In the world of business, SEO (search engine optimization) is one of the most important factors to have in place.
Increasing your SEO ranking on Google will improve your website's visibility and get you more customers.
This blog post will give you a basic idea about what SEO is, how it's done, and why it matters.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
It is a collection of techniques and methods used to help improve your search engine ranking.
In other words, it is all the work done that will go towards increasing website traffic through search engines.
When done correctly, SEO will result in an increase in the quality and quantity of traffic your website receives through organic search engine results.
SEO is done to increase your website’s organic ranking and is completely unrelated to paid traffic.
As you can see in the image, the paid results do appear first, but the organic results have not needed to be paid to appear here.
This alone shows how important SEO is because you can organically get onto the first page of search results without needing to pay for any ads.
The Key Parts of SEO
On-Page SEO refers to the practice of individually optimizing web pages to earn a higher ranking in search engine results pages.
It refers to all content, including text, images, videos, and the HTML code for the website.
Keyword research is the work you do to find the keywords and phrases that your target market are typing in search engines.
The end goal is to optimize your website’s content to rank for those keywords/phrases (also known as search terms).
This refers to the actions taken outside of your website to help increase your rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Off-Site optimization includes improving your site’s popularity, trustworthiness, authority and relevance.
This can be done by having other relevant and high authority websites linking to your website.
Local search engine optimization is all about increasing visibility on search engines for businesses that sell to their customers in a physical location, as well as or instead of online.
These types of businesses could be anything that operates offline, from a local bakery to a service-based company, like a plumber or a window cleaner.
Local SEO can include anything from setting up a Google my business page, to adding your businesses local information to your website.
Technical SEO usually refers to the work that needs to be done to optimize your website for crawling and indexing, it can also include any technical process that is used to improve search engine ranking and visibility.
The main reason that it is called “technical” is that it has less to do with the content on your site, and focuses on the more technical aspects, including page loading speed, URL structure, XML sitemaps, mobile-friendliness and more.
If you do all of these correctly and comprehensively, you have a higher chance of ranking on the first page of the search engine results.
How Search Engines Work
Search engines are quite complex, but the way they process can be put into three simple to understand steps.
1- Crawl: First, search engines crawl the internet for content, looking at each page they find and following every link on those pages.
2- Index: Then, they store and sort all of the content that has been found from crawling the web, once sorted, the content is ready to be displayed to users.
3- Rank: Finally, the content is displayed in search results, ranked in order of how relevant and useful it is deemed to be based on the search query.
So to simplify it even more, search engines like Google scan through all of the content on the internet by crawling it, then they store and sort it, and then finally display the most relevant content in the search engine results pages.
Why is SEO Important?
You can just use paid ads to generate website traffic, but organic search engine traffic will cost nothing and will give better results in the long run.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is to increase your site’s visibility, this is done by making it easy for users to find your website when they type a query into a search engine that is relevant to your content.
If your SEO efforts are successful and you manage to get a high ranking the visibility of your site will increase massively.
Increased website traffic is one of the most sought after goals in an SEO campaign, it is achieved when you increase your site’s search engine rankings.
If you want more users to find your website through Google or another search engine, you must optimize your website for search engines.
Getting your site to the first page of search results will increase website traffic, and if you manage to get into the top five results, you are doing it right!
The first five organic results on Google search results pages amount to over 65% of all clicks.
A good SEO plan also forces you to improve the quality of the content that you produce, and optimize the user experience/usability of your site, in turn making it easier for users to navigate your content.
If your site has a good user experience, for example, the menu is easy to navigate, and the pages are mobile responsive, you will increase the time that users spend on your website and lower the percentage of people who close your site after viewing just one page (bounce rate).
Other great ways to improve user experience include: optimize the page loading speed, use images & videos, and make content that is easy to read.
Your website’s authority and trust are improved when you optimize properly, mainly by building relevant links to your site and creating high-quality fresh content.
With age brings trust, if your site’s pages are being updated when needed, receiving quality backlinks, and contain high-quality content – over time the authority and trustworthiness will continue to build on their own.
Should I Hire A Professional?
Whether or not you should hire a professional is all down the size of your website, and your ability to learn how to run an SEO campaign.
Reasons to Hire a professional:
- You don’t have any time to put aside to do SEO work
- Google has penalised your website
- Your website traffic has been declining and you don’t know why
- The website is very comprehensive, meaning the SEO work will be more complicated
Reasons to do SEO yourself:
- You will save the money that you would have spent hiring a professional
- You can learn search engine optimization, which is a very valuable skill
- The website is very simple (only a couple of pages), meaning SEO should be straight forward
It is all down to how you view it and whether or not you think you have the time and ability to do it yourself.
How Much Time Does SEO Take?
The SEO process can take a different amount of time for every website.
The average site will start seeing some results after 6 months, so don’t think you will be at the top of Google in just a couple of days!
However, some aspects can change how quickly you will start seeing positive results.
The design of your website
A badly designed website that is difficult for users to navigate can negatively impact your site’s search engine rankings.
The size of your audience/target market
If your site is focused around a very specific niche which is easy to target, it may be easier to rank on the first page of search results.
If your website is in a highly competitive industry, where you have massive competitors, it can be difficult to get into the first page of search results.