Search engine optimization is the process of attempting to improve a website ranking for one or more keywords. The underlying goal is typically to drive greater numbers of targeted traffic to the website, usually with the hope that a certain percentage of that audience will take one or more desired actions.
The search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, are designed to return search results that are most useful to searchers, but with an understanding of how the process works, there is a great deal we can do to improve our site’s performance in search.
Most of the SEO process falls under one of the following categories:
- Social Media
Content - The creation of interesting and relevant information on a consistent basis is an extremely important component of the SEO process. When the search engines see that a site is actively creating new content related to a specific topic, they reward the site by improving its position in search for relevant keywords. Engaging and sharable content has other benefits as well — it typically results in longer site visits, more sites linking to your site and increased social sharing. All of these things also result in improved SEO.
Keywords - Early on in the process, one should decide which keywords are important to perform well for. A prioritized list must be created, containing the keywords that are important to our mission and/or are likely to drive targeted traffic to our website. This list will heavily influence the type of content that is created for the page, and will serve as a guide for the keywords that appear on each page.
Links - Inbound links from relevant and respected sites result in improved SEO results. Links can be obtained through the creation of compelling, engaging and current content. Links frequently come from others who share your organization’s view, and who want to share your content with their audiences. Let others know when you have content that might be worth linking to.
Social Media - It has been shown that appropriate use of social media accounts can improve SEO performance in several ways. An active social media account will often show up on the first page of Google for some keyword searches. That provides yet another way for audiences to find your website. Social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter also provide an easy way to distribute content and to get that content shared. Greater sharing leads to more inbound links, more web traffic and improved SEO.
Chris S. Cornell is an award-winning writer, editor and photographer who specializes in the field of social media. He serves as Director of Social Media at WOW Production Services, where he promotes businesses and independent films using digital marketing and social media strategies.