Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process by which your website is discovered by search engine users. Given that 89% of consumers use a search engine to inform their purchase decision and 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results, search engine optimization has become one of the most important marketing activities a business can undertake. And while you’ve probably seen thousands of articles on the subject, improving your business’s search ranking isn’t nearly as complicated as most marketing firms would have you believe.
A good SEO strategy involves three elements:
- Posting content on your website that’s relevant to your target audience’s search terms
- Ensuring others recognize your content and website as authoritative
- Performing various technical enhancements on your website that improve a search engine’s ability to understand your site and categorize your content appropriately
To boil things down even further…
Search Engine Optimization is the act of creating relevant content and marketing that content to your audience on a regular basis.
What Search Engine Optimization Can Do for Your Website
Think of SEO as a tiny snowball at the top of a mountain. The longer and farther it rolls, the more snow it picks up until it’s an avalanche. The more relevant content you’re posting that’s getting found by your audience, the more people who are talking about you, linking to you, and sharing your content, the higher your site will climb in Google’s search rankings. But the process takes time. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind what SEO can’t do for your website.
The Limitations of Search Engine Optimization
“Organic” search engine optimization refers to the number of people who are naturally searching for the content or services that you provide. It’s important to realize that SEO will not help you grow this audience. Nor will it immediately skyrocket your website traffic volumes. In other words, if you’re looking for large results in a compressed period of time you may want to consider pay-per-click advertising or another channel where you can guarantee a higher volume of impressions right off the bat.
A Simple Guide to Implementing Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization begins with quality. Search engines like Google measure quality in two ways: the functionality of the website, and the actual content on the site. Functionality could relate to navigation issues, mobile optimization issues, usability issues, etc.; sites with poor user experiences that drive viewers away will see a corresponding drop in their search rankings.
When it comes to content quality, knowing what your target audience is looking for will facilitate higher traffic flows to your page and keep your audience on your site once they arrive. The longer a visitor spends on your site interacting with your content (filling out a form, scrolling, watching a video, etc.), the better a search engine will consider your site’s quality to be. You should also research what competitors have provided and try to be unique; people want to know what makes your product or service different. Furthermore, search engines are getting smarter and smarter at filtering out practices like keyword stuffing (repeating the same keyword 25 times on a page), so you’ll need to work harder to keep your audience engaged by providing uniquely insightful expertise.
The Bottom Line
A study shows that search is the number one driver of traffic to content sites. Ultimately, Google is in the business of giving its customers what they want, which is the most relevant answers to their searches. If you follow the tips above, you’ll be taking the first step toward search engine optimization.