It’s 2020, and you find yourself about to refresh the look of your current website or preparing to launch a new website. You may be asking yourself, “How do I get more visitors to my website?” “Can’t I just buy Google Ads and be #1 on Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP)?” “Is this SEO thing still around, and is it even still important?” The answers to these three questions are…
- SEO or Search Engine Optimization is how you can attract visitors to your website for free.
- NO, because buying Google Ads is only a temporary fix that will rank you at the #1 spot amongst other ads. This will be explained more in depth later in this blog.
- YES, SEO is still a thing, and it’s definitely still around.
- YES, in 2020, SEO is more important than ever!
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Simply put, you are improving, enhancing, or altering your website, so that a search engine will rank your website’s articles, products, services, or content in general, on the top of the front page. The global list of top search engines includes the following: Citation
- Google (72.5% of worldwide searches)
- Bing (11.9% of worldwide searches)
- Baidu (China’s largest search Engine, but only 10.7% worldwide searches)
- Yahoo (2.5% of worldwide searches, powered by Bing)
- Yandex (Russia’s largest search engine, but only 1.2% of worldwide searches)
- DuckDuckGo (.44% of worldwide searches)
- com (.35% of worldwide searches)
As you can conclude from this list of global search engines, there are many options all over the world to choose from, but Google is the undisputed leader when it comes to search engines. In 2020, and the foreseeable future, you, as a website owner, should focus your website’s SEO efforts primarily towards Google.
So how do I optimize my website for search engines?
There are two ways to go about optimizing your website for search engines: Do-It-Yourself or hire a company like CATMEDIA to analyze your website and complete all critical SEO updates for you. Like any product, Google is always tweaking its search engine algorithm to improve and provide more accurate Search Engine Results (SER) to its customers, your potential visitors.
For the DIYers out there, here is a quick summarized list of reliable SEO tips, enhancements, and upgrades you can make to your website:
- DO find your target audience. Spend a little time figuring out who you want to visit your website or who will benefit from your website content the most. That will be your target audience.
- DO provide and create unique content targeted to your audience’s wants and needs. With your target audience narrowed down, generate content based on their interests, hobbies, questions, etc. You want to become an authentic source of information that demonstrates your Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (EAT) on the content you’re generating.
- DO NOT plagiarize content. Google’s 2011 Panda update began penalizing websites that copied the content from other websites to pass off as their own. The penalty for these websites was to “unrank” them or blacklist them altogether.
- DO acquire back links from other legitimate websites. Back links are links from other websites back to your own website. Think of back links like a recommendation or referral for a job interview. The more notable and important the website linking back to you is, the better you look and perform in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). Legitimate back links are one of the few surefire ways to climb SERP and establish legitimacy. Remember that quality over quantity is the priority with regard to back links.
- DO NOT buy back links in bulk to boost that linkback to your website. In 2012, Google’s Penguin update targeted websites propped up by back links from link farms. Link farms sole purpose was to provide cheap meaningless back links in bulk in exchange for boosting page rank.
- DO make your website mobile-ready. Also known as a responsive website, mobile-ready just means that your website layout and content should adapt to the dimensions of mobile devices. In 2015, Google began prioritizing and ranking higher the websites that were optimized for mobile devices.
- DO secure your website traffic with HTTPS encryption. In 2014, Google announced that security is a priority, and the presence of a strong HTTPS encryption or a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate would positively affect ranking over the websites not providing and SSL certificate.
- DO make your website load fast! Optimize your website’s pages, images, scripts, and code to load fast. Googles service is to provide and suggest website content that will help the user. If your website loads slow, that results in an undesirable user experience (UX), which reflects poorly on Google’s service. To be clear, your website does not need to be the fastest in the world, but it should not require a visitor to wait more than five seconds before a single-color loads on your website.
Pitfalls of Paying for Google Ads vs. Organic Search Results
Why is buying Google Ads not an SEO solution? Paying for Google Ads only fixes your problem temporarily until you run out of money. On top of that, there are plugins for all browsers call Ad Blockers that prevent ads from reaching a large group of users. How many people are using Ad Blockers? A quick search estimates that 26-47% of web users are blocking ads on their browsers.
Acquiring organic search results does take time, but it will last much longer than any Google Ad campaign. You acquire organic results by applying the changes laid out earlier in this article by either doing it yourself or by hiring an experienced SEO company like CATMEDIA.
Why is SEO even important?
SEO is vital if you are trying to grow your business. Properly implemented SEO results in more potential customers visiting your website. Without your customers ever having to meet you, you can leverage your website to establish that you are an expert in the field that has the authority to answer their questions and provide solutions they can trust.
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
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