Search Engine Optimization (SEO) makes it easier for both users and search engine robots to find websites. But for the most part, this is easier said than done.
The problem stems from the fact that most business owners build websites and go online without any clear understanding of how the internet and how search engines works. A pretty website doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great website. Building a company website doesn’t automatically mean customers will start visiting it in droves.
Search engines, for the most part, just want to please their users by giving them the best possible search results possible. And they do this through algorithms that try to predict what a search engine user really needs. But what a user wants and what a computer algorithm can do are never completely in sync.
This is where SEO is needed and makes its presence felt.
SEO helps bridge that gap. By understanding how the Search Engine algorithm works, webmasters and SEO specialists work on creating websites with clues for search engines to direct them to users that need these websites the most. And by using data obtained from search engines themselves, experts then adapt and streamline their efforts to make your website more accessible to your target market.
Why the need for Search Engine Optimization
The specific, direct, dynamic, and timely nature of SEO is what makes it a powerful tool in marketing.
1. It’s not overly aggressive like traditional marketing.
2. It allows customers to come to you but it also adapts to the changing nature of your business and the needs of your customers.
3. On the onset, it looks passive but in the long run it can be a powerful tool that creates a strong, consistent, and loyal customer base for any business.
These are some of the parameters that entrepreneurs need to look at when dealing with search engine optimization. Search engines are, in a way, limited by the algorithm that they use. What you see on your website as awesome images, great content, and wonderful website features are nothing more than numbers and strings to a search engine robot. Relevance and importance has to be measured by views, visits, shares, comments, and link clicks. All else has no value.
Simply put, it is not enough that you make a website and write quality content. People have to take measurable action (through clicks, likes, shares) in order to be relevant.
Over the years, SEO specialists have developed different strategies to make the most out of search engine algorithms by anticipating what people look for online vis a vis how search engines understand what a user is looking for. Manual submission, keyword stuffing, as well as meta keywords tag were all a part of the marketing system in the early days of search engines.
But as search engine algorithms became more sophisticated and better at anticipating what users are looking for, SEO marketing is becoming more sophisticated as well. Websites now have to work harder to stand out from the competition by beefing up the basics of SEO (on page optimization, ads, inbound marketing and link building), adapting to new technologies (mobile, social media, app development) and continuously monitoring and fine tuning SEO strategies.
What’s Stopping Your Great Content From Getting Out There?
You’ll know your SEO efforts are working if you’re getting your content, through your website, out there and it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.
With content, the aim is usually to:
– Make your business more recognizable to customers
– Give your customers more information on products and services you offer
– Showcase your business through testimonials, news articles, press releases and blogs
– Create partnerships with people who matter like influencers, suppliers, etc
– Actively sell your products and services
To get your content out there, you need search engine optimization. To reach customers you’re your marketing message to, you need search engine marketing. To do all that, you need to understand how to get your content out there.
Knowing the strengths and limitations of search engines help entrepreneurs build a strong, sustainable presence online. And in order to do that search engine management should be part of the marketing process.
The biggest limitation of search engines are their algorithms. They basically just follow commands with little or no context. They follow the same processes day in. day out with little or no consideration of surrounding factors. All search engines care about is that you follow the rules of the technical game. As long as you follow it, you’ll be allowed in the field to play.
Here are just some of the non-technical problems you would need to work out with your webmaster of SEO specialist in order to make your website optimized for search engine marketing.
Problematic online forms – If you have online forms on your website, they have to be easy to use and store. You should be able to lead your clients to avoid discrepancies in the completion of online forms on your site as this creates hidden content if not done properly.
Discrepancies in non-text content – Images, audio and video can also be optimized for SEO. If you don’t tag, label or provide descriptions for these pieces of content or if you label them incorrectly, it can affect the way search engines index your site. These labels and descriptions would also show on search engine results, giving your website more leverage. Ideally, descriptions for these types of content should be consistent with the text you have on your website and your SEO efforts.
Duplicate pages or content within the website – Sometimes it’s unavoidable to have duplicate pages or content within the website. You may even think that duplicate pages or content would be good so more people would see it. However the duplicate pages and content can affect your ranking on search engines because latest algorithms prize original quality content. So remove as much duplicate content as you can with your website and work with your webmaster to ensure that he/she regularly monitors your site for duplicate pages.
Problems with mixed messages and contextual signals – There are instances when the title of your content doesn’t match the text in the post. You may be doing this to be witty or to make a point. But what happens is this creates mixed messages and sends confusing signals to search engines. Or worse, this would leave your audience confused.
Using uncommon terms – Some users do use uncommon terms instead of using the more generic ones and it’s tempting to try to rank for these terms. But this actually creates problems for search engines because of all the possible variations. Rather than doing that, focus on using simple, easy to comprehend terms that would get you through to the customers you want to have, rather than trying to reach as many people as possible.
Targeting incongruous location – Know your target market and let your webmaster/SEO specialist know this when they’re building your website.
The problem with websites in general is that errors do happen. That’s why it’s extremely important to work with your webmaster or SEO specialist on your website and Search Engine Optimization. It’s when you work together that makes SEO and online marketing an effective strategy in turning your website from a pretty accessory for your businesses into a serious money making machine.