What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) together with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is part of a marketing discipline called Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Search Marketing. It is all about gaining visibility for your website from search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask Network, AOL) when someone performs a query using what is known as keywords – a word, a group of three – four words, or a question.

While PPC is a form of paid advertising in which the advertiser earns traffic by paying for users who click on ads, SEO is a process of getting traffic when users click on the natural, also called organic search results to a query. To get significant traffic, both the ads and website pages listed by search engines as a result to a query need to be positioned as high as possible in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), preferably in top five, six positions.

SEO is a process of combining strategic thinking with tactical and technical efforts to maximize a website’s ranking in search engine results. When a user clicks on the results that are listed organically, the click is free to the owner of the website. However, getting to rank high and capture those free clicks, requires a good strategy and an initial investment of effort and resources. It takes time to develop and implement an effective SEO strategy, but it is well worth the investment because it will pay off in time. Think about the SEO process like saving every month something toward achieving a financial goal.

SEO Breakdown

Search engines are changing quite often the algorithms by which they rank web pages. Because their success and market share depend on the relevance of the results they return to a user’s query, all the changes that have been implemented in the last few years, favor an enhanced user experience and ban ranking manipulation. In other words, the days of trying to outsmart the search engines through stuffing keywords or buying links – for example, are gone.

For you as a business and website owner, what you need to know is that for a successful SEO implementation, you need to optimize your website for two “audiences” – the user and the search engines. For the user, is about offering content that has value and educates and is easy to digest, along with an intuitive and pleasant user experience while navigating your website. For the search engines is about understanding what they cannot “see” on a page and optimizing the elements they can understand and are looking for when crawling your website, plus the technical performance of the site.

The breakdown of the SEO process looks like this:

  • On-Page Optimization
    • Content Optimization – a mix of optimizing the website content based on a well-thought keyword plan and the on-page text and non-text elements that are read by the search engines such as URLs, title tags, H1, H2, H3 tags, Alt Text for images, and others.
    • Technical Audit – creating a well-structured web architecture, making sure the website is indexable and crawlable, optimizing the HTML code, minimizing the page speeds, and optimizing for mobile search.
  • Off-Page Optimization
    • Link building – incoming links to a website page have been considered important because they signal that the content on that page is relevant and has value for users. Today, not the number of links is that important, but the authority of the site from which a link originates, as well as how closely related the topics from the origin page and the linked page are.

Ongoing SEO

 Once a website is optimized, SEO remains an ongoing process. Here are a few reasons to keep in mind:

  • SEO and keyword research are the base for creating a sound content strategy, which may include distributing your content through new website pages, blogging, social media posts, press releases, and articles published online.
  • Position ranking and organic traffic to your website should be continuously monitored.
  • Changes in your competitor’s SEO strategy should also be monitored.
  • Earning quality inbound links is a process that takes time. Pursuing an organic growth process will be rewarded. 
  • The search engines make algorithmic changes often and consequently, you should update your SEO strategy accordingly.

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