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Search Engine Optimization or SEO, for short, is a buzzword bouncing around the internet quite often in 2018. According to Dictionary.com, SEO is “the method used to boost the ranking or frequency of a website in results returned by a search engine, in an effort to maximize user traffic to the site.” In layman’s terms, SEO is ensuring that your website ranks higher in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) such as Google or Bing.
SEO practices change often due to multiple algorithm updates per year from Google. As a result, marketers have to consistently research every new update. Then adapt their SEO strategy to the newest update and, finally, figure out if there is any reduction in organic traffic. SEO marketers are required to have diligent attention to updates while staying committed to providing quality content.
While it is important for a brand new site to submit its URL to Google, Google can still find your website without it being submitted. Site submission does not guarantee anything. Google uses “crawlers” to search through the internet and determine website page ranking on SERPs. Google defines crawling as“the process of finding new or updated pages to add to Google (Google crawled my website). One of the Google crawling engines crawl (requests) the page. The terms ‘crawl’ and ‘index’ are often used interchangeably, although they are different (but closely related) actions.” You don’t need to worry about submitting your site to Google because crawlers will find your site and index in due time.
Aged SEO practices rely heavily on creating as many links as possible without analyzing the linking domain. This used to be a highly efficient practice in getting ranked higher on SERPs. Fortunately, Google released Penguin 2.0 in May of 2013 which changed how links are used to rank websites. With the Penguin 2.0 update, link quality is now more important than link quantity. The update changed link building from a numbers game to a quality game. This, in turn, sums up that great content, such as having relevant links, is far better for SEO practices while also making a better experience for your website visitors.
Have you ever visited a site and come across a warning message stating that the site isn’t secure? The difference between a secure and an insecure website is an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. According to InstantSSL.com, SSL is defined as “a standard security protocol for establishing encrypted links between a web server and a browser in online communication. The usage of SSL technology ensures that all data transmitted between the web server and the browser remains encrypted.” Essentially, an SSL certificate encrypts your website’s data to ensure protection from hackers.
When a site lacks an SSL certificate the beginning of the web address is displayed as “http://”. A website with an SSL certificate the address is displayed as “https://”. Google announced that it had started using HTTPS as a signal in its ranking systems for SERPs in August of 2014. Google stated that for two websites with the same search results ranking (a tie), the website with an SSL certificate will rank higher than a site without. Hubspot Research did a survey and found that 85% of people stated that they will not continue browsing if a site is not secure. Site security is a must-have in today’s SEO environment.
Don’t get me wrong, ranking is very important for getting traffic to your website but traffic isn’t the end goal here. SEO is about, yes, getting traffic to your site but also ensuring that your traffic turns into valued customers & readers. Studies of clickthrough rates and user behavior display that searchers do favor the top search results, particularly, the first 3. Although, higher rankings doesn’t mean more search traffic. It is true people will see your site but it does not mean that people will visit. There are a few reasons for this:
As explained above and as defined by Moz.com, meta descriptions are “HTML attributes that provide concise summaries of web pages. They are between one sentence to a short paragraph and appear underneath the blue clickable links on a search engine results page (SERP). However, depending on a user’s query, Google might pull meta description text from other areas on your page (in an attempt to better answer the searcher’s query).” Google announced in 2009 that meta descriptions are not used by their crawlers.
Although meta descriptions do not directly affect search engine results, they are, however, highly important in getting traffic to your site. Without a well-written meta description, users will not likely visit your site (clickthrough rates) due to the fact that your page doesn’t appear to suit their needs. So meta descriptions won’t change your ranking on SERPs but they will encourage searchers to visit your page.
In conclusion, there are a lot of misconceptions about search engine optimization. This is mainly due to the fact that the algorithms are constantly being updated and practices that once worked may now be obsolete. Tune in at Blue Water Marketing again for the next part of this series.
Blue Water MarketingStuart, Florida