Search Engine Optimization – How to make your website appreciated by search engines?
Search Engine Optimization – why you should care?
“Google it!” has already become a common term when people try to find out something online. To businesses, this means that technology nowadays can offer us a much more efficient sales funnel: getting displayed to those who are calling for your service, at this very moment!
These are hot leads! They are in active searching mode, and some are even ready to take out their credit card. Image when someone searches “urgent lock smith in city x”, how likely will the they call the phone number on the first few spots of the result page right away? And how much he will care about whether or not there may be a listing in the local newspaper that might have a slightly better price?
To me, this is actually the biggest value of Google – to group people by what they are looking for, so that businesses can focus on the targeted people to develop potential relationships. (And that’s why Google makes so much money… by helping other businesses make even more money.)
Adwords vs. Natural Result
Buying ads with Google Adwords is the most direct way to get your business website seen on search result pages. But most people don’t realize that it’s only a tiny piece of the whole pie.
Let’s take the keyword “seo hong kong” as an example. Below is the estimated number from Google:
You can see that among 1,600 searches every month, there are only 1.47*30 = 44 clicks for the ad that is on the best position, which account for 2.75%.
Another example with “french restaurant hong kong”:
No.1 ad gets 0.31*30=9 clicks every month out of 880 searches – around 1.06%.
This indicates that buying ads is far from enough in getting the full potential of search engine marketing. Study shows that only 1-3% of people will click ads, all the other 97-99% goes to the natural results.
So getting ranked for natural result is where the game actually plays, and where the big pie is.
How does Google, or other search engines, decides which 10 pages amount millions of millions of webpages out there to display to it’s user on the first page?
And how can I make my website rank on the 1st page when people are searching for the related keywords that relates to my business?
Let me explain it in two parts:
Search Engine Optimization Part 1 – On Site Optimization
The first part is about how you should build your website so that it’s not only loved by your audience, but also by the search engines.
In order to understand this, the first thing we need to know, is that search engines are powerful machines with very sophisticated algorithm underneath – It is NOT a large amount of people who sits in Google’s office, busy collecting everything on the internet (the magnitude of web pages on the entire internet space is too big for it to be feasible).
What does this mean?
It means that what appear to the human eyes could be quite different to what it appears to the machines.
Here is an example:
Search Engine Optimization – a bad example that actually looks good
It’s a website for a restaurant, with beautiful appearance and important information for its potential customer.
But what the owner don’t know, is that the in search engine’s eye, the website is just like this:
Even without knowledge of programming, you could probably guess that there is no way Google or any other search engines could possibly know what the website is about. It would not know the phone number, it would not know the address, not the menu, not the customer rating, etc.
If you were Google, would you show this website with such “little” info to those who searches for “Italian cuisines in city x”?
The reason for this huge difference of the information quality appears to human vs. search engines, is that the website designers, who are good in graphics, doesn’t necessary understand the internet marketing or search engine optimization.
To optimize your website for the search engine, you need to ask your content creator, your graphic designer, and your internet marketer to work together. Your value-added content with cool visual effect, has to also be realized in a optimized coding framework, including:
- choosing the targeted keywords
- Choose a title tag that is keyword rich and also content friendly
- Add appropriate content in KEYWORD tag, DESCRIPTION tag etc.
- Format the content in sections with keyword rich headings and sub-headings
- bold, italic, underline appropriate amount of keywords, (e.g. search engine optimization,search engine optimization,search engine optimization)
- Add alt tag with keyword in the pictures of the web page
- Place more keyword density on the beginning and ending section of the web pages
- and more…
Search Engine Optimization Part 2 – Off Site Optimization
Another important factor that Google and other major search engine use to judge the quality of website, is by a “beauty contest” – If your content is good, naturally there should be a lot of other websites in similar topic referring to you by linking to your pages with related keywords as anchor text (the blue underline which represent a link). Google sees these links as “votes”.
How credible your website is also related to how your site get linked from other places – that’s why it’s called Off Site Optimization. Factors includes:
- Total number of links
- Credibility of the website that provides links
- Relevance of the content from the webpage that provide links to your own web pages
- What keywords does the website use as anchor text to link to your web pages
Your internet marketer should be able to build a link-building campaign for you, which from time will give your web pages more credibility and raise it’s rankings in search engine with related keywords.
To summarized, in order to get high rankings in natural result with your targeted keyword terms, you need to provide content that is both readable for human and also search engine algorithms. After the content is created, the web page should also starts to get links from other places in the internet to accumulate credibility.
Depends on your competition, your success in search engine ranking could vary. But don’t simply assume that all the good keywords has already been very competitive.
Here is a case study to show how a 1-year-old small restaurant could rank in the first page of Google in a general keyword terms and sit among two of the most famous Michelin 3 stars and 2 stars restaurants in town, by adopting the correct way of search engine optimization!