I write a lot about the different practices involved in online marketing: Search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, social media and review management. Because of that, I was recently asked which is the most important to rank well with search engines? I answered, “All of them!”
Doing just SEO, or just content marketing, or just social media is not enough to get your website found in the search results. It takes an integrated approach.
The first thing to mention is that while Google, Bing and Yahoo are each different companies with their own separate algorithms, there is evidence that suggests that each operates in a similar way. So the advice given here works well for all three. Of course, since Google is the biggest player in the search game, I’ll gear my comments towards it.
How the Algorithm Works
The Google search algorithm sends out software robots known as spiders or crawlers. Their job is to “crawl” through your website and index it, which essentially stores it in a database. It’s that database that is examined when a search is made.
The algorithm then makes decisions on ranking your website on the search results page based on the information stored in its database. The algorithm looks at a website’s construction, content, keywords, the site’s Title, Meta and Alt tag information, business listings on publisher sites and social media signals. If all of these components satisfy the requirements of the algorithm, then the website ranks high. However, if it finds that one or more of these components falls short, then the site ranks lower.
Search engine optimization, then, involves practices that get the website to meet the requirements of the search engines and their algorithms. Some of these practices fall under the banner of traditional SEO. These include items such as making sure the Title, Meta and Alt tags on a given page are configured correctly, or that keywords appear in the proper density in the content.
But there are also items that are not thought of as traditional SEO that help a page rank well, too. These factors are just as important and necessary to get your website on the first page of the search results.
Google’s algorithm rewards websites that update their content with better search rankings. The logic for this decision is based on the idea that those businesses that update their website’s content regularly, must be industry authorities.
Therefore, recommending those sites to searchers will provide them with a good experience so they will come back again. Blogging is an effective way to add new content to your site.
Along with business websites, Google also indexes publisher sites. These are websites such as YellowBook.com, CitySearch.com or EZLocal.com. These sites contain business listings. If your business listing is uniform across the 70+ sites that Google indexes, it will help your search results.
But if you have duplicate or mistaken listings, your website can be penalized.
Google My Business
Having a page on Google My Business (GMB) serves as your company’s home on the Google platform. Businesses with GMB pages rank better than those that do not. Of course, that only makes sense since it is a part of the greater Google network.
Google does not index every social media site, but it does index a few. They include Google+ (a Google property), LinkedIn, and Slide Share. Having your website connected on these sites and being active can boost your search ranking.
Google also takes into account certain signals from social sites. These include how much engagement your posts receive and the number of page followers.
Reviews on your website are considered to be new content by Google. So having new reviews helps your search rankings. There is also evidence that businesses that are rated well using the star rating system on Google also receive better search results.
Trying to get your business ranked high by search engines requires more than just getting your website optimized. It requires an ongoing, integrated approach that involves content, social media, reviews and having a Google My Business page.
If you have questions bout how to rank better, call us at 513-237-5530.
Bob Turner is a Digital Marketing Consultant with in Cincinnati, Ohio.