What is SEO? A Beginner’s Guide

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If you’re looking to grow your business in the coming years, you need to focus on SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and many businesses implement SEO strategies to bring traffic to their site, raise brand awareness, and get more customers. 

Sixty-eight percent of online experiences start with a search engine, and 53.3% of all web traffic comes from organic search. If you’re not implementing SEO strategies and focusing on boosting your organic web traffic, your business is going to fall behind. 

But if you’re new to the world of SEO, forming a strategy can feel overwhelming. Before you get started, it’s important to understand the basics of SEO and how it works. 

Read this beginner’s guide to learn all about the fundamentals of SEO

Related: SEO Content Writing: What You Need to Know 

What is SEO? 

 Laptop showing Google page

SEO is an encompassing term for the strategies a business implements to get their website to rank higher in the search engine’s unpaid results. Since Google is the most popular search engine by far, most of these strategies focus on ranking higher in Google. However, some businesses also try to rank their site higher in Yahoo and Bing. 

The better visibility your business has in the search results, the more likely it is that you’ll garner attention and attract prospective customers. 

For example, let’s say you own a health and fitness business that sells home exercise equipment. Someone looking to buy home exercise equipment might type in “best home treadmills” into the Google search bar. If your website pops up in the top results, there’s a high probability that a user will click on your page. 

If they click on your page, there’s also a good chance that they’ll buy your product. And even if they don’t buy your product, they’ll still become familiar with your brand. This is important because if they decide to buy more home workout equipment later down the road, they may remember your website and come back to it. 

Related: Let the Top Dogs of SEO Content Writing Take Over 

How Does SEO Work?

SEO types into search bar
SEO Search Engine Optimization Business Marketing Concept

So, when someone types in “best home treadmills,” how does Google decide which sites go to the top of the search results?

Google uses very complicated algorithms that rank certain sites over other ones. Google’s algorithm is ever-evolving to become more precise, and they never reveal the specifics of their algorithm to the world. 

However, while Google will never tell you the exact ingredients that go into their algorithm, they have revealed what the process of ranking websites involves. 

Google uses bots that go from site to site to crawl web pages. These bots collect information from a page and put them in an index. Once they’re index, Google’s algorithms analyze each page and take into account hundreds of different ranking factors to determine the order in which the pages should show up on a search query. 

Ranking Factors 

The ranking factors vary greatly, but to some degree, they all take into account user experience. Ranking factors include but aren’t limited to:

  • Content Quality: Are you offering readers high-quality, grammar-free, unique content?
  • Keywords: Does your website include relevant search terms that will make it easier for users to find your site?
  • Mobile-Friendliness: Can your site be easily accessed on a mobile device? 
  • Page Speed: Do your web pages load quickly? 
  • Links: Does your content include links that go to authoritative sites? Do you have authoritative sites linking back to your site? 
  • Social Signals: Are people sharing your content on social media networks?
  • Business Information: Do you have a listing on Google My Business, and is it accurate?

By taking all of this information and more into account, Google’s search algorithms can put the most relative, authoritative pages at the top that will provide users with an efficient search experience. Optimizing your site with the above factors in mind will help you rank higher in organic search results. 

Related: SEO Case Studies 

Why is SEO Important? 

So why should businesses put time and effort into SEO? Here are just some of the reasons why SEO is important:

Target Quality Traffic 

SEO is a very important inbound marketing strategy. Unlike outbound ads (i.e., billboards and TV commercials), where customers don’t decide whether or not they want to hear from you, inbound marketing involves a customer seeking you out on some level. 

Many outbound ads are done solely with the advertiser’s objectives in mind. Many consumers find these ads to be invasive and downright annoying. On the other hand, SEO and other inbound marketing strategies are more customer-centric

SEO gives users the chance to find your business on their own terms. Not only is this more convenient for them, but it’ll also bring in more quality leads to your site. 

It’s Low-Cost 

SEO is also important because it’s a low-cost marketing strategy. Once you build a website, you can implement most SEO strategies for free or for a much lower cost than traditional marketing. 

And once you’ve made the initial investment, there isn’t any ongoing cost to keep bringing traffic to your site. As mentioned earlier, creating high-quality content is one of the primary strategies for driving traffic to your site. If you hire a blogger to create a post for your site, you only have to pay them once for their post

However, if that post performs well, it can keep driving traffic to your site for years to come at no additional cost to you. 

Are you looking to hire a blog writer for your site? Check out our services! 

It Gets More Clicks Than PPC 

The main alternative to SEO is PPC (pay-per-click advertising). While PPC ads rank above SEO ads, PPC ads get way fewer clicks than organic search results. 

Not only does SEO get more clicks, but it’s also more cost-effective. Every time someone clicks on a PPC ad, your business needs to pay money. This is not the case for organic clicks. 

Time to Get Started With SEO 

As you can see, SEO is an important tool for any business. Ranking higher in the search results can help your business grow in various ways. In fact, over 25% of clicks go to the first result in Google. 

If you can get your site to that number one spot, the possibilities are endless. Of course, to get your site to number one, you need to have a strategy in place. 

If you need help developing your SEO content strategy, contact us today! 

Last Updated on March 11, 2022 by Hilda Wong

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