What Is SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization describes the methods in which a person manipulates a web page so that it meets certain criteria (such as those laid out by Google) in order for a search engine to find it relevant and thus place it within their database and serve it to clients when they search for it – ideally before other web pages.
Essentially, what most search engines offer is a way for people to find a web page online using their search engine tool () that fulfills a request or answers a question. Here’s how it works: Someone goes to and enters a search query (types in a word or phrase), Google performs a search through a vast database to locate what it has determined to be the most relevant “answer” to the query. Next, it displays a list of “relevant” web pages. The web pages displayed are what Google believes to be the best “matches” or answers to the query, and they are listed in order with a few ads thrown in to make their pockets fatter.
This process of searching and displaying web pages happens so fast that most people don’t really understand the mechanism involved or how Google ranks these web pages. To keep it simple, Google ranks pages by relevancy, and SEO is what one does to be more relevant and thus rank higher in Google’s search rankings.
SEO From The Business Side
Now, let’s take a look at this mechanism from another viewpoint – that of the business or company. As a business, you would no doubt want to rank ahead of your competition. Of course you would. It’s a proven fact that those who rank higher get more visitors. It’s also a proven fact that over 90% of those that search on Google do not navigate past the first page. So ranking as high on page #1 in Google search results is definitely the goal of SEO in most cases.
But how do you actually rank? How can you make your web pages the most relevant to Google? How do you use SEO to improve rankings?
The answer is, you start with analytics. This is the data you gather from your website. How many visitors you get on a given page, how many bounces (when a person leaves immediately after viewing a page on your site), how long is each visitor staying on the page, what are your most popular pages, etc. Analyzing this information can tell you where to focus your efforts and what messages to develop in order to reach more potential customers.
From there you need a plan. That plan should begin with a purpose. What are you doing and why? An example of a plan could be to sell as many thingamajigs as possible. Let’s start there. Next, how many are you selling now? Where do you want to sell them? All of these questions need to be answered.
If the answer has anything to do with selling online via a website, then continue. If not, find information aimed at selling the specific way that you want to sell. Amazon and eBay are both examples of online platforms that allow 3rd party vendors to do business on. If you are selling on those platforms, the SEO is not necessarily the first plan of action for your business.
Once you have a plan, you can create a marketing strategy. The plan you create contains the steps to get there. The strategy involves how to achieve each step on the plan. Using SEO as a strategy, you can decide on ways to build followers, improve rankings and increase site visitors – all ways that can lead to more direct sales.
Making Sense Of It All
There is a lot to know when it comes to SEO. You don’t have to know it all to make it work for you. You should, however, have a basic understanding of how to optimize a web page which includes the meta title, meta description, keywords, page structure, links, images and more. Once you understand this information, you can do basic SEO on your website, which is better than nothing.
Some key points to remember are to never use duplicate content – also known as plagiarism. And this rule applies to all pages, content and everything else. Just never use content that is already online, write your own message and speak to your customers.
Also, write titles, descriptions and information that speaks to your customer. Keep in mind who they are, and let them know how your business can help them. Use SEO to sell, but also to educate and help.
When To Use SEO
SEO should be one of the first actions you take in any marketing campaign. Are you planning on launching a new campaign? Start with SEO. Are you spending money on Google AdWords Campaigns? Start with SEO. Are you spending money on ads of any kind related to your website? If so, you should begin with SEO. You can get more from any ad campaign if your web pages are optimized. You can capture more information, more data and it will inevitably lead to more success.
These are the basics of SEO and are most often misunderstood by not just clients, but even experienced marketers. Knowing the basics is a great way to make improvements.
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