SEO is an abbreviation that stands for “search engine optimization.” While it might sound complicated, it boils down to a simple concept: improving a website’s visibility when people search for products or services related to your business on search engines. The more visibility your web pages have on search engines, the more likely you are to gain attention from searchers and attract new customers to your business. Google is by no means the only search engine out there, but it is by far the most popular. So, when people are performing SEO on their websites, they are often focusing on Google’s rules and recommendations over any other search engine.
How Does SEO Work?
Search engines use bots (also called crawlers or spiders) that crawl web pages to collect information about them. They use the information they find during this process to index the web pages, which essentially puts them into a giant library of available websites. Then, there are algorithms that analyze the pages in the index to determine the order in which they should appear in results for any given search.
One thing that makes SEO unique is that you can’t pay search engines to get higher rankings. Search engine optimization is not the same as paid ads, which is generally the very first link you will see on a search engine results page (SERP). Everything after that result is made up of organic results from search engine optimization. The only way to see an improvement in your placement on (SERPs) is to put in the work regularly.
Why Does SEO Matter for Marketing?
In today’s world, which is driven by online searches, SEO is a fundamental part of marketing. People all over the world conduct trillions of searches every year, with over 8 billion searches happening every single day!
And a lot of time, people are looking for information on products and services when they do so. On top of that, the vast majority of users will not scroll past the first page of results. That is why increasing your visibility and improving your ranking in search results can have a serious impact on your company’s bottom line. For any given search, if your website does not show up in the first few results, it probably won’t be found by many people.
Importance of Keyword Research
Any time you talk about SEO, you also have to talk about keywords. After all, these are the main signals that tell search engines what your web pages – and your business – are about. In terms of the user, keywords are the words they use to conduct a search. These words must be included in the content for your web pages as well. Choosing the right keywords is important in helping drive traffic to your site, attracting potential customers, and improving your SEO ranking.
However, beware of a practice called keyword stuffing, which you may not even realize you are doing. This is a practice where content writers use keywords more than is natural in a webpage. They “stuff” as many different variations of their keywords as possible onto each page of their website, at the expense of grammar and understanding. A lot of these pages are nearly impossible to read since they no longer make any sense!
Remember that while keywords are an important part of an SEO campaign, they are not the only factor that will determine the success of your campaign. In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Types of SEO
Now that you know the basics of SEO as a whole, it’s important to discuss the different types of SEO. There are four common types, with each working together to improve your overall SEO. They include on-page SEO, technical SEO, off-page SEO, and local SEO.
On-page SEO is probably exactly what it sounds like. It refers to the optimization of your web pages themselves and the content on them. This includes things like URLs, keywords, written content, headers, title tags, and images. What makes this type of SEO unique is that these are actions you can take directly on your website.
When talking about off-page SEO, this refers to actions taken outside of your site that can also contribute to search engine rankings. These actions can include things like:
- Social media marketing
- Managing customer reviews
- Influencer marketing
Unlike on-page SEO, website owners might not have a direct influence on these efforts. However, they are just as important. Off-page SEO and a good online reputation show search engines that your website is trustworthy and reliable.
If you think of your website like a play, everything that goes on backstage would be the technical SEO. Without these activities, the show wouldn’t be able to go on.
Some of the activities that are considered technical SEO are:
- Website architecture
- Page loading speed
Finally, local SEO is a type of SEO that focuses on building your local search presence. This refers to the searches of people in your geographic area who may be looking for your products or services. Often, a local SEO strategy involves a mix of both on-page and off-page SEO strategies. However, it largely focuses on Google My Business profiles and local citations.
SEO is Long-Term Process, Not a Quick Fix
One of the most important things to remember about SEO is that it is a long-term process. Rarely will you see dramatic results right away. Instead, you will see results growing over the course of several months or a year.