What is Search Engine Optimization SEO and How Does It Works
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. In simple words, SEO or Search Engine Optimization marketing is the process for helping your customers find your products or services more often when they search on Google, Bing, and any other search engines. The more often your website shows up in the search results for the terms or keywords that your ideal customer is searching for the more opportunities you have to convert them as a customer.
Why is SEO Important in a Digital Marketing Strategy
Over 80% of shoppers prefer to use a search engine when doing research related to their shopping. This means nearly all of your potential customers are using Google to help make purchases. Failing to focus on SEO marketing means you are missing out on a large market share of your target audience. Even if your website is showing up on search engines it needs to be showing up on the first page in order to benefit because over 95% of clicks come from the first page of search results. Even then you may be thinking “Why focus on SEO marketing when we could pay our way to the top?” Well, this way of thinking is not going to garner the results you are looking for considering only 2.8% of searchers click on ads.
If you have an established brand then your customers are most likely searching for your brand on Google. You are missing out on engaging your customers after a purchase by not showing up for your brand name on Google. The unique aspect of SEO marketing that traditional marketing does not have is your customers are seeking you out.
Unlike traditional marketing where you craft a message and distribute it to your likely target audience online or offline. In hopes that the people seeing your advertisement are in the right frame of mind to purchase what you are promoting. When you are optimizing your website to be the answer for their search on Google you are marketing to a highly relevant audience that looks at your brand with intent rather than disinterest.
No matter where your audience is in their customer journey by optimizing your website for their searches on Google you could capture their attention. More so, SEO marketing works well with all of your marketing tactics in your digital marketing strategy.
77% of consumers are positively influenced by online search and online search is twice as likely to have a positive impact on purchasing decisions as traditional ads. Potential customers who see your brand in the search results are more likely to click your ads and find you on social media. Traditional marketing tactics pair nicely with SEO marketing as well. When your potential customers receive your outbound efforts such as direct mail or hear you on a podcast they can easily find you online by searching.
How Do Search Engines Work?
Think of Google as your brain. Whenever you ask yourself a question your brain processes the question and finds the most relevant answer that it has. Google operates in the same exact way as your brain. Sometimes you may not have the answer to the question that you are asking yourself. In these cases, you would seek outside information to gain the answer and then store it in your brain. Similar to a human being Google started out as a baby without the answers to any of the questions that were asked of it. Over time users created the answers so when someone asks a question the most relevant answer organically rises to the top of the search results. There are still questions that are being asked on Google which have no answers and over time users will answer those questions. This is a never-ending process that never stops.
How is Search Engine Optimization Done?
Search engine optimization marketing is the process that users go through to get their answer to the top of the search results when someone asks Google. Think of SEO marketing as a method to prove to Google that your answer is the most relevant and deserves to be at the top of the search results Google displays. Search engines work using an algorithm to determine which answers rise to the top of the results and this algorithm is based on hundreds of ranking factors.
SEO marketers use scientific testing to test these ranking factors and figure out how to optimize for each of them. The work search engines do to rank content could be broken down into hundreds of ranking factors and 3 categories.
On-site SEO marketing or on-page SEO marketing is the practice of optimizing for search engine ranking factors on your website in order to rank higher and receive more relevant traffic from search engines. Optimizing for search engine rankings on the engine results page for your website includes the content and the source code of your page. The more well optimized your page content and source code is the easier it is for search engines to understand how to rank your page.
Beyond search engines, on-page SEO marketing helps answer the intent of your visitors search and clearly interprets what the page is about. In simple words, this means that on-page SEO marketing demonstrates the value your user receives when reading your page and provides the exact formula for search engines to serve up high-quality content about the term your user is searching for using a search engine.
The ultimate goal of on-page SEO marketing is to help search engines and users to:
- Understand what your page is about
- Identify the page as relevant to the terms your visitors are searching for using a search engine.
- Prove that your page is useful and worthy to rank on the first page of the search engine results pages (SERP)
How Does Content and Keywords Work with On-Page SEO Marketing?
Think of keywords as topics that your ideal customer is searching for on Google or Bing. The goal as a business owner and content creator is to optimize your page for the keywords that your ideal customers are searching for so they have a better chance of finding your content in the search engine results pages. In order to optimize these pages you need to do seo keyword research to find these keywords.
Why Should You Care about Keywords?
Your goal is to generate qualified organic traffic from search to your site and the keywords you choose to optimize your content for determines the quality of traffic that you receive. For example if you own an amusement park you might want to rank for “new rides” but the keyword “new rides” may end up attracting traffic that is interested in new cars to drive.
Where Does Content Fit in On-Page SEO Marketing?
The content you are writing needs to be above all resonate with your target audience. No matter how well optimized your content is for seo the quality of your content determines whether the traffic stays on your page and converts into a lead or new sale. Without content you website has no need for on-page SEO marketing or keywords because there is nothing to optimize.
Content and on-page SEO marketing alone is enough to get your website ranking in the search engines but your website needs authority to rank in the top 3 results for most keywords. The only way to build authority to your website is through off-page SEO marketing or link building. Links are the currency of the internet and they act similar to your reputation in real life. Think of a link as a vote from a website for your website to Google.
Their vote lets Google know that your website is worthy of ranking in the search results and deserves to be ranked higher. Earning links is arguably the most important ranking factor on Google. Without links, your website does not stand a chance of reaching the top 3 spots for the most competitive terms that your customer is searching for on Google.
What is More Important the Quantity or Quality of Links?
Earning as many links as possible without focusing on quality could lead to your website being permanently banned from Google. This means all of the time, money, and energy spent on SEO marketing for your business goes away like it never happened. The quality of the links or votes is more important than the quality.
Your competitors may have thousands of links but you could beat them with tens or hundreds of very high-quality links. Following Google’s guidelines when earning high-quality links ensures that your brand’s reputation is safe.
Here is a rundown of what you would like to avoid when earning links:
- Paid links or buying links to manipulate rankings.
- Exchanging products or services for links.
- Giving someone a “free” product in exchange for a link back to your website.
- Link exchanges. Meaning “you link to me and I will link to you.”
- Partner pages that exist solely for linking out to websites and receiving links back to it.
- Guest posting at a large scale using keyword-rich anchor text links. Anchor text is the words that you use to link to another website in an article or page. This does not mean guest posting is bad. This does mean guest posting solely for the sake of earning links and using exact match keyword anchor text is bad.
- Automatically generating links using software or services.
- Requiring a link as part of a terms of service, contract, or agreement.
Creating links that were not editorially vouched for by the site’s owner on a page could be considered a violation of Google’s guidelines.
How Do You Determine What is a Quality Link?
Links from sites that display the quality of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines and the concept of E-A-T an acronym for Expert, Authoritative, and Trustworthy are high quality links.
Sites that do not display the aspect of E-A-T are seen as lower quality in the eyes of Google and search engines.
Here are our guidelines for qualifying authoritative links:
Relevancy – The more relevant the target whether directly or indirectly to the site we are reaching out from the better.
Quality of Content – Is the website publishing high-quality content that lacks spelling errors and is comprehensive? Is this content actually ranking for real keywords that are relevant to the website? Is this content original and free of all plagiarism? Is this content written by an expert who has the qualifications to be speaking on the subject matter? If the answers to these questions are yes the website passes our test.
Site Traffic – We focus on earnings links from sites that have a minimum of 1000 ST (Site Traffic) or more. We do not only include sites that have 1,000 ST or more because we take into account the other factors listed above and below when qualifying a site. The site traffic must be real relevant site traffic, not site traffic coming from ranking for bogus irrelevant keywords or bots.
Ranking for Keywords – We target sites that are ranking well for real relevant keywords. No Link Farms. No Private Blog Networks. No Content Farms. Link farms, content farms, and private blog networks are manipulative black hat link-building strategies that could lead to your website being permanently banned by Google.
Quality of Links – We focus on sites that have high-quality links pointing to their website and they do not link out to just anyone. The qualifiers above are the main metrics that we look at when evaluating targets however we do look at a number of other small qualifiers as well.
Technical SEO marketing is where you use technical development to optimize your website and enhance the user’s experience. Optimizing for Technical SEO marketing is broken up into two categories:
- How Users Experience Your Website
- How Search Engines Understand Your Website
How Users Experience Your Website on Search?
Looking past the technical development retaining users on your site for longer periods of time by helping them through their customer journey is key. This is why site structure is one of the important ranking factors for ranking higher in the search result pages.
How Search Engines Understand Your Website?
HTML is what lives behind the page on your website. Every time you modify your web page whether you are aware of it or not you are making changes that are reflected in HTML. Google’s robots then crawl these HTML elements to determine how relevent your content is to the keywords that is ranking for on Google.
Cascading style sheets or CSS is what causes your web pages to look a certain way through fonts, colors, and layouts. CSS is used to optimize your website for speed and deliver a beautiful experience that retains users for a longer period of time.
What is SEO Site Structure in Simple Words?
Internal linking or SEO site structure is how you organize the content on your website for users and search engines. In simple words this means how you create your customer’s journey on your website and help lead them to find what they are looking for at each stage in their journey. The more internal links or links from page to page on your website that are structured properly aligned with Google’s Search Quality Guidelines and your customer’s journey the better your rankings will be.