Search Engine Optimization: The basics of SEO and what it means for your business
While many of us have heard the phrase search engine optimization (SEO), not everyone knows the meaning behind it and why this concept plays such an important role in online marketing. In short, search engine optimization refers to the various techniques and methods a website uses to attract traffic (or visits) from search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. But for a closer look at the basics of SEO, let’s break down some of the elements of this process so you can have a better understanding of how search engine optimization can be incorporated into your online marketing strategies.
How do search engines work?
Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo are designed to help users find exactly what they are looking for by providing them with a list of websites that contain content that is most relevant to the term or phrase that they typed into the search field. The search engine combs through all of the content on the internet using complicated algorithms to find the most relevant group of sites that contain information most likely to help the user.
In other words, the results you see after you Google something are ranked according to how relevant the algorithm found the site based on several different factors, and it is essentially those factors that we seek to influence and adjust when we are talking about improving a website’s SEO. While these algorithms (or formulas used by search engines) are constantly changing, there is a basic set of variables that search engines will look to when deciding how relevant a website is to a search.
Now it’s time to optimize! Optimization for search engines and target audiences
You may be wondering how this is relevant to your online strategy if Google is the one doing all the algorithm work, right? Well when we get right down to it, SEO is vital to online marketing and branding because acquiring organic traffic is key to maintaining a successful website, and thus a successful company. So when you make it easier for search engines to find your website by optimizing the design and content, you increase the odds of your target audience finding your business!
What are some of factors that determine SEO?
4 of the factors which influence a site’s SEO:
- Title of the content: using the right words in the title of the content that represents the article in a way that is likely to be found by target audience.
- Keywords and phrases used within content: research keywords used by people searching for products and services in your industry and create engaging content around those words.
- Links: using words consistent throughout all your links that line up with keywords in your content is key. Incoming links (other site’s who link to your site) are one of the primary ways to be recognized by search engines and build SEO. The more quality (and always legitimate) links that you are associated with, the better!
- Reputation and authority in the industry: Last but not least, SEO couldn’t happen without the consistent publishing and promoting of quality content that your target audience finds interesting and helpful; in other words, if you create great content to put on your website, your readers will become your customers, who may then even become your loyal promoters!
The four basic elements listed above are by no means an exclusive list of what makes up a comprehensive SEO strategy, but the hope is that you have at least a basic understanding of how search engine optimization plays a vital role in online marketing.
Written by Cassandra Sohn