Three Essentials to SEO
There has been a lot of discussion about SEO since the beginning of search engines. Some of that discussion has been good and some, well, has not. SEO is perhaps the most misunderstood yet sought after service in digital marketing. There have been plenty of businesses out there claiming to give their customers premium SEO and charging handsomely for it only to give them some blog posts or worse—nothing.
That’s why it is important to know the basics of SEO so that you don’t get duped and so that you know what to shop for and how SEO fits into your overall marketing strategy. Simply put, SEO is the work of improving search engine rankings. That’s it. The definition is simple, however the tactics and strategy for achieving SEO for your business is time consuming and can get complicated.
We all want unpaid traffic or what people call organic traffic. That’s the point of optimizing for search engines—so that people who hop on their computer and type in a relevant search topic will see you in the top results. How many times do you go to page two of a Google search? Not often if you’re like most people. That’s why SEO is so important for organic traffic—it can put you on the first page of a Google search granted they are searching for what you are optimizing.
The Big Search Engines
The three biggest search engines are Google, Bing and Yahoo!. (YouTube could also be considered one of the largest, but it’s specific to YouTube). Each one of these search engines operates on an algorithm which is nothing more than a complex series of math equations. The entire job of the search engine algorithm is to give users relevant and popular results based on what they typed into the box. All search engines are trying to deliver what their users are looking for and in an increasingly more populated internet; it’s not as easy as you might think.
Search engines are limited in many respects. They find what people have described and sometimes people language and algorithm language aren’t the same. That’s where SEO comes in to help bridge the gap and to maximize the search engine’s ability to “see” your content. Ensuring you are properly tagging your content, structuring your links correctly, and making sure rich media content is accompanied by text are just three of the many technical nuances to help search engines find your stuff.
Have you ever searched for something and found sponsored links at the top of the search? Did you click on them or move down to the “real” results? This exemplifies the difference between paid traffic and organic traffic. Businesses pay to have their link come up at the top of the page but those results under the paid links are a product of well-done SEO. Many people skip the paid links and move down to the actual results of the search engine. The end game for all SEO is to have your content at the top of any search related to your product or service.
Great Content Wins (and it’s not your opinion that matters)
If search engines want to provide quality results to their users, then great content is essential. Do you want subpar content delivered when you are searching? I imagine you want the best content first so that you don’t have to dig for it. That is why it is so important to create awesome content that people really value. If you create killer content and your audience agrees, they will share all over the internet which creates links from other sites and their friends will do the same. The more links found across the internet landscape pointing back to your content tells search engines, “Hey, I’m popular.”
Remember: relevant and popular are the cornerstones of search engine results. If your content is deemed relevant by the words you type in a box and popular by how many links are point to it, then search engines will begin to declare your page an authority. Authority pages are what search engines want to deliver to users and it’s what you want when you search online. SEO helps build your reputation to the algorithms that make your page an authority page.
Words in a Box Matter
It always comes up in every marketing discussion: Who is your customer? If you know the language of your customer, the way they describe the problem, need or desire then you have an advantage. Armed with the language of your customer you can describe and create content using their words.
What people type into the search box are crucial data. What you think people are searching is probably different than what people are actually searching. Google offers a great tool to help. Google’s Adwords Keyword Planner allows you to type in any word or phrase and see how often it’s searched. It also offers related terms and how often they are searched. There’s no better tool for refining the relevancy of your keywords related to your content. Once you know the keywords, you can tag, incorporate and maximize those key phrases so that what people are typing into the box match closely what you are typing into a different box. This is a key ingredient of SEO.
Three Key Components for Optimizing Your Content
- Make your site for users and label your pages clearly and descriptively.
- Create clean and keyword-maximized URLs.
- Don’t hide content in pictures, videos and rich media – describe it with text.
SEO doesn’t have to be internet magic. A basic understanding of how search engines operate combined with great content and knowledge of what language people are using is the foundation for producing search engine optimized web sites. You want your site to have an authority reputation by creating relevant and popular content.
People generally want to know three things: 1. Where can I buy something; 2. Where can I learn something; 3. Where can I find a particular place on the internet. All you have to do is incorporate the right words in the right places across your platform to help search engines deliver quality results to search engine users.