You may have heard that SEO is important for business. But maybe you’re thinking, wait… what actually is SEO? And why do they keep saying I need it?
We’re here to help. Let’s try to go over, in a simple way, what SEO actually is.
Google – Bing – Search Algorithms
First, let’s start with search engines like Google or Bing. Their goal is to provide the best search results for us humans who now more than ever rely on searching the internet in order to find the information, products and services we need. In order to bring about the best results for people, they have created search engine algorithms to categorize, collect, and rank every website out there.
This algorithm takes various aspects into account when configuring how to rank each site. And by rank we mean how high up in the search results list your website appears. Is it the 4th option on the first page? Or down further on the third page? The website on the third page is much less likely to get traffic than the website on the first page.
So you want to get to the first page and this is where search engine optimization, or SEO, comes into play. SEO is a marketing process that involves websites, where various techniques and methods are used to improve a website’s visibility (rank) within a search engine’s results.
It is important because when you increase your website’s visibility, more people searching for your services will click into your website. And with more people visiting your website, the higher your chances of making more sales or gaining more clients becomes.
SEO vs. PPC
It’s important not to get SEO confused with PPC, or pay-per-click. SEO only affects what we call unpaid, or organic, results. In contrast, PPC is a different internet marketing method where websites bid for a designated advertising space on Google or Bing and then pay Google or Bing every time their ad is clicked. Each method is striving for the same goal – increased traffic – but we argue that SEO is more sustainable because many searchers have been known to skip over and ignore ads, and there has also been cases of competitors click-bombing your ads to drive up your costs.
So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into more of the grit of what SEO actually is. We like to divide our SEO process three parts: on-page optimization, content marketing, and link building. Here’s what each part is:
1. On-page optimization
This, as you could guess, happens on a page within a website. Each page is optimized to make a good impression, not only for the search engines but for the human visitors who come to the web page too.
For the search engines, this is the process of ensuring that a site is readable so it’s apparent what your site is about. This means you want the search engine to pick up on the right keywords that are relevant to your website, and these keywords are found throughout the written content on each page, and also through title tags, headings, URL structures, alt text on images, and through excellent internal navigation – all part of the technical side of SEO. Find out more about this here.
On-page optimization therefore includes excellent keyword research, great content creation (more on that in the next point), and knowledge of the technical side of things. All things that are within your (or your SEO’s) control and can change on your site.
2. Content marketing
Content marketing is another essential part to SEO. Some may believe that content marketing is completely separate from SEO. But content marketing actually doesn’t flourish without SEO, and SEO doesn’t even exist without content marketing. SEO needs content, and content marketing is content. And content marketing doesn’t have success without SEO. So… they need each other.
For example, remember keywords? These are pretty essential to SEO, and their practical application is found in content marketing, because content marketing is all about using your keywords strategically throughout your web content.
Also, content marketing is about creating and distributing content relevant to your industry that is consistent and valuable to your audience (your potential customers!). A useful and consistent outpouring of valuable information or content on your website is what makes people more likely to come back. And it’s more reason to visit in the first place.
Providing useful information for those who visit your website is the number one reason for content marketing. And you know what? It’s not only beneficial for potential customers who visit your website, but it’s great for SEO too – which in turn brings even more potential customers! Content (including keywords) is the thing that tells the search engine what your website is all about as it crawls through. Search engines also notice when your site is coming out with fresh and unique content on a frequent basis and are more likely to reward you with a higher ranking. It’s as if they say, ‘hey this website is active and alive, so we should give it more credit in the search results’.
3. Link building
Link building, or off-page seo, is the third part to the SEO puzzle.It can be simply defined as the building up of links that lead to your website. Let’s understand why this is important by going over how search engines do their thing. Search engines don’t only care about your on-page reputation, but also about your reputation outside of your website. What do other websites say about you? Do other websites know about you? A way that a website shows it knows about another website, or a page knows about another page (even within the same website), is through links. Search engines use links as a way to travel through the internet and see how you’re connected to other websites. This shows what kind of reputation a website has throughout the internet and how popular it is. The more links a website has going to it’s site, the more reputable they are. Links also help search engines crawl throughout your website, so it’s important to have links between the pages in a website too.
Oh, so that’s what SEO is..
We hope this has given you a little more understanding of what SEO is, as we described through three parts – on-page SEO, content marketing, and link building. Increasing your website’s visibility will bring more potential customers to your website, and the best way to do this is through SEO.