As a business owner, it’s critical to understand the factors influencing your website position on search engines. As many of you already know, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has the juice to push your company’s website to higher rankings in browser results. But because SEO is not a simple process, I wanted to share a brief overview of what I consider six primary SEO techniques (and there are literally hundreds) playing a major role in a successful search strategy.

Never be Content with Your Content

Think of search engines as you would communications with a business associate. You want your communication methods heard, understood and acted upon with results. Engines have the same requirements. And no SEO methods will be effective without great online content. The saying “Content is king” means simply that content holds tons of SEO influence and if created effectively, will keep people finding and coming back to your site regularly. Your content must be written so that it attracts both readers and search engines. It must be easily read, navigated to and indexed by search engines the way it should be.

Targeting human readers should be the main focus of your content efforts, creating and distributing copy that is both interesting and informative. Search engines want quality content that benefits and enhances their visitor experience. Search spiders require keywords and phrases that they can identify immediately and understand easily. This content requires the use of language that is complex enough to inform search engines your pages aren’t from a spam site yet provide a knowledgeable experience. It often means writing on a simplified level with depth.

Social Media Factors

Social media isn’t just for fun and entertainment – it’s also an important business tool contributing to your SEO efforts. The relationship between search engines and social media sites is a complicated one. The number of links, retweets and followers you amass won’t directly contribute to your SEO. Search engines do not factor those into the equation when ranking your site. However, those aspects of social media engagement help to build your brand and drive traffic to your website. This in turn encourages more people to link to your site.

Getting social links is more likely if you have a lot of friends, business associates or followers on your social media accounts. The more followers you have, the more often your content will be read and shared among their friends and followers. This effort will lead to greater site traffic and drive people to link to you to continue to spread the word. Having a wide variety of links pointing to your site is a major component of SEO.

It’s What’s “On the Page” that Counts

“On-page optimization”, the front-face of your site, is the culmination of efforts to create pages that attract search engines. This work includes the use of specific terms in the body of the page, titles and subheadings with keywords of what people are really searching for on the engines. Keeping your target customer’s primarily in mind, doing keyword research on the synonyms and common search terms for your topic can make this process more efficient. The use of images and videos can also help visitors to find you site because many of us search this media to get our information.

Put “You” in the URL

The URL you choose for your site should be descriptive of the page, feature the keywords and not be too long and therefore unattractive. Pages with long strings of numbers and letters aren’t memorable and are less likely to be spread on social media. Take a hard look at your site’s URL and decide whether it is descriptive and shareable or can be improved on. According to Google, the first three to five words of a URL are important to the SEO value of the page. Choose a few words that will describe the basic content of the page.

Tag Your It

A major element of your website’s on-page SEO is to create correct “tags” in the HTML for each page. Meta tags communicate directly with search engines and should describe your page explicitly with brief, informative language. HTML tags are used to highlight the areas that are most important for readers. These tags include header and other tags behind the scenes that describe the different sections of the text.

Get Back to Back-links

The back-links or inbound links to your site are ideally the result of the hard work to create worthwhile content. Because many sites look for intelligent content relative to their business segments, they’ll likely “reward” your site with an inbound link. The caveat, though, is to insure you are receiving links from recognized sources and brands. Search engines prefer a “quality” link while penalising back-links from unsavory sites. This linking process requires, among other techniques, contacting sites directly in your business segment and asking for a link back to you. The greater number of links from reputable sites, the more influence is made on the search spiders.

SEO is a solid business strategy with the tools to drive real ROI for your company’s web efforts. SEO requires a firm understanding of the search engine process, starting with the tips I have mentioned here.

Seek Every Opportunity to optimize! If you need any assistance with kick-starting your SEO strategy, feel free to contact us at hello@d4f.co.za