If you have somehow stumbled across this article, then there is a very likely chance that you entered a query into a search engine.
To be specific, you keyed in the phrases “What is SEO?” Or “What does SEO mean?”
Well, let us waste no time and get to that.
WHAT IS SEO?
Simply said, SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” To the uninitiated, this means improving your online visibility in organic search results to increase the quantity and quality of your online website traffic. Overall, SEO forms an integral part of online marketing endeavors to generate revenue and foster growth for the company through online visibility.
Online visibility is paramount to your digital marketing campaign, as the more visible you are in search results, the more likely you are to garner attention. As a result, you are more likely to attract existing and prospective customers to your business, eventually leading to conversions.
HOW DOES SEO WORK?
The pages picked by search engines such as Google or Bing to address your query are not arbitrary. Just as you have entered a query for SEO in the search bar, this page was not randomly picked out, hoping that it would answer your query. To address queries, search engines use complex algorithms and bots to crawl pages on the web, which goes from site to site. These bots collect all the information they can on a website and put them in an index. Then, the complex algorithms come into play by analyzing the data it has collected in the index. The algorithms would then consider ranking factors or signals to determine a web page’s position in the search results. Similarly, this algorithm is used to determine the order of pages displayed in the search results for a particular query.
WHAT MAKES SEO SO IMPORTANT?
If you take into account the sheer number of searches conducted every day, you would understand what makes SEO so important and relevant. SEO is a pivotal and fundamental aspect of digital marketing because people run trillions of searches every year. A marketer would see the potential in that, considering that most of these searches are laced with commercial intent to search for information about various products and services. A significant chunk of digital traffic is made up of search queries. If you are a smart and savvy marketer, you would know that this can complement other marketing channels.
That said, better visibility and higher ranking in search results can level the competition. More importantly, it can have a significant and material impact on your goals.
WHY DO SEARCH ENGINES THINK SEO IS IMPORTANT?
A common question among search engine users is, “Why search engines do care about SEO?”. After all, you are using their services without paying them, so why should they care if you are using a particular search engine in lieu of another? Well, you may not be paying them, but someone else is. Search engines make their money through their advertising, which also forms part of SEO. What you see after you key in a search entry on the search engine results page (SERP for brevity). This page is filled with organic results and “pay-per-click ads” (PPC for brevity). Basically, organic results are those that are influenced by SEO while the PPC ads are paid for.
Keep in mind that you cannot pay search engines to occupy a particular position in organic search results. However, the ads that you see appear on the page are how they make their money. That said, search engines aim to deliver only the best and most relevant results to you. The better the results, the more likely you are to use that search engine again. And if they had more people using a particular search engine, the more ads they can show, which means more revenue for them.
NEED-TO-KNOW FACTS ABOUT SEO
Now that we have covered SEO’s definition and importance, we move to the next part of our discussion. In this part of the article, we discuss all the facts a marketer should know about this particular digital marketing strategy.
1.) 75% of SEO IS OFF-PAGE, and 25% IS ON-PAGE
If you wish to improve your SEO, you can do so by focusing on these two pivotal elements: making content relevant for the word people are searching for and attracting links. Both key elements are known as on-page (your website) and off-page (on someone else’s website) strategies. Making your content relevant to the words you are hoping to rank for is paramount. However, if you wish to get anywhere, you need to complement it by creating content other websites would want to link to. Search engines view these links as “votes,” which tells search engines that your website is valuable for people looking for answers.
2.) PAGE TITLES ARE AN IMPORTANT ON-PAGE ELEMENT
While many may focus their time and energy on creating unique, riveting, and valuable content, page titles should not be overlooked. After content, page titles are the most important on-page element. That said, it is imperative to have a targeted page title. The page title is located at the very top of your browser on the tab. It is also what shows up on Google when people search. Apart from editing the page title, it is also essential to include the keywords you want to rank for in the H1 text, alt tags, and paragraph text on the page.
3.) META DESCRIPTIONS SHOULD BE PERSUASIVE AND UNDER 155 CHARACTERS
Meta descriptions offer a brief preview of what a user can expect from your page. It shows up underneath a link on search engines. For a successful click-through, your meta description should be compelling and concise—just under 155 characters. Remember that even if meta descriptions do not influence your rank in search results, a tempting meta description will increase clicks. That said, you should put more effort into crafting unique meta descriptions that entice users to click through.
4.) SEO INCLUDES BLACK AND WHITE HAT TACTICS
A company may choose to employ black or white hat tactics. From the names themselves, white hat tactics are approved by search engines while black hat tactics are sanctioned. Black hat tactics, while effective temporarily, can hurt rather than help your SEO strategy. Apart from that, they also damage your online reputation and cause extensive and long-term damage to your website’s ranking capabilities. Examples of black hat tactics include:
a.) Keyword stuffing
b.) Hidden text
c.) Buying links from websites such as link farms
On the other hand, white-hat tactics allow your business website to rank in relevant search results. White hat tactics adhere to SEO best practices, enabling search engines to reward you with that much-needed visibility in search results. Examples of white-hat tactics are the following:
a.) Creating quality, readable, and information-rich content
b.) Regularly updating websites with fresh content
c.) Improving speed and page load time of a website
d.) Creating shareable and quality content that can earn links from other reputable websites
e.) Maintaining a website’s functionality and usability
Businesses and companies employing white hat tactics are typically rewarded by search engines, while those that use black hat strategies are penalized. As Google has more than ninety percent of the search market share, you need to adhere to white tactics or run the risk of having your website banned from Google or other search engines.
5.) THE TOP 5 RESULTS GET 75% OF THE CLICKS
As a marketer, your endeavor should be to rank first on search pages, but ranking in any position at the top 5 search results is already a good start. A well-known fact among SEO specialists is that the top five results 75.7% of the clicks. With that said, you may want to steer your efforts and focus on a few valuable keywords, and build content around those terms. You do not want to spread yourself too thin, or you will end up being a jack of all trades but master of none.
If you wish to get your business anywhere and reach your goals, SEO can be of beneficial help to you. While you can manage SEO in-house, it can be quite a challenge—especially for small to midsized companies. With that said, choose an SEO company that can provide your business with everything it can potentially need when it comes to SEO. Apart from developing a strategy, these companies can audit your website, optimize it and measure your results. Additionally, they have access to the technology and tools that would provide in-depth reports to you, which would prove beneficial in decision making. All that considered, choose a reputable and trusted SEO company that would help you reach your endeavors and business goals.