If you’re planning to be competitive in today’s business climate, you can’t afford to overlook the trends and opportunities of the ever-evolving digital age. Regardless of what business you’re in, modern marketing platforms can help you reach your customers more quickly and more efficiently. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re using the available online tools effectively, ask yourself a few basic questions: Do you have an active Facebook page? Are you communicating with your target market through Twitter, YouTube and other suitable online marketing channels? Most importantly, is your site optimized for search engines and is it attracting the type and number of visitors you’d like?
Although Facebook and Twitter account management is beyond the scope of this article, we’ll show you how search engine optimization, or SEO, can help your business gain clients by effectively using the power of the most popular search engine – Google.
SEO in the Early Days.
In the early days of the internet, while search engines were still in their infancy, search engine optimization was much simpler than it is today. Not only was there much less competition, but less effort was needed for optimizing your website because the search engines themselves were a lot simpler. In order to determine what your site was about and how high it should be ranked, Google looked primarily at your content. If your website was about electric toothbrushes, for example, and you wanted to position it among the top Google results for that market, all you needed to do was to make sure the phrase “electric toothbrushes” was mentioned on your site as often as possible.
Still lacking more sophisticated ways of determining how high your website should be ranked, Google would then decide that your website was obviously about electric toothbrushes and position it among its search results accordingly. You still had to work in order to get to the top of its search engine rankings, but in general, you were able to achieve good SEO results simply by filling your website with your targeted keywords. Manipulating the code and text on your own website in order to get the desired SEO results eventually got a name, and it is now known as on-page optimization.
Although on-page optimization is currently less crucial in determining where your website will rank for various keywords, it is still one of the most important factors to consider when optimizing your site for search engines results.
The first thing you should assess while doing on-page optimization is your page title. Going back to our previous example, it seems obvious that the homepage title should have the phrase “electric toothbrushes” in it, to help both Google and site visitors determine what the page is about. You need to remember, however, that each page needs to have its own particular title, so instead of having different pages on your website with the same title, make sure that the title of each page always matches its content. For example, if you have an article with advice about toothbrush maintenance, the appropriate title for that page would be “Electric Toothbrush Maintenance Tips”.
Once you’ve taken care of your titles, it’s time to pay attention to your content. Google now knows that it is probably looking at a site about electric toothbrushes, but there’s a couple of other things you can do to remove all doubt. You first need to optimize your header tags. In an ideal scenario, your main header, or h1, should be identical or very similar to your page title. Additionally, if your content is separated into categories, you could optimize your h2 and even h3 headers with appropriate keywords as well. Make sure your targeted phrase and its synonyms are also mentioned within your text a couple of times. By following these simple tips, you’ve covered the most important areas of on-page optimization. However, your SEO work is still far from over, as the most important part – off-page optimization- has yet to be addressed.
Over time, search engines became increasingly sophisticated and their ranking algorithms became more complex. In order to reach a good position among Google search results, it was no longer enough to have your site filled with targeted keywords. Everyone had caught on to this method, which was easy enough to employ. Google needed to develop a better way of deciding who was worthy of getting to the top, and that’s where off-page optimization came into the picture. The easiest way to understand off-page optimization is to see it as the compilation of everything you do outside of your own site in order to improve its search engine rankings.
With off-page optimization gaining importance, the SEO focus shifted from “what I’m saying about myself/my business on my own site” to “what others are saying about me”. It is obvious why off-page SEO is more complicated: while you can easily change anything on your own site at will, it’s much harder to manipulate content and links on other sites. If you want another site to “vouch” for your business and help you to convince Google that your site should be found by people looking for information about electric toothbrushes, you need to obtain a link from that site which points to your site, a link that is basically saying, “yes, that site is a good source of information about electric toothbrushes”.
While on-page SEO has a relatively straightforward set of easily implementable guidelines, off-page SEO usually demands much more attention and leaves room for much more creativity, with the pivotal question being, “how do I get more links to my site?” Since potential answers are too numerous to list here, suffice it to say that you should be ready to either delve deeply into link building, content marketing and social signals, or be ready to seek help from a professional SEO company if your goal is to get the best results from your SEO efforts.
On Yavin is the founder and CEO of Exactive Marketing LTD. Yavin has more then 15 years of experience in general management, business development and marketing. He completed his law degree (L.L.B) at the College of Management in Israel and has been accepted as an Advocate by the Israeli Bar Association. Yavin is an expert in the field of online marketing, with deep hands-on experience and knowledge of SEO, PPC and ORM.