Digital Marketing

Optimizing Your Website for SEO: Key Strategies and Tools

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If you’ve spent any time googling things on the internet or have had even the briefest of forays into marketing when it comes to websites, you’ve probably come across the term SEO – Search Engine Optimization. Here, we will answer a few questions about SEO, what it is, how to do it, and who can do it, and look into some of the finer details in a way that regular people can understand.

What is SEO?

To start, what is Search Engine Optimization? Essentially, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a way to optimize your website so that it appears first on – or at least on the first page of – search engine results. You’ve actually probably talked about this many times. When people refer to “the algorithm’ this is often what they’re referring to. Using the algorithm, fighting the algorithm, taking advantage of the algorithm, ultimately that’s all about some form of SEO. Sounds simple right?

Well, not exactly. You might have noticed that over the years Google has changed. Whenever you type something into Google it used to only bring up websites. Now it brings up photos, “People Also Ask”, and tends to prioritize big brands like Amazon or their own content. In fact, before you came across this article you probably came across the SEO Starter Guide published by Google – a guide that is full of hyperlinks and is more angled toward developers than to regular people. Doesn’t sound too helpful right? Well, it might be, but only for specific types of people and specific companies.

However, recently the game has changed. Not only does a Google search prioritize these other things for the front page, but now there’s a new challenge, SEO AI. As AI develops, learns, and adapts to its users, it begins to prioritize different things for different users. This means it is much harder to utilize and maximize the old “rules” of SEO that came before. And of course, that’s before mentioning the fact that Google isn’t the only search engine out there. People still utilise alternatives, like DuckDuckGo, and those engines have different algorithms and different rules for optimization. As these technologies improve and change, so too do the rules of optimization improve and change, a constant game of cat and mouse where you, the website developer, are constantly searching for the optimized foot in the algorithmic door.

How to Apply SEO

It seems like a lot to take in – and it is – however, even for a novice, there are a few strategies you can apply to give you and your website a leg up. The first is to know your audience. Thanks to the developments of AI, it’s more important than ever to be at least somewhat aware of the sorts of things your audience searches for. For example, if you know most of your users prefer their privacy, you might want to prioritize a strategy that favors their preferred search engine. Or maybe you have a good idea of what your market likes, and so you might consider tying in words or phrases that tie into other points of interest. Emotion is also a strong candidate, if you know your audience you know what emotional triggers to work with – and what clickbait to avoid. These points are called Audience Research, Keyword Research, and Content Optimization.

The next step is Backlinking. Ever noticed how so many websites are riddled with hyperlinks to other websites, or to alternate content on the same website? That’s backlinking. It’s a way to push up the popularity of a website in the algorithm and give people other avenues to reach your content. The more popular or authoritative the source, the better it does on the algorithm, and the more useful or relevant it is, the more it will appeal to users. For example, we could link you to the authoritative Wikipedia page on SEO, which will provide information on the history of SEO, and might even give you additional ideas on how to apply what we’ve mentioned so far, or we might point you toward a guide on how to use some of the highly specialized tools of the trade professionals pay for and use themselves.

But all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. Some of it may sound simple, but knowing your audience, knowing what links are authoritative or knowing what emotions and keywords you should invoke is a lot of work. Especially when you have to check and revise that information every few days, weeks, or months as trends shift, technology improves, and algorithms change. That’s why it’s usually more effective to make use of dedicated tools and wordpress web developers to do that work for you.

Optimizing your website is a lot of work, but not optimizing could mean your website and your content disappear in the sea of internet content. With knowledge of the tools you need to succeed, hopefully, your website will stay adrift and be noticed in that ocean.

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