A website’s success relies heavily on how much exposure it gets. By exposure, we mean visits and user retention. And what best way is there to get exposed than being on top every time someone clicks on that search button?
Search engines are made in a way that when individuals search for something, the most relevant website or web page is displayed on the top, and the least relevant at the bottom. Hence, to be on top, you just need to provide what exactly the users want.
Sounds easy right? Wrong. Thousands and thousands of websites every day create new contents that compete for that sweet, sweet number one spot.
Getting on top is more like a gladiator battle where everyone is willing to do anything to be on top. You may be asking what the importance of being on top or at least on the very first page of search queries is. Well, the answer is in the numbers.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization, or as others would like to call it, SEO is a series of activities that aim to improve a website’s ranking in search engine results. It is noteworthy that search engine optimization is only limited to unpaid search results. These are often referred to as “organic” or “natural” results.
SEO, however, is only one part of many internet marketing strategies. However, most web developers consider it as an indispensable marketing tool. Furthermore, its application is not only limited to word searches, but SEO can also be applied to image searches, video searches, and even academic searches.
On the other hand, SEO experts are people trained to apply various settings or follow guidelines to help a website become much more aligned with a search engine’s algorithm. Most search engines use specific criteria to determine the relevance of each post.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your online content, so that a search engine likes to show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword.
By adjusting each content and setting of a website by these criteria, a SEO expert increases that website’s chance of being on top. However, most of these “signals” are hidden by search engine companies to avoid manipulation.
White Hat Vs Black Hat SEO
There are plenty of strategies that SEO experts employ to help their websites rank high. Most of these strategies can be categorized into two groups, the white hat strategy, and the black hat strategy. (1)
Plainly speaking, white hat strategies are techniques that comply with a search engine’s rules and guidelines. On one hand, black hat refers to activities that aim to increase a page’s ranking through unethical or illicit manners.
Using the white hat strategy means creating content that appeals to users. At the same time one must ensure that the content created gets indexed, and subsequently ranked high by search engines. The white hat method takes more effort as it requires content creators to rigorously improve the quality of their websites.
Nevertheless, it pays off as search engines generally prefer websites that strictly abide by their rules and regulations. Some white strategies are keyword research, improvement of user experience, mobile compatibility, and link building.
Black hat strategies often apply deceptive practices that intend to fool a search engine regarding their relevance. Some examples of this strategy include content automation, doorway pages, hidden text or links, keyword stuffing, reporting a competitor (or negative SEO), sneaky redirects, spam indexing and more.
I know some of these tactics may seem cool and I may paint them to be glamorous, but they really aren’t. I am not proud of what I did and if I could go back in time and tell myself one thing… it would be that I shouldn’t focus on any black hat tactics.
The effectiveness of this strategy is often short-lived. This is because search engines can often detect when any of these techniques are employed. In gist, contents made with black hat strategy are intended to appeal to search engines and not users.
With the boom on the internet, a website ha become a powerful tool businesses have in communicating with their market. It can be used to send a message, increase their sales, or improve brand awareness. Nevertheless, whatever their purpose may be, being visible to their target market is important.
This is where the search engine optimization comes in. There are on average 6.5 billion searches made each day; hence being on the top of search results can incredibly help boost a website’s performance. (2)
A 2013 study conducted by the Massachusetts based online advertising network Chitika found out that websites that appear on the first page of Google’s search results receive 91.5% of the clicks. The top 1 rakes in 32.5% of the traffic, 17.6% for the second, and 11.4% for the third. After that, the amounts of traffic websites get decrease exponentially. (3)
If you wish to improve your website’s visibility, search engine optimization is definitely a tool worth investing time for.
Seattle Web Works offer premium search engine optimization services such as SEO audit, branding, and reporting. Contact us, or set an appointment with us to learn more about how we could help your website gets the boost it needs.