Just a single year after its launch, in the Autumn of 1999, there were already 3.5 million search queries being submitted to Google on a daily basis. Today, there are 2.3 million searches conducted every second. If your business’s website is within the first five results for any query submitted by people with clear intentions of spending money, then you are truly blessed.
On the other hand, if your business’s website is on the fourth page, then it may as well be on Page 40. For the ambitious and sleepless marketing manager, a search engine ranking means the difference between world domination and starvation. With top-notch search engine optimization (SEO), you can guarantee that you never go hungry again.
In essence, SEO strength is a simply measure of how intimately Google "understands" the true purposes of your website based on all of the important metrics and indicators of its relevance. Factors such as your website's descriptive metadata, image descriptions, headings, and its connections (or lack thereof) to high-ranking websites are what allow Google to develop an accurate idea of how relevant its content would be to those who submit search queries related to it.
Search engine optimization can be one of the most rewarding to learn yet difficult to understand aspects of doing business on the modern online marketing frontier. The fine details of SEO have evolved substantially over the years and continue to change even today.
Before diving right into the vortex of SEO science, this disclaimer must be fully understood: becoming an SEO expert is not something that can be accomplished in a single sitting. If you have ever read the Art of War by Sun Tzu, then you understand how important it is for a general to analyze the terrain before mobilizing his forces. If SEO metrics could be considered the “terrain” of online marketing, then that terrain is a rotating mountain with levitating boulders and sentient trees that march in a zigzag formation.
As Google continually updates its algorithms and terms, the art of SEO is constantly in flux. If you want to become a professor of SEO proficiency, then you must first commit to being a permanent student. There is never truly a complete “graduation” from the school of SEO skill. Learning more is the favorite pastime of those who know the most.
What might have been an airtight strategy for generating traffic two years ago might be rendered completely obsolete by next month. Those who fail to keep current are the same misguided, money-hemorrhaging business owners who still believe that stuffing a long keyword into their content enough times will convince Google to give them more exposure.
Google grants certain websites higher exposure in its search engine listings only after its specialized program (Googlebot) has sifted through hundreds of billions of pages to systematically curate the content; this is referred to as “crawling”.
With an algorithmic process, the website-crawling Googlebot makes three crucial decisions: which websites to explore, how often it will explore them, and the appropriate number of pages from each site that it should compile into its index.
If any of your webpages are among those that Googlebot has chosen to fetch during its travels, then every single keyword on those pages will be compiled into a titanic index wherein search engine positions are determined.
In addition to the keywords themselves, the specific location on those keywords on the page, along with any supplemental information available in key content attributes (such as titles, headings and image tags), will be taken into Googlebot’s consideration of the appropriate search engine ranking to assign your website.
Googlebot appreciates organic, high-quality content far more than an unintelligible wall of grammatically incorrect words that were only included in an attempt to fool it.
If you would rather prefer to have the Googlebot carry your business’s expensively designed front page to a high rung on the search engine ladder, instead of stomping on it so that your website never sees the light of the 3rd page, then you won’t make the fatal mistake of being another clueless Captain Keyword Stuffer.
Googlebot will only consider your webpage for indexing if its page rank is sufficient enough to rise above the chaff. Every hour, millions of half-baked, uninspired websites are born just to spill their disorganized content into the void of the Internet’s gaping mouth, never to be seen again. Understandably, Googlebot will never even consider crawling anywhere near them.
When a website is initially created, without any content published, Googlebot has nothing substantial that it can use to determine page ranking. Before Googlebot can assign your website an appropriate page ranking, it needs to have access to the pages that most clearly illustrate the most vital components of your blog or website. Once Googlebot is able to define your website at a glance, it will be able to categorize your content and rank it among other websites in the same category.
There are exceptions to the rule with some website platforms, which are automatically indexed upon creation; even so, the presence of content that can be used to illustrate its purpose will be necessary for having a chance to acquire a good page ranking.
While the page ranking of your website is improved with highly visible content of a discernible category, the opposite is equally true. The page ranking of your website is jeopardized by aimless, unfocused content.
With no supplementary tags or descriptive metadata to help determine the website’s niche, the website will be given a low ranking by default. A low ranking means search engine invisibility, and an invisible website gets no traffic.
Even worse than having a website with no clearly discernible purpose is a website that communicates a clear purpose of attempting to exploit Google’s algorithm with an unnatural overrepresentation of highly specific keywords.
A decade ago, it might have been possible for webmasters to exploit loopholes in the less developed Google algorithm by repeatedly inserting quasi-relevant keywords into their content by the hundreds until they achieved a high ranking by default; today, this crude method is immediately red-flagged as blatant spamming and harshly penalized.
Not only will these websites be denied a strong page rank, but they will also be actively suppressed for as little exposure as possible; those who resort to these tactics are not engaging in searching engine optimization, but rather search engine obstruction.
Thankfully, saving your website from the fate of being digitally buried underneath the Internet’s crust can be done relatively simply with the following tips.
One of the most vital factors for helping your website demonstrate value to Googlebot is the domain name. After the Google Panda update in 2011, domains with the primary keyword included in their name were given increased priority. If there is one word that strongly communicates the focus of your business, then your website will have the greatest potential with that very word in its name.
Naturally, domain names that consist of shorter, simpler, and more universal words will be far more expensive to obtain than domains with invented words or stylized spelling. Barring rare exceptions, .com domains will generally always have more authority than any identically-named domains with different domain suffixes.
Having a consistent posting frequency to illustrate active ownership, using relevant tags and metadata to clearly indicate the purpose of your page to Google’s algorithm, and procuring backlinks from high-authority websites to give the impression of value by association are all strong SEO techniques for boosting your page rank to a visible level.
Most of these measures can be accomplished simply by investing genuine effort into creating natural, high-quality content while frequently engaging with likeminded professionals in your field.
Even if you don’t have a strong network of familiar colleagues with a high-ranking websites in your area of business, you can still innovatively develop strong page rank-boosting backlinks with other methods.
If you have a blog, then you can submit the domain name to a number of high-ranking web directories of the appropriate class. The more web directories that you submit the domain to, the more backlinks that will be gradually generated over time.
You may also submit value-providing articles to article directories with a high level of PR. Be sure to include a link that leads back to your website; in the event that this article is shared on a popular webmaster’s site, Google will interpret it as a strong vouch of approval for your site that merits a higher rank.
Even more powerful than an article directory submission is making a relevant guest post on a popular blog. Targeted guest posting is quite possibly the strongest, safest, most organic and affordable SEO technique currently known. If you have enough knowledge and experience in your field to be called an authority on the subject, then you can have a mutually beneficial arrangement with any owner of a popular blog that concerns your area of expertise.
While the blog owner can benefit from having a qualified expert contribute valuable and relevant content to their blog to increase its credibility and prestige, you can benefit from having both a powerful backlink and instant exposure to a large number of people who are actively engaged and interested in your field.
With your value-providing guest post on a well-known blog related to your business, you will be able to make a strong and positive first impression on the types of people who compose your desired target audience. Your perceived level of authority in your niche will be boosted even further with the seal of approval given by the established blogger who already has the readers’ trust.
An audience that is generated out of genuine interest in the value that your content provides them will be the best and easiest type of audience to retain in the long-term. Rather than needing to pay for expensive shotgun-approach campaigns through display ads, your genuinely invested audience can share your content with people in their social media circles who also share their interests.
Making high-quality guest posts frequently and strategically enough could potentially open the viral floodgates of natural traffic to your website. The monumental SEO boost from a sustained torrent of actively-engaged visitors from the guest posts to your website can provide it with enough momentum to sustain and grow its own audience independently. By this point, Googlebot will be more than convinced that your business’s website is more than deserving of an authoritative search engine position.
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