5 Things you Need to Know about SEO
By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
In a given day, more than two million searches are done on Google alone. This number doesn’t account for other search engines. Adding to these stats is the fact that the first five results in a Google search get 67% of the clicks. So how does your content show up in those first five results? By effective use of search engine optimization (SEO). Here are five things you need to know about SEO:
- What is Search Engine Optimization? The goal of SEO is to improve rankings, drive traffic and be selected by search engines like Google as one of their top results. It’s about structuring your site in a way that search engines understand, using keywords that generate traffic to your content, and building links and marketing the value of your content.
- How does SEO work? Search engines (think Google, Yahoo, Bing) are like genius answering machines. Every time an individual run a search, they want to be given the perfect answer. Search engines use algorithms based on a variety of factors on your web or blog pages as well as your links in cyber space to determine how closely your content or site matches the inquiry. Search engines provide the searcher with results that are relevant to the inquiry and delivers them in rank order. In SEO, you’re trying to maximize relevance and popularity.
- Relevance. Generally, the three most popular inquiries made in search engines are I want to do something, I need information and I want to go to a specific page on the internet such as the NCAA site for information on March Madness. In building your blog site or development content for your retailer’s website, it’s essential to have a clear sense of what your customers are trying to do and then deliver it to them. For relevancy, titles and words matter as does the freshness of your content.
- Key Word Phrases. All experts agree that your content should be targeted at your users not search engines. At the same time, understanding key words that will drive traffic to your site increases the relevancy of your content and the likelihood you’ll move higher up in search results. Even more important is the use of key word phrases; More than half of search inquiries are three words or longer, and you want to match these as closely as possible. It’s essential to do key word research to understand the terms your target customer will use to find your type of content, and then to include these in your page titles, content and links.
- Popularity. If a shopper hears from several friends how great your services are, they take these recommendations seriously and are more likely to sign up for one of your programs. The same is true on the web. The higher the number of links that direct to your site or content, the greater the suggestion that you’re a good source of information. Search engines build this popularity into their algorithms, which gets you higher on the search result list.