Search Engine Optimization. From a business perspective, that can seem a little technical and intimidate, right?
Not to worry, reader, as this article was fashioned for you. This covers a macro-perspective and general overview of the practice of Search Engine Optimization.
We’re going to cover the basic aspects, which are all you need to know in better understanding what you’re buying into.
- What is SEO
- What SEO does
- How SEO is done (basic aspects)
- When to expect SEO results
- How to Choose a Good SEO
Doesn’t sound too bad, right?
Let’s get to it!
1. What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization. By now, you probably know it’s done for a company’s website.
It’s optimizing your website to show up on search engines. Another goal of it is it aims to drive traffic to your website.
As a business owner, you want people to go to your ecommerce website in order to drive more sales into your business.
However, this early, I’m going to stop your idea that your SEO is responsible for your Sales. He/she is not. Again, the SEO’s main goal is to drive traffic to your website and rank it to at least the first page of the search engine results page (SERP)
What does that mean? You need to understand how search engines work.
2. What SEO does?
When people type to search something from search engines (keywords), search engines return all the websites that have these keywords.
But out of all the websites there, search engines have to know which websites people actually stay in. Maybe from good content, visually pleasing, loads fast, etc. All these aspects affect people’s reaction to a website.
It’s these websites that are on the top search results.
Instinctively, people will only click the top 3-5 search results.
To sum up SEO’s goal, it’s to rank your website on the top 5 search results!
3. How is SEO done? (basic aspects)
As we’ve discussed in the above section, search engines store websites, and once a search is done, it goes through all its files to show the websites that have the keywords that the user has searched for.
We also discussed that the websites people stay and engaged on are ranked higher than the others.
All those are called On-page SEO (SEO on the pages of the website)
i. On-page SEO
On-page SEO is 25% of the influence on a website’s ranking on search engines. For on-page SEO, you do
- Website audit
- check the content and performance of the website
- How fast does it load on PC and Mobile devices
- Is it readable for both users and search engines
- Keyword research
- Search about which keywords people use
- Apply these keywords on your website/ “money” site
- Web Design
A lot of businesses only subscribe to On-page SEO, as it’s substantial and clear. But, as stated, this is only 25% of the work, and this isn’t that influential.
For illustration purposes, in the world of doing SEO for a website, On-page SEO is like improving how your store looks from outside.
Yes, Google will find it decent and will not penalize it, but the best On-page SEO can do for you is just that. Look good.
Recommended: On-Page SEO Factors of Optimized Page (Infographics)
I’m sure you’ve already seen some stores that look good but barely have anyone in them. Probably has customers that are next to zero.
What drives influence a website’s ranking and/or drives traffic is links.
There’s another form of SEO that’s more lengthy and expensive, but very much more effective and influential.
ii. Off-page SEO
Here is the 75% part. The big one. This is where the competition is done and this is mainly the reason why websites rank higher than others.
Off-page SEO constitutes of all-sorts of strategies and techniques that can be used for websites. Some strategies are perfect to apply on a certain website while being ineffective for others, and some vice versa.
We may get a little bit deep in this section because it’s IMPORTANT that you understand this part.
This is also where most of your SEO subscription’s money goes. The Off-page process is quite lengthy and will test your patience.
With that said, you also have to have an idea how good your SEO will be.
You have to know the capabilities and trust the SEO for them to apply off-page SEO strategies for your website.
Simply put, off-page is a process. It takes months before you see actual results. Off-page SEO is where the strategies and patience take place. Ironically, Off-page SEO is 75% of the work, as it’s the influential part of ranking a website on search engines.
There are a lot of technical aspects involved in this, but one of the most important is building links with other websites.
If many people link to your website (your website gets linked to, mentonioned, and shared a lot), chances are, people will find their way to your website via these links.
Here’s an example
See the blue highlighted text? If you click that, it’ll lead you to a page. That’s called a hyperlink.
Link building is having other websites have hyperlinks to your own.
iii. Save Money by Spending Money
This may not make sense at first, but let’s dig deeper into it and so that you can understand this as a concept.
Firstly, there is rarely an instance where quality comes in cheap. Usually, something has to be sacrificed.
Take note that this does not mean that expensive SEO price quotes automatically equate to a sure Top 1 in the search engine results page (SERP).
Also, note that you don’t have to have the best SEO in the industry. Depending on your product niche, sometimes, you just need a good SEO service that can skyrocket your ranking in an industry with very little players.
Basically, if you’re in a highly competitive industry, consider spending more on SEO, as you and your competitors are aiming for a single spot in Google’s SERP.
The point is, that when you want to subscribe for an SEO service, don’t be hesitant to spend a little extra if it means that you are more assured with that SEO’s service.
It’s a segway to our next section.
4. How To Choose a Good SEO?
You need to pay a little extra attention to this section, as this is probably the reason why you’re reading this article in the first place.
We’re going to talk about what competent SEO’s do and what separates them from the regular ones. Here is where you can justify an SEO’s price point, and if it makes sense as to why they charge “x” amount for their services.
i. Website Audit
What are their recommendations for your website after they audit it?
- What is their opinion on the content
- How is the User Experience
- Is the content readable for Google and users?
- The website’s title, description, and url
- Page speed
- Page size
ii. Keyword Research
You need to ask a couple of things
- How do they do keyword research
- How long do they do it
- What tools do they use
- What type of keywords should be implemented on your site
iii. What’s Their Off-page Strategy
You should ask them what they plan on doing for the off-page part. Over and over again, this is the lengthy part where you have to trust them.
It does not hurt however to know what they plan on doing. Also, remember to have them explain to you in simple terms you can understand, how their strategies affect your website.
“A way to see that you really understand something is if you can explain it to someone else”
So take note of that and make sure it applies to your SEO!
5. When to expect SEO results?
Over time, search engines update themselves on which websites are being viewed more, are old websites not being updated, are certain new websites being viewed and linked to more.
It’s these updates that they evaluate how websites are doing.
Top websites today aren’t guaranteed the top spot the next weeks/months.
Like stated before, SEO is an ongoing process. It doesn’t stop.
If you stop your SEO subscription abruptly, this will most likely mean that your ranking efforts will be all wasted, as SEO is a productivity activity.
SEO’s have to continuously build links over time, and you have to be patient when they do this.
IMPORTANT: Some search engines like Google prioritize and have a bias towards websites that have lasted for a few months already, to avoid abusing the activity of buying multiple websites in order to have more links.
With that said, give your SEO time to perform his job. Give it around 5 months, then keep going.
And especially NEVER pressure them about driving sales, because again, they’re not. Building links by reaching out to other webmasters, forum posting, and blog commenting are stressful enough.
That’s the competition that happens between SEO’s. Those who slack off will be overshadowed.
To conclude, SEO’s optimize a website for both people and search engines via On-page SEO and build links and attention via Off-page SEO.
Pick a competent SEO when it comes to your website’s Off-page, as you have to blindly trust them for months.
Ask for periodic reports on how your website is doing when it comes to ranking.
When you’ve achieved a great ranking report, please remember that SEO is an ongoing process.
Don’t unsubscribe when you’ve attained your goal ranking, as this most probably will lead to you losing it over time if no one will maintain it.
Your SEO is not a one-time fix.
Jonathan Sy. A believer in the new. In a world where people’s attention is ever-evolving, it is up to us to create content that continues to influence and hopefully inspire. I work for a Snapworx Digital Inc. A Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines. Simply put, i love the work, and would love to encourage others into the field.