A few weeks ago I led a class at Lipscomb University on the basics of SEO. The students spend most of the semester learning HTML, CSS and other skills needed to build a website, so now they’re tackling the question of how to actually get visitors to their sites.
I broke down on-page SEO into its most basic elements, and that’s something I’d like to share with Parthenon readers. Before I get into the ‘how’ of SEO, though, I want to start with the ‘why.’
Why is SEO important?
In order to understand SEO, you have to answer to a simple question: How do people find websites?
It’s search. It’s Google.
And it’s all about the numbers:
- There were more than 100,000,000,000 searches performed every month in 2013 on Google alone
- That’s more than 3 billion searches every day
- And those searches are performed by more than 91% of adults on the web
As more webpages are created, competition for people’s attention gets stiffer. Simply put, if you’re not coming up in search, you’re not going to be found.
And if you’re not on the first page, most searchers won’t see you.
Chitika Insights estimates that:
- Sites on the first page of Google results generate 92% of all clicks
- The first result on page one receives 33% of clicks
- That means 1/3 of the time, people won’t click anything except the top result
And how do you get to the top? Good SEO.
How do you improve SEO?
Now that you’re sold on the importance of search, we can get to the good stuff: How to improve your search rank.
Search Metrics released an excellent report on top Google rank factors for 2013. They looked at common elements on pages that rank well against those that don’t. It’s a massive list (below), so they’ve broken it down into three key on-page categories:
- On-page technical items
- On-page content
- Social media
The lesson for today: SEO is not something that magically happens with coding. Technical items need a writer’s input; the content elements should have a developer’s input; everyone needs to be thinking socially.
I’ll be writing a post on each of these areas in the coming weeks, but they’ll all carry a similar theme – everyone on your communications team must understand SEO.
Start with sharing this post on the why and check back here for the next steps.