What is SEO and Why Does It Matter?
The digital world is an ever changing and expanding universe. As of late 2017, there were an estimated 130+ trillion individual web pages indexed by Google. There are only 10 spots on page 1 of search. Few people will go past page one, so if your business is going to get noticed online, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) cannot be left to chance. Here’s we’re going to give you a rundown on SEO and break things down into easily digested info-bites.
What is SEO?
SEO is the method for getting more high quality traffic flowing to your website by improving the site’s organic search engine results. An SEO specialist analyzes a complex combination of factors on and off your web pages. The goal of SEO is to help different search engines and people find your website in a digital universe filled with similar websites. The resulting flow to your website from search engines like Google and Bing is categorized as organic traffic, meaning it did not originate from paid search advertising.
Savvy marketers should review competitive keywords and high-ranking site pages to identify new SEO opportunities each month. The next step is to create optimized content to support and increase organic keyword-based traffic.
Why Does SEO Matter?
Search engines don’t view websites and web pages in the same way as humans do. SEO helps search engines figure out what each page of a website is about so it can be indexed and ranked according to the current search algorithm. The ranking is determined by how helpful a page will be to people who are searching for information. Without good SEO, a website can be virtually invisible to search engines, and potential customers.
Which is Better – Organic or Paid Search Results?
While they’re different aspects of search, they’re both important. As we established, organic results are the results of SEO. Without good SEO content and structure, your site will be virtually invisible. Paid search is categorically referred to as SEM, or Search Engine Marketing. As the name states, search results are driven by marketing, in the form of digital ads, PPC (Pay per click), AdWords and other strategic marketing tactics.
On-Page SEO or Off-Page SEO? On-page SEO addresses aspects inside your website that can be optimized for search. On-page optimization includes the following:
- Optimized Coding, Content & Structure
- Page Title
- Meta Descriptions and Tags
- Images and Pictures
- URL Structure and Domain Info
- User-Friendly Navigation
- Fast Loading Site
- Fresh, High Quality Content
- Optimized Internal and External Links
Off-page SEO is using other websites to help improve your website rankings. When done properly, off-page SEO helps your site get better quality traffic – that’s people who are already interested in your type of products or services. Off-page SEO is achieved in a variety of ways:
- Link Building & Backlink Strategies
- Local Directory Submissions
- SEO Directory Submissions
- Social Media Marketing
- Social Media Mentions & Sharing
- Social Media Bookmarking
- Article Submissions
- Blog Guest Postings
- Forum and Q&A Site Links
Online Credibility & How It Impacts SEO
Your website is a digital peek at your business – and it’s critical for customers to trust your site. Here are some of the different factors that can affect online credibility:
Listing a Physical Address and Affiliations – a physical address shows that there is a real company behind the site. List affiliations like BBB, Chamber of Commerce, etc.
Easy to Verify Accuracy of Information – cite your sources, or better yet – link to them. (Important for off-page SEO)
Highlight Your Expertise – tell your audience why your company is the best choice for them. Introduce your products and services, and highlight the team behind the company.
Make It Easy to Contact Your Business – it should be simple to contact your business by listing phone, email and a physical address (when applicable).
Have Your Site Professionally Designed – the visual aspect of your site tells a story to visitors. Make sure it’s telling the right one, and that the design is appropriate for your type of business. A bank’s website should look much different than a healthcare site – after all, they’re meant to be appealing to different audiences.
Update Your Content Regularly – potential clients (and search engines) love sites that are regularly updated and error-free. Outdated content and copyright notices combined with broken links are clear signs of neglect, which will reflect poorly on your business.
Avoid Ads on Your Site – use promotional content sparingly – this type of content is more appropriate for landing pages. When there are ads, make sure ‘sponsored content’ is clearly distinguishable from your own content.
How Search Engines Discover and Index Your Website
Search engines have two major functions – ‘crawling’ the web to build and index sites and pages, and serving up relevant websites to people who are searching. Searches are basically questions or keywords queries that help the engine identify the topic, then run through the index to provide relevant answers. The search engine results are the answers the engine found – so it’s vital for the results to be accurate and relevant for the user.
Make certain you have a strong local presence. This requires accuracy. Make sure your business name, address and phone numbers are consistent across all site listings. They’ll be picked up by search engine crawlers and used to populate aggregate sites like local resource directories, review sites, and so much more. Make a mistake, and you’ll be cleaning it up for what will seem like an eternity.
Finally – static sites are going to tank in search engines. That’s why regularly refreshing your site’s core content and adding new content is so important.
Sound like something more than you want to manage? Check out Serendipit Consulting’s digital services page to see how we can help.