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What is Search Engine Optimization and How Does it Impact Your Website?

By now, everyone has heard the term search engine optimization (SEO), but do you really know what is means for your company, your website and your marketing strategy? Search engine optimization is the process of increasing your website traffic through your content’s use of keywords that help you rank in search engine results. However, companies often think of SEO simply as adding a few keywords to their website content. While that is part of it and certainly necessary, true and effective search engine optimization has a lot more to it. 

The Keywords Do Matter

While they are certainly not the only thing that you have to consider, a good place to start when implementing an SEO strategy is with keyword research. You can use online generators, paid-for services or do some basic research yourself. You will want to determine what your target audience is searching then use those keywords and long-tail keywords (or short phrases) as the keywords noted on the backend of your website.

SEO is More Than Words

Search engine optimization utilizes keywords to get visitors to your website, but there is more to SEO than just words. There is a strategy to it, and the content on your website is just the first step.

While you must establish the keywords that you want to rank for in a Google search (or other Internet search engine), simply having the words on your page isn’t going to help your ranking. You need to make sure your content matches those keywords and provides visitors relevant and useful information about those keywords.  

In SEO, Placement Matters

Search engines work by scanning your website, and they will have an easier time fully understanding your content if you use the correct text hierarchy and placement. As such, the first thing on your page scanned by the search engine is the title of your page, which should be defined as your H1 title in the text editor. Each webpage will have one H1, and it should contain the keyword for that page.

The main body text of your page will be the heart of your content and should include your keyword and related keywords. This text is the main factor in your SEO ranking because it is the meat of your page. This content needs to match the backend keywords, the title of the page as well as the meta description (which shows up as the page descriptor on the search engine results page). This content must be valuable, unique and informative to your readers. It must answer the question that they posed to reach your site or your ranking will suffer. Any subheads (which are tagged as H2, H3, H4, etc.) should also include related or secondary keywords for which you wish to rank.

Consider All of the Content

Basically, the key to successful SEO is utilizing all of your content strategically. Think about every word that you write and how a search engine crawler may interpret it, and don’t forget about the words that aren’t visible to all.

Add alt text and captions to your images. While alt text generally hides behind the scenes and isn’t accessible to most visitors (screen readers for the visually impaired will read the alt text on images), it is still scrolled by web crawlers/search engines and can be used to your advantage. Captions also give you an extra bit of copy to capture a visitor’s attention. Captions also provide you another chance to grab the attention of those just skimming a page for a quick read.

Make sure your meta description is intriguing. The meta description is what shows up in the search engine results to let readers know what your page is about. This is your chance to draw the audience to you if your title did not do so.

Customize the URL to your advantage. Often, the title tag is the best option to use as the URL, but sometimes, it may be too short or too long. Tailor the page URL to best suit SEO by ensuring the keyword is in the URL itself and as close to the domain as possible. It should be the first word after the dot-com if it makes sense. 

Do You Need Help With Your SEO Strategy?

This is a very quick and rudimentary description of basic SEO strategy, but there is so much more to it! However, now that you have a basic understanding of SEO, does your website measure up? If not, The Impact Group can help. We can audit your website and conduct keyword research to determine what you want to rank for. Then, we can update your content to help you improve your search ranking and make sure your website’s backend has the right tagging to get you the results that you want to see. It is a full yet tailored approach that will help your company’s ranking gain traction over time.

If you want to talk more about SEO and how it can work for your company, reach out to The Impact Group today.