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How SEO Works

The goal of search engines is to provide users with the most relevant and authoritative or trustworthy results. In order to do so, each search engine has developed its own set of algorithms or formulas for how it evaluates and ranks websites in the search engine results. These results are known as organic or natural search results which cannot be bought but can be influenced by optimizing your website, often referred to as Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Google – the number one search engine – gets almost 70% of all search results. Therefore making sure that your website meets Google’s search algorithm formula is critical to you getting found online and increasing traffic to your website. Google’s algorithm takes approximately 200 ranking factors into consideration when determining how to rank search results and it is a great checklist for auditing and evaluating your website to improve your search rankings and get to the much coveted top of the search engines results page.

Here’s how to make your website more relevant and establish authority so search engines rank your website higher in searches:

Find the keywords that your target audience is searching for.

Keywords are the word, phrase or string of words that a user enters into search engines to find what they are looking for. In order for businesses to reach their target audience online, they need to find the keywords that their target audience is searching for. To do so, it’s important to conduct a thorough keyword research and competitive analysis to find the keywords that are most relevant to their target audience and the most likely for them to rank for in a reasonable period of time based upon the competition.

Make your website relevant to searches.

Upon identifying the keywords that your target audience is using to find businesses like yours, you need to optimize your website using those keywords, usually focusing on one keyword per page and placing your keyword in key areas on your website, such as your page URL, page title, H1 tags, your body content and images. Taking these steps will help the search engines determine your website’s relevancy to specific search queries.

Get your website indexed by Google.

Search engines like Google have ‘spiders’ that crawl your website and index the pages so that they can be added to their index if they are deemed of good quality. In order to get your website and pages indexed by Google you can create a sitemap listing all of your website pages, submit your website to search engines or you can submit your sitemap to Google Search Console, formerly Google Webmaster Tools, for faster indexing.

Increase the authority of your website.

To demonstrate authority, one must appear to be knowledgeable on a topic and referenced by others. Improving the authority of your website by publishing useful, valuable and quality content is essential to increasing your website ranking. In addition, getting backlinks, links pointed to your website from another website, is another way to improve the authoritativeness of your website. To build backlinks create content others will want to share and link to, comment on discussion boards on your topic of expertise, guest post on high authority industry blogs and seek out opportunities to be used as a source for press inquiries.

Taking these steps will help you implement the on-page and off-page elements needed to optimize your website for search engines and increase your search engine ranking so that you get found online.

For a step-by-step guide on how to optimize your website to get found online, download our free guide.

Nicole McCullum is the founder of Captivate Designs, a website redesign and seo company servicing clients globally.  She specializes in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs generate more leads, attract more clients, and grow their business online through conversion driven design, do it for you seo service, and SEO Training.

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