What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization , corresponds to the application of techniques that adapt a website to the requirements of search engines. These actions aim at two things. On the one hand, that search engines find it easier to interpret our content. On the other hand, that the authority of the domain or page increases. The combination of these two factors will result in an improvement in SERP positioning which, in turn, promotes an increase in organic traffic.
Thinking about content, from the point of view of its optimization for search engines, is not just a good idea: with the growing awareness, both of companies and brands, of the potential of an adequate SEO strategy, it has become an imperative for those who crave visibility, positioning and notoriety. Hence, it is essential to view this communication component as a fundamental part of any strategy.
Search engine optimization (SEO) , of which Google is the best example, consists of the application of a vast set of techniques, with a well-defined purpose. They aim to improve the positioning and enhance the relevance of a particular site , page or publication in the search results for certain keywords (keywords) .
SEO is a technique that aims to promote a meeting, one could say a perfect “match”, between the user’s search intent and the available content. For this to happen, the intermediation of search engines is necessary , which match the search with our content, if and when they consider it appropriate or the right answer to the search. This factor makes it essential not only to provide relevant, adequate and quality content that serves the user, but also to adapt our content to the criteria and language of search engines.
Regardless of the area of activity, the segment or the target audience, the main motivation behind the implementation of an SEO ( Search Engine Optimization) strategy is the generation or increase of organic traffic , for our website or to our client’s website .
A well thought out plan and successfully implemented can mean an easily measurable return , as is typical of the digital world. Whether to promote a brand’s notoriety, or increase sales in an ecommerce store , SEO allows an effective approach to our audience, creating a relationship with enormous potential to generate revenue.
It is a given that, with each passing day, online competition and the dispute for the
first places in Google search results become more and more challenging and demanding. This race – for visibility and relevance – is, above all, related to the fact that appearing on the second page of results, for a given search, adds little or nothing to a given business or project. It’s as if we don’t exist, it’s rare for people to reach the second page when they search and look for something. Isn’t that how I can? On the contrary, the difference between being the first or second result on a first page, for a relevant keyword , can have a considerable impact on awareness .of a brand and its business opportunities .
For this very reason, and because Google has become – as never before – the main gateway for any online company or idea , it is a mandatory condition to think about content beyond its aesthetics and editorial quality, lending it its own added value. of search engine optimization, which help the search engine algorithm to interpret our content and its suitability for search intent.
But we cannot stop here. Search engine optimization requires that we make an effort to constantly update our content . That, in addition, we are attentive to the recurring changes that Google promotes in its algorithm and in its positioning criteria. Every year there are hundreds of updates . It is crucial to try to understand what changes each update implements.
Being aware of what is discussed in SEO pages and groups and analyzing the data on our site, when a significant update is implemented, allows us to assess the impact that the update had on our traffic volume. It helps us to understand whether or not we need to implement corrective measures . On the other hand, verifying a positive evolution, resulting from an update, may point towards the reinforcement of a strategy that is rewarded , in terms of traffic volume, when the algorithm update takes place.
What is SEO, search engine optimization?
In general terms, this process, commonly referred to as SEO ( Search Engine Optimization ), means the adequacy of the content (texts and images) to the efactor criteria that the Google algorithm uses to determine the relevance of the information to the user. This scrutiny, to which the search engine submits any indexed piece, as well as the on page and off page context that surrounds it, will ultimately define its ranking in the search results.
The performance of a content, which passes through the sieve of more than two hundred evaluation factors , separated into two large areas, is the result of a relatively complex process. Intrinsic aspects, on page , and extrinsic aspects, off page are contemplated .
On page SEO (search engine optimization)
Optimization for on page search engines , strongly associated with writing and adapting content for the digital environment , is much more than that. It includes several processes and factors, among which the following stand out:
- The research and definition of a keyword ;
- The availability of relevant and original information , in quantity and quality;
- The arrangement of content with an appropriate architecture and hierarchy ;
- The optimization of the meta tags , which include the meta title and the meta description , which refer to the content of the piece and constitute what is presented in the search results;
- The Url that must be user friendly and contain the keyword ;
- Keyword density and the frequency with which it is referred in proportion to the global volume of the content;
- The loading speed of the website or page;
- The navigability , the network of internal links and the bounce rate ;
- Image optimization and corresponding Alt Text .
All this must have as a cornerstone the creation of quality , relevant and unique content . To this end, especially with regard to the uniqueness of our content, we must resort to plagiarism checking tools, such as plagiarism, the “plagiarism checker” from Small Seo Tools or, when we write in English, the most versatile of writing tools, the Grammarly. In addition to grammatical and spelling correction, tone and style optimization, this tool has a plagiarism checker. It is installed as a browser extension and has a free version and a premium version .
What is Off page SEO?
On the other hand, the off page context concerns what happens outside the website as an autonomous and independent organism. It refers to its surroundings , to what, in the digital ecosystem, on the outside, it refers and points out “ paths ” for itself, for its pages, articles or products. These external references, which constitute indicators of relevance and authority, can have several origins:
- External links , or Backlinks , are references with links made from other sites that point to the urls of ours. Within this type of links, we can distinguish two forms. Nofollow backlinks , which have no direct influence on SERP performance (search results positioning) . And, on the contrary, the follow backlinks that, depending on the authority of the domain and the page that refer and refer to our site, can have a strong impact on our SEO strategy.
- Shares and publications with references and links on social networks . There is no consensus as to the direct impact they have on the positioning of a site. However, it is undeniable that they generate traffic, one of the weighting factors considered by the Google algorithm. They should be considered an effective, albeit indirect, form of off page SEO .
- Links from forums, guest posts , etc.
The factors, whether off page or on page , are only part of what is taken into account by the search engine when defining the positioning of results. In fact, there are hundreds of criteria that enter the equation, which are constantly being updated and which are not in the public domain.
TO BOOST THE REACH OF YOUR CONTENT (Blog/Video/Site/Product) “JUST” FOLLOW SOME CONTENT OPTIMIZATION RULES
Our motivation in this article, rather than postulating about a constantly changing reality, is to raise awareness of the importance that content optimization for search engines can have. List some tips that, despite being simple to implement, can have an impact on results. So, whether when developing content for our website , or when producing a press release to submit to PcSpell , we must take into account the following guidelines and steps:
- Find and define a keyword (a word or set of words relevant to the content, which correspond to searches actually performed by users in the search engine);
- Define a catchy title that includes the keyword ;
- Place the keyword in the first paragraph of your text;
- The keyword should represent a density of 1% in the general context of the article, roughly;
- The keyword must appear in at least one subheading .
Algorithm updates can change the basic assumptions of search engine optimization
As we mentioned earlier, hundreds of updates take place annually, with greater or lesser impact, positive or negative, on the performance of our sites. Google is constantly and ruthlessly seeking to improve the relationship, or “match”, between the user’s intention and the responses or results provided on the SERP (results page).
This policy of continuous improvement by Google, which focuses on the user experience, promotes a recurring reassessment of the search engine optimization of each site. It is true that not all updates have a direct impact on our traffic volume. Some are light, some focus on links others on technical aspects. But some are revolutionary, at heart, and can mean big gains or big losses. In this sense we recommend:
- Avoid short-term “ black hat ”
strategies that circumvent, through stratagems, the quality and relevance guidelines postulated by Google. These tend to go wrong with updates and can jeopardize an SEO project.
- To focus our entire strategy on a bet on quality content , really relevant to our audience . Content that, by itself and for its value, has the capacity to respond to the user’s need and the potential to generate external links in a natural way.
Bert, a revolutionary and most important update of the last 5 years
This update, which has been announced and discussed with some recurrence, is expected to affect 10% of searches . But, in fact, its impact is difficult to anticipate, given its revolutionary character.
Aiming at a better understanding of the user’s intention , Bert is a natural language processor that aims, through the context , a better understanding of more complex queries .
For now, and with its implementation in progress, it is not possible to anticipate the magnitude of its impact with the desired precision. But experts and specialized publications point to the fact that this update will, before anything else, privilege quality and well-written content, to the detriment of content with a less careful writing. This will mean, in terms of optimization for on page search engines, that the creation of quality content will once again be rewarded, as is the hallmark of Google.
June 2021 Updates: From Speed to User Experience to Spam
Google announced the updates implemented in June well in advance and, relatively unusually, also anticipated some of the changes they would imply from the point of view of ranking factors in search engine results. In this very busy month and July, which also included at least two “spam updates”, the consideration of the performance of the sites in terms of speed and user experience or user page experience are the two major highlights.
As far as speed is concerned, web core vitals (essential web metrics) have definitely and unequivocally become part of search engine optimization. These are the speed performance indicators that Google considers when evaluating websites through Google Chrome (and not Googlebot). The web core vitals of our website, whose status we can check in Google Search Console or through Google Page Speed Insights , are:
Largest Contentful Paint: Measure a ve
- First Input Delay
- Cumulative Layout Shift
Google has set maximum time limits, which should not be reached if we don’t want to see our sites penalized at the expense of other faster sites. The Largest Content Paint – LCP , which measures the speed it takes for a page to load the main content, should not exceed 2.5 seconds. The First Input Delay – FID, which measures the time it takes for the page to be interactive, should ideally be below 100 milliseconds. The Cumulative Layout Shift – CLS, which measures how long the page takes until the last layout change, should not exceed 0.1. Google provides extensive and comprehensive information that can and should be consulted.
Regarding the page experience update, it introduced or reinforced the weight of factors such as web core vitals , with speed being inseparable from page experience, usability on mobile devices , security issues , use of https and the ads or popups policy , that should not create moments of distraction or overlap that are detrimental to the user experience.
Anyway, despite the most recent news, it is important to note and reinforce that search engine optimization has not, since last June, been limited to these factors. This is added to many others, some with greater and others with less weight, which determine our position in SERP.
Local SEO, what is it and why is it important in small sites?
When we search for a local business , Google usually displays a small map followed by three results, with the respective address and rating. These results are the ones most likely to get a click, and for those with local businesses, it’s an excellent opportunity to generate extremely valuable organic traffic.
What happens here, as in any organic result presented by Google, is an attempt to present the most appropriate and most credible result to the user. Once again, as is its prerogative, the algorithm looks for the perfect match.
So how can we guarantee our place among the three options that Google presents?
- We must be consistent in terms of information about the business , across all digital channels. Whatever platform it is, on our website, in a directory or on a social network, the address of our business must present itself in exactly the same way.
- We must claim and verify our business on Google My Business . In order for us to get it, our address will have to be verified by Google, which guarantees that it is a real deal. From that moment on, we can set schedules , manage reviews and upload photos of our space or activity. All these details, by themselves, contribute to enhancing the credibility of the business, attracting attention and attracting clicks.
- List the company in service directories . Placing our business on these platforms guarantees not only referral traffic, but also credibility and reliability. It is essential that when entering information about our business we are consistent across all platforms. Address, name, description, among other data, must be absolutely uniform and unambiguous.
- It is taken for granted that users trust online reviews . Inviting our customers to do a ” review ” is a wise strategy, in the sense of increasing the number and quality of our evaluations, in relation to our competitors. How many of us have chosen one service or product over another, based solely on the quantity and quality of reviews? If this is the choice of the majority, it will certainly be Google’s as well.
- Association of the place or city name to the “keywords” that we work on our site. For example, if we have a sports store in Porto and we work content to position certain keywords, we should include, in some articles or pages, the name of the place, in this case Porto. This should appear in the “meta title”, in the “meta description”, as well as in the H1. We must also create content relevant to local keywords .
- Embed Google Maps in the contact page of our website. This is yet another way of telling Google where we are
What are backlinks?
Backlinks are one of the main factors of relevance of websites. These simple external references play a decisive role in the success of any content marketing strategy. They carry relevance, authority and credibility on their backs for any business.
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