If you’ve ever had experience with an online business or storefront, you’ve probably heard the term “SEO”, or “Search Engine Optimization”. But finding a quick explanation can be difficult, especially since it covers a lot of different changes and website elements.
Search Engine Optimization is a blanket term for anything that improves your site’s presence in search engines. Good SEO allows your site to rank better, which means more traffic to your site, making it more relevant and noticeable.
It doesn’t have to just be a single search engine without forcing you to pay for ads. This can be as simple as changing a page title, or as complex as completely re-writing a site’s code to make it load faster. For example, if your site URL was searcharoo.com, you’d want to make sure that the page titles, content and links reflected this.
You can also combine SEO techniques with regular advertising, providing two different boosts to the site’s visibility.
Major Kinds of SEO
Content and On-Page SEO
Probably the most common form of SEO is writing and rewriting content on your site. Regardless of what it’s about, or how large your site is, having the right keywords and terms will make it more likely to appear in search results when people are looking for related information or content. However, there are various other things you can do to your site to raise it’s ranking in search engines, including:
- Compressing images to make them load faster.
- Changing the site metadata (such as H1 tags) to be relevant to the content.
- Using subheadings (H2-H6).
Technical SEO is anything relating to the code behind the site. Bad code can make a site slow, unresponsive and non-functional on certain devices, especially if the site’s underlying code is full of features it doesn’t use.
- Optimizing the structure of the site to put relevant content under the same labels (E.G. putting all blog posts under a Blog page).
- Adding a robots.txt file to stop search engine crawlers from picking up “behind the scenes” pages that users don’t need to visit (like a login confirmation page, or an image URL).
Mobile users make up an increasingly large percentage of all online customers, and might even overtake the amount you get from other devices. Creating a site that works on mobile devices is almost always worth the extra effort, regardless of whether it’s a personal site, a blog or an online shop. You can do things like:
- Creating a separate, streamlined version of the site that mobile users automatically load into.
- Using a responsive site theme that automatically adjusts to different screen sizes.
- Removing any banners or ads that can ruin a mobile user’s experience.
Should I Bother with SEO?
SEO matters a lot, and many people whose websites are getting the top search results know this. There are other ways to build up a better search presence that hasn’t been named here, but no matter who you are, whether you are just starting your website or want to make your already existing one get more traffic, you should at least do the bare minimum to get your site noticed, improve your rankings and get people to take a look at your content.
Don’t rush things: take it slowly, or consider going to experts for professional SEO help, there are many agencies that you can hire online, filled with specialists who can offer their helping hand and knowledge. The only thing worse than no SEO is bad SEO, especially if you’re trying to sell products.