Search engine optimization (SEO) is arguably one of the most intricate yet impactful components of the world wide web. When conducting an eCommerce business, blog, or website, optimized SEO is necessary in order to drive traffic to your website, increase search engine ranking, and encourage high conversion rates.
However, before diving into an SEO plan or service, it’s essential to understand the different types of SEO and the benefits that each can bring to your site. While some brands invest in SEO services that offer many or all forms of SEO, you may find that you only need to implement a few into your business. In any case, understanding the ins-and-outs of on-page, off-page, technical, and local SEO can help your business grow on and offline.
By definition, you may guess that on-page SEO entails everything that will boost search engine optimization on the pages of a site. Essentially, with on-page, the goal is to structure and organize your site’s pages to showcase optimal content to users. The main components that on-page SEO includes are:
- Title & Header Tags
- Meta descriptions & Alt Text
- SEO optimized content
HTML, however, can use its own optimization through the use of title and header tags. Both use HTML code to inform the search engine’s crawler of the context of the page. With proper use of these title and header tags, you put your pages in better positions to rank for desired keywords.
Similarly, meta descriptions and alt text provide the search engine bot with more context on your content and images. Meta descriptions give the search engine a small snippet about what a particular article or page entails.
It is important to keep in mind that this is also visible to users who come across your page in search engines, so it should be optimized for user experience as well. Alt-text is essentially the underlying HTML code of images. Once again, they provide search engine crawlers with a context in regards to what the image contains. This gives you an additional area to apply your keywords and rank for them as well.
Also, if by chance, your pages’ photos don’t load properly, the alt text can be accessed to still give the user an idea of what the image showcased.
To optimize the written content on your pages, there are several tactics that many site owners use. First, be sure to maximize the readability of your content. This includes elements such as organization, clarity, and simplicity.
You’ll want to make sure you include an organic amount of keywords that don’t threaten the content’s readability. Also, creating in-depth content that reaches over 2,000 words can offer more information for users to relate to and potentially drive more traffic to that particular page.
Often called outreach, off-page SEO is how you drive users to your site and increase ranking and authority through your efforts outside your own domain. This can include:
- Social Media Presence & Promotion
- Link Building
- Guest Posting
Living in a digital era, social media presence is, in most cases, essential for online businesses and sites. Creating consistent and intriguing content is a great way to engage users and drive traffic to both your social media platforms and website. However, making sure to promote your site through the content you post on social platforms is a simple way to drive organic traffic to your site.
Link building has been a common off-page SEO strategy for years, and it has shown both success and failures. However, when used correctly and “legally,” it typically drives more success and higher ranking to a site.
Why do I use the word “legally?” Well, there are several ways to build links to your website and increase search engine ranking; however, not every way is within Google’s guidelines. This is called blackhat SEO, which includes link and keyword stuffing, duplicate content, or including links within non-relevant content.
Given that these practices can result in manual penalties and blacklisting from the search engines you are aiming to rank on, it is probably best to opt for white hat SEO.
This allows for “legal” improvement in traffic, ranking, and authority by building links to your site from other relevant sites and businesses. This is commonly done by forming online relationships with other sites to support one another in respective SEO strategies.
Similarly, off-page SEO presents the opportunity for sites to connect with others and offer written content with free links in exchange for the post.
This is a great way to build organic links to your site, develop or improve a brand reputation, and drive traffic to your website from other sites’ audiences. It also benefits the site you’re writing for because, as we know, valuable, in-depth content will help to increase that site’s on-page experience and ultimately better their SEO.
Technical SEO is a little more in-depth than some of the other forms and typically requires a developer or third-party tool/service to optimize your site correctly. Tech SEO is composed of a number of elements such as:
- Site map
- Page Speed
Creating a sitemap for your site is key to giving search engine bots an understanding of your site’s flow and identifying which page your home page, product page, subpages, etc.
You can also provide access to your sitemap for visitors as well. Doing so can give the users a deeper understanding of your site and more straightforward navigation throughout your pages.
Of course, your site’s easier navigation and operation is the greater the user experience, which will drive new and returning visitors to your site.
Indexability is the most essential part of technical SEO as it pertains to page rank.
You must ensure that all pages holding valuable content and information are able to be indexed by search engines. If they aren’t, they will not appear in search results, and users will not be able to access them organically. For sites using WordPress, there are several plugins, such as Yoast and RankMath, that allow you to check your indexability for each page along with a number of other SEO preferences.
With over 50% of traffic to websites coming from mobile devices, it is within your best interest to develop a mobile-friendly website as well. Your website’s ability to adjust to a mobile view doesn’t directly impact your ranking and authority; however, it is one of the largest contributors to a successful user experience.
Take look at the way PracticalBloom has optimized its website for mobile devices. The design is usable, but also quick to load and has no clutter. The language is industry-specific to the medical field and lets users know exactly what services they are providing.
By refusing a mobile-friendly site, you are potentially allowing half of your traffic to turn away, which is, of course, not ideal. Working with your site’s developers and webmasters to make your site mobile-friendly can be a large contributor to increased and sustained traffic to your site.
Lastly, page speed improvement is a massive help in driving traffic to your site, especially since 37% of users will leave when the page takes five or more seconds to load.
Finding ways to improve page speed is essential. To analyze your page speed, use Google’s Page Speed Insight Tool. It produces a score for your site’s speed and offers suggestions, like minifying CSS files or upgrading server capacity, to help improve your technical SEO.
Local SEO is a little different than the other types of SEO in that it works to drive traffic to your site from within a designated area. For example, car repair shops, medical services, or bars and restaurants often don’t need to drive traffic to their site worldwide but need traffic locally within their community.
For these types of businesses, local SEO is most beneficial and may be prioritized over the other forms.
One of the largest practices to optimize local SEO is by integrating location-specific keywords, content, and information into your site. For example, where an entirely eCommerce shop may write blog posts about relevant topics across the internet, a website focusing on local SEO may target topics and news specific to their location. This will give them a greater chance of appearing in local searches. Similarly, optimizing your search engine local listing accounts, such as Google Business, can boost your rankings in desired areas like Google Maps and local search results.
Navigating search engine optimization is no easy task, and when it comes to building a successful website, it should be taken seriously.
However, before diving into all or a few specific versions of SEO, you want to deeply consider the type of site you are running and what it truly needs to drive traffic, improve ranking, and increase domain authority. With the necessary research and understanding, you’ll be able to bring organic visitors to your site and potentially improve your overall conversion rates in profit, subscriptions, appointments, or whatever your business offers.