Company websites are essential tools used to attract consumers, answer questions, and facilitate sales. Research has established over 90% of potential consumers investigate merchandise and read product reviews before making a purchase. Companies without effective websites miss the opportunity to control the narrative about their business and products. Companies that do not provide critical information to consumers online can lose sales.

In order to capitalize on your website’s ability to reach consumers, your website must be optimized for search engines. This will increase your site’s ranking to ensure it is listed on the first page of results for relevant searches. Your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) ranking will not only boost its search engine score but ensure your site content is optimized for your target audience.

The Definition of SEO

Search engine optimization means having content designed to raise your site’s profile and generate a higher volume of traffic. It refers to tailoring the content on your site to include keywords and phrases commonly used in relevant searches. For example, a pet supply company may not be concerned about searches for comic books but would want to be optimized to rank high on searches for pet food and pet supplies.

SEO is a critical part of a company’s digital marketing plan. Sites with strong SEO scores are able to generate higher volumes of traffic and reach wider audiences without spending money on advertisements and paid link placements.

How SEO Works

SEO scores are determined by each web browser. Web browsers send out crawlers that travel from page to page and index critical data about each page they visit. They travel via links. This is why it is important for websites to link to other content online; those links create access channels crawlers can use to locate your site. Links to sites with higher rankings are more valuable because they have the ability to send more traffic and are considered authoritative sources.

Crawlers index each page they visit. Critical information about the page contents and keywords found on the page is recorded. This data includes the use of keywords and phrases. Crawlers also rank the user experience a site provides. If a site is hard to navigate it will receive a lower score than a site with a user-friendly navigation system. Crawlers prioritize storing data for sites they determine should be included in their browser’s search results.

Each page will be graded for its relevance to search terms. The higher your site’s score, the higher your site will place on the search engine results page (SERP) when an individual performs a search on that browser. Sites that place on the first page of SERP results receive 71% of clicks from users, while the second page of search results account for just 6% of consumer clicks. This means a company on the first page of results will typically receive 12 times the volume of traffic a company listed on the second page of results receives.

Increasing SEO

A clear understanding of SEO and how it works demonstrates the importance of having a website containing relevant keywords and search terms. A strong ranking yields better organic results because your site will be listed due to its relevance and accessibility, not because you invested in paid advertising.

You can use SERP Theory to expand your understanding of how search engine crawlers work and how to customize your site to receive favorable scores from crawlers. This can help you assess your website to determine the reasons your site may not rank as highly as others. Reasons can include a lack of external links from reputable sites to your website.

Website tools can help you identify content that may be flagged by web browsers. These include broken links and 404 errors. You can also focus on effective ways to expand your site content. This includes featuring instructional videos relevant to your business. One way to increase the volume of external links to your site is by contributing guest blogs to other sites online. Links via your blog content and biographical information can be used to drive traffic and increase the number of crawlers accessing your site.