You’ve heard the phrase ‘SEO’ being thrown around at marketing meetings, you’ve seen it online, and you have an inkling that it might be important for your business’s success, the only problem is that you don’t know what it is!
You have heard how useful SEO can be and how it has become an integral part of many marketing companies. You know that it is linked to the internet in some way and blogs and websites, but you just aren’t sure how the whole process works.
Don’t panic, all will be revealed below. All that you should know for now is that SEO is something that everything business, big or small needs to take advantage of and utilise. Otherwise, their chances of success will drop significantly.
What Does SEO Stand For & Mean?
Let’s start by talking about what SEO actually is. Believe it or not, it is simpler than you might think. The term ‘SEO’ stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This is the activity that is used in marketing to improve search engine visibility.
You see, major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, rank websites and their pages, taking into account what the search engine deems is more relevant to the user’s search query in the search bar.
SEO is not a paid form of advertising, it is an organic form of marketing that not only increases the quantity but also the quality of the traffic that visits your website, by only showing your website to users who will find it relevant.
What goes into SEO?
To properly understand what SEO is and how it works, it is important to break it down. The fact is that SEO is somewhat complex, which is why breaking it down into smaller sections could be beneficial and could help to make the process of understanding this form of marketing simpler. There are various ins and outs to SEO, which is what makes it all the more confusing. However, when broken down and explained step by step, it should be easier to understand what SEO is and how it can work well for businesses and blogs alike.
SEO offers quality website visitors. The fact is that it doesn’t matter if your website gets two million visitors a day, if those visitors aren’t looking for the products or services that you sell. You want your website to attract relevant visitors who will make a purchase from your website or share your website’s blog content with others. The way to attract users that are genuinely interested in what your business offers is with SEO and the use of relevant keywords.
Then there is the quantity of traffic. Once you have effective SEO in place and are attracting the right people to your brand, this will also help to increase the quantity of the traffic and will increase your business’s success.
There are also organic results to think about. Paid adverts make up a huge proportion of search engine results pages (SERPs). However, organic traffic (unpaid for traffic) is often more effective, which is the type of traffic that SEO creates. As a rule of thumb, when paid searches are in place, they tend to be positioned at the very top of a search engine or to the right, down the side of the page. These results look different to the other results in your search engine and are often marked with a star or exclamation mark to indicate that they are paid for and not an organic result.
How does SEO work?
A lot of people think of search engines as giant websites where you can type a search phrase into the search bar and be directed to a list of other relevant websites. While that is partially true, it is not the whole story. There is more to SEO and how it works, than this. That is why taking the time to learn as much about search engine optimisation as possible is so crucial, as that way you can gain a better insight into what exactly it is and how it works.
The fact is that there is something behind the list of links that comes up when you type a phrase or word into a search bar. The search engine that you are using, be it Google, Bing, or Yahoo, has a ‘crawler’ that is sent out to search the internet for any relevant content that links to your search term or phrase. These crawlers gather any information found and bring it back to your search engine, it is then fed through an algorithm that matches anything relevant to your query, and it then shows up as a list of links, ranked in order of relevance.
There is a lot of information that goes into a search engine algorithm. This includes domain level, keyword agnostic features, social metrics, user, usage and traffic query, domain level brand features, and page-level, keyword agnostic features.
The fact is that SEO can take many forms, it goes from keyword and key phrases to the use of meta descriptions and meta tags on the CMS of websites. It’s a somewhat complex form of marketing and one that can take a while to properly understand. However, with the right training, it should not be too difficult to pick up the basic principles of the process.
The link between SEO & Google
Google is just one example of various search engines. However, seeing as Google is one of the most popular and most used search engines, it is the ideal example to give. When your website and blog has great content on it that uses SEO, this shows Google that your pages are interesting and relevant. This leads to success, as Google (and other search engines) want to show pages that are interesting and authorative in their search results.
Google chooses pages to promote as authority pages on its search engines. So if you want your pages to become authority pages, utilising SEO is vital. It is also crucial that you create content that is useful and shareable, because content that is shared on social media channels and linked to on other blogs is picked up by Google and noted as being authorative. This creates strong Google rankings for your website and blog. Google notes that SEO is simply a form of ‘quality control’ for websites, and they couldn’t be more right.
Linking is an essential part of effective SEO. However, what it is important to realise is that it is about quality and not quantity. To help boost your Google rank, your website or blog needs other authorative sites to link to it in their content. This is known as natural link placement, as a pose to paid or sponsored link placement. This form of linking will help to boost your SEO the most. In order for your content to be linked to, it must be well-written, interesting and highly shareable. After all, why would anyone link to something that isn’t interesting?
What should you know about SEO?
One thing to know about SEO is that it is not just useful for after your website has been built or for creating blog content. SEO can be used when building your site – it can be integrated into the structure of your website. For instance, by choosing an SEO friendly domain name, you can help to get your website off to a positive start.
When it comes to producing SEO friendly copy, there is a lot that you need to know. It’s not just a case of writing a blog post and dropping in a few keywords, there is a lot more to it than that. When creating SEO friendly content, taking the time to do keyword research is vital, as is making sure that you are not accidentally keyword stuffing your content. When content is stuffed with keywords, this can have a negative impact on the piece of content and can lead to the post and the website being penalised by Google, or other search engines.
Another vital part of SEO is link building. As part of content creation that is SEO friendly, link building is used. This is where relevant links are naturally integrated into content to look organic, when actually they have been strategically placed within the content to impact its search engine visibility. There’s a minefield of information to navigate when it comes to link building, which is why it can be worth calling in an expert to deal with this area of SEO for you.
Above is a guide to all of the ins and outs of basic SEO, however that is not all there is to learn. SEO also comes with a range of advanced topics as well as some more basic ones. There is traffic conversion to consider, as well as local and international SEO to consider. While you may not be ready to start your own SEO agency just yet, hopefully the guide above has given you a useful insight into what SEO is and how it works and can be beneficial for businesses of all shapes and sizes.