Search engine optimization or SEO has never been a more popular topic. We have all heard about it in one way or the other. We have also heard that it can do magic to our online sales and business growth. However, how many of us know what SEO services should include? A typical answer comes down to this one sentence: “It has something to do with fixing code errors and putting keywords that people search into the website content”. Well, this is right. But it’s only about 20% right. The truth is that our common perception of what SEO includes is only the tip of the iceberg.
What does SEO include?
You may have heard that Google takes into consideration about 200 factors to rank your website. If we try to group those factors, here is what we will get:
Here are the major areas that SEO services include:
Content is a crucial part of any SEO. Google ranks higher those websites that have original and useful content that provides value and unique insights to website visitors. Readability score is another factor that is taken into consideration, so it’s good to adjust your writing in a way that appeals to masses. Google also appreciates websites that include multimedia (images, YouTube videos, etc)
Keyword research and mapping.
Creating a semantic kernel of the website and finding the right keywords for your website pages is the job that can not be taken lightly. Why? Well, out of 200 factors that determine your position in search results about 20 are related to keywords. Once the keyword research is done, we add them to the content as well as to the code of the pages. This way Google will have a better understanding about your website and index it better.
This is where it gets interesting, as Google has an opinion not only about good link-building strategies but also about the ones that they disapprove of. This explains why out of 200 factors that impact SEO over 50 are related to links. Google boosts your ranking if you have a healthy number and good quality of outbound and internal links. At the same time, it may seriously harm your ranking if you’re using excessive link exchanging and other techniques that are used to target the search engines rather than people. The importance of white-hat SEO techniques is very strong in this case.
A number of factors that influence your website ranking in Google are related to technical aspects. Proper technical settings make it easier for the search engines to find you and, thus, help boost your ranking. Here are just some of them:
- Page loading speed. A simple page loading test reveals the errors that prevent your website from loading faster on desktop and/or mobile devices. Fixing these errors is a must in SEO.
- Sitemap. It is a file that allows Google to better read the structure of your website. It makes it easier for web crawlers like Googlebot to crawl your website.
- Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Google Analytics is a free tool that helps track your website traffic, while Google Search Console allows to improve website visibility.
- GEO targeting. Telling search engines which area of the world your business targets allows to narrow your audience and improve website visibility in the region you’re working in.
- Local search and Google My Business. Going local online may help a lot of businesses become visible in the area where they sell their products and services.
- Schema.org. It helps search engines read your website better and improves the display of your page on search engine results page.
- Images. We optimize them for SEO in size and include alt tags.
- robots.txt. It tells crawlers which parts of the website they should or should not crawl.
5. Website usability and structure.
The easier it is to navigate your website, the better. Fixing usability issues is part of our SEO package, including breadcrumb navigation.
6. Social Media
Social media factors also affect SEO rankings: the number of tweets and posts, Facebook likes and shares, user reviews, etc. If you do not yet have a social media manager already working for you then we recommend our All-Inclusive SEO plan that includes social media management services.
Google can read your website better if it can analyze the traffic to your website. This is why installing Google Analytics is the fist and most important step of SEO that will allow you to track your website traffic and user experience and make decisions based on it to improve it.
Other factors, such as brand and domain factors, can not always be influenced if you already have a domain name or compete with a big brand as a small startup. Penalty factors generally describe black-hat SEO practices that your website will get punished for in case of implementation so if your SEO specialist promises extensive link-building without much content creation (blog setup) consider it to be a red flag.