Search Engine Optimization (SEO for Short) is the process of getting your web pages to show up in search engine results pages (SERP) like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
The process of Search Engine Optimization is to increase your websites visibility in organic search results, which in turn should also increase organic traffic to your website. Good SEO should focus on making sure that your website show up for the right search queries. It’s of no benefit to you or the searching party to find your site via a search query that doesn’t fit your business.
In this article I will explain what is involved in SEO, why it is important, and how to proceed with it.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Every search engine, such as Google, Yahoo or Bing has a system of ranking websites and pages, and it is done with the help of highly sophisticated algorithms that keep on evolving with time.
Search engines rank each page according to relevance and quality of that page in respect of relevant keywords or topics. Every time a user enters a keyword in the search bar, the search engine displays top results according to this ranking.
SEO is the way of ensuring your page is displayed on the first page of search results when terms or keywords relevant to your page are searched.
Basically, a search engine can be seen as an answering machine. Search engine, say Google, uses the process of “crawling and indexing” to review and analyze billions of pieces of data and content, such as web pages, images, videos, pdf, etc., to assess relevance and quality of the content and rank accordingly.
Virtually every piece of content is created online with the sole purpose of gaining visitors and views. One way to achieve this goal is through paid promotion, such as Google ads.
However, it can be very costly and cannot solely be relied upon. On the other hand, the best way is always to gain organic visitors, which is made possible by ensuring good quality and relevant content by utilizing the latest SEO techniques.
What is involved in SEO?
Learning the science and art behind SEO can be very technical as the algorithms involved are evolved substantially to avoid exploitation at the hands of few people. We shall cover some technical aspects of SEO in upcoming articles. However, you must know that ‘O’ or Optimization is the key word here that deserves all the attention.
What it means is to optimize each and every bit of your content to make it more relevant and more reliable in the eyes of the search engine algorithm.
While everything matters when optimizing a web page or piece of online content, the following bits may be of utmost importance:
- Title tags (right length and a better choice of phrases)
- Meta description (right length and quality of information)
- Domain level keyword usage (keywords match with the domain)
- Page level keyword match (relevance and frequency of keywords)
- Usage and traffic data (diversity, quantity and usage signals from browsers)
- Social metrics (quantity and quality of social media shares and mentions)
- Ease of website usage and navigation
- Links to the website (high-quality inbound links)
Why is SEO so Important?
I hope that, by now, you have gained some idea about SEO and understand its essential aspects. The next question that may arise is why SEO is so important and why businesses spend so much time and resources towards search engine indexing.
Well, the answer is quite simple.
Every single second, Google answers nearly 90,000 search queries globally and over 3.5 billion daily.
These searches are made up of people looking to learn about a topic, solve a problem, and of course buy a product.
We all have used Google and we know that very rarely we move towards page two or three of the search results. If a website falls beyond the first page it is virtually non-existent for a searcher.
A website may have the best solutions or amazing content but it is missing out a very big number of visitors (and potential customers) if it fails to index itself among the top results. This is why search engine optimization becomes one of the earliest (and continuous) efforts to apply for every web page that aspires to reach its full potential.
Optimization is a Continuous Process
Many web managers and owners fail to realize the important fact that SEO is a continuous process. It is not a one-off job unless your content is for a very limited time.
Search engines are constantly upgrading their search algorithms. The criteria also keeps on changing in order to provide the best and most relevant results to users.
This, in turn, means that content creators need to continuously work towards optimizing their content in order to ensure it meets the latest requirements and standards set by the search engine.
Moreover, every time the website is changed or a new piece of content is added, it may require certain efforts in terms of the optimization activity.
How to proceed with SEO
SEO is not among the most technical jobs in the world. Depending upon the availability of time, existing skills and willingness to learn, you may choose to perform these basic SEO tasks yourself. It may not be as easy as your current job but you can surely learn it.
However, if you think you have more productive or value-adding tasks at hand or simply cannot find enough time and aspiration to spend time on a new skill, or perhaps your content is too much to be handled single handedly, you may decide to choose from a number of service providers.
Remember that not every SEO service provider is alike and make sure to do thorough research and background check before hiring anyone to do SEO for you.
Remember, when done right, SEO has the potential to accomplish so much for your content and your website.
Make sure to not ignore this essential aspect of online content management and you will be alright in your endeavor.
Get started by learning more about search engine optimization by reading and learning about keyword research and On-Page SEO, a look into the do it yourself (DIY) strategies of SEO.