Understanding SEO: What You Need To Know And Why It Matters
In digital marketing, there’s no tactic more effective than search engine optimization (SEO).
The concept is simple: targeting specific keywords and using them alongside marketing tactics make it easier for people to find your website when they search for a particular term.
On a basic level, SEO is exactly that. Still, it becomes much more complicated once you start digging into the nitty-gritty details. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of SEO so that you can see how it works and why it matters to you, your brand, or your business!
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a practice that involves improving your website to make it more visible in search engine results. SEO aims to help you gain more traffic, leads, and sales.
- SEO can be a long-term strategy that requires patience. Still, seeing the benefits slowly build up over time becomes rewarding. However, immediate benefits exist, such as increased organic traffic (non-paid visitors) after implementing SEO keyword changes on your site. Two beginner-friendly websites to accomplish SEO goals are Moz and SEMrush.
Keyword research analyzes what people are searching for online. It determines how to use that information to improve your marketing efforts. Keyword research aims to identify relevant keywords that your target audience uses when searching for products and services like yours.
For example, suppose a customer is searching for something specific. In that case, you want your website to appear at or near the top of the search results page for those terms so you can capture their attention.
- Keyword optimization: Ensuring that keywords used on a website are optimized by including them in appropriate places (such as in the title, URL, H1 tags, and alt tags), so they appear more prominently in search engine result pages.
How Search Engines Work with SEO
Search engine marketing (SEM) and SEO complement one another, except when budgeting and bidding are involved in the marketing campaign initiative. To better understand how SEO and SEM complement each other, check out this post from Digital Marketing Institute.
- Search engines are programmed to rank pages based on the keywords they contain, which could be organic (free) or paid. Keywords help a search engine know what type of content is on the page and which item should appear first in its results list. Search engines have a limited amount of space in which to display results, hence why it’s super important for them to be able to identify keywords. The more relevant keywords you have on your website, the higher your chances are that Google will pick up your site and show it off as one of its top-ranked results.
On-page SEO is optimizing your website’s content, code, and structure for search engines. It is the foundation of search engine optimization. It includes:
- HTML tags: The HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) tags mark up the text on a webpage to make it readable by humans and robots. Search engines also use these tags when analyzing a page’s relevance, so it helps them determine how relevant or “good” that particular piece of content might be for users’ queries.
- Page Structure: How you structure each page on your site can impact whether or not it will rank well in search results for specific keywords or phrases. For example, multiple paragraphs with long titles and no subheadings separate each one from another, compromising the chances of Google displaying all those paragraphs entirely (and instead may show readers only the first few lines). Meaning valuable keyword phrases could go unnoticed.
Link Building / Off-Page Optimization
Link building is acquiring links from other sites to your site. Link building is a great way to increase traffic to your site, and it’s one of the essential parts of SEO.
To get started with link building:
- Relevance: relevant websites that may be willing to link back to you. You can do this by searching for keywords related to your industry or business on Google or another search engine, then browsing through some pages until you find those interested in having a link back.
- Communication: Email them if they’d like to include a link back on their site; if they say yes, ask them how best they would like it formatted (for example: “Please add this text as HTML code”: Link Text).
Content optimization makes your content as relevant to your target audience as possible. This tactic can do this by using the right keywords in your content, writing for your audience, and using good-quality images and videos. To optimize your content, you need to make sure that it is:
- Relevant Content: The most fundamental aspect of optimizing any text is ensuring that its subject matter relates directly to whatever you’re trying to promote.
- Engaging Content: Creating engaging content throughout your website or blog that is easy to read and still informative, so readers do not feel overwhelmed is resourceful and helpful for your overall visibility and rankings.
Although you may not be able to master all of the different areas of SEO, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of it. This can help you recognize opportunities for your business and ensure your website is as optimized as possible.
It’s not just marketers and web developers who need to know about SEO; it benefits anyone with an online presence—including small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. By better understanding how search engines work and what factors influence their rankings, you’ll be able to get more from your website.
As you can see, SEO is a complex topic. You need your website to rank high in search results if you get traffic and sales from it. Fortunately, there are plenty of online resources available that can help! It’s also one that you must pay attention to.
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