What is SEO and what is the purpose of an SEO strategy? Are you ready for the secret? To be honest, it’s quite simple. And the answer is …
Did you just raise an eyebrow? Well, let me explain. Search engines deploy crawlers to collect copies of every web page they can find via hyperlinks. Copies of each web page are returned and stored in massive databases. Then the search engine’s ranking algorithm determines where a web page should rank for a particular keyword or set of keywords against other web pages.
The crawlers and ranking algorithms are computer programs built for discovering and understanding information in the form of digital assets — web pages, documents, images and video. SEO provides the search engines with subject matter context about each asset.
How does SEO accomplish that education? It deploys proper image optimization tactics. A good SEO could get this image to rank for “wedding” as well as “watermelon.” It all depends on the education the SEO provides.
While image optimization certainly should be part of your overall SEO strategy, I recommend focusing on these four areas: Mobile, Content generation, Schema and YouTube (I had to mention image optimization, of course, because I just couldn’t resist putting a slice of watermelon in this post. I love watermelon.) Now let’s get cracking on why you should focus on these four areas.
If your site is not mobile friendly, you are ignoring more than half of the Internet population.
That’s because more than 50 percent of the annual search queries made in the United States are executed on a mobile device. Globally, the percentage of mobile vs. desktop searches skyrockets. In 2013, for instance, over 60 percent of the searches in India were made on a mobile device. Internationally, people overwhelmingly use smartphones and tablets over desktops. Google and other engines recognize this and want to provide the best user experience possible.
Search engines do not want to send a user to a terrible mobile website.
In fact, slow loading sites or sites with awful UX usually do not rank well in mobile search for competitive niches. And the engines are quite adept at evaluating the mobility of a website. They also analyze the bounce rate data from the search engine result pages.
Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Analyze your web pages and read the documentation about how to make your website mobile friendly.
People cannot search for something they do not know exists. Are you going to assume potential customers know your brand or your product names? If that’s your approach, you just significantly restricted your revenue potential. No one calls up Google and punches in random words for fun. Searchers usually have intent and a particular question in mind when using a search engine.
Figure out what your prospective customers are searching for and provide that content.
A good place to start is with some keyword research. Think about the questions your products and services resolve. What keywords and phrases are people typing into search engines to get answers?
For example, an average of 1,600 people in the U.S. search Google each month for “dorm room decorating ideas.” Check out the top results. My results page shows only one big brand in the top 10. Where does your business rank for those types of queries that relate to your business? Do your competitors rank for those terms? If they do, they’re having a conversation with your potential customers — a conversation you’re not privy to. How many of those individuals do you think will end up using your solutions? Do some keyword research and start generating content.
Schema is structured data markup. Huh? Simply put, it’s additional code that makes up a web page. It is viewable by the search engines and helps educate them about the web asset. For instance, video schema can include numerous attributes that provide more context for the engines, including:
- Copyright year
… and so much more.
Schema also helps create an enhanced search engine result. All those star ratings and review information come from Schema markup.
Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Yandex all contribute to Schema, and new markup is introduced frequently. When you make the life of a search engine easier by leveraging Schema, you generally are awarded better rankings.
Some studies have shown enhanced search engine results can increase click-through rate by 60 percent or more. Plus, it helps with ranking — so find a web developer who can deploy Schema or try it yourself using Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
Who processes more than three billion search queries a month and receives 100 hours of uploaded video every minute? YouTube. And yes, YouTube is a search engine.
I do not use Google for how-to searches. Like millions of other people, I go right to YouTube because I would rather watch the solution than read about it. Recently, I had to replace burned out light bulbs for my vehicle’s temperature control panel. The dealership wanted $100 for the task, but the bulbs themselves only cost $1. I passed on the dealership’s offer and searched YouTube for “How to change the temperature control lights for a 2007 Toyota 4Runner.” There are numerous videos that walk you through the process — and I saved $97 because of them.
Content is not just limited to web pages, blog posts and articles.
Get into video production now! Use video on your website and upload those videos to your YouTube channel. Be smart and do your keyword research. What are your potential customers looking for? Create videos that answer your customers’ demand. Then optimize those videos, even for YouTube, so they rank well for your target keywords.
One Final Thought
The concepts above are not the only pieces to an SEO strategy, but they are critically important and are often ignored. Be the first in your space to leverage these tactics and you will see success.
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