What is SEO — And How Can it Help Your Business Thrive

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What is SEO? The acronym, SEO, stands for search engine optimization. In some cases, you might also see SEO used to refer to the professionals who optimize websites for search engines as well. The simplest definition of search engine optimization could describe it as the steps needed to ensure a website ranks well for search engine queries. If internet users look online for solutions, you can grow your business by ensuring that they see your pages at the top of the results.

What is SEO?

To accomplish your goal of ranking high in search results, you need to work to please both human visitors and search engine algorithms. The main factors that search engines consider have always been relevance and authority; however, in any competitive market, an SEO professional will work to improve other factors as well.

The most sophisticated search engines automatically analyze dozens of qualities of your site. At the same time, you can get a very good start if you can improve in any of these areas:

  • Relevance: An SEO agency will spend time researching the kinds of queries that people make when they look for a site like yours. Keywords may also vary by the stage in the buying channel of the searchers you hope to attract. You need to make sure that your page content mentions these important terms. Consider your keywords or variations of them when you craft text, headings, page titles, and tags.
  • Authority: Typically, you can gain authority with outside links (also known as backlinks), citations, and activity on other relevant, high-authority sites. Besides building up your entire domain’s authority, you should generally also focus on the individual page authority of the most relevant pages for particular searches. For instance, you may wish to rank a different page for queries related to your location than for queries related to a menu, price comparison, or warranty. The right external links can help your site establish both authority and relevance.
  • Design features: These days, search engines have gotten much smarter as the competition for viewers has grown more intense. They want to make certain that people keep returning to their search page by giving them exactly what they want. Because of this, they will prefer mobile-friendly websites that load fast and are easy to crawl and navigate.
  • User behavior:  Even the best search engines have limits when it comes to predicting which websites people prefer. On the other hand, they can keep track of the way that human visitors behave when they find your site. Your work to improve the time people spend upon your site and how often they click through from a search listing will also help increase your rank. Make sure your listings encourage people to click through. Also, serve pages that deliver what your titles and descriptions promise.
  • Penalty avoidance: Not so long ago, an SEO agency could spam keywords and low-quality links to get a website to rank through brute force. Search engine companies realized that they needed to punish this sort of behavior if they hoped to keep the customers who clicked their ads. While you will need to build your site’s authority and demonstrate its relevance, you should always favor quality over quantity. To help you make good SEO decisions, always consider the visitor’s experience before you concern yourself with search engines.  Avoid getting penalized for trying to cheat your way to the top.

Optimizing for Specific Search Engines

Google has a 92% marketshare with Yahoo, Bing and others representing the remaining 8%.

Most people associate SEO with Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. These days, you should also know that many other internet platforms also contain their own search engines. Google, YouTube, and Facebook produce the most traffic. While Google is a traditional search engine, YouTube is a video platform, and Facebook is a social networking site.

You will need somewhat different optimization strategies for various platforms; however, the steps you take to rank well on one site can also help you gain momentum on others. At first, you should probably select a few search engines to target. On the other hand, you can enjoy some synergistic benefits by developing an SEO strategy for a few different, complementary platforms.

For instance, you will need a video for YouTube. Of course, that video may help you:

  • Improve your site quality and relevance by also posting the video on your own site
  • Increase activity on social networks with clickable and sharable video content that leads back to your website

Why is SEO Important?

Certainly, you can attract visitors to your website by spending money on advertisements. On the other hand, you don’t have to pay for traffic that you can generate through the natural searches you can earn through SEO. Typical companies spend almost eight times as much on paid search as they do on SEO. Paid ads generally covert only about 1.5 times better than natural results. To top it off, internet users also click organic search results about eight times as often. If you neglect search engine optimization, you’re leaving a lot of profitable internet traffic for your competitors. An investment in search engine optimization can reduce the strain on your marketing budget and in some cases, make the difference between a profitable or money-losing campaign.

    Jeramy Gordon is the founder and Chief Content Officer at the Lorem Ipsum Company. He has been creating successful content strategies for almost two decades and believes in the power of high-quality content. He lives in Orange County, California, with his wife and two children.

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