Relevance is Key to Search Engine Results
SEO - What does it actually mean?
Many are familiar with the term Search Engine Optimization, meaning getting a website to rank higher in search results. But few know what SEO is actually doing. What are we optimizing? What is a search engine? How does this relate to my business needs? Let’s break this down at the top level.
Search Engines: more than just Google
While Google is a very important search engine it isn’t the only one that we consider when optimizing a website for page ranking. Sites like Bing and Yahoo, while a significantly smaller share of the audience, still have a share worth investigating.
And sites that are more respectful of user data, such as DuckDuckGo are growing rapidly. With the social consciousness becoming more aware of human impact on the environment, Ecosia is another consideration to follow.
It comes down to knowing your target demographic, where they are, what they search for and how they prefer to search.
Social Media matters too!
Many social media sites also have their own form of “search engine” to help their users locate important information. YouTube is used by over one-quarter of the world’s population and is essentially a keyword-driven search engine that ranks and recommends by following audience behavior.
Amazon may be known for shopping, but searches are keyword based. Therefore, similar keyword research and optimization can be carried out as with the other more traditional search engines, but ranking can be tied to what actually sells, and reviews as well. According to Search Engine Journal, “although optimizing for the main search engines follows a largely similar pattern, this can deviate significantly in the less traditional engines like Amazon and YouTube.”
Optimizing for a social media platform can assist in improving page ranking for your business. For example, if you are in a competitive market and most of your competitors have established strong Google page ranking presence, but virtually nothing on social media, creating a social media presence that engages users will also alert google to the user relevance. While google won’t just start ranking your site higher, your social media page can, creating a funnel back to your site. This allows you to circumvent the competition’s established website presence on Google.
What is being optimized in SEO?
Most people think that SEO providers are optimizing keywords and keyword phrases to establish higher page rankings. That is only partially true. While keywords are definitely important, the search engine algorithms have become much more advanced in the past few years. These advancements can consider things like user relevance. Being relevant to users has a much bigger impact on SEO than just the keywords you are focusing on.
While keywords are a metric that relationally makes sense for google to use against user relevance, it can now measure how much time individuals spend on a page. The longer a user is on the page the more likely they are engaging with something relevant to them.
Google can take advantage of their keyword searches to correlate that to other users searching for the same keywords and match the engaging content to the other users. It’s basically just doing that all the time, hundreds of millions of times over again.
Don’t forget your LOCAL SEO strategy
Want to provide the most relevant and useful results possible? Localized SEO enables search engines to show nearby solutions. With potential customers using mobile devices more than ever, localization of your website content and SEO practices are increasingly important. Again, it all comes down to knowing your user demographic and optimizing for their needs and use patterns.
One of the first ways to impact user relevance is to optimize your local presence via a Google My Business profile. Google considers proximity to the searcher, and relevance to their search criteria for ranking local searches. And ranking high in a local search can get results faster and without the traffic jam of fighting for the lead on a national scale.
Why is this relevant for my business needs?
Leveraging proper SEO methods to your site allows you to acquire new clients, impress existing clients, make more impactful announcements, and better establish your business branding for recognition. While some of these goals are directly tied to increasing sales revenue, some are tied to increasing brand recognition which can indirectly lead to more revenue.
While brand recognition equating to increased revenue is a little harder to track via analytics, it's a pretty common sense correlation that people use on a daily basis. Establishing brand trust may lead to higher conversion rates. A good example of this is when Amazon announced its marketplace and the inclusion of non-Amazon sellers. While many may prefer to buy from amazon directly there are still options to purchase similar products from unique sellers. A key factor in a unique seller’s success are their reviews.
So remember, Google is not your only option when it comes to SEO. Things are different today and user relevance is the key – not just the keyword. It’s important to understand where your audience is searching, how they are searching and that you are ranking in those discovery engines, wherever they may be.