Search engine optimization is a long-term process. You can’t go into an SEO campaign expecting to see results in a few days or even a few weeks. Without any prior optimization efforts, the best that you can hope for is to see results within a few months, with many campaigns taking up to 12 months to show the true results.
Search engine optimization consists of factors on your website, as well as factors off of your website as well. The following five pillars of search engine optimization come together to determine how your website is viewed by Google and other search engines.
There are many factors that go into on-page SEO. When Google becomes aware of your website, it starts by crawling the pages on the site, analyzing the content, and determining which keyword terms the different pages might be relevant for. On each individual page a series of on-page seo factors are responsible for determining how well your website is optimized for search engines.
Much like on-page SEO, there are a number of off-page seo factors that determine how well your website will rank in search engines. The most prominent of these factors is backlinks. When other trusted publications link to your website, this shows Google that the information that you provide is valued. When many publications mention your website, your chances of ranking increase greatly.
Content is the holy grail of search engine optimization. Without excellent content that answers the questions that users are seeking, ranking on search engines is very difficult. You can put yourself in the best position to rank highly in Google by ensuring that you have excellent content that is cited by other industry authorities and publications.
Social matters to search, in more ways than one
Google and others are non-committal on the exact role social media plays in their complex set of considerations. But if considered beyond Facebook likes and links, social’s influence on search can’t be ignored. Personalized search results are a good example. The results a person logged into Google gets are different and more targeted than someone not logged in. An author in one’s Google+ circle is likely to rank higher in that person’s search results than not. Search, too, is not just about Google, or Yahoo and Bing, for that matter. People search all over Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and other social networks. The circle of influence between social media and search, including and beyond the traffic it drives, is indisputable.
Even if you’re creating engaging, original content, it’s still important to find other ways to get links to your site from reputable sources. In recent years, guest blogging has been a popular way to grow inbound links, but it was recently declared “done” by Google’s head of Webspam, Matt Cutts, after the practice was overrun by spammy pay-for-play schemes. On the other hand, guest blogging can be an effective way to build brand awareness and identity. Is guest blogging right for your brand? Like all link-building efforts, intention counts. If guest blogging adds value and authority, this will be readily apparent, to audiences and to Google. Just don’t do it to get inbound links at the expense of quality.
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