Search engine optimization is a term many individuals have heard but don’t truly understand.
What does this phrase mean, and what does the process entail?
Obtaining answers to these questions will be of great help as a website owner moves forward with promoting his or her business.
What Is SEO?
Search engine optimization is the process of securing website traffic with the help of organic search engine rankings. Organic refers to those results that are not purchased.
Pay-per-click ads and other forms of advertising require a monetary investment on the part of the business, while organic results are those most closely related to the search query entered by the user.
Paid results are a form of advertising and appear above organic results. They are shown when a person enters a search term and advertisers have bid on that specific term.
At times, they may be more relevant than the organic results when a person is shopping for a particular item. If the search engine query is more general, the organic results tend to provide better results.
For this reason, both elements are helpful in a marketing campaign.
What Does SEO Involve?
Numerous strategies help to move a website up in the organic results, but some methods work better than others.
One website owner focuses on content creation because visitors to his site come for information.
Another owner might concentrate his efforts on social media platforms, as this is where the target audience spends most of their time.
Search Engine Optimization as Part of an Overall Marketing Plan
Each marketing plan needs to take several factors into consideration when determining which strategies to employ.
Furthermore, companies must recognize internet search engines update their algorithms regularly and marketing strategies must be updated as well to meet the criteria set forth by the algorithm.
To ensure the plan continues to provide the desired results, an SEO strategist monitors the effectiveness of the strategies on an ongoing basis.
Analytics can be of help with this, as they provide detailed information that makes it easier for effective decisions to be made regarding SEO strategies.
Things to consider when evaluating the effectiveness of the SEO strategies include time spent on the page, conversion rate, pages per visit, scroll depth, and more.
A company may wish to track the effectiveness of the overall plan or focus on a specific campaign. Traffic, over time, needs to be monitored, as do other factors such as keyword rankings.
Various tools available today make it easy to monitor these metrics and determine which parts of the SEO strategy are working and where changes need to be made.
As consumer preferences change along with search engine algorithms, companies must make this an ongoing process to obtain the best results.
Why Is SEO Important?
Search engine users come to the internet for information. Ninety-three percent of internet sessions today start with a search engine query.
If a site doesn’t appear on the first page, 95 percent of search engine users won’t see it because they never go past the first page to explore more results.
This demonstrates the importance of moving up in the organic search engine results, and SEO methods help a company do exactly this.
In fact, 70 to 80 percent of search engine users skip past the paid search results and head straight to the organic results. This explains why both components must be included in a comprehensive plan.
A company cannot afford to lose out on a single customer, and incorporating both elements into the plan ensures nobody is overlooked.
According to Statista, 4.57 billion individuals across the globe were active internet users as of April 2020. This accounts for 59 percent of the world’s population.
Google currently processes more than 40,000 search queries every second, which works out to 1.2 trillion searches each year.
Facebook reports the site currently has 2.6 billion active users on its site in March 2020, which is ten percent higher than the same period one year before.
Of these users, 1.73 billion individuals log onto the site every day. Statistics such as these show the importance of social media to a company’s overall plan.
However, Facebook is only one of many social media sites. Another popular site with consumers is Twitter, a site that has approximately 1.3 billion registered users.
During the fourth quarter of 2019, Twitter has 152 million daily active users, a 21 percent increase from the third quarter in 2019.
Other popular sites with social media users include Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Companies must recognize the importance of social media today when it comes to connecting with consumers.
An online presence remains essential for this reason, as it increases website traffic and ensures ongoing engagement with consumers.
Keeping up with the competition is crucial today, and social media makes this task easier.
Numerous strategies exist today when it comes to search engine optimization.
Finding the right combination of these strategies is key to improving the visibility of a website and boosting conversion rates.
Increasing the number of visitors to a site is only helpful when those visitors convert into paying customers. How should one start with the SEO process?
Maintain a strong presence on social media sites. Learn which sites the target audience prefers and focus efforts on that network.
As seen in the statistics above, Facebook and Twitter have a wide audience. However, certain industries obtain better results on smaller platforms, such as Instagram and Etsy.
Make certain you learn which platforms will provide the best results and engage with consumers on these sites to improve visibility and increase customer loyalty.
While numerous search engine optimization techniques will draw visitors to the site, quality content is needed to keep them there.
Furthermore, search engines strive to provide the most relevant information based on the user’s search query.
Make certain the site is regularly updated with quality content and optimize existing pages on the site.
During this process, update title tags, meta descriptions, and more to incorporate the keywords being targeted.
However, quality content won’t be of help in improving a site’s search engine ranking if the visitor can’t find this information upon arriving on the site.
Concentrate on improving the navigation, functionality, and aesthetics to ensure this does not become an issue and visitors can find exactly what they need when they come to the site.
Internal links are of great help when a person is moving between pages on the site, as they can smoothly transition from one part of the site to another.
In addition, providing these links helps to reduce the bounce rate of the site while increasing the likelihood that the visitor will become a paying customer.
The bounce rate refers to the percentage of users who leave a site before taking additional action. When a search engine ranks a site, it looks at the bounce rate for every page of the site and factors this into the site’s overall rating.
For this reason, search engine optimization efforts must take into account existing pages on the site as well as any pages added in the future.
Search engines likewise consider the authority of a site when ranking it for inclusion in the search engine results.
Inbound links are external domains that direct a visitor to the website, and these links give a site authority in the eyes of the search engine.
Often referred to as backlinks, these connections are of great importance. In the past, companies would purchase backlinks to increase their authority. However, doing so today can be harmful to the site.
Search engines now penalize companies for purchasing inbound links.
They want to see these links obtained organically, as this demonstrates the site offering the link to its visitors views the website being ranked as credible and trustworthy.
Work to obtain backlinks or inbound links from reputable sources to increase your search engine ranking rather than using black-hat techniques to achieve this goal.
While the black hat techniques may work in the short term, once the search engine recognizes this tactic has been used, it will move the site that purchased the links down in the rankings or remove it from the engine completely.
These are only a few of the many search engine optimization techniques that may be used today.
However, they should be the focus of any marketing plan, as they are effective and approved by the search engines. If help is needed in this area, don’t hesitate to hire an SEO consultant.
These professionals understand what is needed to create a strong plan that will provide the desired results.
Understand that search engine optimization is not a one-time process. Ongoing efforts are needed to ensure the site is operating at its full potential.
Due to these constant changes to search engine algorithms, many businesses opt to work with an SEO consultant or outsource this task completely.
Doing so makes sense, as no business can afford to fall behind its competitors today. The money spent to hire a professional in this field pays off in the results that are obtained in both the short and long run.