What is SEO? How Can Your Business Benefit From SEO?
What is SEO? Sometimes I forget that many small businesses aren’t familiar with what SEO is and how they can benefit from it, let’s take a look.
If you run a small business, you likely spend a lot of time thinking about marketing. Your strategy is the key to bringing in new customers and growing your brand. One major element of digital marketing is search engine optimization. Many business owners have heard this term but are unsure of what it is?
If you find yourself asking this question, we’re going to take a step back and define SEO and answer how you can use it to get your business ahead.
What Is SEO?
Search engine optimization is a collection of techniques used to improve web content so that it will rank better on search engine results pages and attract more traffic. In other words, by applying SEO practices, you can get more people to find your website when they are using Google or another search engine.
Specifically, SEO services focus on attaining organic traffic. This is the traffic that comes through search engines not involving paid ads. While you can pay a little money to Google to receive a special, sponsored placement on search results, this is not always the best approach. People often don’t trust ads and may skip over sponsored results. Additionally, there is no reason not to combine paid search with SEO.
Beyond just increasing the number of people who find your website when searching, SEO also seeks to improve the quality of visitors. Some people are more likely to become customers than others. If you are only attracting uninterested visitors, you are spending time and money on spinning your wheels. Delivering high-quality organic search traffic to your website is essential to your digital success.
Exactly what SEO is depends on the strategy and brand. Furthermore, search engines are getting more sophisticated, requiring new techniques and practices. However, all SEO has that same goal in mind: increase high-quality organic search traffic.
How Does It Work?
There are a lot of elements of search engine marketing and the mix changes from year to year and brand to brand. However, any strategy will involve optimizing the following:
- Keywords: These are the search terms or partial queries that you want to optimize for. Typically, you would place these in your content to make them more likely to be found by the search engine. Keywords can also appear in descriptions, titles and even the domain name. The right density varies as search algorithms change. Typically, regular but natural usage is best.
- Links: Search engines examine which other websites are linking to yours. They use this to determine how much other brands trust yours. Working with a good link building service can be a great way to generate high-quality and effective links.
- SEO Tags: Hidden in your website code are numerous tags letting search engines know more about your web pages. For example, a search engine can’t look at an image (at least not as well as a human). Therefore, search engines use image alt tags to understand what an image is. Using good code conventions and plentiful tagging can improve your ranking.
- Engagement: Creating content that naturally attracts people and is relevant to their searches will improve your ranking. Additionally, many search engines examine social media shares and other metrics. At the end of the day, search engines are trying to deliver relevant and useful information to users.
Search engine optimization is all about trying to tweak the above (and some other levers) to gradually improve your ranking on search engines. A good strategy should involve measurement to help with fine-tuning each element of the SEO mix.
What Are the Benefits?
Search engine optimization is an important part of digital marketing for most brands. These are some of the advantages of this process:
- More Traffic: One of the key goals of SEO is to rank higher on search engine results pages. That means that more people will be seeing your pages. There are billions of searches every day. Getting into even a tiny fraction of those searches can mean serious visibility for your brand.
- Superior Conversion Rate: Another major goal of SEO is to bring in more relevant visitors to the website. This can substantially improve your conversion rate. In other words, you will get more sales for every hundred visitors to your website. More visitors and a higher percentage of customers spell good news for your business.
- A Better Website: Many SEO techniques focus on making websites better. For example, you will need to produce relevant and valuable content. You will also need to improve your tagging, which is useful for visitors with vision difficulties. Especially as search engines get better at predicting what is relevant to users, good SEO is increasingly also good design.
- Enhance Other Campaigns: Have you ever seen an ad and remembered it later? Have you tried to search for a brand that piqued your interest in the past? SEO makes your business easier to find. It can enhance your other marketing efforts and improve return on investment.
Overall, SEO is a very worthwhile investment for your marketing strategy. As you get better at it, you will see more and more positive results.
How Can You Start Using It?
If you want to get started with SEO, the good news is that you can begin today. SEO doesn’t require any special magic or tools, especially for the basics. Nonetheless, truly excellent optimization can take a lot of time, work and expertise. You may want to consider hiring an SEO company. That way you can get all the advantages of a fantastic strategy without having to invest all your time.
Should you choose to do your own SEO, consider starting with some keyword research. As you learn more about what people are searching for, you will find ways to improve your content. You should also check out your search and website metrics. Learn more about where you currently stand then explore the techniques you can use to improve your rankings.
No matter how you decide to approach your SEO strategy, you should start today. This is an irreplaceable part of the digital marketing mix. Get started learning so you can grow your brand.