Search Engine Optimization: What is it and how to boost it?

Online reputation, SEO, Web

Search engine optimization refers to the set of techniques and factors that determine the position of a web page in the list of results returned by a search engine (SERP) in response to a query made by a user. The search results are divided into two categories:

  • Organic results
  • Payment results

What is popularly known as SEO and SEM positioning.

From our SEO and online marketing consultancy Rodanet we have decided to talk in detail about both types of search results and we want to show you the tricks to optimize your web pages.

Organic and paid search engine optimization

Organic search engine optimization is the set of all those techniques and activities that aim to improve the ranking of a website, through a better crawling by Google’s spiders(crawler). This type of activity will be natural and, therefore, does not require us to launch paid campaigns for our site to appear among the first results of the SERPs. On the other hand, positioning through SEO optimization will take time, but the benefits will be stable in the long term.

SEM, on the other hand, pursues paid search engine positioning through the purchase of advertising space on third-party websites (display advertising, banners, contextual advertising) or search engine ads (for example, through the Google Ads pay-per-click platform).

Why is search engine optimization important?

The function and importance of search engine optimization is to appear at the top of the SERPs.

Why? Because when a user types any query in the search bar, i.e., queries the search engine on a given topic, Google has the task of first searching and displaying the most useful and relevant results with respect to the search key entered by the user. Pages that are among the first results will be more likely to be visited by the user, generating traffic and permanence.

Some say that the best place to hide a corpse is on the second page of Google. Although not entirely true, it is very close to reality: being on the first page of the SERP drastically increases the chances of a website being found and, therefore, receiving traffic. However, SEO is the protagonist in a medium and long-term strategy to the point that the term “SEO positioning” is now used.

How do you know if you need SEO services? We’ll explain it to you!

Search engine optimization: how does SEO work?

The first step in search engine optimization is the crawling phase, which involves programs called:
crawlers, spiders
o
bots
whose task is to scan the structure of the site, the incoming and outgoing links of the web page. This phase is followed by indexing, in which the search engine adds the scanned pages to its database, i.e. it creates an ordered “library” of visited documents.

When the user enters a keyword into the search engine, the search engine, using sophisticated algorithms that are constantly evolving, makes evaluations based on various criteria, called ranking factors, of which there are about 200. The result of these “evaluations” is the hierarchy of the pages to be displayed in the SERPs, i.e. the search engine ranking.

You might also be interested in our article “How to Improve SEO: 10 Tips for Beginners“.

On-page SEO techniques and strategies

The term on-page SEO refers to a series of internal website optimization activities. Today, a website is considered an organic ecosystem, characterized by many different entities. Focusing on a single aspect runs the risk of not achieving the desired results from an optimization point of view. An on-page SEO strategy must consider three fundamental aspects: user experience, content and technical aspects. In particular, we distinguish:

Website structure and architecture

The user should be able to easily navigate the site and find what they are looking for with a few clicks. A simplified navigation bar and the use of
breadcrumb
usually provide a good navigation, however, an optimal user experience also depends on many other factors, such as the loading speed of the site, that it is usable from all types of devices, that it presents contents structured according to logical and intuitive criteria, etc.

Content

“Content is king” also for search engine ranking purposes, and the more Google’s algorithm evolves, the more important this aspect becomes.

In addition to following SEO rules Copywritingthe content must be optimizedas far as possible, for the user’s search intention: !remember that you are writing for the users and not for Google algorithms.! Choose effective keywords according to the content you are going to publish. But how do you identify the right keywords? There are several tools that support this type of research and we will tell you about the two most popular ones:
Google Autocomplete
and the keyword planning tool
Google ADS
.

Google Autocomplete

A key positioning tool is
Google Autocomplete
which suggests possible queries before the user has finished typing his query in the search bar. The list of suggestions is influenced by several factors, such as language and region, but also by the user’s previous searches and the popularity of the query itself. It is widely used in the SEO field to define the main keywords related to a given source keyword. Google’s autocomplete feature is just one of the steps to implement a winning keyword strategy.

Word planning tool

Another fundamental tool for search engine optimization is the
Keyword Planner
which can be used to obtain lists of keywords related to the main keyword and their search volumes. An effective content strategy also involves studying competitors that deal with our same topics. This is done by analyzing the keywords they use, the relative level of “difficulty”, the search intent and, very importantly, the semantic field of the user. Google loves “fresh” content, so it is important to update pages frequently. Finally, to avoid poor positioning in search engines, we must not encounter penalties such as“keyword stuffing“, i.e. excessive repetition of the keyword in the text.

Use of keywords in metadata

In case it was not clear, we repeat it once again, SEO is based on the use of keywords. Therefore, use it in your texts, in the meta tags(title tag, H1, but also in the subtitles, H2, H3 tags, etc., in the categories and in the meta description).

Internal page links and Hub

Whenever possible, to improve search engine rankings, you should convert the 2-3 word keyword into a direct link to a page of content you have previously published that is relevant to that keyword phrase. The more informative your texts are, the easier it will be for Google to place that content at the top of the SERP. Create Hub pages (pages dealing with generic, but highly searched queries, such as“social media marketing“) to boost them with one or two internal links. This will prevent your web pages dealing with the same topic from competing for the same keyword (keyword cannibalization). In addition to improving the ranking in the SERPs, this will make the indexing of the pages much faster.

SEO friendly URLs

For search engine optimization, use short and simple URLs and remember to include in them the keyword of interest (e.g. www.nombreweb.es/posicionamiento-motores-de-búsqueda).

Use a sitemap

A sitemap consists of a list of the pages that make up your website. Creating a sitemap helps search engines to better index your content. You can create it manually using your own text editor or, if you use a CMS (WordPress, Joomla…), you can use a plugin like the XML sitemap generator or even tools like,

Google Search Console

.

Loading speed

We have seen how loading speed is an important ranking factor for search engine rankings and goes hand in hand with the optimization of images, CSS, Java scripts, flash, etc. Tools such as
Google PageSpeed insight
and the WordPress plugin
GTmetrix
not only monitor speed, but also tell us how to improve it.

Use of multimedia files

If you use multimedia files in different formats (photos, infographics, videos, etc.): for images, first define the size and, if necessary, reduce their “weight” using tools such as photoshop, canva or pixlr.

Tools such as
Ahrefs
o
Raven Tools
allow you to detect and eliminate errors in the html code of your pages.

Elimination of “dead pages

These are resources that do not provide any value to the user and can negatively affect the site’s positioning in search engines. They reduce the site’s crawl budget, i.e. the number of URLs crawled by Google robots during the crawling phase.

These pages include: WordPress category and tag pages, outdated or low quality blog posts, archive pages, e-commerce pages with zero sales, pages related to old services.

Off-page SEO techniques and strategies

This is another of the activities carried out externally that affect the search engine positioning of a page or an entire website. Link building and link management are fundamental to off-page SEO.

Natural links

These are quality links to your website from other websites (backlinks). Google considers them as an index of content quality. Therefore, having many“authority” and“popularbacklinks to your website favors the indexing and ranking of your website in search engines. It is possible to implement these links in two ways:

  • Through a strategy of
    link gaining
    link gaining: that is, the creation of relevant content that favors the creation of natural links to your website(link baiting).
  • Through digital PR campaigns aimed at getting other blog/website owners and social media influencers to link to your website content.

Link building

Link building is an SEO technique aimed at increasing the number of inbound links to a website. This practice is not to Google’s liking, it can generate both algorithmic and manual penalties and, therefore, negatively affect the website’s ranking in search engines.

Activity in social networks

Creating engagement on various platforms is an important off-page SEO optimization strategy that not only gives visibility to your website or business, but also allows you to gain many quality backlinks .

Write original and quality content for authority blogs! You will increase your visibility and reputation on the web, as it allows you to reach new readers/potential customers. However, never include more than two or three links to your website and make sure they link to different URLs.

Search Engine Optimization through forum subscription

Joining a forum that deals with topics related to your business and creating a connection with the corresponding community is an excellent strategy for search engine optimization. Use the forum actively, commenting and accepting advice. We recommend favoring“do follow” forums where you can post active links that are useful for the ranking of your website.

Subscription to a directory

A blog directory is a platform that allows you to browse blogs classified by categories and topics. Subscribing and placing your website on these platforms allows you to build quality backlinks .

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sites

One of the best ways to gain visibility and traffic for your website is to actively participate in FAQ sites by participating in topics related to your business, blog or website. Insert (again, paying attention) a link that will help you gain visibility.

Video Sharing Spaces

Did you know that YouTube can be considered a search engine? Posting videos is an effective way to acquire quality backlinks and, therefore, to gain top search engine rankings.

SEM techniques and strategies

As we have already mentioned, by SEM we mean the set of paid search engine positioning strategies, through the purchase of advertising space on relevant websites or by joining Pay per Click campaigns or sponsored links, on platforms such as Google Ads. For sponsored ads, in fact, Google provides 4 positions at the top and 3 positions at the bottom of the SERP page, increasing the visibility of the advertisers’ brand or website immediately, but not for free. The system on which Google Ads is based is an auction system: the advertiser bids on a keyword or phrase for which he wants his ad to run, creates the message to be matched and selects a landing page. Google assigns each ad a quality score based on its relevance to the keyword, the relevance and user experience of the landing page, the expected click-through rate (CTR), etc. The payment method will vary depending on the type of ad: generally it is cost per click (CPC), i.e. the advertiser pays each time his ad is clicked. Among the SEM techniques for positioning in the different search engines:

Creation of a landing page

A landing page is a page different from the home page where users normally arrive. This page is specifically designed by
marketing specialists
to attract qualified leads (“lead generation”) and lead them to make a conversion (usually a purchase).

Keyword search

Keywords, as we have seen, are the cornerstone on which all search engine optimization strategies are based. Therefore, it is essential to design an SEM campaign with the right keyword to attract customers willing to make a conversion, e.g. purchase or transfer of contact data.

ADS quality score

It is a function of click-through-rate (CTR) and an estimate (expressed as a score from 1 to 10) of the relevance of your ads and landing pages for your chosen keywords. The higher the score, the lower the cost of a keyword in an ad auction and the better the ranking and thus the search engine positioning of the ad in the SERP.

Checking the average position of the search engine in SERPs

There are several alternatives to check the ranking of a website in the search engines, for example, thanks to the freemium version of SEO tools such as
Semrush, Seozoom, Moz
or free tools such as
Google Search Console
.

Search Engine Optimization for Businesses

Getting a good search engine ranking is crucial for any website, especially one that has commercial purposes. The main benefits are: increased visibility, increased business contacts(leads) and, therefore, new potential customers. As a result, medium-sized companies (and to a lesser extent SMEs) invest a large percentage of their marketing budget in appearing first on Google. But being on the first page is not enough. Several studies indicate that the first three search results of a SERP absorb about 60% of web traffic. As a result, more and more companies are turning to various digital professionals, such as SEO managers or freelance consultants and web agencies. For this reason, if you are thinking of launching your website or you already have one, but it is not giving the desired results, do not hesitate to contact us at Rodanet, from our 11 years of experience in the sector, we will be happy to help you grow your business. What are you waiting for?

Copy & Content Strategist en Rodanet | tamara@rodanet.es | + posts

Tamara es redactora #seo y la boxeadora de la oficina. 🥊
Siempre escribe textos con gancho 😉

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