Search engine optimization: What is SEO and why does it matter?
If you have an online business or a blog, then there are high chances that you would have heard or seen different SEO services. Now, if you are planning to start one, then it is important to begin by learning about search engine optimization and its underlying importance.
You may have an excellent product to offer to your customers; you may even be providing valuable information to the people online, but until and unless you know how to get them to come to you in a ‘natural’ way, all your efforts will be futile.
Luckily, this is where SEO comes in, and we are here to tell you that its thorough knowledge will help your online ventures reach new heights. So, the question you need to ask yourself is what is SEO and how can I use it to boost my online presence.
What Is SEO And What Does It Stand For?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website through organic/natural search results. It is important to note that you are not paying for this traffic in any way – it is coming to your website naturally.
Let us break this down further:
Consider any of the major search engines that people use – Google, Yahoo, and Bing. For the sake of this article, we will look at Google. When you search for a query on Google, it will process that information and present you with a long list of web pages which may hold the answer to your question.
A few clicks later, you are browsing on the website of your choice, reading up on the query you asked. You are happy, Google is happy, and the owner of the website is happy.
However, the next time you use Google, which is likely to be very soon, ask yourself this – how does Google come up with this magical list of links? How does it know which results to display on the first page?
Well, the answer behind this is not as simple as one may imagine. You see, search engines like Google have a crawler that goes out on the Internet and gathers all the information about all the content that exists online.
They then store this information in their database which, in turn, is fed to an algorithm. This algorithm matches all the data it has with your query and accordingly displays the results.
Seems a bit tricky, isn’t it? Well, think of it like this – there are probably millions of pages on the Internet that answer your question, but only a few make it to the first page. The decision as to which pages will make it to the top solely lies with Google and its algorithm.
As a user, you don’t have to worry about it, but as someone who is looking to attract traffic to his website, your end goal should be to make it to the first page.
Here is why: more than 70% of people begin their searches on Google. On top of this, you have the fact the first five results on Google get more than 65% of all clicks. In other words, 6 out of 10 people will rarely go beyond the first five results on the first page of Google. It is often said that if your website is displayed on the second page of results, then it is equivalent to not being ranked at all. In fact, there is a long-standing joke which goes something like this: if you want to hide a dead body, bury it on the second page of search results.
Do you now realize why SEO is so important? It forms an important, if not, the most important part of your digital marketing strategy. Without optimizing your websites for the search engines, your pages will be forever lost in the endless abyss of the Internet.
Now, the next question is this – how do you optimize the website for the search engines?
SEO may hold all the answers to your traffic concerns over the Internet but decoding is not that simple of a task. This is because Google has done an excellent job of keeping its algorithm a secret.
However, on the bright side, we do know roughly 200 odd ranking factors that Google takes into consideration. Yes, that’s right, there are 200 factors that you may want to look into, to successfully optimize your page.
For this reason alone, there is a separate field of marketing known as SEO marketing. SEO marketing primarily deals with the optimization of the websites by considering a plethora of factors. To give you a brief overview of what an SEO marketing specialist does, he deals with the following:
Content: Back in the late 90s when the Internet was booming, a wise man said that content is the king. This was true back then and it is true, even now. The number one reason why anyone uses Google is to find an answer to their query. The end goal for Google is to provide its users with the most relevant information.
It will try to provide its users with the best experience possible by giving the most relevant information. That’s why, as someone who is hosting a page on the Internet, your first objective should be to write quality content. Everything else is centered around it. Then you also have to consider other factors like keyword research, the freshness of the content, relevance, etc.
- Domain-Level Link Features: This aspect primarily deals with quantity and the quality of the links that are directed to the domain. Keep in mind that quality is of paramount importance here. These external links need to be from trustworthy sites. You also have other features to consider like PageRank, trust, et cetera.
- Page-Level Link Features: Page-level features are focussed mainly on the individual web pages, rather than the domain as a whole. These deal with anchor text distribution, PageRank, trust, quality of the links to the site, the quantity of the links, link popularity, et cetera.
Other factors like social metrics, traffic data, readability of the page, uniqueness, load speed, click-through-rate, et cetera.
By now, you must have realized that there is a lot more SEO than what you may have thought. If you want your website to reach the first page of Google search results, then you may want to put in effort in all of these aspects.
As you dig deeper and understand more about search engine optimization, you will realize that many of these features are interconnected, and consequently, it makes your job easier.
You now have a good idea of what is SEO. At the same time, you must also realize that Search engine optimization is an ever-changing process. This is because search engines regularly update their algorithms to keep up with the latest trends.
Therefore, your SEO strategies must evolve to adapt to those changes. When it comes to SEO, make sure to prioritize quality over anything else. All the best!