SEO 101: Learn the Basics
Why is it important and what benefits does it have?
If I were to go out on the street and ask people – WHAT DOES SEO STAND FOR? – I wonder how many people would be able to give me the correct answer. Let’s explain it briefly and simply: SEO stands for SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION and it’s considered a mixture of tactics, strategies and techniques in order to increase the number of visitors to a website. It’s all about getting a high-ranking placement in the search results page of various search engines.
What kind of search are we talking about?
The search can be on images, videos, industry-specific content, local searches or news. SEO basically affects the visibility of a website’s unpaid results, which are often also referred to as organic or natural results. In comparison to the paid options, such as Google Adsense and PPC (pay per click advertising). The fact is that complex mathematical algorithms are being used by search engines to guess which kind of websites an internet user is looking for.
How important is SEO really?
SEO is a task that some years ago Marketing Professionals and business owners did not have to think and worry about. But nowadays it is crucial that every business gets their website recognized in a crowded marketplace. The ultimate goal is to stand out from the crowd and to be listed on top of the first Google search page. Why? Because there are 250 million websites on the internet and only 40% of people, when doing a Google search, look beyond the first Google search results page.
What are the most effective SEO practices?
In order to be a real Master in SEO you need to be very knowledgeable. The challenge consists in doing: keyword research, competition analysis, on-page SEO, Link building, technical SEO, local SEO and applying different content marketing strategies. Yes, it’s a real jungle out there and getting familiar with these tasks is crucial in order to achieve the expected results. Optimizing a website might for example include changing its content, HTML and other coding in order to increase its importance with regard to specific key words or to eliminate barriers to indexing activities of search engines. But many more things need to be taken into consideration.
Let’s look briefly at each of these practices:
- Keyword search: knowing which keywords to target and use is of paramount importance. There are tools that you can use to find out which ones are profitable and highly sought after (Google Keyword Planner, Wordstream, etc.)
- Competition Analysis: Competition is measured by Domain Authority and Page Rank. These factors reveal what the quality of those sites are. Also there are several tools which you can use in order to spy on your competitors. SEOQuake is just one option.
- On-page SEO: This is about optimizing your page so that Google realizes what keywords you want to rank for.
- Link Building: The more high-quality inbound and outbound links there are, the higher will be your ranking. Links are considered as the currency of search engines. Having links show trust to Google. You will get a boost in PageRank based on it.
- Technical SEO: Considering the technical aspects of SEO is important in order to get indexed and ranked well. Otherwise, your SEO can literally go down the drain. Surely something you don’t want!
- Local SEO: If you are running a local business there are additional techniques to rank high in search engines which you should absolutely not ignore!
- Content marketing strategies: Content is king, but distribution is also important. However, whatever form of content you choose (text, video, audio, infographic etc.) if people love what they read and learn from your website or blog, the easier you will be able to generate traffic and establish yourself as an expert in your specific niche.
Why keeping yourself up-to-date is crucial
Are you prepared for constant change, constant learning and keeping yourself fully informed at all times? Every SEO Manager is required to keep their knowledge up-to-date. Rules for optimization that applied yesterday might not be useful – or even counterproductive – tomorrow. Google’s Panda and Penguin updates have proven this in the past. Or do you want to be one of those, who fall behind by not knowing what mistakes they made? And then wondering why the results are so poor? So remember: Stay current with new trends and updates in order to avoid losing valuable business!
Is there any ROI (return on investment)?
Every company that tries to make effective use of social media wants to know their ROI (return on investment). But how does a company know whether social media is really working for their business or not? There is good news! There are several measurement platforms available which allow you to monitor your website’s performance. The most popular one is Google Analytics, you might have already heard about it, or even had your own personal experiences by using it. It’s free and it gives you lots of valuable insights.
However, many companies – depending on their corporate needs and budgets – also rely on other tools, just to mention a few: Google Webmaster Tools, Brandwatch, Buffer, Hootsuite, Radian6, Simply Measured, SocialBro, Sprout Social, Sysomos, Topsy etc. While some of these tools are free, others have to be paid for (however, many of them start with a free trial!)
What are the benefits of SEO?
There are manifold benefits when utilizing SEO. Here are the most common ones:
- Low cost: YOU will pay less in comparison to PPC (Pay per Click and Adwords advertising)
- Higher brand credibility: YOU will be trusted by more people
- Better ROI: YOU will get a better return on your investment than with paying for ads
- Increased traffic: YOU will get increased traffic by using the right measuring tools
What are the benefits of using measuring tools?
By using various reporting platforms effectively, you will get answers to many questions, such as:
- Where does my website rank on Yahoo, Google and Bing?
- How many and which websites link back to my website?
- How successful was I able to insert main key words throughout my site?
- Where does my audience come from and how much time do they spend on my website?
- What are the most popular posts and pages that my audience reads?
- What is the ease of accessibility for crawlers?
- What is the website’s load time?
- What is the level of authority or trust?
- How many pages of my website have been indexed?
- How is my website doing compared to my competitors?
- How mobile-friendly is my website with regard to viewport settings and responsiveness?
- How are people interacting with the company’s published content?
- And last but not least, the most important question: Does this also lead to the desired outcome?
The answers to these questions will ultimately give you a better understanding whether you need to change anything in your marketing strategy for better results. If yes, find out what steps you need to take in the future in order to improve your performance so that you can achieve your goals.
SEO should not be looked at as a short-term project, but as an ongoing process that makes sure that a website will be as visible in search as possible. Remember that the smarter SEO practices you apply, the better your chances will be that your website will show up in the response to the right searches.
So, does this generate more questions for you? Then we would love to talk! Just reach out to us and we would be glad to get back with you!
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