SEO: What Is It?

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization commonly known as SEO is a marketing system that seeks to mainly increase the visibility of your website without the need to pay for driven ad spaces (PPC or Pay Per Click) on search engines like Google Search. It is the organic increase in traffic to your site.

SEO involves the technical and design criteria used to set you up at the best rank among your competitors and drive traffic. Basically, it deals with making it easier for search engines to find your website and display it at the top of its results.

It not only encompasses optimizing your website for the search engine but also involves making the site user-friendly.

Functions performed by search engines

1. Crawling –This is the process of collecting all the web pages connected to a website. The software performing this is called a crawler or a spider.

2. Indexing – When crawling is done, an index is created for all collected web pages, and they are kept in a vast database for future retrieval. Indexing involves merely identifying the words and expressions that define a web page and assigning a specific keyword to the web page.

3. Processing – Whenever you click search, the search engine compares your search request to the database of indexed pages in storage

4. Retrieving Results – The final step performed by the search engine is displaying the collected results on your screen or browser.

To better understand what SEO is, we need a definition of the main aspects of it on a basic level.

Aspects of Search Optimization (SEO)

1. Technical Aspect

This is mostly developing on the back end. The latter involves what the website visitors can't see. You ask how this helps to improve visibility when no one can see this in the first place? Search engines use the code in websites to search for and find sites relevant to your search criteria. Google, known for over 70% of market share in search engines, has a bot called the google spider which searches the web for relevant data. It literally does not deal with the visible design of the website but searches the hidden code of the site and displays the data it collects in a list from the most relevant to the least relevant. SEO in the technical aspect could involve reducing page load times, improving mobile friendliness and multilingualism among many other technical issues of a website. This optimizes your website for indexing and crawling by search engines.

2. Content aspect

Your website's content determines whether or not your page will be featured as one of the top search results on google. It follows that this is the most crucial aspect. The more relevant and helpful the content you have is, the more attention the content will gain from search engines. Content mostly involves posts, videos, and images, info graphs or even a combination of all types of content.

3. Tactical aspect

This involves optimizing your website pages to be able to make the cut-off grade of the various search engines. It mainly consists of playing around with keywords relevant to your website content. Using the wrong keywords will most definitely drive the wrong audience to your site. If it is too specific, you might be excluding a significant part of your visitors. Tactical SEO is updating these keywords continually.

4. Social aspect

Using the various social media platforms in place today such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is an invaluable way to pull traffic to your website organically. Ideally, your audience shares and gives feedback on your website that generally helps to advertise your site. All these aspects are combined to form the basic definition.

What is the primary process of SEO?

SEO follows the following pattern:

  • Keyword research
  • Analysis of competition
  • Audit of current website
  • On-page optimization
  • Off-page optimization
  • Measuring traffic and rankings
  • Improve results

How proper optimization helps a business online and its importance 

Proper optimization helps your business regardless of the size, experience, age, and state. If any company is willing to make an effort and dominate their online presence, then it is the best way forward. In today’s market, with the ever-increasing use of social media and the internet, it is almost impossible to stay afloat without the help of proper optimization. It is the main reason why companies are investing a considerable portion of their budget for SEO.

SEO helps businesses in the following ways:

1. Attract and network with customers

Many firms can struggle in gaining clients, especially starting companies and small businesses. An SEO enhanced website has better rankings compared to its competitors. Increased visibility, traffic, and reviews on the world's dominant search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Baidu is the core aim of proper optimization. This, therefore, means that potential customers will most definitely see your website as one of the top-most search results. These customers are usually those that will most definitely have a higher probability of purchasing your goods or services. You will then most probably grab customers before they land on your competitor’s websites, and better, they will not visit your website aimlessly. It has been proven that clients are 70% more likely to click on the top 5 search results.

2. Mobile friendliness ensures website access through mobile devices

In the world, around 3.7 billion people have access to mobile phones. Mobile search alone account for 49.65% of all web access today. Imagine having your business exposed to this market, and more, for free of charge! Having mobile pages that are search friendly can greatly increase your rankings and traffic, especially for local search. 

3. It is cheaper

In comparison to traditional and modern marketing practices that require you to invest time and make substantial financial and labor input. Marketing organically through the internet will be less expensive. Once your website is listed as one of the top search results by the search engine, there will not be any need to pay for every click. This makes it a very affordable and cost friendly marketing strategy.

4. It will Build and help with brand awareness improvement through rankings

Whenever a person searches for goods or services using the search engine, your website will most definitely feature as one of the top search results. The advantage of this to your brand is; Builds trust and loyalty of customers on your services and goods since many people believe top search results to be reputable which directly helps in creating brand awareness.

5. Return on investment is assured (ROI)

Website development is a massive investment for a business. Having a website that gives output desired and a good profit from the investment you put into it is the primary goal. Through the focused marketing that SEO controls, chances of converting a casual website visit into a successful sale are increased. This usually is not the case especially with traditional advertising which has no directed advertising. Making a website more active and lively becomes a necessity for many businesses more than even developing the site itself.

6. Long-term effects

The effects for your website are long lasting and do not last for a few hours or days. The impact you gain by optimizing your site for search engines helps your website give the best results on a continuous sequence.

7. It Shows You Care About Your Business

Since SEO requires time and money input, customers are quick to recognize and appreciate the hard work a website owner puts into his website. This bolsters loyalty and also improves the quality of the business. It goes that a vital industry has a lot of input by its owner while a business without meaningful input is not cared for by the owner.

8. It makes your competition take notice

It is not only clients who search the web for goods and services. Other companies also seek to recognize their competition. These businesses might become research partners or venture partners which may benefit both of you in the long run. SEO assists you to appear among the top search results.

9. Referral marketing becomes easier

It is easy to gain, organize and display referrals from existing and loyal customers. Also, you get referrals from other businesses who have their clientele!

10. It Rewards Hard Work

The hard work of putting together a functional business is not useful when there are no meaningful rewards. SEO ensures your business bears fruit by increasing data from an inflow of visitors and clients to your website.

11. Social networking is made easier

Customers who find your website or business through the various social media platform in existence today are more likely to promote your business on social media. Picture this; a customer buys an attractive hat from your online shop. She posts a picture with the hat on. A friend then asks where she has gotten the hat from, and she replies in the comments section of the image. This means that everyone who sees the post will most likely search the web for such a hat or the brand and you wouldn't want to miss the chance of appearing as the first result for a potential customer.

12. It puts you in the first position compared to your competitors offering the same goods or services

If more than one website is selling the same product, Local SEO instantly puts you at the top of all your competitors which means more sales hence profit for your business.

13. Engaging with customers

Customer engagement is significant for businesses seeking to improve their products and services. Optimizing your website enables customers to give valuable opinions on your products. When customers see their insights being put into practice, they are bound to develop loyalty pledges which are a sure way to boost revenue. For most business, maximum output and gaining from SEO would be achieved by employing the help of an SEO consulting company for the following advantages;

– Consultants provide a business with an up to date strategy which is harmonized to exploit its full potential to the benefit of the online market

– Consultants also offer directions and advice on which methods will be employed for the website to work at an optimum level. Furthermore, they also quote on the amount of time it might take for your site to be fully optimized for search engines, how much it would cost for the whole procedure and which expert would be best for your business.

– These SEO consulting companies write a clear plan and results desired for a company or business.

SEO Consulting companies have been in their field for a long time and have had first-hand experience. They, therefore, bring such an exposure to the table which is generally invaluable. The said experience has been tested on some businesses and has proven to be effective; otherwise, they would not use it on your business in the first place.

SEO experts found in such firms have the know-how on marketing.

They also have a wide range of connections to various service providers who of course offer them different solutions at lower than usual prices. This, therefore, means that your business will most definitely get a fair price compared to the overpriced online budgets submitted by many marketing agencies. This, thus, proves to save you a lot in the long run. Many companies have thus decided to invest in hiring an SEO professional because the consequences might be permanent if they don’t. No one would wish to have their rivals overtake them. If so, why be left out? Before an online business enlists the services of an SEO company, it is essential to critically think on how the company will employ different techniques and approaches. The best way to determine which consultants to enlist is to look at their success rates. These results eventually justify their methods. From the list above, it is therefore wise to conclude that at this time and generation, failing to employ an optimization service provider would not only be making a huge gamble with your business but would also mean that your business won't have any effect whatsoever on the existing market. Even if SEO services are costly and may add a strain to your budget, the returns are bound to recover the investment you made.

Forms of SEO to be aware of:

There are two versions to keep an eye out for:

There is black hat SEO, And there is white hat SEO. 

White hat is known to be very safe and steady. It typically consists of safe link building from blog comments in niche specific industries, links from social media, internal link building, and paid ads. White hat will tend to take some time to get good search engine results but is a great long term way to build your search rankings. 

Black hat is known to be very manipulative and risky. Most black hat SEO techniques build links through untrusted and spammy websites that are typically paid links to try and build fake power and trust. Sometimes this can work, but typically long term it will just get you into trouble and not improve your search engine rankings at all. An older blackout technique was to use keyword stuffing to improve organic search, but that has shown to now get you in trouble over getting you any results. 

Black hat linking can also get you a link penalty or worse from Google. It is important to read the Google Webmaster guidelines to better understand how to optimize your content properly. 

If you have done or hired anyone who has performed any questionable work, you might want to log into your Google search console and make sure you were not hit with any penalties. One penalty can kill all of your rankings. In the console, you will be able to see all the inbound links and external links to and from your website. Links in and out of your website can play a big ranking factor in all search results.

With all of this said, unless you have time and a lot of money to learn SEO, ranking in search engines should be left to a professional search engine marketing team.