What Is Search Engine Optimization?
Those who have not been heavily involved with an online business in the past decade or so may not know what SEO is or why it is so important. Essentially, this is a marketing tactic that helps to provide more visibility for a company, and better rankings in the search engines, through organic means. In this case, organic simply means that the traffic you receive is not paid for, it is earned through natural means, such as the content that it placed on the site.
While SEO is about making your website rank higher in search engines, it goes beyond this. It also includes making your site better and more usable for the people who visit it. When you work on these aspects together, you can develop a stronger website and one that tends to rank higher in the search engine results.
Some of the techniques that are used to increase SEO include adding more content, making content longer, improving site speed, building backlinks, focusing on topics and not just keywords, and improving engagement.
Why Is SEO Important?
The days of just putting up a website and calling it a day are over. With all of the competition that is out there, it is simply not possible for a website that doesn’t engage in SEO to thrive and get attention. Consider the manner in which web traffic occurs. Most of the time, it will come through the major search engines, such as Google and Yahoo!
Unless someone already knows and frequents your site, they are going to use a search engine to input keywords that are related to a business like yours. They are then taken the search engine results page. When a visitor arrives at that page, they are typically going to choose one of the top results. Some might click to the second page of search results, but they do not go much further than that. They believe that the most relevant results are going to be near the top of the results, and most of the time, they are correct.
Therefore, you would want your website to be at the top of the search engine results to increase the chances that the user will click on your link. Search engine optimization is what makes that possible. They provide you with a way to target your traffic, your ideal customers, in ways that were impossible before.
The targeted traffic that your site then receives can provide your business with exposure and better brand recognition, along with revenue. This is true regardless of what you are providing whether it is a product, an online service, an in-person service, or anything else.
The Top Benefits of Search Engine Optimization
Below, you will see some of the biggest benefits that can be had when you improve your SEO.
1. The Cost
Even though it might cost you to hire professionals to help you with your SEO, you will find that when you compare this expense with other types of marketing and advertising, it is very cost effective. The rankings that you get through SEO are organic and natural, which means you don’t need to keep increasing your budget in order to stay ranked highly. Through the content you create, you can keep a good ranking, as long as you have the right keywords and phrases.
After the upfront costs of SEO, along with some money to maintain the SEO, it is possible for your site to consistently start to get more traffic. When comparing this to the cost of traditional ads, you will see that SEO can provide you with a greater return on the investment.
2. Better Rankings in the Search Engines
Consider how you search for a product or service online. When you type the keywords or search phrase into Google, how many of the sites that come up actually garner your attention? How many of those sites do you visit? Do you often go to the second or third page? If you are like most people, you will look at the first few results on the site, and most of the time, you will click on the top result. This is the site that the search engines believe is most relevant to your search needs.
Now, consider your own website. Wouldn’t you want it to rank as highly as possible for the search results? Naturally, you want it to be as close to the top of the list on the first page as possible, knowing that it is likely to provide you with better results. Search engine optimization will help with this immensely.
3. Increase in Traffic
When you have worked on your SEO, you will notice that there is an increase in the number of visitors coming to your site. When you use your analytics to examine the site, you will see the results of SEO through added visits to your page and more time spent on your site. The results may not be immediate, but you will notice that they do increase steadily. As more and more people visit your site, they become more familiar with your brand and are more willing to buy from you.
4. Improved Credibility
When you have a higher ranking in Google or the other search engines, people tend to see your company and brand as being more credible and reliable than others. Having more trust from the customers and visitors means that they will more than likely go to you when they need to make a purchase. When you rank higher, people feel that your company must be important, and perhaps that it is even larger than it is. This can allow you to more easily compete with others in your field, even if they happen to have a larger company and more money.
5. The Competition Uses SEO
Speaking of the competition, you can be sure that they are working on their own SEO. They know these benefits and they want to take advantage of them, as well. If you are not working on your search engine optimization already, you will want to make sure that you start sooner rather than later. It takes time for SEO to filter through the search engines and provide you with the increased rankings. The longer you wait the more competition you are going to face. By improving your rankings now and making sure your content and site are in shape, you can more easily compete.
6. It Helps You Stand Out
Along the same lines, SEO is what will help your company’s site stand apart from all of the other sites out there. Consider how many website there are on the web and how many of them are direct competitors or adjacent competitors. You are all competing with one another for the same visitors. Having a site that does not utilize SEO techniques for quality, relatable content or a site that does not cater to what the visitor needs is going to make those customers forget about you. Instead, they will find a company – and site – that provides them with what they need.
7. The Results Last
Even though it might take some time for the SEO to work to improve the rankings of your site, you will be happy to know that these are lasting benefits. They are not going to go away overnight. They are going to keep on working for you, and as long as you keep up with basic maintenance and simple SEO strategies, such as adding fresh, quality content, they will work forever.
Look at SEO as an Investment
One of the mistakes that many people make when they are considering the work that it takes for SEO to be effective is the cost. They worry that it is going to be a large expenditure of money and time. While that might be true, it is important to look at this as an investment for the company. This is the type of investment that is likely to have a high return. When you are able to bring your company’s site to the first page on Google and the other search engines, it means that far more people are going to see and click on that link. The higher you are in the rankings the better the results are likely to be. SEO is an expenditure that is well worth the cost, and what you spend now can help you for years to come.
SEO Is for the Long-Term
It is very important for those who are working to improve their SEO to realize that it is not a quick fix. This is a long-term strategy instead. It takes time for the SEO to improve and for your site to increase in the rankings. Your site will not climb to the top overnight. It will take effort, plenty of organic content, and a good site to improve your rankings, but it will happen if you are consistent. To provide you with some short-term gains, you might also want to engage in an AdWords campaign or other advertising.
What Can You Do to Boost Your SEO?
Now that you have a better understanding of some of the biggest benefits that can be had from SEO, it is time to look at some of the different methods that you can use to help boost your rankings. Some of these are simple, and others might require ongoing work or the help of a professional to get just right.
1. You Need Content… Lots of Quality Content
One of the first things that you must realize when it comes to SEO is that you need to have more than just a static website for success. You need to have content on your site if you want to get traction and rise through the rankings. The search engines love having fresh content because they know this is what their site users want and expect. If you are capable of providing that content on a regular basis, it will help to ensure that you continue to have a high ranking.
Keep in mind that the content truly does need to be of a certain quality level for your visitors to be happy. It does not need to be award-winning writing by any means, but it does need to provide them with the types of content that they need. You must do more than just stuff them full of keywords. You must make sure that you are providing useful content.
2. Make the Posts Easy to Read
Additionally, you should make sure your posts are as easy to read as possible. You can do this easily with formatting. For example, you should strive to use shorter paragraphs instead of using walls of text. Having shorter paragraphs tend to be easier to read. In addition, having shorter sentences can help. This does not mean that all of the sentences should be short and clipped. It simply means that you shouldn’t have run on sentences that meander for too long.
Using sub-headers helps to break up the text further. It will also allow readers to see at a glance what is on the page in case they want to skim it and find just what they need. bullet points can be helpful, as well, particularly when you have lists, ideas, or examples that you may need to include.
3. Use Images
Using images in your content can be a fantastic way to help increase engagement on your site, which can help with your SEO. In addition, the images help to break up the text content, and you can add even add keywords to the images, which are helpful for SEO purposes.
4. Make Sure the Site Is Optimized for Visitors
The overall quality of your website is very important, as well. The site needs to be laid out well and easy to navigate. If it isn’t, customers and readers are not likely to spend as much time on the page. The site should also load quickly. People today tend to have a short attention span, and that means that they are not going to want to spend much time waiting for your site to load. They are simply going to click away and go to a competing site instead. Ideally, you want your site to be as easy as possible for your visitors to use whether they are reading your content, looking at images that you have posted, or making a purchase.
Don’t Look for the Easy Way Out
In the past, there were companies that would look for ways to manipulate the search engine ranking, and some of those companies exist today, as well. They look for shortcuts to increased ranking, such as stuffing keywords on to pages – and even making the text invisible – in an effort to trick the search engines. These practices are not just frowned upon, but Google and other search engines will often de-rank pages that engage in any sort of unscrupulous behavior aimed at manipulating the algorithms.
Never try to take the “easy” way out and never work with a company that offers to do this. The time and effort for SEO are well worth it.
SEO Overload – What Should You Do?
What happens when you just don’t have the time, the experience, or the inclination to take care of your search engine optimization the way you should? Simply put, your business will suffer for it. Of course, many people find that managing the SEO, along with all of the other aspects of running the business, is too much to handle on their own. If that’s true of your company, you may want to do what so many other businesses have done – work with professionals who can help.
Find professionals who have plenty of experience with SEO and who can provide you with the results that you and your company need. This can make it much easier to get the rankings that can help give your company a boost.