Defining Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a set of practices that increase the quantity of traffic to a webpage from organic search results in search engines.
SEO improves the positioning, or ranking, of web pages in search results. The higher the ranking, the more people will see and click on a result.
For instance, with Google, most people click on the first search result.
What this means is that people generally skip the ads and head to either the first snippet or first organic (unpaid) search result and click it.
That makes being in either position a very powerful thing.
How Does SEO work?
Search engines like Google use crawlers (also called bots or spiders), to gather information about everything on the internet.
Crawlers follow internal and external links within a webpage and analyze content, to determine how the web page they’re crawling is connected to other search results semantically.
When a search is done, the search engine pulls out what it has determined is the “best” list of search results for whatever was put into the search box.
It uses complex, proprietary algorithms to do so. These algorithms are constantly evolving to counter user behavior. Thanks to advances in machine learning, they grow “smarter” all the time.
Search engine algorithms are also kept in the strictest of confidences by each search engine company.
While SEO experts can make educated estimates on different factors by observing how the search engine behaves, the exact importance of these factors is known only to the people who created and maintain the algorithm.
The three pillars of SEO:
- Technical Optimization: Behind the scenes optimization of a site. Technical optimization is not content-related.
- On-Page Optimization: On-Page Optimization is ensuring the content itself is optimized. Using the right number and kind of keywords and making sure your content is informative and helpful are examples.
- Off-Page Optimization: Activities taken outside the site to optimize it, like the creation of backlinks.
Why is SEO important for marketing?
SEO is a fundamental aspect of marketing because there are trillions of searches conducted each year. These searches are often done to buy goods or services.
Search is also usually the best source of digital traffic for a company. Higher ranking search results than competitors can mean you outperform them.
It will certainly have an impact on your company’s bottom line.
SEO also helps marketing that isn’t digital by helping you understand what your digital customers want. The same benefits and campaigns can be repeated for non-digital customers.
How long does it take for SEO to work?
SEO doesn’t work instantly. It can take between 2 - 12 months to work. Most businesses can expect to see significant results in 6 - 12 months.
How much does SEO cost?
Smaller companies using local SEO spend about $1000 per month on each project.
What happens if you stop SEO?
Over time, you’ll start seeing lower rankings in search engines. This will lead to less traffic and visibility. Your decline will continue until you start using SEO marketing techniques again.