What is SEO? An In-Depth Summary
If you run a business that trades online, you will probably have heard this acronym: SEO. People often get confused about SEO, and don’t fully understand it. However, the practice is very important to any digital marketing strategy.
Any business that trades online needs to have a strong digital marketing strategy. Seeing as how many people do their shopping online – and also how most people perform online research before making a purchase, whether online or physically – it is essential to perform SEO. We spoke to a company about their experience with the two practices; the IT support services Londoncompany TechQuartersprovides can be found through Google, and this is one of the primary ways they generate leads. They utilize both SEO their brand is discovered by ideal customers.
If you’re curious to understand more about SEO, and how to utilize it in the right way, continue reading:
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization, known as SEO, is essentially the practice of getting your brand’s website to be (preferably) the first result that gets displayed when people enter specific search terms into a search engine. For instance, if somebody was searching for “car maintenance near me”, the first organic result they would see would be a brand/website who had utilized SEO to put themselves at the top of the results for those keywords. Though it starts to get a bit complicated with vague search times like “near me”, or “in London”, there are ways of using SEO to successfully capitalize on any search term.
Search Terms & Keywords
Firstly, let’s have a quick summary on how search terms work – so that later, you will understand how content is optimized for different search terms.
A search term is what you enter into the search bar of an engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. For instance, “IT support london” is a search term.
Millions of search terms are typed into engines every second – lots of people enter the same, or similar ones.By looking at all the matching and overlapping terms, search engines can define keywords. So, a keyword is basically a search term that a search engine has recognised as being commonly used.
New keywords are created all the time. Sometimes keywords get used less, which is known as having a low search volume. A keyword with high search volumes means lots of people are using it in their search terms.
An individual keyword could be a single word, or multiple words – and depending on how many words are in the keyword, they are categorised as short-tail, medium-tail, and long-tail keywords.
You might have heard the term ‘organic results’. The short answer to what this means is content that is not a paid advert.An organic search result meets the criteria that the search engine’s algorithm uses to rank how relevant a piece of content is.
In other words, organic results simply means that the search engines algorithm has picked content that it deems relevant, rather than advertising results from brands that have paid to have it displayed.
Optimizing Content for Search Engines
Let’s look at Google – the most famous search engine. Google use all kinds of criteria to judge how relevant a piece of content is to a search term – such as how many times a webpage or other piece of content mentions certain keywords; the geographical location of the content (every piece of content on the web has an IP address with a geolocation associated with it); and many more criteria, some of which are public, and some that Google keep secret.
With the “car maintenance near me” search term that we mentioned earlier, a highly relevant result would be content that mentions car maintenance, and which has a geolocation that is close to the person who entered the search term into Google. On the other hand, a piece of content which mentions car maintenance, but has a geolocation far away from the user, would be ranked as less relevant.
So, brands create content that contain specific keywords, so that when someone searches those keywords into Google, the search engine will recognise that the brand’s content is relevant to that search result. If the contentmeetall the criteria that Google use to judge relevance, then it will be ranked as the most relevant result, and appear at the top of the first page.
It’s very hard (nearly impossible, in fact) to satisfy every piece of criteria that a search engine uses to judge relevance, but Search Engine Optimization is about finding out as much about those criteria as possible, and creating content that satisfies them.
Advantages & Disadvantages
The main advantage of Search Engine Optimization are two-fold: Firstly, users will trust content more if it appears high up on the results page of a search engine – it implies (accurately) that the content is highly relevant to the question they’re trying to answer. Studies show that users are unlikely to look beyond the first page of results on Google, so making sure your website appears on that first page makes it much more likely that people will visit it.
The other main advantage is that search engine optimization can be done relatively cheaply.You will primarily be creating search engine optimized content to your own website, so the main cost is the price of hosting your site and webpages. Practices such as link-building (where you publish content on other websites, linking back to your site) may incur costs, such as what other websites charge to publish your content. However, if done strategically, you can do this relatively cheaply.
The main disadvantages include the time it takes for the effects to kick in. Oftentimes, it takes a while for your content to move up the rankings, so SEO is very much a long-term effort that you need to commit to. Another disadvantage is the fact that search engines frequently change their algorithm to use different criteria to judge content – this can potentially render certain efforts meaningless.
How to do SEO properly?
To do SEO properly requires a lot of work – namely research, writing and content creation.
The first thing that should be said is this: stick to a single search engine. While there are lots out there, trying to optimize content for multiple search engines will be infinitely more difficult. Most brands choose to optimize their content for Google.
In terms of research, you need to be up-to-date on how the search engine you’re targeting ranks content in its database. You don’t want to be employing techniques that no longer work, and most search engines update their algorithms frequently. So research is key.
What is more, researching keywords is important. As mentioned above, keywords frequently change – the search volumes fluctuate, new keywords are created, etc. Google allows you to research keywords completely for free, and looking into what keywords are trending every month, or even every week, can help you figure out what keywords to include in content you create.