So, what is SEO and what can it do for me and my business? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s a process of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website and a method that can increase brand awareness, build brand relationships, and ultimately lead to sales or “conversions” through organic search engine results – more on that later.
The first step in developing a successful SEO strategy is understanding your target market and what they’re searching for online. Knowing what your audience is searching for and the type of content they want to be exposed to will help you deliver a premium solution that is the product or service you are offering. Search engines scour the internet, sifting through PDFs, images, videos, and web pages in order to match what a user is searching for, this process is called “crawling and indexing”. Once the search engine has acquired a list of results, it then ranks the results based on how strong of a match it believes it is in relation to what the user was seeking. The results that are returned after a user’s initial query are called SERPs (search engine result pages)
So, back to “organic” search results. Organic search results are the ones that are generated from a successful SEO strategy, not paid for like advertising. Organic search results are based on the user’s search query, links and domain authority. So, on search results pages, you can easily tell the difference between the paid search results and organic results because search engines set apart the paid listings, putting them above or to the right of the organic search results – sometimes they are accompanied with a shaded background, border lines, or any other visual separation clue.
SEO is important because it has 20x more traffic opportunity than pay-per-click on both mobile and desktop. Search engines are getting smarter and so are users, as research has shown that in the United States, less than 2.8% of people click on paid advertisements! So, SEO is one of the only online marketing channels that can truly reap all the benefits over time for you and your business, when set up correctly of course. By optimizing your site, you can ensure better delivery of information to search engines so that your content can be properly indexed and displayed on the SERPS.
So, now that we know the basics behind what SEO is and what it can do, let’s talk about how we can plan an SEO strategy that makes it work for our business. First, figure out what your customers are searching for. Think about your product or service, then, think about any possible relevant keywords that users would most common associate your brand with, then you can optimize your title tags with what you find. Once you’ve accomplished this, it’s time to dig even deeper – scour every social media application, website forum, chat room, and blog post to truly grasp they way potential consumers talk about your product or niche industry. Finally, once you feel comfortable with the keywords you’ll use, you must then begin to understand the key metrics behind the keywords you’re targeting. Search volume is the number of monthly searches on average and keyword difficulty, an estimate to how easy or hard it will be to appear on the first page for that given term, are two of the biggest considerations you should account for. Using the SERP overview tool will allow you to view the ranking for related keywords and stats behind the traffic you can expect to see should your page manage to rank. Additionally, there are a plethora of resourceful tools you can use that will help you efficiently understand and manage your page to optimize for the best results.