the time to optimize it.
After all, as the saying goes: if you build it, they will come. So build it beautifully with JNT TEK.
Contact JNT TEK for help optimizing your website for Google so that you can get the result(s) you’re looking for.