SEO is an investment in the future of your website and can help increase traffic and sales. It stands for Search Engine Optimization, and the more optimized a website is for SEO, the more likely it will appear on the first page.
SEO aims to enhance website traffic by improving its search engine presence. Search engines like Google, Bing, Baïdu, Yandex or Yahoo use algorithms to determine which websites should appear at the top of their search results. This can be good news when trying to promote a new site or product, but can also be frustrating when little to no results are seen.
SEO is however essential for any business that wants to attract new customers online. It helps these websites rank better in SERPs so more people can find their products or services.
Search engine algorithms take hundreds of factors into account when ranking websites, including backlinks and keywords. These algorithms consider factors like how often a site is updated and how many links are pointing to it from other sites.
The SEO process is ongoing and requires constant monitoring and optimization to succeed. The good news is that it doesn't entail much work once you know the steps to take — stick with this guide, and you'll be well on your way!
SEO is integral to any marketing strategy, but what exactly is it?
What is SEO?
Most internet and social media users are familiar with SEO. You must have heard it, even if you don't know what it means. So, what is SEO?
First, we'll try to give you the best definition for SEO.
SEO sets to improve a website's visibility in a search engine's unpaid results, also called "natural," "organic," or "earned" results.
These organic search results are unpaid and organic listings that come up on the search engine's first few pages. However, the paid listings are ads ranked by how much their advertisers pay per click.
The higher a website ranks on search results, the more clicks the website will get from interested web users. SEO intends to increase traffic to the website, thereby also increasing reach, sales, leads, and other forms of revenue.
An high ranking must be earned, not paid for with the ultimate purpose of improving user experience. If someone searches Google or Bing for "best pizza near me," they want to see related sites on the top page. If you're in this niche and your target audience doesn't see your site, they'll click someone else's.
The sooner (or higher ranked) and more frequently a site appears in search results, the more visitors it will receive from search engine users. These visitors can then be converted into consumers.
SEO should not be confused with SEM (search engine marketing), which refers to paid advertisements that appear alongside or above organic results on a given search result page.
SEO encompasses the technical process of modifying web pages and website content and extending to promotion activities such as marketing, branding, and PR. However, it is not an entirely technical process; it also requires a fair amount of research and analysis for its implementation. Optimizing a site may involve:
- Editing its content.
- Adding inbound links to the site.
- Adding internal links to different pages within the website.
People can find your website from the results page (SERP) by using specific keywords related to your niche. It's not about tricking the search engines or spamming them with irrelevant content; it's about optimizing your site so that it ranks well for relevant keywords people are searching for.
The following are some factors that contribute to SEO and can affect your search engine rankings:
- Keywords (how relevant they are to what your website promotes)
- Content length and quality
- Links or backlinks
- Web design, layout, and load time (how fast your website loads)
- Authority (reputation)
This guide will explore how SEO works, how it can help your business, and what you need to know before getting started. We'll cover:
- Why You Should Care About SEO
- How SEO Works
- Getting Started With SEO
- How Search Works – Crawling, Indexing & Ranking
- The Role Of Content & Keywords In SEO
- How Links Contribute To Search Rankings
- The Impact of Social Media on Search Rankings
- Mobile Optimization
The search engine optimization process includes site structure and continues with keyword research, content creation, and link building (which will be explained in detail below).
But before you start working on your SEO strategy, it is essential to know that there are two types of SEO: On-Page SEO (which focuses on optimizing your website) and Off-Page SEO (which focuses on getting backlinks from other websites).
SEO has changed a lot in the last decade and will keep changing; you have to stay up to date with what's going on in the world of search engine optimization.
Like most of us, you've probably heard about "SEO" for years. And, like others, you may not fully understand what it is or how it impacts your business. If you're a small business owner, particularly one that relies on organic search traffic, then this guide is for you.
So, let's get started!
Why Should I Care About SEO?
A few years ago, Google was the only prominent search engine people cared about (sorry, Yahoo!). It was a simple search engine that allowed its users to find information on the web. Today, it's the world's most popular search engine and the starting point for most people's online journeys.
Hundreds of other sites can send traffic to your website — including social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And while these sites don't use traditional algorithms as Google does, they still affect how people discover new websites — which means they should be part of any marketing strategy.
SEO may target image search, local search, and industry-specific vertical search engines and it utilizes tactics that can be classified into two major categories: free (such as blogging, link building, and social media) and pricey (such as paying for advertising). But that doesn't mean you can just set up a website and expect it to attract visitors without any effort.
If you want your website to rank highly on Google, you need to understand how SEO works and how to use it properly. There are two main reasons why every business should care about SEO:
- 1) To increase visibility and brand awareness for new and existing customers.
- 2) To increase conversion rates from organic traffic by improving the user experience on website through content and technical optimization (such as adding features like autocomplete suggestions).
How Does SEO Work?
Google is one of the most popular search engines on the internet today. It's also known for providing accurate results for any query users might be interested in. Whether it's about products, services, or news - Google gives all results and information in no time!
The first step in understanding SEO is to know what it is not. SEO is not about placing your website at the top of Google or other search engines; it is a way to ensure your website appears in Google's index and is visible to target audience.
When someone performs a search on Google, they are presented with results based on relevancy and popularity. The more popular websites are displayed at the top of the page, while less popular sites appear lower down on the page or may not appear at all if they don't meet the specific criteria set by Google.
But how exactly does Google work? How does it determine what should show up on its search results page? And why do some websites appear higher than others? Several factors determine where your website will appear on Google's SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). These include:
- Content Quality
- Trustworthiness (PageRank), and
- Relevance (Domain Authority)
How To Get Started With SEO?
There are various ways a website can get started with SEO, some of which include:
- 1) Writing good content for people first rather than for search engines.
- 2) Making sure that each page of your website has unique content; duplicate content is harmful to SEO because it may indicate to Google that multiple versions of the same page exist on different domains or subdomains.
- 3) Using relevant keywords throughout website copy and ensuring they're placed naturally within sentences rather than being stuffed into headlines or titles just because they're popular keywords.
How Search Works – Crawling, Indexing & Ranking
Search engines like Google crawl the web to find new content and collect data from websites, which they then index (i.e., store) in their databases.
When a user searches for information on Google, their query is sent to the search engine – the search engine then looks at all the links in their database and matches them to the words in the user's query. This is called "indexing."
It uses its index to return results based on what the user typed into the search box. Then websites/web pages are ranked on the search engine results page (SERP), which refers to the website's position.
When a page appears in the top results for a particular keyword query, it has been deemed relevant by Google's algorithm. It may have even been explicitly optimized for that keyword phrase.
The Role Of Content & Keywords In SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) as a marketing technique uses various methods, which when combined correctly, can help a site rise higher in search engine rankings. To do this, SEO experts do things like:
- Write high-quality content
- Optimize that content for search engines by choosing the right keywords and phrases
Keywords are words and phrases entered into search engines when people look for information or products online. When someone searches for information using Google or Bing, they'll either type in keywords or select them from a list of suggested terms displayed by the search engine once they start typing out what they're looking for.
Content is an essential aspect of SEO and the more relevant and valuable your content, the higher it will rank for specific keywords. Using the right keywords and keyword phrases will help Google understand what their user is searching for and show your website in their search results.
Google wants users to find relevant information, so it prioritizes websites that produce quality content over those that don't. It looks at length, readability (the Flesch–Kincaid test), word count, keyword density, and more.
Your content should be well-researched, unique, and up-to-date. Keywords should be used appropriately to ensure that your content naturally attracts visitors looking for answers related to your niche.
Search engines are designed to rank websites based on the content they produce and how relevant that content is to the keywords that users are searching for. For example, if you wanted to find a local plumber, you would search for "plumber near me" or something similar. These keywords are what search engines use to determine which websites are most relevant and should be ranked higher than others.
Content and keywords are however not enough to optimize your site for search engines. Keep reading!
How Links Contribute To Search Rankings
Links are another vital aspect of SEO and they are an essential factor in how search engines rank websites. They tell Google whether other sites link to yours because they find it useful or interesting, so they consider that a vote of confidence in your site's quality.
The more links a website has pointing back at it, the more powerful it becomes in the eyes of search engines. This is because any time another website links back to yours, they're telling Google that your site is worth linking to and thus deserves a higher ranking than other sites without as many links.
An SEO campaign aims to build up as many relevant links as possible to increase site's rankings with Google, Bing, and other major search engines.
If sites link to you because they want to get traffic themselves, then Google won't count that as a vote of confidence, but if other sites link because they genuinely find value in your site, it helps improve your ranking.
The Impact of Social Media on Search Rankings
Social media has become essential in how Google determines which sites should rank higher than others. A large follower on Facebook, Twitter, and other networks can positively influence a website’s rankings in the SERPs.
Back in the day, it was easy to rank well on Google: Build as many links as possible, and you would be rewarded with high placement on the SERP (search engine result page). But now, things have changed a bit.
More emphasis is placed on social media signals and how they affect websites rankings in search engines. This is because social media sites are becoming more powerful than ever before. In fact, according to recent statistics from Backlinko, about 70% of the US population use social media sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
That's not just adults; many teenagers are using social media sites too! So when people require information online, they often turn first to popular social media sites like Facebook or YouTube before going anywhere else. If there isn't enough information about what they want, they then proceed to search engines.
The Mobile Optimization
Mobile optimization is another critical aspect of SEO, especially if you want to reach an audience increasingly turning to their smartphones and tablets for information.
As more people turn to mobile devices for their online research, it is vital to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile devices. Otherwise, you risk losing potential customers who might have been interested in what you had to offer but couldn't access your website because of poor mobile optimization.
In this guide, you have been exposed to an overview of what SEO is and how it works, so you can get started utilizing it for your website. However, these crucial points should be kept in mind:
The purpose of SEO is to get more traffic to your website by increasing its visibility in organic search.
The key with SEO is understanding how and why it works.
SEO includes on-page and off-page optimization.
Several factors determine a website's position on the results pages, some of which are controlled by you, and Google itself dictates others.
Technical configuration, content relevance, and link popularity will affect how well a website ranks on search engines.
An essential thing you can do to improve your SEO is have good content.
A good rule of thumb is that every website page should have at least 300 words.
Good content isn't only keywords and phrases. It's also addressing concerns and providing value.
If you don't have quality content, then it doesn't matter how well optimized your site is for search engines – it won’t rank.
If you want to rank for a keyword that has high competition, focus on creating great content and getting backlinks from sites within your niche.
When you think of search engine optimization (SEO), you might think that it's a lot of technical jargon with little to no relevance to your business. But don't let the buzzwords scare you off — SEO is a powerful tool that can help websites grow their traffic and sales.
Understanding the principles of SEO is one thing. Turning these principles into actionable, revenue-impacting steps is another. There are many factors to consider when optimizing a website for search engines. The goal is to ensure that your site ranks as high as possible in the search engines, while also providing value.