Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Summary of SEO Guide by Moz
The Beginners Guide to SEO (Fishkin, n.d.) is robust enough to lift out 10 key points for a social media marketer to consider as they build, audit and improve their website’s performance using search engine optimization (SEO).
I. Understanding SEO and How It Benefits Your Website
To understand SEO and how it benefits your website, you must first grasp what it means and what its results can be. Search engines are described as providing two basic functions relevant to your company’s website:
1. building an index by crawling content.
2. providing search users with a relevant ranked list to choose from.
Search engines provide answers to users who seek specific content. These engines scour billions of documents to return only those results that are useful to the searcher’s query and ranks those results per the popularity of the websites holding that information. A social media marketer must understand SEO is meant to influence both relevance and popularity. Search engines employ algorithms comprising hundreds of variables to sort and rank content, referred to as ranking factors. This is important because it drives the right kind of traffic to your website. To get the right kind of visitor to your website, the right keywords are imperative. Then research and test keywords and adjust.
II. Knowing What Your Audience Wants
An essential element to building your marketing strategy around SEO is truly understanding who your audience is and what they are looking for. This is critical to reach and keep users. Fishkin refers to it as, “Build for users, not for search engines.” He says there are three types of search queries people generally make:
1. “Do” transactional queries are when a user wants to do something such as watch a movie or buy a product.
2. “Know” informational queries for when the user is needing information such as where the nearest gas station is.
3. “Go” navigation queries to direct the user to a particular place on the internet such as company homepage or LinkedIn.
Build your website to make it easy for both users and search engines to understand. SEO can then enhance how the engines figure out what each page is about and how it may be useful to the user. The best sites have several common traits:
1. Easy to use, navigate and understand.
2. Provide direct, actionable information relevant to the query.
3. Professionally designed and accessible to modern browsers.
4. Deliver high quality, legitimate, credible content.
In SEO, measurement is critical to success. Track data about rankings, referrals, links and more to help analyze your strategy and gauge success. Recommended metrics include share of referring visits, referrals, conversions, and number of pages receiving search engine visits.
III. Four Conclusions from Research Data
There is much research data to lead the social media marketer to four important conclusions which are vital steps to achieving the marketing goals.
1. Search is an extremely popular tool which grows by nearly 20 percent a year and reaches nearly every online American.
2. Search drives an astonishing amount of both online and offline economic activity.
3. Higher rankings in the few results are critical to visibility resulting in higher click-through rates.
4. Being listed at the top of the search results spurs not only higher click-through rates, but it instills trust in consumers as they consider your company.
IV. Search Engine Technology Has Limits
Search engines do have some technical limitations that derail inclusion and rankings such as:
1. Problems crawling and indexing with online forms, duplicate pages and blocking in the code.
2. Problems matching Queries to Content because of use of uncommon terms, language and internationalized subtleties and incongruous location targeting.
Being aware of these limitations help you limit or avoid them.
V. Make Your Website Search Engine Friendly
Search engines are limited in how they crawl the web and interpret content. Here are tips on how to build your web pages to be search engine friendly.
1. Create indexable content in HTML text format.
2. Use crawlable link structures in your sitemap so the crawlers can browse the pathways of your website to find all pages.
3. Spend time selecting the best keywords, the building block of language and of search. Keywords are fundamental to the search process and to rank highly for the keywords that people are searching for when they want what your site offers.
4. One of the best ways to optimize your page’s rankings is to ensure the keywords you want to rank for are prominently used in the URL, title, text at the top of the page and two or three times in the body copy, and once in the metadata.
VI. Content Is Critical
Fishkin says “developing great content” may be the most often suggestion given in the SEO world. He states that every search performed by the engines comes with an intent to fin, learn, solve, buy, fix, treat, or understand. Thus, creating compelling content that addresses searchers’ needs improves your change to earn top rankings resulting in higher click-throughs.
When site visitors have a positive experience often demonstrate their delight through engagement with your site or with links to it. Your popularity increases which elevates your ranking level.
Fishkin, R. & et. al. (n.d.) The Beginners Guide to SEO. MOZ. Retrieved from: https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo