If you aren’t caught up on online trends with marketing, then you may be wondering exactly what SEO rankings are and why they’re even important. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is a practice of strategies and techniques used to increase visitors to a website. It is done by obtaining a higher ranking placement in the results page of a search engine, such as Google or Bing. Why is SEO ranking important? Think about your typical user habits when you use a search engine. Most users won’t be clicking through several pages of results to find what they are searching for. They will most likely click one of the very first links, or at least something that appears on the first page of results. Users trust search engines and the results they provide. Moving away from just using search engines, having good SEO ranking practices typically provides for a better user experience and usability of a website. The practice is also a good tool for the social promotion of your website. People who can find your website through traditional means, like Google, are more likely to share your website on their various social media platforms. There is nothing but good that can come from having good SEO rankings–so why not start these practices today?

1. There is so much more to SEO rankings than keyword density.

Yes, keywords are important when it comes to SEO ranking. But there needs to be more to your approach or strategy than just creating a backlog of irrelevant keywords. Google changed their algorithm back in 2013, that changed the way people had to look at SEO rankings. Google can interpret natural language, to the point where keywords and phrases in your text don’t necessarily matter. And when you do choose to add keywords, they need to come with a higher relevance or be more subtle. Keywords and phrases need to be included in excellent style content that people actually want to read.

Many people think that stuffing your website full of a bunch of keywords will instantly land you a top ranking in search engine results. On some sites, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and see a paragraph or a lot of keywords or random links. It’s an old and outdated technique, and one that search engines don’t take kindly to anymore. It can actually do more harm than good, in the long run.

2. Images and videos play a huge role in SEO rankings

An all-encompassing SEO strategy is one that will incorporate images and videos. Right now, these are the most popular and fastest growing form of online content, especially on mobile devices. The majority of search engines allow you to search specifically for videos or images, or even display them next to text only results. By including images and videos in your SEO strategy, search engines will be able to more easily identify your content as relevant and rank it higher in the search results. In the end, you will have more visitors coming to your website.

If you want to use videos and images in your SEO, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. For images, minimize file sizes and loading times. Page load times can directly impact your SEO rankings because they affect the user experience and usefulness of your website. If you plan on using images, consider Pinterest. In terms of accuracy and utility, it currently rivals Google’s image search. That’s because Pinterest users tag and add descriptions to images they share, bringing in more accurate and relevant results. When it comes to video, the hosting site is probably the most important deciding factor. For example, Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world, and the video will always link back to your website.

3. Optimize Meta Data & Images

Metadata is data that describes other data. It’s used to describe individual pages on a website, allowing search engines to understand what each page portrays, in turn being able to rank its relevance in search results. When it comes to metadata, there are a couple key components to keep in mind. First, be aware of word limits. When it comes to page titles, it should be under 65 characters in length and lead with the most important keyword. The page description should be between 150-170 characters. Do not use the same keyword more than once. If you go over this word count, your copy will not be shown in the search engine results. Conduct keyword research, such as with Google’s Keyword Planner, to understand what terms your site should be optimized for.

As mentioned earlier, when your optimize images, you always want to have quick load times, so as not to impeded user experience. Make sure that the image you are using is relevant to the text. An image can add to the experience by being a chart, diagram, or graph. Otherwise, the image should emphasize the title or subject of the post.

4. Links should be earned, not paid for.

In SEO there are two types of links: earned links and paid links. Paid links are paid for by the webmaster, but do not include directories or marketing banner ads. A lot of search engines, such as Google, tend not to favor paid for links. Sometimes they will even penalize sites that have bought these links. Google uses links to determine the reputation of your website. If you are trying to up your ranks in search engines, avoid paid for links.

Earned links are regarded as more reputable than links that are paid for. If your website has earned links, then it shows that it is of some importance. Earned links on your site will accumulate over time with little effort made from the webmaster’s side. Earned links that are placed on your website should be from websites similar to your site in terms of industry, service and/or product. If you are attempting to sell homemade peanut butter, you shouldn’t have links from a website trying to sell Grand Canyon tours. These links must also contain relevant keywords in order to get higher ranking positions for your site–another reason why links should be relevant to your industry.

5. Content is king.

Gone are the days where you only SEO strategy was pumping your website full of keywords. Now, content is the king of SEO strategies. A website’s content, even more than it’s products, is what attracts visitors. If you can’t write good content, then it’s important that you find someone who can. There are two different approaches that people tend to take when it comes to content, though typically a blend of the two is the best strategy. There is the quality content approach, which is writing well-written content that is rich with relevant keywords, free of typos, and informative, and interesting. Visitors should feel like they’ve gained something by reading your content. There is also the quantity approach, which is writing content frequently, with new content updated regularly. If your website’s content never changes, a visitor will not feel the need to ever return.

To read more about SEO and how it can help click here. If you need help from an expert to improve your SEO rankings, click here.