How to Appeal to Searchers and Search Engines with SEO
- How is SEO different from SEM?
- How do search engines work?
- Why should I optimise my site for both search engines and the people doing the search?
SEO and SEM, they kind of sound the same, so it’s easy to think they really are the same. But SEO (Search Engine optimisation) works differently from SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
In short, SEO means making small changes to your website that might help it naturally show up in people’s search results. Meanwhile, SEM means paid search ads.
SEM uses ads to get higher position in paid search results. SEO uses your website to get a higher position in organic or main search results.
Like we said earlier, SEO is about priming your website to be the best search engine result it can be. And that’s pretty crucial in the search game.
Think about this: 95% of searchers stick with the listings on the first page of results. So the closer your listing is to that page, the better.
To do this, you need to know how search works. We’ll use Google as an example, but there are obviously other search engines out there.
Google starts by crawling the web. It follows links from page to page, collecting as much of the web as possible.
It puts all these collected pages in an index, sorting them by content and other features.
When someone does a search, Google ranks the results for them. It uses algorithms to figure out what the searcher is looking for and serves up the most relevant pages from the index.
All that means you should make your site as attractive as possible to both a search engine and a searcher. It helps if you can step into the minds of both and see how they picture results.
In general, there are 3 main pieces to a search result (though search engines may change these elements over time).
These 3 pieces include:
- Title: the name of the webpage and the company
- The web address of the site
- Description: a short snippet describing the webpage content.
Search engines will see this information as part of a code. People will see the information in their search results page. It’ll be organized and colour-coded with a clickable title and URL.
Because search engines and people see search results in different ways, you have to prepare your site for them in different ways. The good news is optimization is usually about tweaking and improving versus a complete site overhaul.
To get your site ready for search engine viewing, make sure it’s easily navigated and structured logically so it can be crawled and indexed accurately.
It helps to know some Dos and Don’ts.
- Your page title should be unique and accurate, and sum up your business in a short, info-rich phrase.
- Write different descriptions for each page, especially if you have a lot of pages.
- Choose a domain name that’s easy to read and descriptive.
- Make subpage URLs easy to read: www. yourdomain. com / mysubpage
- Use a title that’s creative but has nothing to do with the page.
- Use the default title or a vague one, like “untitled” or “New page”
- Write a description that has nothing to do with page’s content or is generic, like “This is a web page”
Keeping those Dos and Don’t in mind can help your site be more appealing to search engines. Now we’ll give you tips on how to make it more appealing to people doing a search.
While optimizing for search engine crawling is about tweaking words and URLs, optimizing for searchers is about crafting content.
Strong, engaging and useful content will probably affect your search status more than anything else.
People love to share great content with others through social media, blogs, emails, etc. all that organic word-of-mouth may help you get more visits and repeat visitors.
While not everyone can be a copywriter, you can follow a few guidelines to help you craft better content. First, you can make your text easy to read and follow.
Organize your content and keep it focused on the topic at hand. Dividing it into logical, short chunks helps people find what they’re looking for faster.
Also, pay attention to your images. Write a short caption below each image and put vital info in the text rather than in the image.
Make sure to regularly add new content. It keeps your fans coming back and brings in new visitors.
Think about your website’s homepage or landing page. What content is on the page? What are some keywords on it? Now try writing a search-optimized title and description for that page.
References: Google Webmasters, Think With Google, Google Primer