SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of auditing a website so that the algorithms that govern search engine behavior can better index and show that site as a result of a search.
While that may be a comprehensive definition of SEO, it is a bit of a mouthful. It also doesn’t quite convey they amount of work that goes into even a standard SEO audit. Not only is it a lot of work, but it will be time consuming no matter how you approach it. Search engines take time to crawl and to index websites. After that, it takes time for a particular website to build up a reputation as an authority for a particular keyword/phrase. Google recognizes a websites authority mainly by looking at backlinks. Once it does, however, that is when it will start to move up the rankings.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Instead, let’s start at the beginning.
Whether we’re starting with an existing website or have just built one from scratch or even using one of the excellent services found on the internet(WordPress, Squarespace, etc.), every website can benefit from an SEO audit.
To perform an audit, typically one has access to any number of SEO tools. These tools allow the auditor to easily see any problems that may be keeping the website from ranking as high as it could. Most problems can be easily corrected once the source of the problem has been identified.
Once all the problems on a website have been identified and dealt with, the real bulk of the SEO work happens. This involves:
If you want your site to rank, you need to know what people are searching for. This involves what specific phrases as well as variations on those phrases. For example, if you are tracking the keyword “lawn care”, you could also track “mowing”, “landscaping”, etc. Make sure that the keywords you are tracking are as closely related to the area of expertise shown on the website.
When you have a good idea of what keywords are best for your site, make sure you use them all around the site albeit in a natural way. Customers are surprisingly savvy when it comes to simply placing keywords randomly around a site. Placing them in headers is an especially useful tactic for showing search engine bots what your page is about.
Remember, each page on your site can rank for different keywords, so don’t just sprinkle a few of them around your site. Each page should be individually optimized for its specific keywords.
Backlinks are any link that leads from another website to your site. Consider each one a vote from someone that your site knows what it is talking about. These go a long way toward establishing your authoritativeness with search engines. There are good ways and bad ways to go about doing this, but just remember that the best ways are those that generate links to your site naturally and come from other reputable sites.
Stay Ahead and On Top
SEO practices are constantly changing and evolving. This comes from changes in search engine algorithms, marketing trends, and even what your competitors are doing. So, stay ahead of the competition and on top of the industry.
You can always use the same tools you use for your websites to check your competitors sites as well. This way, you can gain valuable insights into how they interact with their customers. Just remember, they can do the same to you.
Google’s algorithm changes can often come with very little warning, so make sure you are following the industry closely. Maybe follow several industry leaders that you trust. You want as much information as soon as you can get it.
This page is in a state of continuous evolution. As such, I will endeavor to keep it updated as much as possible.