WHAT IS SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. The goal of search engine optimisation (SEO) is to rank a website the highest on a search engine in the unpaid section, also known as the organic listings.
Explained another way.
SEO is the process of optimising the content of your website, so that a search engine, like Google, is more likely to show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword.
Explained another way.
When it comes to SEO, there is the search engine, Google and the searcher, you, on a computer. If you are looking for a car mechanic in your local area, you want Google (the search engine) to show the top results of any business websites that are relevant to your keyword or keyphrase typed in Google for that business.
Therefore, when building your website, you will need to ensure that this keyphrase is strategically placed within the content of your website, for Google to match your site to the relevant searcher.
A search engine is a program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to keywords specified by the searcher. Search engines are answer machines. They scour billions of pieces of content and evaluate thousands of factors to determine which content is most likely to answer the searcher’s query.
Search engines do all of this by discovering and cataloguing all available content on the Internet (web pages, PDFs, images, videos, etc.) via a process known as crawling and indexing then order it by how well it matches the query in a process, known as ranking.
WHY SEO IS SO IMPORTANT?
While paid advertising Search Engine Marketing (SEM), social media, blogs and other online platforms can generate traffic to websites, the majority of online traffic is driven by search engines like Google.
Organic search results cover more digital real estate, appear more credible to savvy searchers, and receive way more clicks than paid advertisements.
SEO is also one of the only online marketing channels that, when set up correctly, can continue to pay dividends to your website over time. If you provide a solid piece of content that deserves to rank for the right keywords, your traffic can snowball over time, whereas advertising needs continuous funding to send traffic to your site.
Optimizing your website will help deliver relevant information to search engines so that your content can be properly indexed and displayed within search results.
THE 4 MAIN CATEGORIES OF SEO
SEO is the practice of continually optimizing your website in order to rank in the organic, non-paid search engine result pages.
Google uses 200+ ranking signals in their algorithm. That said, SEO can be divided into four main subcategories: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO and user interaction signals.
On-Page SEO: This is where you optimize your website around keywords that your target customer searches for search engines such as Google.
Off-Page SEO: Off-page SEO is all about getting trust and authority signals from other websites. This mainly involves building high-quality backlinks to your website. But Google may also use other off-page signals to size up your site’s authority, like E-A-T and social media sharing.
Technical SEO: Here’s where you make sure that search engines, like Google, can crawl and index all of the pages on your website. Technical SEO also includes things like making sure your pages load quickly and that your websites site architecture is set up correctly.
User Interaction Signals: The way that users interact with your website helps Google figure out if your page is a good match for someone’s search. For example, if your page has a high bounce rate, that could be a sign that your page isn’t giving someone the answer to their query. And if Google considers your page a bad fit for that keyword, they can drop your rankings down a little bit. Or completely off of the first page altogether.
BENEFITS OF SEO
SEO has major benefits for websites and can lead to long-term exponential growth. Brands that invest in SEO can build credibility and trust with audiences, making it a pivotal part of a digital marketing strategy. Here are just some benefits to implementing SEO in your website.
SEO Boosts Your Credibility
A site that ranks high on search engine results pages is typically considered high-quality and trustworthy by search engines, and this, in turn, boosts the credibility of your business. Spend time improving and adding content to your site, increasing your site speed and researching keywords to help your site rank even higher.
SEO Gives Your Website A Competitive Advantage
Your competitors will likely be investing in SEO, which means you should too. Those who invest heavily in SEO often outrank the competition in search engine results and gain market share. If you consider that results on the first page of a Google search get over 90% of traffic, you cannot afford not to be there, especially if your competitors are. Start by identifying your competitors, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, and creating and managing your online reputation. Then, ensure that your site loads fast and is mobile-friendly, make the best content possible, and focus on providing the best user experience.
SEO Helps You Reach More People
While many marketing campaigns tend to focus on a defined target audience, SEO can help you attract anyone with intent at a given point in time, no matter what stage of the buying funnel they are in. If you target keywords rather than demographics as you might with PPC or social advertising, you can attract more prospects who may be interested in doing business with you.
Create a list of keywords you would like to rank for. Then, use keyword research tools to expand it. Finally, use competitive research to refine your list by identifying who your competitors are, what keywords they are ranking for and where they have backlinks, and use this information to create a better SEO strategy.
SEO Helps You Rank Better In Local Searches
Local searches such as “plumbers near me” are increasing with nealry 80% of local searches on mobile lead to conversions. Local SEO strategies can help you attract these searchers who are often ready to buy. The first step to getting started with local SEO strategies is creating a Google My Business account. Then, start requesting reviews from your clients. Optimize your listings by ensuring that you have the correct name, address and phone number. Also be sure to optimize your listing for voice search, which means writing rich, compelling content in a conversational tone that answers most common queries and provides solutions to searchers’ problems. Some other steps include carefully considering your local keywords and creating listings in local business directories.
SEO Improves Website Usability
SEO is about making your site search engine-friendly, but it also can improve the experience a customer has when visiting your website. If you put the work in to generate useful and high-quality content, make your site faster and more responsive, add backlinks and enhance every page, you typically get an excellent website in addition to one that’s optimized for search engines. Factors that improve usability include a robust site structure and navigation, both of which are factors in how search engines rank a site.
Allows Your Website To Get Quantifiable Results
With SEO, you can track changes in rankings, conversions and website traffic. Platforms like Google Analytics provide a comprehensive suite of information, allowing you to drill down to an incredibly granular level. For example, you can see every website user’s buying journey — including the pages they engaged with, the keywords they used to search and whether they completed specific actions. You can use these insights to adjust and improve your SEO strategy.
SEO Improves User Engagement Rates
An optimized site brings in quality traffic. If you have a site with useful content that matches the searcher’s intent, they will likely spend more time browsing, which ultimately can lead to more conversions and increased ROI. Customers who engage longer with a website tend to connect to the brand more — this can lead to customer advocacy and long-term revenue. To improve your user engagement rate, use one of the many online tools to audit your site, and then optimize things like your title and meta tags. Also, ensure that you’re providing a safe and mobile-friendly website.