Search Engine Optimization: The process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.
Why is it important?
It’s the beginning of 2020 and as time moves on so does the web and the means of how the online content you view reaches your screens. We are going to take a deep dive into search engine optimization (referred to as SEO), where it has been, where it is going, and what this means for you. From 2016 to 2018 the money businesses have spent on SEO has grown from $65.26 billion to $79.27 billion. That is a 20 percent increase in spending that companies, big and small, are paying for SEO in just two years (Forbes).
To further understand this explosive growth, lets consider two other impressive facts.
- 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine (webfx).
- 75 percent of search engine users are NOT going to the second page of search results (Hubspot).
Users expect to get exactly what they are looking for by typing as little information as they can in the search query. These are only two simple statistics but it is important now more than ever to understand the behavior of users while they are browsing the web. Understanding the goal of the user should always be your primary concern when creating content for the web.
How does it work?
Now that we have an appreciation for the numbers and why search engine optimization is important, lets unpack this topic a little further.
The best place to start when considering the optimization of your website is by using appropriate meta tags. A meta tag is information that the page contains but isn’t actually visible to the user. It is how the web page tells the search engine what type of information is available on the page. If you aren’t properly utilizing this feature of HTML than you are seriously impeding your visibility to search engines. These meta tags are closely correlated to the keywords a user would use in a search engine to find what they are looking for.
Another important factor is high quality unique content. There is a reason Wikipedia can almost always be found at the top of the first page of many search results. Its content is vast and there are simply not many other places on the web that contains such overarching content about specific topics. There are great ways to increase the search engine optimization of your website with unique content. The two that come to mind are blogging and customer reviews. Both of these help provide relevant content and can be utilized to be not only informative to your readers but also beneficial to your SEO strategy. For e-commerce sites especially, customer reviews have the extra benefit of writing themselves and helping your potential customers with their purchase.
The last thing we are going to discuss is the “Search Spider”, or how they are often referred to as “crawlers”. In the most rudimentary sense, a crawler is a program that uses complex algorithms to index sites. The crawler navigates the web using internal and external links. Internal links being how one can click on the navigation menu at the top of this screen to get to other places on vantageinnovative.com. An external link would simply by one that links to other websites entirely. Using Wikipedia again as an example, does a pretty stellar job managing their links on their site. This, as you could guess also affects their SEO ranking by allowing crawlers to effectively index relevant pages appropriately. Making your website compelling to both real people and crawlers is very important. Using and understanding internal and external links on your site should never be overlooked when considering your SEO strategy.
This is by no means an all encompassing guide to search engine optimization. Truthfully, it hardly scratches the surface. There are countless factors that go into how a web page might rank for a particular search engine. If you are interested in understanding more about how your search engine finds what you are looking for, here are a few links that might interest you.
If you like statistics as I do, here are some great numbers to look at.
For keeping up to date with SEO best practices, this website is a great resource.