You may have heard the term floating around before, SEO. But, are you 100% sure what it actually means? Digital marketers love to abbreviate things, so it’s no wonder not everyone asks, ‘what is SEO?’. Put simply, SEO stands for search engine optimization.
It’s a form of SEM (see, did it again), which helps optimize websites for search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo too. If you’re still unsure about what SEO is and what it involves, you’re in the right place…
In this post, we’re going to explain what SEO is – albeit briefly. We aim to summarize SEO in less than 1000 words, so you don’t have to read and read for hours on end. We’ll cover the basics, everything from what it is, to why marketers do it. Welcome, to your brief guide to SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, like we’ve said, is the process of optimizing a website for search engines. Most marketers in the UK work on Google (because it is the UK's most popular search engine), but they don’t forget about other search engine sits like Bing and Yahoo. As a form of SEM (Search Engine Marketing), SEO focuses on moving a website up through the ranks of search engine results pages organically.
‘Organically? Like the free-range chickens?’ Well, no – when marketers say organically they mean results and ranks that aren’t paid ads. SEO differs to other forms of SEM because it specifically focuses on helping a website rank through unpaid means.
Some SEM strategies incorporate paid advertising, like PPC (Pay Per Click), which means that adverts for websites appear above organic search results. By working on both SEO and PPC, you can dominate search engines for keywords relevant to your business – if you use the right digital agency that is…
But, back to SEO. When you search for something on these search engines, you use a keyword or key phrase in order to find what you’re looking for. Once you type in what you’re looking for, search engines return results relevant to your query, and they rank the most relevant result (in relation to your search term) at the top of the page. Work in SEO helps your site move up to the top of the list.
Whilst SEM paid strategies are short-term solutions (as they cost per click), SEO focuses on longevity. Investing in SEO work can help your site reach the top of Google and other search engines organically. But, it is an on-going thing. You can’t stay at the top forever, so continuously working on SEO is vital for maximum exposure for your website.
So, after learning about what SEO is, you might be wondering why. Why should you invest in SEO? If you want to make sure your website is visible on the internet, SEO is essential. It allows your business and website to be reached by new customers, using search engines to find your products/services.
It’s undeniable that your business needs to be online, and one of the key ways people will search for your website is through search engines. So, it’s essential to work on SEM (both SEO and PPC) in order to bring those new customers to your site. If you want extra online business, SEO work is vital.
How SEO works?
By improving the links, content and more on your website, SEO helps it stand a better chance of ranking for relevant search terms. The first step in SEO is to define a website’s keywords they want to rank for. This involves a bit of research – specifically keyword research.
SEO marketers look at the data and analytics of a site, to see what keyword or phrase is currently drawing the most traffic to their site. From these terms, they can begin to devise a strategy to help a website rank for these keywords and terms.
Search engines send out digital robots over a site to crawl it and gather information about this. This information is stored and once it feels a website has relevant content to a search term, it calls up a page from its database to meet a searcher’s query. This means that your site needs to be optimized for these search engine robots, in order to stand a chance of ranking.
Here are a couple of ways to optimize a site for search engines:
i. Improving Content
So, you’ve got loads of written content on your site – which is great. But, has it been optimized for SEO. It needs to include keywords and key terms that you want your site to rank in, in order to make sure it stands a chance of ranking.
ii. Working Links
By building links across your site, it allows search engine robots to crawl it more easily. They can find their way to other pages through these links and collect more relevant data about your website. This means you need both outbound and internal links. Outbound links go to other, credible sites.
Say if you have a blog talking about the benefits of Instagram, linking to Instagram’s site is beneficial. Similarly, you want these robots to be able to navigate your entire site, that’s why you need internal links going to every single page of your website.
So much more goes into SEO, but these are tactics you can implement yourself – without an SEO expert. However, it is ideal to have an audit of your site done, so you know where you stand. Once you’ve got this audit, you can either sign on for SEO services or attempt to analyze the data yourself.
You’ll be able to see what keywords you rank for and working links in this audit. So, you can begin improving the content and make sure there are working links. These are easy things you can do to your website, without the experts.
SEO work is vital on the web. If you want your website to stand a chance of ranking on the first page of Google, you need to invest in SEO. Working with both SEO and PPC can help you occupy the top pages of search engines, just remember to balance them correctly.
PPC can be costly but is a great short-term fix to pull in traffic. SEO will take time to yield results, but it is ongoing work that is beneficial for your website.