Why is SEO So Confusing?
Everyday I talk to people who are frustrated and confused about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). These business owners simply want their websites to perform well, to show up when people search for their products and services and to convert them into customers or leads. The thing is, there is so much noise out there about SEO that it can be really hard to find information that is valuable and will actually help you to increase sales. Why is that? Let’s take a logical look.
What is the purpose of SEO?
This one is simple. From the business owner’s perspective, the goal of search engine optimization is to have your website show up in the SERP (search engine results page) when people search for your products & services or information that you provide, in other words to get found. The secondary goal is to have the people who find you convert. That could mean they buy products, fill out a contact form, call you etc.
What most people don’t look at is Google’s (or the other search engine’s) perspective. What is Google’s goal when it comes to ranking websites? Their goal is to provide the best possible answer to a searcher’s query or question, but it doesn’t end there. From Google’s point of view, the sites that rank well are those that provide the best User experience (UX).
It is when those goals align that a website performs well and gets results. So, how do we do that?
There are more than 200 elements that Google’s algorithm considers, and everybody has a different opinion about which ones are the most important. However, as I mentioned above, there is one common theme that runs through ALL those factors, UX. Have no fear, those 200 elements can be broken down into three major categories. This makes it much easier to understand.
Technical SEO – These are the behind the scenes factors. Here are a few examples, but there are many more.
- How fast does your page load?
- Is it safe / secure?
- Does your site look right on all available browsers and devices? (mobile friendly)
Think about it, if a site takes forever to load, you will leave. This is a bad user experience. If a site looks bad on your phone, bad UX. In all fairness, you may need a professional to help with this side of it.
On-Page SEO Factors – This looks at the content on your site… again, just a few examples.
- is it related to what a person is searching for?
- Do you answer a question or solve a problem for the visitor?
- Is the site structured properly?
- Do you use the right keywords, in the right places?
- Is the site visually appealing?
- Do you have calls to action?
Off-Page SEO Factors – This is what other people and websites think of your website. It looks at things like how people engage with your site on social media, what websites link to yours and local information that will help people find you.
While SEO is complex and there is a lot that goes into it, there is a method to the madness. The factors sometimes change, and you must stay on top of it if you want to rank well in the long term. Just remember, Google’s goal is to deliver the best possible user experience to its searchers. If you can deliver that, you will rank well.