The Basics of Search Engine Optimization (Part 1)

By Anyssa Garza, PharmD, BCMAS – Digital Pharmacist Staff

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a tool that allows website visibility to grow in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO incorporates many elements necessary to improve rankings, drive traffic to your website and increase website awareness in search engines. These elements include finding keywords that generate traffic to your website, making your site friendly to search engines, building links and marketing your site’s unique value.

SEO may seem confusing. However, this guide will help you better understand SEO.

Before diving into how to utilize SEO, let’s introduce how search engines operate. The major commercial search engines, Google, Bing and Yahoo!, drive 98% of web traffic. These search engines have two main functions:

  1. Crawling and indexing
  2. Providing a ranked list of answers

Search engines use automated robots, called crawlers, to crawl through the many, many interconnected documents available on the web. The search engines will then store, or index, select sites in huge databases until they need to be recalled for a search query. After crawling and indexing are complete, the search engine is able to return results that are useful to a searcher’s query in a list ranked according to the websites’ popularity.

As such, SEO is meant to influence both relevance and popularity. To ensure you are utilizing SEO correctly, we have compiled Do’s and Don’ts of SEO.

In order to improve your SEO and start seeing better results, follow the 5 SEO best practices listed below:

  • Include Meta tags. These are keywords that are attached to each of a website’s pages to ensure the website is easy to find online, appears in as many searches as possible and ranks higher with search engines.
  • Publish relevant content. Quality content is the top driver of search engine rankings. In order to create quality content, get to know your readers and what they are interested in, talk in their language, and keep your focus on making your customers happy.
  • Update your content regularly. In addition to quality content, content that is updated regularly is one of the best indicators of a website’s relevancy. The more content you can produce and publish, the more search queries your content can rank for.
  • Utilize internal and external links. Internal links that link back to other pages of your website and external links that link to other relevant sites. These links help to improve your search engine rankings and the ranking of the page(s) you are linking to. Creating relevant links within the text will also improve your search engine rankings. For example, instead of using “click here” links, try creating a link out of keywords or other content on your page.
  • Use multimedia in your content. Various types of multimedia, including images and video clips, may enhance user experience and result in higher search engine rankings. As long as the multimedia content is original and of high quality, increased variability in your media content is even better.

For help on optimizing your pharmacy website including improving SEO, give us a call at 877-959-7550 or email [email protected].

Stay tuned for next week’s post listing the 4 Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid.