Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist working at CERN in Switzerland, published the first website on August 6, 1991. This created a chain reaction, and websites soon appeared everywhere. With the necessity for a way to classify and sort webpages came the need for search engines and search engine optimisation (SEO).
To increase your online visibility so that current and potential customers can find you, you need to utilise SEO tactics. This will help you to move up in the search engine result’s pages so that your website will get noticed and hopefully more people will click through to your website.
What is Search Engine Optimisation?
When you type a search query into a search engine, such as Google or Microsoft Bing, the search engine will sift through trillions of web pages and documents to find the best matches for your query. The search engines use algorithms to evaluate what is being searched for and which results are the best fit. SEO tactics are your way of telling search engines what your website is about and where it should rank in the search engine’s results pages.
What changes have been made?
Optimising your web presence in the early days of the internet included doing on-page actions like writing relevant content, choosing appropriate domain names, HTML tags, links, and keywords. And then repeating those keywords throughout your website pages. Quantity was more important than quality. Therefore, you would simply double the number of keywords you used and increase the number of links pointing to your website in order to outrank your competitor. Search engines have now created more complex ranking algorithms to counteract spam after realising that webmasters were manipulating the search results by loading their pages with irrelevant terms.
Early search results were fairly generic. They didn’t account for the user’s location, and didn’t have algorithm variations. A search result in England would have resulted in the same results as one conducted in New York. Search results are now very personalised and tailored to each user. Local content gained popularity between 2004 and 2007 as a result of search engines’ modifications and improvements to their results based on the geographic origin of the queries. Furthermore, you cannot afford to neglect optimising your website’s SEO for local searches given the staggering 900% rise in “near me” searches between 2013 and 2017.
Google launched AdWords, a form of sponsored search advertising, in the early 2000s. In addition to the organic, unpaid search results, an advertiser pays to have their advertisement appear on the Google search engine results pages. But keep in mind that you do not need to pay to appear in search results. You can increase the likelihood that your website will show up in the search results by designing it specifically for your target audience, paying close attention to SEO, correctly structuring your website, and including relevant content.
Search Engine Optimisation for Mobile
In 2015, search engines included speed and mobile friendliness in their webpage ranking. This was as mobile searches overtook desktop searches for the first time. With this, Google once again adapted their search engine to allow people to search on their mobile phones and tablets and adopted mobile-first indexing in 2018. This means that Google rank and index websites primarily using the mobile version. As of 2019, this became the default for all new web domains.
A person’s search behaviour differs from mobile to desktop due to how they experience it. On a mobile, a person may be in town and quickly need to find a place to fix their flat tyre; they need the website to load quickly. A mobile phone’s screen is also a lot smaller and displays fewer results before the user needs to swipe. Therefore, they are more likely to choose the first few results rather than continue to scroll to the bottom of the page. In contrast, a desktop user is likely to have more time to browse through the search results – reading the information and different listings before making their final selection.
You need to adapt your SEO strategy to cater to both desktop and mobile users. Your website needs to have a responsive and user-friendly design and should load quickly (keep your website’s elements small to allow for this).
As ever, you need to ensure you are incorporating the right keywords, but you now also need to consider voice search keywords. An astounding 27% of the world’s online population is now using the voice search feature on their mobile phones. This means you should be using conversational language, long-tail keyword phrases (search queries which are more specific) and optimise for Rich Answers (the blocks of information normally found above the search results on your Google SERP) by including short, concise answers of thirty words or less in your content.
How does social media impact SEO?
With the advent of social media, a company’s SEO can be indirectly affected by its social media presence. By sharing links across your social media platforms and getting current customers to share your links too, you can increase your brand’s awareness and exposure. Search engines will pick up on this increased social activity and come to the conclusion that your posts must be useful to your target market. In turn, this will lead to an improvement in the search rankings of your website.
Going forward, user experience will be critical. The longer a visitor stays on your site and the more frequently they visit will positively impact how search engines rank your site. By focusing on SEO, content creation, and social media, a business can increase traffic to their website.
Chat to the team at Radical Cloud Solutions if you would like to find out how SEO can help to improve your website’s traffic.