What is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. But what is SEO really? According to Search Engine Journal, SEO is the process marketers and SEO agencies use to gain more visibility in the search engine results pages (SERP). The higher their ranking on popular search engines like Google, DuckDuckGo, Bing, and Yahoo!, the better visibility websites have and the more “organic” traffic these sites can receive. The better you understand what SEO is and how it is achieved, the better results you can get for your business when it comes to search engine ranking. Here’s what you need to know about SEO.
The Three Pillars of SEO
Again, what is SEO? It would be nice if there was one single thing you can do that would optimize your search engine. Unfortunately, that is not the case. So, what is SEO? SEO is a multi-faceted process that involves many moving parts, both on your website, called on-page, and off-your-website tactics call off-site SEO. Plus, there is a technical element to SEO that many people overlook or fail to fully understand. In fact, there are three pillars of good search engine optimization, according to Digital Marketing Institute. The better you understand these three SEO pillars (backlink, BTW), the better your efforts to optimize your website will be.
1. What is Technical SEO?
Technical optimization involves the technical aspect of optimizing your website for search engines. This is stuff that is behind the scenes and has nothing to do with the written content, video, and images on your web pages. It is something the average human will never see but that matters a great deal to the major (and not-so-major) search engines. Some technical components include website structure and architecture, mobile-friendliness, page speed, SSL certificates, XML sitemaps, Robots.txt, canonicalization, Schema markup, broken links and 404 errors, internal linking, image optimization, and more.
2. What is On-Page SEO?
On-page optimization involves the content of your website, but more specifically applies to individual pages to help them rank higher. The ultimate goal of good SEO is to provide useful content that is relevant, informative, and valuable to the search engine’s audience. It’s true when people say, “content is king!” Content that is considered highly relevant to a user’s search, will usually show up higher in the SERP. Beyond content, there is also a technical process required that involves the page’s title tags, meta description, header tags, URL structure, and keyword usage. By focusing on ALL of these on-page optimization components, you can enhance your website’s relevance and visibility in the SERP for your target keywords.
3. What is Off-Site SEO?
Reputation and trustworthiness are something search engines place a great deal of value in. One component of off-site SEO is how reputable your web pages are based on the links outside of your website that direct traffic to your website. These are called backlinks, links leading back to your website. Beware though, Google and Bing know if you are attempting to increase these through black hat SEO tactics, and they will penalize you. Some legit ways to increase backlinks include guest posting, content marketing, influencer marketing, and PR.
Beyond backlinks though, there is more to it. For local businesses, you have Google My Business (GMB) & Bing Places. Since these can show up on Google for any given keyword, it is extremely important these platform profiles are optimized. In addition, consideration needs to be given to growing your reviews. An optimized GMB profile with great reviews can lead to a lot of local traffic, which would be a boost to your sales. Your online reputation is very important.
Lastly, social media marketing is probably the least recognized opportunity here. While the direct impact of social media marketing is debatable, having a strong social media presence can indirectly benefit your SEO efforts. For instance, it can create opportunities for others to see and link to your content. In addition, many SEO reporting platforms are starting to track how many times a specific page is being shared via social media. Thus, if you are doing everything else, consider adding social media marketing to your SEO best practices.
Among each of these pillars are a thousand other small steps that must be made to make your website soar on the search engine results pages. From keyword research to content creation and countless other actions in between. They all work in concert to make your website more attractive to search engines.
What Is SEO With Google?
Google isn’t the elephant in the room. It’s King Kong when it comes to search engines. In fact, MailChimp reports that google accounts for roughly 92-percent of the global market for search engines. That is more than mere dominance in the field. This means that anyone considering investing in SEO for their business needs to focus their attention on giving Google what Google wants to make their site rank higher.
How Long Does SEO Take?
SEO is not a quick fix for your search engine woes. Instead, it is a long-term strategy for greater success over time. Just as it takes time to make your website more attractive to Google and other search engines, it may take a little time for them to return your affections and show love.
In fact, while you may see some results quickly after investing in an effective SEO strategy, the most impressive changes may take up to two years to come fully into focus for your website, even with the help of an SEO agency. The worst thing you can do is abandon your efforts to improve SEO altogether just before they are finally beginning to have a positive impact on your ranking. However, despite this timeline, not all is lost. You should be able to track keyword position movement and website traffic through SEO reporting.
Is SEO Necessary?
Ask any business that has successfully implemented SEO and they will say, SEO is absolutely necessary to grow your business. Not to mention, one of the most cost-effective ways to do it. If you want to rank well in search engine results to increase your website’s traffic and conversions, but don’t have the knowledge to do so yourself, then you need to consider hiring an SEO agency.
What About an SEO Agency?
The problem is that effective SEO requires a massive learning curve and a long-term strategy for success, which includes properly measuring the results. For someone who doesn’t have the knowledge already, SEO could easily become a full-time job – just getting your business site up to speed. Thus, most business owners are never able to fully commit to the necessary time and knowledge required to get great SEO results. The bottom line is that if you want your website to rank well in search engine results, you must invest in SEO services for your business.
Are you ready to take your website to the top of the SERPs? Don’t go it alone. You will need expert help to answer all your questions from “What is SEO?” to “How can you make SEO work for you?” Actuate Media can answer all these questions. Plus, we can help you take your SERP results from ho-hum to holy moly! Contact Actuate Media today to learn more about the many ways we can help you increase your SEO today.