Did you know that 68% of all activity online begins with a search?
What’s even more stunning is that 75% of people who look up something online with a search engine never go beyond page one. Such extreme stakes make it mission-critical for your website to rank highly and attract users.
To this end, search engine optimization (SEO) helps businesses position their websites to connect with users and serve them meaningfully. For many businesses going online, though, all this can sound cryptic.
So, what is SEO? How can it help your business grow?
Let’s dig in.
What is SEO?
When broken down to its core, search engine optimization is all about getting a website to rank highly in the unpaid section of a search engine. You can achieve this by optimizing your content such that a search engine recognizes it as valuable information relating to a particular keyword.
Whenever users type it into the search engine, your site will be among the first they see serving information relating to that keyword. If the user finds your content resonates with them, they click through to your website for more.
That’s what is known as organic traffic in industry parlance.
Why SEO Matters to Your Business?
There is a tangible value that online (and offline) businesses can derive from SEO. The secret is to learn how to convert what SEO offers into benefits that directly impact your business.
So, why should you invest in SEO?
Organic traffic. SEO’s intrinsic value is the capacity it gives you to draw in users who are looking for a solution that you have.
For example, imagine you are an organic herb company operating out of Tampa and looking to attract more local consumers. Let’s also say you hire a Tampa SEO company to help engage users.
If there’s anyone within the locality looking for organic herbs, your SEO investment will help position your offering when they most need it. You won’t have to invest in convincing prospects why they need organic herbs. You’ll only zero in on ensuring you have a prime value proposition to offer to people looking for exactly such a solution.
It sounds like an easier customer acquisition hill to climb, right?
The beauty of it all is that once you make the initial investment in SEO, you only need minimal tending to keep the traffic flowing in. But that searcher intent-product fit isn’t the only reason to invest in SEO.
You also get more visibility into why customers respond to your offering. Through assessing the analytics and studying SEO reports, you can lift insights on what makes your value proposition attractive and build on it.
Aside from that, through link building, you get to improve your public relations (PR) without breaking the bank.
Understanding How Search Engines Work
When your website goes live, it’ll encounter search engine crawlers (also known as spiders) that check out the internet for content (a process known as crawling).
These crawlers discover content through links, and that goes for every type of content format. Once the crawler locates a webpage, it’ll use links on that webpage to find other pages to assess.
All these links and the information they lead to are stored in an index by the search engine. When a user types a search query, the search engine checks the index for content matching the user’s query and directs them to it.
Some website owners, in pursuit of search engine indexing, place search boxes on their sites. Their thinking is that if they install the search box, the crawlers will use it to index their site’s content.
But that’s not the case. These robots can’t scan search forms to determine what visitors to that page are looking for.
Google’s robots crawl various sites at different rates. More popular websites that update their content regularly tend to be crawled more than lesser-known websites with periodic content updates.
In certain circumstances, your website can be struck off the index by search engines. Reasons for this include:
- When a URL returns a server or ‘not found’ error
- If you block the robots from crawling the site without a preset password
- When your URL violates the Webmaster Guidelines set forth by the search engine
During a running user query, the algorithm will leverage a predetermined formula to identify the most relevant content to serve a user. Google uses its Google Quality Guidelines as part of its ranking decisions making. The search engine’s algorithm also factors in Search Quality Rater Guidelines as part of the process.
On-Page SEO vs. Off-Page SEO
In the SEO universe, there are two broad operational categories: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO focuses on all the ranking factors that you have control over via your website. Examples here include:
- Your website’s page structure
- The quality and relevance of content
- The headlines you use
- The depth of your keyword research, understanding, and use
- Your HTML skills
With off-page SEO, you try to look at factors influencing your ranking that isn’t necessarily in your control. These could include:
- Competing blogs in your space
- Social networks and their effect
- A searcher’s online history
- The linking strategy in play
- How well you build trust
Despite their apparent differences, you have to get it right on both counts. No category outweighs the other when it comes to getting optimal SEO results.
Black Hat and White Hat SEO Tactics
For businesses new to SEO, the black hat vs. white hat issue may not be immediately apparent, yet it impacts ranking. Black hat SEO practices tend to circumvent the rules to earn a higher ranking faster.
On the flip side, white hat tactics are SEO practices that play within the bounds of the rules to deliver results. While you may get a boost from using black hat SEO tricks, it’s short-term.
Ultimately, your pages will become spammy and end up getting banned by Google. The reputational hit alone is enough to decimate your business. White hat SEO tactics take longer to lift your ranking but give you a sustainable path to growth. If you need white label SEO services for agencies, you can take help from SEO Guru.
Stay Visible to Become Profitable
The more users can see your website, the higher the odds your business will generate more income. With this in mind, you need to ask yourself “what is SEO” to better leverage white hat tactics that can help you get in the game and stay in the game, earning a sustainable income for your firm.
Becoming profitable online is no mean feat. Our website offers technology and business information to help businesses new to the online space learn how to compete better. Check out more of our articles for valuable insights and lessons on how you can increase your website’s ranking to grow your business.