There are billions of sites that populate the web nowadays that never get looked at by anyone but the author of said page. It’s sad, isn’t it? It has become very difficult to be found in the sea of websites. Sure, social media is a possibility to get noticed, but I know of only one way to achieve this for a long period of time. This method is, of course, search engine optimization (SEO).

The reason for this fact is simple: almost everybody uses Google to search stuff and websites that rank high in the SERPs typically get a lot of traffic. But how do you even get there?

SEO is a bit of an art, and a bit of a science, and it changes a lot, so in order to stay up to date you have to constantly check the latest SEO news. The way it works always has to do with the algorithm by which search engines decide where to display a website.

You can write really good articles, but text alone won’t help you rank high. So what actually matter? First of all, a search engine uses a bot (also known as a spider or crawler) to visit web pages and read their content. This information is gathered by the search engine, but bots can also be blocked and oftentimes, WordPress has this option set from the get go! If you run on WordPress, you should make sure to check that.

How does Google know whether a particular web site is more important then some other site? Sure, content matters, but one of the main factors are links from other places that point to yours. If a newspaper posts an online article that links to your site, Google sees this as a vote that your site is important. At this point we need to distinguish between normal links and nofollow Links. The latter are links that are in common places like comments on a blog, and they do not carry much weight in terms of SEO.

Once a web site appears in Google, it needs to be relevant for particular phrases. Good examples to learn from are the websites for SEO agencies. Check out the website ranking for SEO Hamburg or the one ranking for the similar term London SEO agency. One thing I immediately notice here is that they use the same phrase in their page titles that they are ranking for – and I’m sure these phrases are the ones that are searched for the most in their respective cities.

You need to know that links should be treated carefully. You can’t just use spam or other types of low quality links to rank well in Google. The search engine is much to well programmed for that at this point and will penalize your website if it has bad links. In 2012, the first  Google Penguin update was added to the algorithm, which penalized a looot of websites, I can tell you that. Today, it is important to use much cleaner methods to build links or earn them. All links I have in this article are earned, because they show relevant sources. Not all bloggers are that generous, though!

Another important factor shall be mentioned quickly: social media! If you get a lot of likes on Facebook, Pinterest, shares on Twitter and so on, Google also sees this as a positive sign that your site has quality and should be ranked higher. This is why you should put like buttons on your website and make sure to integrate social media well.