Search engine optimization means helping search engines direct visitors to your site by using words that are relevant for your business and the search terms that users type into a search engine, such as Bing or Google. These search terms are also called keywords.
Optimizing your site for search helps the search engines determine which keywords are most relevant for your website and your business. Search engines use many factors to help them return the best results for their customers. You can affect each factor to varying degrees. Some basic SEO tips are to ensure your site is mobile-friendly and that the pages load quickly. Both of these can affect the 'Bounce' rate for your site. A visitor that 'bounces,' visits one page of your site and leaves immediately without clicking through to another page. In general, sites with a higher bounce rate will appear lower in a Google or other search. Ensure that your site looks good on all devices and the pages load quickly to keep your visitors engaged on your site. Higher engagement with fewer visitors that bounce will help keep (or move) your site at the top of the search results.
When it comes to the content on your site, placement and frequency are both used search engines to help determine the keywords. For example, Google calculates the number of times that you use a given word and uses that frequency to help assign value for that keyword on your site. The more often you use a word, the more relevant Google thinks it is for your business. In general, the more often you use brand and business-relevant words, the greater the value that search engines attribute for those words. If you are a photographer for example, you should be using the word photography (and its synonyms) throughout your website. You should also use words that pertain to the type of events that you shoot and/or your photography style. This works well for service-based businesses.
If you sell a product, SEO is a bit more complex. Search engines calculate the number of products you sell against the number of words on your website when determining how to return search results. For a category with a dominant company, think Home Depot for Door Locks, the dominant company will be the first result in a search. For niche products, this may also be the case. If you are the only seller of a specific item, your product page may become the top result over time as customers search for your niche product. In general, however, search engines have determined that most people are actually looking for reviews and 'how-to' guides for products. Therefore, guides and reviews are starting to rank in the top search results for product-based searches. If you have a product-based business, you might want to consider publishing your own 'how-to' guide for your product in order to meet the needs of consumers and search engines. You can add a link to your product pages within the guide so that people can purchase your product when they are ready.
Want to learn more? Read our post about why content matters in digital marketing.