The Business Owner's Guide To SEO
Simply put, Search Engine Optimization is a process by which websites and content are created and enhanced in a way that makes finding them in search engines like Google easier. Sometimes abbreviated to SEO, is a method that helps websites increase the quality and quantity of their traffic to generate more leads, make more sales or earn more advertising dollars.
The Basics Of SEO
To fully understand SEO, let’s start by breaking down the absolute basics.
You can attract thousands of people from around the globe to your website, but if your goal is to drive a profitable action, then you can’t attract just anyone. Quality traffic is about attracting people from your target audience at the right stage of the buying journey.
The higher you rank on a Search Engine Results Page, sometimes abbreviated to SERP, the more people will land on your website. A study found that 60 percent of traffic for a given search term goes to the top three results. Furthermore, an astonishing 95% of users never click past that 1st results page. Turns out, the best place to hide from customers is on page 2 of Google.
On a Search Engine results page, organic results are those that appear beneath the Paid Ads. Unlike paid ads, organic results can’t be bought. Instead are earned by the quality of your content and website. Unsurprisingly, organic results are more trusted by internet searchers. One study showed that 70 to 80 percent of people actually ignore paid search ads, seeking out organic results first instead.
What Elements Make SEO Work?
Unlike many people believe, SEO is a lot more complicated than simply conducting keyword research and jamming them into your content as many times as possible. SEO rankings are dependent on hundreds of factors that fall into two main categories:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
What is On-page SEO?
On-page SEO, sometimes called on-site SEO, is used to optimize features and content on your website.
On-Page SO is just a fancy way of saying everything that happens on your website:
- What search engines see: HTML tags and organized data
- What people see: text, images, video, and audio
- How fast your pages load.
- How easy your website is to navigate.
- How effective your URLs are.
- How much your code tells search engines about your website.
Ultimate Goal of On-Page SEO
In addition to helping search engines understand page information, proper on-site SEO lets people have a better experience. In general, successful on-page SEO helps examine what a user sees and the value they receive. On-site SEO's primary objective is to make things as simple as possible for all search engines and visitors to:
- Understand what a web page is about
- How the webpage relates to a user’s search
- How useful that page is
- How trustworthy that page is
- How it should be organized in search engine rankings
"Off-page SEO," sometimes called "off-site SEO," relates to the steps practiced outside your website to influence the ranking on search engine results pages. This is just a fancy way of saying content related to your site, but not on it.
- When other sources mention your site, Google finds you more trustworthy.
- This works like citations in a scientific paper. The more citations, the more authority you have on a given topic.
- In the world of SEO, this takes the form of backlinks. Google counts the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is.
- When a page links to another page, it passes a bit of its authority onto the other page. Just like how sitting with the cool kids at lunch makes you just a bit cooler.
- Not all backlinks carry equal weight. One link from the New York Times is worth a lot more than 50 from a small blog.
The Ultimate Goal of Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO helps search engines understand how trustworthy your website is, and what relationship your webpage has to other web pages on the internet.
Optimizing for off-site ranking parameters includes:
- User perception
This is done by linking to or promoting your website to other reputable platforms on the Internet (pages, blogs, users, websites, etc.) and ultimately "vouching" for your content's accuracy.
SEO Keyword Research & Targeting Best Practices
Determining what you're optimizing for should always be the initial step in search engine optimization. This means finding topics people are looking for, also known as "keywords," that you want your site to rank for in search engines like Google.
When choosing the keywords, you need to target on your page, there are some aspects to consider:
Search Volume: The first element to evaluate is how many people are constantly looking for that keyword. The more people search for a keyword, the higher the standard audience you're about to hit. Alternatively, if no one is searching for the given keyword, there will be no audience available to find your content via search.
Relevance: A keyword may be searched constantly, but it does not necessarily imply that it is related to your prospects. Keyword relevance, or the relation between the material on a website and the visitor's search query, is an important ranking factor.
Competition: Higher search volume keywords can generate heavy traffic, but competition for premium placement in the search engine results can be intense.
Importance Of SEO For Marketing
SEO is a basic part of digital marketing as people perform tons of searches annually. For many consumers, search engines are the first place people look to gain more information about a product. Search is also the primary driver of digital traffic for most websites and enhances other marketing platforms.
Greater exposure and ranking higher in search results than the competitors will have a material effect on your bottom line.
How To Use SEO To Rank a Site
Each year, thousands of posts, guides, and tutorials are published concerning SEO. Almost all of these articles are intimidatingly long or go to the other end of the scale and cover a particular subject.
There are some quick tips below about how to rank your website by SEO:
- Make your site accessible to crawl so that search engines can understand your site
- Create valuable content that answers your target audience’s most important questions and helps them solve problems
- Use keyword research to identify content opportunities
- Use your primary keyword in your title, and secondary keywords in your headings.
- Make sure your site is designed to have an impressive user experience
- Make sure your site has a fast loading speed
- Create share-worthy material that gains links, citations, and intensification
- Ranking is a big part of the battle, but you also need people to click. Make sure to create an engaging title, URL, & description.
- Markup of Snippet/schema to standout in SERPs
- Completeness beats length. Don’t just increase your word count, increase your value
- Quality beats quantity. Focus on creating better, more valuable content than simply pumping out articles with a spray and pray mentality.
- Don’t keyword stuff. Providing quality content and a solid user experience is much more important than jamming a keyword in every few sentences.
SEO is undoubtedly a rabbit hole with tons to learn. Search engine algorithms are in constant flux and new SEO strategies are constantly being born in reaction to them. The only way to ensure that your site is fully optimized for search engines and that your business is living up to its potential is to stay on top of learning and implementing these developments yourself, delegating a team member, or hiring an expert to handle it for you.