May 13 2013 SEO Basics - Search Engine Optimization Series Part 1 Have you ever tried to drink water from a fire hose? We hope not because that could potentially be pretty dangerous. But the concept is similar to trying to understand everything about search engine optimization at once. For your safety, this SEO primer is divided into two parts. Part 1 explores the basics of SEO and part 2 will discuss how SEO benefits your business. What is search engine optimization? Search engine optimization is the complex, ongoing process of building or updating your website to increase your organic search engine ranking and, consequently, the amount of search engine-driven traffic to your site. Why is SEO important? 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine (Source: Search Engine Journal) 75% of search engine users never scroll past the first page of results (Source: RainbowSEO) Need we say more? These statistics are incredibly powerful, and together they accurately represent the importance of high rankings in search engines. An amazing website that features desirable products and services is meaningless unless it’s attractive not only to people but to search engines. This requires developing a comprehensive SEO strategy that effectively incorporates various elements. What factors influence your search engine ranking? To establish a successful search engine optimization strategy, address these components of your website and digital presence as a whole. Site Tags: Site tags refer to the title tags, page descriptions, keywords and header tags that are embedded in the source code of a particular webpage. Site tags are the most commonly known factors that influence search engine optimization, but they are also the most misunderstood and misused. You must follow specific guidelines to compose effective site tags. When done accurately, site tags help search engines understand a webpage’s content and its relevancy to a specific search, thereby influencing your ranking in search results. But site tagging alone will not result in an optimized website. Site content: Site content is one of the most important components of a website. If your content is rich in keywords, search engines will recognize the relevancy of your site and your ranking in the search engine results should increase. Also, fresh content continuously provides search engines with new keyword-rich pages to crawl and index, helping to ensure that your website is not stale and irrelevant. Site size: Another important component of a website is its size. Essentially, the larger the site, the more potential you have to include theme-specific content and tags that are relevant to your company’s products and services. As a result, search engines will see your site as more credible which likely will improve your ranking. Site structure: Your site’s structural organization is very important to search engines. The navigation method can either help or impede their ability to crawl your website, which affects a search engine’s ability to find content that is relevant to the end user’s search. A site that is well-organized for both users and search engines is essential to search engine optimization. Linking strategy: A good, ethical (white hat) site linking strategy can be very beneficial to search engine optimization. Internal links on a page will help search engines navigate the site and uncover additional content that is related to a keyword or phrase. Additionally, external links to your site indicates pertinence, credibility and authority to search engines, again making your site more relevant to a specific search query. But buyer beware: links should never be bought or overused because your site may be significantly penalized and potentially blacklisted by search engines. Social Media: Various social media platforms can have a relatively substantial impact on your search engine optimization. For example, search engines crawl and index company descriptions on social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as the first 42 characters of tweets on Twitter. So make sure that your social media presence is integrated with your overall search engine optimization strategy. And so much more: These are some of the many elements that contribute to search engine optimization success. Recognizing these factors and understanding what is necessary to develop a site that meets search engine criteria are the first steps toward establishing your company’s SEO strategy. In part 2 of this search engine optimization series, we will discuss how search engine optimization integrates with your existing marketing plan and, more importantly, how your business can benefit. Ready to learn more and develop an effective search engine optimization strategy that will drive visitors to your website instead of your competitors’ sites? Contact ZAG Interactive for a free SEO consultation. SEO posted by Michelle Brown VP of Marketing Share this article ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide.