Did you know that the heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, often abbreviated as Cat or CAT, ranks above the domestic animal of the same name, as well as the insect, in a search on Google for the word “cat”?
How can a company that has been around for little more than a century outrank an insect and a feline that have been around for thousands of years? There’s always something else ranking higher than you on a Google search results page. That, my friends, is the awesome power of search engine optimization, or SEO.
So, What Is It?
As the full name of the abbreviation implies, SEO involves the optimization of online content to appeal to various guidelines, standards, rules, and preferences used for displaying search results to Internet surfers, searchers, and shoppers.
People use search engines, primarily Google, to find things on the Internet. If you want to be found, you either have to give your website address to each individual personally (which is impossible), or you need to optimize your content so the search engine will find your site worthy of being included in a result list.
Why Should I Care?
The goal is to have first-page ranking because studies show that many people don’t even look beyond the first page. Even more so, such as in the case of Caterpillar, you want to have the No. 1 rank, because 33 percent of search traffic goes to that coveted position.
Some things search engines like to find on websites when considering them for search placement include the following:
- Contextually relevant keywords and key phrases within the site copy that pertain to the search terms, including long-tail and geo-targeted keywords for niche and location-specific searches.
- Content that is original, valuable, and meaningful. Duplicate content can get penalized by search engines.
- Authority, content that’s back-linked on relevant expert sites, and a large quantity of social shares.
- Optimal site performance in terms of page load times, functioning links, bounce rate, and easy navigation
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There are also things search engines do not approve of, like keyword stuffing, duplicate or “thin” content with little substance or value to the visitor, back-links to questionable sites, and the use of coding tricks to superficially create visitor or search engine appeal. Some of these techniques are referred to as “black hat SEO” because they are unethical, improper, or frowned upon by search engines and marketing experts.
When you’re ready to take your online marketing to the next level and gain the exposure you need to achieve your marketing goals, start thinking about SEO. Ensuring that your site is properly optimized for search engines is an essential requirement, and there are plenty of tools to help you along the way.
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