What is SEO?
SEO is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a complex series processes on the front and back ends of your website - along with marketing and content creation - that help your website be discovered by search engines.
Do we really need to explain this? Everybody uses search engines to find information on the internet - price comparisons, articles, how-to's and more. When you enter a search term, or query, the search engine uses an ever-adapting and complicated algorithm to return what they think are the most appropriate and useful results.
This is different than browsing a news site or scrolling through social media looking for information. Users are actively looking for a specific answer, which you should keep in mind when creating effective content.
The search “engines” that people use to find information are essential because they return prioritized results for users. They first use crawlers (spiders) to explore the web, then they record everything they find in databases (or indexes). When you perform a search, the engine is actually returning results from its index rather than the live internet.
The important thing to remember is that all these engines use specific criteria for returning results. They look at factors like keyword density and meta tags to understand what your pages are about. Also, they keep track of which pages have linked to your content, and they use that information (along with other factors) to determine what page has the most authority.
In order for users to find you via search, you need to show up on the first few results pages (usually the first) for their search terms. That’s why you need to optimize your content for the search engines. This doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require some attention.
If you want to rank highly in search engines, you need to make sure:
• The search engines can find you
• They know what each web page is about
• They feel your page/site has authority and credibility for the content you’re publishing
How Does SEO Work?
Ultimately, SEO is about coding your information for search engines and making it accessible or discoverable by their crawlers. Their goal is to provide the most resourceful information to visitors when they need it. In order to do that, we have to understand SEO, changes in search algorithms, publishing and how it all works conjunction with each other.
Why Does My Business Need SEO?
Many businesses believe that SEO strategies do not apply to them. Either they see it as too complicated, or they think their brick-and-mortar or small business won't see any tangible benefit from search engines. Both are untrue. SEO helps your business in many ways and is an essential tool in your marketing and outreach efforts.
Everyone Uses Search Engines
Even if a customer is frequents your business and knows your name, they are more likely to search for you rather than remember your domain. At the very least, then, you’ll want to make sure searchers can find your site when they’re looking for you.
SEO Increases Traffic
If you provide valuable information and make it easy for search engines to find and organize it, they will reward you with higher rankings. This increased exposure means more visitors to your pages.
As with most marketing, you want to get your content in front of as many eyeballs as you can. Especially when your audience wants what you have, and SEO is a great tool for targeting.
SEO Brings You Qualified Leads
Since search engines return results to users who are actively searching for a particular term or phrase, getting to the top of that stack means you’re providing information to the people who want it most, when they want it.
Unlike advertising, you aren’t trying to push information in front of people who might not be interested at the time. So, you have an active audience, and you don’t have to pay to get the message to them.
Overall, search engine optimization is one of the most effective and sustainable ways to build your online presence. Rather than seeing it as something to “fix” after you’ve created content, keep SEO top of mind from the beginning.
By following best practices at the start, you’ll create interesting, useful content that potential customers want (or need) to read. Then, the search engines will be happy to put you in front of a larger audience.