What is SEO?
According to Moz “SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is a set of practices designed to improve the appearance and positioning of web pages in organic search results. Because organic search is the most prominent way for people to discover and access online content, a good SEO strategy is essential for improving the quality and quantity of traffic to your website.”
How Do Search Engines Work?
Search engines, like Google and BING, are answer machines. They exist to discover, understand, and organize the internet’s content to offer the most relevant results to the questions searchers are asking. Here are three critical concepts to grasp when understanding how search engines work:
Think of a search engine like a team of spiders crawling through the worldwide web. Once the spider finds a link, it shuffles through the page’s code to understand what’s on it. It then goes down as many paths as possible based on other links coming off that page.
Think of the index as a Yellow Pages or Encyclopedia; the index, or archive, stores and organizes the content found during the crawling process. Once a page is in the index, it’s in the running to be displayed to relevant queries.
Rank refers to where in the search results your page lands; you provide the pieces of content that will best answer a searcher’s query, which means that results are ordered from most relevant to least relevant. To decide where your page will land, Google applies algorithms to determine the most relevant results. There are over 200+ ranking factors, including site speed, keyword frequency, and domain authority.
What is On-Site SEO, And How Do I Do It?
The first thing you should do when you start optimizing your site is, establish how you’re going to track your progress. One great tool to track your performance is Google Analytics; with this tool, you can get granular with looking at trends, such as where your traffic is coming from. Another great tool is Google Search Console; this tool tracks how your efforts are panning out by showing how your page ranks for different queries. Both of the tools mentioned earlier are free. However, some paid tools can help you hone in on specific keywords and, in general, give you more in-depth insights.
After you’ve established how you’re going to track your SEO performance, your next step will be keyword research. A great place to start your keyword research is looking at the “Related Searches” section; this section will give some ideas of what people are searching for with your topic. Moz and SEMRush are also great tools to get a bit more granular in your search. Lastly, you can ask your reservationist or concierge what people ask for if you are still looking for new content.
Now that you’ve done some research, you can start implementing SEO on your page. Here are some elements that are key to optimizing your page:
Basically, in the SEO sense, metadata is a series of tags that search engines read to find out what is on the page, and in our cases, the hierarchy of what’s important.
Page Titles – Title tags should be 60 characters or less, or they will become truncated in search results. Also, it is critical to include your top priority keyword and your site name in your title tag. Don’t overuse keywords, though; you wouldn’t want to do something like this: “Seabrook, WA, Seabrook, Washington, Seabrook Washington Coast.” Google considers this keyword stuffing and can get your site penalized.
Meta description – The meta description tag in HTML is the 160 character snippet used to summarize a page’s content. Search engines sometimes use these snippets in search results to let visitors know what a page is about before clicking on it. The key: think less about SEO and more about getting search users to click through to your site.
H1 – The h1 is an HTML tag that indicates a heading on a website.
Tag – An HTML tag is a snippet of code that tells your web browser how to display the content. Heading — HTML has six different heading tags — h1, h2, and so on. The h1 is considered the most important tag, and the h6 is the least important.
The body content is where you want to include high-quality content (generally 300+ words) with a couple of inclusions of your top priority keyword.
Image Alt Tags
You’ve probably noticed “alt tags” on image files windows when uploading a new file or adding media to a page; this allows search engines and people who are visually impaired to understand the images on your page. It is important to write descriptive alt tags specific to what’s happening in the image and include terms relevant to your business, such as location.
Implementing Off-Page SEO
We recommend making sure you have good site speed; one of the best things you can do to accomplish this is resizing your images to be smaller. The next thing critical to a good off-page SEO strategy is having an up-to-date sitemap; we recommend using Screaming Frog. Backlinking is also important to your off-page SEO strategy; backlinking increases your domain authority by linking you to another page (hopefully) with higher domain authority. Lastly, we have Google My Business (GMB); GMB is a place where you (or your guests) can post reviews, photos, events, and offers that will show up when someone searches either for you or sometimes when they search for your destination.
In conclusion, SEO is not something you do once. The algorithm is being updated every couple of months and, in some cases, weeks. Stagnate websites with few updates, changes, or improvements will fall behind in rankings to competitors who regularly work on their sites. If you have questions about this article or need help implementing any of these tactics, feel free to reach out to us here.