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What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

I get asked weekly 'Do you do SEO?' to which the response is generally highlighting that there are 100s of factors that go into SEO.

What is SEO?

Most often people want to be in the number 1 spot on Google, and there are two ways to accomplish that

  1. Buy Google Ads

  2. Best Practice SEO

Let's consider you are hoping for proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO) worked on in your website, and I will keep this as simple as possible allowing you to explore more in-depth as you would like.

Keep in mind, each year Google updates the importance and weighting of SEO factors, where once Social Media didn't count, it now has a piece of the pie in your SEO ranking.

See the below image, this is for 2021 (courtesy Search Engine Land) these are an overview of the factors that go into SEO. I will cover off some items, but as you can see from the image, there are a lot fo factors that go into SEO.

Search Engine Land Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization

  1. Site History and Domain Authority. Just because you have owned a site for a long period of time, this is a small piece but domain authority carries more weight for your ranking. Domain Authority has many factors and determines how likely your site is to show up on Google (SERP: search engine results pages).

  2. Keywords and site structure: The content of your site matters, from the keywords, using proper site structure (H1, H2, H3...) alt tags for images, loading time, the list goes on. When building your site, these are the first outlines of structure that you consider. If an image is too large (high Resolution) that affects your load time, which affects how you rank. People tend to use keyword strings rather than single keywords, and Google has gotten so intelligent that it can provide matches even if not exact. PS. Language matters, if you are 'keyword stuffing' Google will recognize it and you won't see the benefit from writing with keywords in mind, write as the audience would feel comfortable reading it.

  3. Google Analytics: If you have not set up Google Analytics, you should, there are tons of tools and data you can collect from your site to see how people interact with your site allowing you to reconfigure your site to better work for your audience. Key tools that you will see on Google analytics include: Visitor information, Bounce Rate, Pages viewed, time on site, Demographics (location), and site history.

  4. Reviews and Social Media: Where once these did not have a big impact, they have an impact now. Use Google My Business to start gathering reviews, these counts and social media do have an impact (no one ever knows how much each SEO factor weighs with Google) it doesn't mean you have to be on every platform, but being on some and the level of activity.

  5. Compliance: Is your website mobile-friendly? Is your site secure (HTTPS:)? Is your site accessible for people with disabilities? Do you have black hat SEO on your site? If you are not complaint, Google will reduce your ranking allowing your competition to take residency in the spot above you.

  6. Fresh Content: We all love freshness, so does Google. If your site is stale and has not been updated in months or years, it will grow old and moldy. Update your site, this is part of the reason why blogs are so popular, they add fresh content to your site and provide useful information for your audience. (Blogs also increase time on page with people taking time to read them).

If you want to get into more details, there is a wealth of information online, Rand Fiskin, Neil Patel, Search Engine Land, and many more offer bite-sized tools and tips for doing it yourself or what questions to ask and how to better understand SEO.

Finally, if your goal is to improve your ranking simply by purchasing Google Ads, Google will provide you a FREE google ads account rep to help you be successful on Google Ads (you don't need to hire someone, they will provide it for free).

This is a brief overview, if you would like to learn more or get some help with your SEO you have a bit better of an understanding of what you may need help with.

Julie Boake

Awedity Creative

Marketing | Design | Web | Social

Calgary + Okotoks + Foothills Alberta


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