Just Google It: SEO and Link Building

Oh just Google It! A commonly used phrased when referring to getting answers off the internet. Although there are many other search engine website, such as Bing and Yahoo, Google dominates the search engine industry. Google,”now processes over 40,000 search queries every second”. Search has became a fundamental part of our culture. Answers are not looked up in books or found by interacting with a sales associates. Answers are found through internet search engines. Weather your on your mobile devise, tablet or computer, search is just one click away.

Search Engine Optimization, SEO, is the process Google uses to rank your business website against other similar websites. Every wonder why some websites are always in the top four position of your search engine results? Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO states, “Being listed at the top of the results not only provides the greatest amount of traffic, but also instills trust in consumers as to the worthiness and relative importance of the company or website”. SEO is a marketing practice used to improve the viability of your webpage by using organic unpaid search results. By using SEO correctly can improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines.

Like all other marketing practices, SEO is all about the user experience. This is where your UI and UX designers come in. Designing your website with the users experience in mind will help your business become more searchable.

Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO, states the best websites contain the following traits:

  • Easy to use
  •  Provide direct, actionable information relevant to the query
  •  Professionally designed and accessible to modern browsers
  •  Deliver credible content

To be successful, you must know what keywords or phrases your user are searching. Its not all about getting as many users to your website but about getting the right users.  Popular search terms make up 30% of searches performed on the web. The other 70% of less popular terms, called long tail keywords, are the most important. Understanding the long tail of keywords will help you increase your search volume and conversion rate. For example, a popular search term in the winter could be “winter jacket” but someone who searches “winter snow jacket size small” is further in their buying processes and is more likely to make a purchase right then.

In the winter jacket example above, in order for your website to be listed in the top search engine results (aka increase the likelihood your website is clicked on), your websites needs as many links as possible. Moz defines link building as, “the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own”.  Search engines use these links to crawls the web to reach billions of interconnected documents. By increasing the number of high quality links to your website you will increase your chance of ranking well. Link building will also help your business build relationships, sending referral traffic and benefit your brand. Think of your links as outreach and promotion for your business. By key influencers in your industry linking to your business, you will builds long term valuable relationships that helps your business become highly trusted. Gaining a referral is like getting a recommendation from a friend. Blogs are a excellent example of this. When searching for a great restaurant, reading a food critic blogs is most trusted then just relying on restaurants website. A restaurants website is not going to tell you what menu items suck.

SEO does have limitation and requires knowledge about best practices to make your website crawlable. Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO is a great resource to use when setting up your website. To make your content crawlable, its important to use correct design and formatting. Content should be in HTML format. Other formats such as JavaScript are often ignored or devalued by SEO. Add words or phrases to pictures and videos in order to make them more crawlable. The important take away here is that SEO can’t read and interpret information like a human can. You need to tell SEO what the picture or video is portraying.

Search engines are answer machines. To provide people with the best results the search engine filter the information by relevance and popularity. Relevance use to be determined by matching keywords to websites. Now complex algorithms  are used to determine ranking factors.  Although Google and Bing do not reveal all that goes into their rankings, they do provide guidelines. Check out the guidelines here in Moz’s guide.  SEO uses the assumption that the more popular a site is, the better information on the site. Popularity or sharing of a website is considered a recommendation.

Since SEO operates off of relevance and popularity, you need to get people sharing your content. To begin with, create excellent and education content relevant to your readers. Every search has an intent. By your content being thorough and educational, your are increase your chances you will show up in the top position of the search engine. Remember people do not scroll down through the search engine to evaluate each result. They pick the results positioned on TOP!

Even if you write amazing educational content, without people sharing and talking about you, what is the point? Social sharing is on the rise and is effecting search results. From a business stance, having someone with a large social circle sharing your content is highly beneficial. Although material shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are treated differently by search, their impact are noticeable.

Beware that Google does limit links. Nofollow is added to  advertised links that have been paid for  or links which lack control. Since page rank is determined off of organic searches, it would be unfair to be able to buy your rank. Using nofollow indicates to Google your lack of confidence in the link. Below are examples of links often use the nonfollow feature.

  • Blog comments
  • Forum posts
  • Guest book comments
  • Editable Wiki pages (e.g. Wikipedia)
  • Yahoo! Answers
  • Guest post signatures

SEO is a complex process that is always changing. In order to learn the system and stay about to date about the recent changes does take a significant amount of time. Luckily companies like Moz can do it for you. Moz is a Seattle based company that provides software for search, links, social and brands. Moz number one skill is inbound marketing and educating marketers. My entire blog post was written off of using Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO and Beginners Guide to Link Building. Moz holds strong core values that will never change, TAGFEE: Transparency, Authenticity, Generosity, Fun, Empathy and The Exception. I highly recommend checking Moz’s Blog post for more information.

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Just Google It: SEO and Link Building

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