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As a business owner or brand specialist, you’ve probably heard how organic search engine optimization (SEO) can make or break your digital marketing efforts. After all, Google processes over 8.5 billion searches daily. Gaining a spot on the search engine giant’s first page can drastically boost your website traffic, incoming calls, and online revenue.

However, the SEO process — and the contradicting advice from marketers — can be overwhelming. One of the reasons that make it so frustrating is that it’s an ever-changing technique that adapts to what audiences want and need.

What Is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization or SEO means elevating your site’s visibility in results pages when people look for products, services, and solutions relevant to your business. Pages with a high ranking have better chances of attracting existing and prospective customers to their site.

Being on Google’s first page can be the game-changer you need to enhance your digital marketing strategies. Here’s why: Only 0.78% of Google users click on anything on the leading search engine’s second page.

So, how do you boost your ranking?

In a nutshell, search engines use bots to crawl pages on the internet. The software goes from site to site, collecting information about every page and indexing them. Think of this process as creating a massive online library, where Google can pull up relevant results quickly and accurately for its users.

Google then determines a site’s value for its users based on hundreds of ranking factors, including the keyword used in the search. The goal of web crawlers is to read every single book in the library to understand which ones will be the most useful for user queries.

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Unlike paid ads and social media advertising, you can’t pay Google to recommend your site to people. Instead, you have to put in the work to enjoy a high organic search ranking.

This part is where your grind to the top begins — making sure that your site adheres to Google’s algorithms. Remember that the ranking method changes over time, and you should adjust your techniques accordingly.

If you don’t have an expert by your side to guide you on your SEO journey, we recommend outsourcing such marketing services.

So, What Matters When It Comes to SEO?

We know how confusing it is to listen to marketing people about SEO. There are too many resources that dispute one another!

The reason behind the contradicting advice is that SEO is not a one-and-done deal but a dynamic digital marketing strategy. The key to SEO success is to always update your efforts to match Google’s algorithm. Check out the guide from Search Engine Journal to discover the latest SEO trends.

Let’s look at some frequently asked questions to learn the crucial elements of SEO management.

Is It All About the Links?

SEO link building is crucial in SEO, but it’s not just about the links. Google uses hundreds of ranking factors to learn which sites are most valuable to its users.

However, quality inbound and outbound links are crucial for SEO because they help Google understand which sites are valuable information sources for particular keywords.

Does the URL Structure Really Matter?

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Marketing experts have debated whether URL structure matters in SEO or not, and brands have tried different techniques to achieve a high ranking. However, does this feature really matter?

Yes, it does.

To begin with, Google recommends using extraneous characters for keyword strategies. While dashes indicate a word break, underscores signify a single word.

For example:

  • com/black-bird: Google understands this URL as a page about a “black bird.”
  • com/black_bird: Using an underscore will make Google see your intended keyword as “blackbird” without a space between words.

Check these keywords on search engines. The top results will be different.

Also, using short URLs make your pages easier to understand for search engines and consumers alike.

Compare the links below:

  • https://www.marketing/services/SEO-PPC-content
  • https://www.marketing/services/digital-marketing/search-engine-optimization-and-pay-per-click-services

The first URL clearly shows that the page is about SEO and PPC, but the second link can confuse Google and its users.

Overall, optimized URLs can’t hurt your ranking. Avoid excessive extraneous characters, use appropriate keywords, and keep them short. However, you don’t have to spend too much time on this factor because the content quality and links are far more crucial to your digital marketing efforts.

What Exactly is a Meta Description, Anyway?

A meta description is one aspect of meta tags that contain data about your website. It should describe what a page is about in 160 characters or less. It’s a crucial SEO factor because it helps readers and search engines learn what your site is all about.

Do You Need To Crank Out a 2,000-Word Blog Post Four Times a Day?

No, you don’t need four 2,000-word blog posts daily. One of the best-kept SEO secrets is to optimize for users, not search engines. We recommend publishing blogs two to four times weekly. It’s better to focus on the quality of your content instead of writing subpar blogs daily.

Is SEO Dead?

No, SEO is not dead — but some of your strategies might be. Keep in mind that it’s a constantly changing aspect of digital marketing.

Let’s delve deeper into some of the changes SEO has gone through over the past years.

What Is the Most Important SEO Factor?

SEO is a multifaceted digital marketing strategy, so there’s not a single factor that outweighs all others. Your links are as critical as your keywords and quality content.

However, the one constant component to remember is to think of your target market above all things. SEO strategies come and go, but valuable pages do not. As long as you elevate your visitors’ user experience, search engines will view your site in high regard.

How Long Does It Take for SEO To Work?

Generally, it takes six to twelve months to notice movement in your SEO ranking, but a digital marketing expert can help you speed up this process. However, take note of changes in Google’s algorithm. Missing crucial changes can bump you off the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) even if you’ve spent a long time building your SEO strategy.

What’s the Difference Between On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO?

Off-Page SEO DallasGoogle has expanded its algorithm over the years to cover on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO refers to strategies you use on your pages to improve your ranking, such as optimized meta tags, quality content, and fast loading speed.

On the other hand, off-page SEO refers to actions you take outside your sites, such as social media advertising, guest blogging, and influencer outreach efforts.

Can I Just Buy Links?

Years ago, some brands used black hat link-building strategies — or unscrupulous SEO practices — to drive traffic to their sites. Google became aware of such tactics and started penalizing wrongdoers. Like these techniques, buying links can do more harm than good for your SEO ranking if they don’t add value to your pages.

Factors That Rule Today & Beyond

Below are some ranking factors Google values today that experts think will be sticking around.

Relevant, High-Quality Content Wins

In today’s modern world, content is king. Consumers expect quick and accurate results from search engines, and the latter always want to deliver. For this reason, you should learn consumer preferences and develop standout materials that set you apart from the competition.

Metadata Matters

Metadata in SEO refers to the title and lines of text Google users find on results pages. These details help users learn what they can expect to find once they click on a page.

You can hit the sweet spot with a short description below 160 words that includes your main keyword. Like social media advertising, the goal is to guide quality leads to your site.

User Experience (UX) Impacts Rankings

The UX of your site combines design elements with usability features to boost traffic. Below are a few expert tips:

  • Aim for a loading speed of two seconds.
  • Develop a responsive design that caters to people using different devices.
  • Make different components visually unique.
  • Organize easy-to-digest pages.
  • Add valuable links.

Mobile Matters More Than Ever Before

Now that 63% of Google searches come from mobile devices, it’s crucial for brands to observe mobile-friendliness. Check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to learn how you can improve your page.

Don’t Ignore Voice Search

Google data from 2016 claims that voice searches make up around 20% of all searches in its app. This number is on the rise, and we recommend optimizing for voice search to capture more prospects and gear up for the future.

3 Tips for Actually Succeeding in SEO

As Google’s SEO algorithm shifts, so will the technical aspects of your marketing efforts. However, some SEO aspects never change, like the ones we listed below.

If It Seems Shady, It Will Probably Burn You

Google didn’t become an industry leader because of luck. Its teams continuously learn ways to enhance user experiences, including penalizing black hat practices or those completely against the search engine giant’s terms of service.

For instance, keyword stuffing — or the practice of inserting various keywords into the content and meta tags — is a thing of the past. Google caught on with this old trend and made it impossible for brands that still use the strategy to boost their ranking.

Google has crawlers everywhere, so they’re always one step ahead of shady practices. If you plan on developing several sites and interlinking them to make Google think they’re valuable information sources, think again.

The best way to enhance your marketing efforts is to add value to your site visitors at every touchpoint. Remember, search engines will know if you keep their users satisfied.

Stop experimenting with questionable rank-quick solutions. Trust us; they’re not worth the long-term consequences.

Read Real Experts

Be wary of hiring SEO “experts.” Some guarantee to get you on top of Google’s results pages fast, and some write a lot about the concept but don’t practice it in real-life settings.

Before you work with an SEO specialist, do your research. Check their years of experience, ask for references, and ask about expertise in the technical, on-page, and off-page components. Also, find online reviews and read those relevant to your brand requirements. Remember, what works for a restaurant might not work for an e-commerce site.

Test, Test, and Test Again

Like other marketing efforts, you might not get the best SEO results immediately. You should learn what works best for your industry and site first. The only way to figure it out is to test all the working components of your strategy and keep doing it even after you’ve achieved your desired ranking.

Shady tactics might work for a while, but Google’s algorithm can render them useless. However, applying best practices and testing elements regularly can prepare you for the future.

Final Thoughts

Google has become the go-to of modern consumers for all product, service, and solution needs. For this reason, businesses of all sizes and industries should observe best SEO practices to achieve digital marketing success. Doing so will boost your authority for particular topics.

However, SEO is a fickle, ever-changing marketing strategy. If you don’t have an SEO professional on your side, we recommend working with specialists.

At Infintech Design, we have the experts, knowledge, and technologies to help you create a holistic approach to enhancing your online efforts. We are an award-winning New Orleans-based digital marketing agency with over 20 years of experience in SEO.

We would love to help you dominate results pages! Request a free consultation now to learn what it takes to get to Google’s top results.

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