Search engine optimization (SEO) is a valuable, long-term approach to directing organic traffic to your website. By understanding what search engines – like Google, Bing, and Yahoo – use to rank websites, you can better identify ways of improving your position in the search results page and drive additional traffic to your site at no additional cost. Mastering the art of SEO will take time, but understanding the basic concepts will at least point you in the right direction.

There are a lot of technical elements involved in SEO; but, the simplest way to understand how SEO works is by putting yourself in the search engine’s figurative shoes.

What Search Engines Want

Search engines, much like any other business, want to provide a reliable service that users will trust and return to for their future needs. The satisfaction of the user is of paramount importance, as an unsatisfied user will ultimately reach out to a competitor. Therefore, to improve the user experience and retain customers, search engines continue to modify their search algorithms to favor websites that provide more relevant content, user-friendly interfaces, and mobile-optimized designs.

Relevance

The more relevant your site’s content is to the user’s search query, the more likely you are to appear on the front page of the search results page. Misleading content and titles do not fare well on modern search engines; in fact, they are quite detrimental to your website’s domain authority – so avoid publishing misleading content at all costs.

User-Friendliness

The more user-friendly your site is, the more likely you are to get users to engage with it, all else being equal. Search engines favor sites that improve the user experience and increase user engagement; good user engagement signals the user’s genuine interest in the site and validates its appearance on the search results page. Most users do not have the patience to maneuver through user-unfriendly websites and search engines have taken notice.

Mobile Optimization

The more mobile-friendly your site is, the more likely you are to receive favorable placement in mobile search results. More than half of all search inquiries are now done on mobile devices and tablets, so it is imperative that your website is highly responsive and optimized for mobile. Search engines have observed this mobile trend and continue to make changes to feature sites that conform to mobile-friendliness standards.

Why Change Is Absolutely Necessary

As mentioned earlier, search engines continuously modify their algorithms to meet the changing needs of their users, and it is more important than ever that you keep up with these changes. It is easy to get complacent when you are driving enough traffic, but failing to keep up can put your website at a significant disadvantage. With SEO, you should never be satisfied with the status quo – always look for areas of improvement.

It is important that you couple your basic understanding of SEO concepts with the actual integration of SEO tactics and strategies; this involves the implementation of on-site and off-site SEO, along with proper keyword research and content creation.

Consult your SEO expert to see if you are driving as much organic traffic as possible.

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Published: December 28, 2016