Search engine optimization or SEO is the process of gaining higher rankings in search engine results. It’s a strategy that allows your website to be picked up by Google, Bing, or Yahoo, when certain keywords are used in a particular search. Did you know that 90% of online experience begins with the search engine? That’s how powerful SEO is. Imagine if your site makes it to at least the first page Google results. That would equate to thousands of visits!

Today we’re starting a blog series on all things SEO and we’re kicking it off with the basics. We’ll look at the four main things you need when optimizing your site. Our goal is to help you maximize the benefits of SEO and start seeing improvements in your site’s performance.

High-value content

Gone are the days when keywords rule SEO. They are still needed for sure but keywords are not the sole basis for search engines to pick up your site. Google has regular updates that continuously filters and streamlines search engine results in order to find the most accurate answer to the user’s search. Thus, your content should be relevant, helpful, and valuable to readers. The algorithms of search engines factors not only keywords but also the location of the user, search history, and other online behaviors.

The goal of search engines is to give the best possible results the same way you’re asking an expert to give the best possible answer. Of course, that expert will not simply spew out some words to parrot what you said. Same goes for search engines. They don’t give recommendations based simply on keywords. They generate results from sites that have high-value information that accurately addresses the user’s needs. Will keywords still help? Definitely. But will it be enough? No. You need to have quality content to back it up.

Internal links

Linking to other sources adds credibility to your content. They either validate or justify your opinions on the topic you’re discussing. Search engines are able to detect if the backlinks in your article are reliable and relevant to your article. This also helps your readers because you’re giving them more trustworthy resources. It also helps in improving your ranking as you are most likely using the same keywords as your references are since you’re tackling the same subject matter.

Usability

User experience is everything. Good content can be easily overlooked if a site takes a long time to load. In fact, users expect websites to load in 2 seconds or less. Worse, they abandon the site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. Search engines are wary of this, too. Again, we go back to providing the best result and that includes recommending sites that not only have valuable content and quality backlinks but are also easy to use and navigate. Almost all websites are now responsive, meaning they adjust to the screen of the user (i.e. mobile or desktop). Why? Because mobile-friendly sites get higher search engine ranking!

Cover all bases

This list won’t be complete without mentioning the basics. From having your brand listed in reliable directory listings to using relevant keywords, make sure that you do all the basic SEO techniques. Your goal is to be found and one of the important things you need to do is making sure that people can easily locate your brand. Directories and keywords can help you in getting a head start in SEO.

These are the foundations of a good SEO. Effective optimization takes work. It involves quality writing, research, and technology. SEO isn’t about matching keywords anymore. It’s about providing precise answers and solutions. Once you have these three things pinned down then the other SEO add-ons are easy to do.

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Learn more about SEO on our SEO Basics 101 series!

Pepper Virtual Assistants is a business solutions firm that specializes in virtual administrative and personal assistance, online marketing, customer support, and copywriting. We are known for reliability through our managed services, responsive client handling backed by extensive training, and rockstar virtual assistants hired for their skills and expertise.

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