Tired of Wondering What “SEO” Means?…
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is a fancy way of describing the practice of making your website’s content and structure more attractive to search engines. When SEO is done well, search engines like Google and Bing will be much more likely to find it, and list it on an organic search engine result page ( also called a “SERP”).
Sounds easy, right? Well, yes and no. Some SEO efforts are relatively quick and simple, but others can get pretty complicated—mainly because there are so many different approaches and strategies to choose from. And one approach doesn’t fit all… a your company’s best SEO approach will depend on a multitude of factors, like your goals, target audience, budget, and how much coffee you’ve got on hand (just kidding). The one certainty of search engine optimization is that there are no shortcuts to success, no matter how much you look for them.
SEO Techniques- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
As a marketer, you must absolutely remember that there are ZERO ethical shortcuts when it comes to SEO. There are a lot of bad (“black hat”) SEO techniques out there, which involve shady SEO strategists cheating their way to achieve higher rankings. Search engines have wised up to these approaches, and have started cracking down on black hat tactics by supporting and rewarding good (“white hat”) SEO practices.
Content Still Reigns Supreme
It may sound trite, but content is indeed king. When the quality of your written content is better, it becomes like tantalizing food for hungry search engines. When writing copy for your website, we start by doing our homework to pinpoint the most relevant keywords for your industry—the ones your customers (and your competitors’ customers) are using to search for what you’re selling. Next, craft compelling, keyword-optimized copy that not only fuels search engines and boosts website visibility, but also engages your target audience. Websites that regularly post fresh, quality content are far more likely to reach their target audiences and turn them into loyal buyers.
On-Page Website Optimization
If content is king, website structure is queen. This process involves arranging the formation and wording of your content for better positioning in search engines. The ingredients in this winning recipe include creating keyword-focused title tags, captivating meta descriptions, canonicalization of duplicate content, short and keyword rich URL structures–we could go on and on, but we saw your eyes start to glaze over a few commas ago.
Off-Page Website Optimization
This process involves efforts like creating back-links to pages on your website to improve search engine rankings. A back-link is created when a separate website includes a hyperlink back to your website. Also called an inbound link, these links are important in determining the popularity/importance of your website. Websites with many high quality back-links can be considered more relevant, leading to a higher rank in search results pages.
You already know that social media is a great way to build your brand and get customers talking—but did you know that it’s also an SEO strategy? There has been a lot of speculation about whether social signals factor into the Google search algorithm. As part of off-site optimization, social media can be a very consistent form of link building. Almost all of the links you get from social media sites are “no-follow”—but they still have value. Any social media mention, link, picture or check-in can help increase your digital footprint.
The most effective SEO campaigns combine both on-page and off-page optimization techniques. But remember, there are no shortcuts to having successful search results. Visual learners, we’ve got you covered. Still asking yourself “What is SEO?” – take a few minutes to watch this video created by our friends at Search Engine Land. It covers the basics of understanding SEO and how search engines work!
While these factors are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understand search engine optimization, I hope this helps you better understand at least the basics of SEO.