Every website has it. Everyone says it’s important. But is your website really appearing on the first page of Google’s search results?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a science that people have been measuring for years. When people put search terms into (for example) Google, they expect the most relevant search results to be at the top of the page.
The Google Search
Not long ago, a Google search would give you 10 links and maybe a few ads. Nowadays, many searches drag in snippets, auto-generated definitions, suggested images, news results, Wikipedia entries for prominent people, advertisements, and (finally) the actual Google search results.
Check out the Google search results for Joe Biden. A lot of the real estate is occupied by things that aren’t traditional search results.
Start with your website
Let’s say you have a stable website with content that gets updated at least somewhat regularly, with new content being posted at least a couple times a month. The first thing to do is deploy optimized meta tags so Google is actually able to read what you’re posting. Meta tags are what drive the headline and description in a Google search result, and feed websites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc… the pieces of information that can impact the quality of your content that gets posted online.
Google has a general interest in making sure people find what they are looking for, so they make it very simple for developers and webmasters to find the right tags on their sites.
Non-developers have it easier than ever in this regard, too, as most content management systems (ie, Wordpress, NationBuilder) make it incredibly easy to get the right meta information to appear when new pages are posted.
Unfortunately, most people stop here. The science of SEO is more complex than any single blog post, but we can cover the basics.
While content creation is useful for keeping your company’s brand fresh and relevant, content should also have the dual-purpose of benefiting your SEO. The keywords that appear most prominently on your website will have an impact on search results--but keep in mind that you can’t control what people search on Google, therefore your content should be geared towards searches when possible.
For example: If we at Veracity Media never used the term “Veracity Media” on the website, then we would never rank at the top of Google search results for the keyword “Veracity Media.”
(Sure, that’s an oversimplification - we have thousands of backlinks backing us up, but for the sake of argument let’s say we didn’t…)
This is why it’s important to keep keywords in mind. At Veracity Media, we do a lot of work around digital strategy, so it’s important for us to follow what search queries actually bring up our website in Google.
Google Webmaster Tools is an amazing tool for solving this problem, and ties directly into Google Analytics. It can display the search queries that bring up your website, the number of impressions your website received in search results, and of course the number of clicks.
The right keywords can drive traffic to your page, but don’t think that because you write “digital consulting” everywhere that it’s going to make you competitive right off the bat. It takes time, patience, and the willingness to tinker and optimize your content.
Simply put, link building is complicated and tedious. A strong SEO plan may take months to execute properly. (Actually, it’s 6 months according to Moz).
Hyperlinks tie the internet together. When you link content from someone else’s website (ie, the Moz link above), it marginally improves their search rankings. Accordingly, when other websites link yours, your own rankings improve marginally. According to AHREFS, VeracityMedia.com has nearly 5,000 backlinks (which isn’t too shabby for a site our age).
This means that there are nearly 5,000 webpages (in our case, spread across 70 unique domains) that have a link to our website.
This is great. It’s an absolute goal to build these kinds of figures. However, we have an edge since we often get a chance to put our company’s logo and link into website footers. For other folks out there, there are plenty of ways to build links.
Obviously, building a relationship takes time, and asking for your content to be posted elsewhere is going to take a level of commitment to pay it forward. Also, unless you are involved in a high-profile election, or have incredible brand awareness like McDonalds and Coca-Cola, there is a high likelihood that you are going to need to take on several of these tactics simultaneously. Linking outward and interlinking your own content isn’t difficult. Getting outside attention is, but it pays off.
Finally, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to search engine optimization. We at Veracity Media do our best to take a digital-first strategy to make sure our clients can grow both on- and offline, making SEO an integral part of our work. It can be, in many ways, seen as a behind the scenes PR campaign that pays off in dominating search results.
Like what you’re seeing and want to learn more? Use the form below to get in touch, and one of Veracity Media’s digital strategy experts will be in touch!