SEO or search engine optimization is the concept behind getting traffic to your website by attaining search results on search engines and directories (called organic or natural results). Those who rank high are more apt to increasing their business sales.

The top three search engines in North America include Google, Bing and Yahoo. Each offers search results on web pages based on content that is ranked according to relevance. The search result is made up from the website’s description meta tag, but can also randomly generated by the search engine based on the content it scans.

There are a lot of elements needed to successfully rank on these search engines – the most important being quality content.

Your content should be well written and provide relevant information. People use search engines by typing keywords. These keywords must appear in the content of your website. Keywords can be used in phrases and in a lot of cases are location-suffixed. If a viewer is searching for a specific item or service from a specific geographic location, a search phrase might be “condominium landscaping Markham”. The search engine results will list all websites that use this exact phrase through to sites that use some of the words in the phrase. Of which the list can run into the millions.

The top site ranked, will be the one that uses the search phrase elements in a relevant fashion within the website’s content and code. However, this is not enough to maintain the page’s rank. Other factors include the page’s freshness. Is it being updated regularly? Is the code clean enough for the search bots to crawl? Does the site load quickly? Are your viewers engaged with the content or do they ‘bounce’ quickly? Are you using conversion tools like contact forms? Is your website responsive? Do you engage your viewers with off-site tools like social media? Or link to qualified and respected websites. How long have you owned your domain?

The latest search algorithms look for relevance. Quality or quantity. When adding content to your site, try and give a reason why your viewers should spend time on the pages. Make sure there is a real value to the information provided – ideally not given on other sites. These algorithms are also looking for quality links. Links from respectable sites rank very high, whereby links on blog comments tend to be low quality. Also, ask yourself “how social is your website?” Your social media reputation also goes a long way. Brand recognition and relevant content applies here too. Social sharing also helps to build your network, but only if you are providing quality information.

This is but a brief introduction to SEO. As the internet grows so does the difficulty of maintaining your website’s ranking. There are well over 4.5 billion webpages indexed. How does your website rank? Mobile phones and tablet searches are surpassing traditional desktop searches. Is your website mobile-ready?

Are conversions rates working for you?

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