You might be wondering why SEO is so important?. After all, can’t you just rely on paid advertising to get your website in front of potential customers. While paid ads can certainly help, they’re not nearly as effective as organic traffic—the kind of traffic you get from SEO.
It does not matter if you are running a small business or a large enterprise; if you are not doing SEO, you are missing out on many potential customers and revenue.
In this article, I will explain what SEO is, why it’s important, and some key factors you need to keep in mind if you want to improve your website’s ranking. Let’s get started.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization or “SEO” for short—is the process of improving and optimizing your website according to certain guidelines to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
In other words, SEO is the process of making your site more “friendly” and relevant to search engines, which will help you rank higher in SERPs and attract more organic traffic. SEO has two main goals.
The first is to improve your website’s visibility to appear higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
The second is to improve the quality of your website so that it is more relevant and useful to users searching for your keywords.
When done correctly, SEO can be a powerful tool for growing your business. But it’s important to understand that SEO is not a one-time thing—it’s an ongoing process.
Related: Check out this eBook to learn secret strategies for Search Engine Optimization.
Why Is Search Engine Optimization Important?
Today the online marketing industry is more competitive than ever. Many businesses compete for the same keywords, and if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to ensure your website is optimized for search engines. That’s where SEO comes in. SEO is important because:
- When someone searches for a query, more than 70% of users click on websites ranking in the top 5. Now, if you want more traffic to your website, you need to ensure you’re ranking in those top 5 results.
- SEO can help you improve your website’s ranking in SERPs, leading to more organic traffic and sales. It’s not fully about search engines but user experience, which is improved by SEO.
- A good SEO strategy can help you create a more user-friendly website, leading to better engagement and conversions.
- SEO can help build brand awareness and name recognition for your business.
- With SEO, you can get more qualified leads. Studies have shown that SEO can help you attract relevant inbound traffic and converts better than other marketing channels.
- SEO is an affordable way to drive traffic to your website. While paid ads can get expensive, SEO is a long-term strategy that will continue to bring organic traffic to your site for years to come.
- SEO is a great way to build trust and credibility for your business. When you rank higher in SERPs, users will see your site as more credible and trustworthy, leading to more sales and conversions.
- SEO can help you stand out from the competition. If two businesses sell the same product or service, the one that ranks higher in SERPs is more likely to get the sale.
A Brief History of Search Engines and SEO
Search engines have been around for two decades but have constantly changed how they operate. There were no algorithms or ranking factors—it was simply a list of websites in order of relevancy.
This all changed in the late 1990s when Google was founded. Google revolutionized the way search engines operated by using algorithms to rank websites. These algorithms considered several factors, such as the number of times a website was linked to, the quality of those links, and the content on the website.
This made it much harder for businesses to game the system and get their websites to rank highly. They now had to focus on creating high-quality content relevant to their keywords and building links from other websites.
- In the early 2000s, Google continued to dominate the search engine market, and they made several changes to their algorithms that had a major impact on SEO.
- In 2003, they introduced the “Florida update,” which cracked down on websites using black hat SEO tactics to improve their ranking.
- In 2011, they rolled out the “Panda update,” which punished websites with low-quality or thin content.
- And in 2012, they released the ” Penguin update,” which targeted websites that were using link schemes to improve their ranking.
These updates made it even harder for businesses to game the system, forcing companies to focus on creating high-quality content and building links from other websites. Now from 2012 to till now, Google has released more than 500 algorithm updates.
Related: History of Google Algorithm Updates
So, you can see that SEO is constantly evolving, and businesses need to keep up with the latest changes if they want to Rank higher in SERPs.
Helpful Insight: Most marketers use Google because it dominates the search engine market share with 92% market share worldwide.
How Does SEO Work?
To understand SEO basics, you need to understand how search engines work. When you enter a query into a search engine, it goes through a three-step process to find the best results:
- Crawling: The search engine uses “spiders” or “bots” to crawl the internet and find websites that match your query.
- Indexing: The search engine adds the websites it crawls to its “index,” which is a database of all the websites on the internet.
- Ranking: The search engine ranks the websites in its index based on a number of factors, such as the quality of the content, the number of links, and the relevance of the keywords.
SEO aims to improve your ranking in the search engine’s index. The higher you rank, the more likely you are to get clicks from users who are searching for relevant keywords.
Crucial Elements of SEO Marketing
There are a number of factors that go into SEO, and I will be covering some of the most important ones below.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is keywords. Before the 2012 google updates, you could simply stuff your website with keywords, and the search engine would rank you highly.
But after that, focusing on quality over quantity became more important. Now you need to use relevant keywords throughout your website, including in your content, titles, descriptions, and URLs.
You also need to use them in a way that sounds natural to users—if you stuff your keywords in unnaturally, it will negatively impact your ranking. With that, you have to consider the searcher’s intent and what they are trying to accomplish.
- Do they want to know something?
- Are they trying to buy something?
- Are they window shopping?
Pro Tip: Long Tail Pro is the Most Popular Keyword Research Tool on the Planet. With that, you can get Rank Tracker for FREE.
As I mentioned above, content is one of the backbone of SEO. Your content needs to be high quality and relevant to your keywords. That means it should be well-written, informative, and engaging.
Your content should also be “evergreen.” That means it should be relevant and useful even months or years after publication. This can be challenging, but it’s important to focus on writing quality content that will stand the test of time. There are different types of content.
- Webpage text
- Social media posts
Another important factor in SEO is backlinks. Links are basically like votes – the more links you have from other websites, the higher your website will rank. There are two types of links: internal links and external links.
- Internal links are links from one of your pages to another one of your pages.
- External links are links from someone else’s website to yours.
Both types of links are important for SEO. Internal links help users navigate your website and find the information they’re looking for.
They also help search engines understand the structure of your website and index your pages correctly. External links show that other websites think your content is valuable and are willing to vouch for it.
To get more links, you can create shareable content, reach out to other websites, and participate in online communities.
It’s one of the most important ranking factors in SEO. Speed has been a ranking factor since 2010, and it’s only become more important as time has gone on. Google wants to give its users the best possible experience, and that means providing them with fast websites.
You have 3 seconds to impress a user. According to research, users will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. So, if your website is slow, you’re likely losing visitors—and ranking opportunities.
You can do several things to improve your website’s speed, including optimizing your images, using a content delivery network (CDN), and minifying your code.
More and more people are using their phones and tablets to access the internet. In fact, according to Google, over half of all web traffic now comes from mobile devices. This means that it’s more important than ever to have a mobile-friendly website.
If your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re likely losing visitors and ranking opportunities. Today, most websites use WordPress, and the themes and plugins they provide are responsive by default.
But some of them are not, and you need to be careful about that. You can test your website’s mobile-friendly use of Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
This tool will show you how your website looks on a mobile device and point out any areas that need to be improved. Once you’ve fixed any problems, you can submit your website to Google for re-indexing.
Another ranking factor in SEO is security. Google wants its users to have a safe and secure browsing experience, so it’s important to ensure your website is secure. The two most important security signals are HTTPS and SSL.
- HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a protocol that encrypts data between your server and the user’s browser. This helps protect user data from being intercepted by third parties.
- SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a technology that encrypts data between your server and the user’s browser. It also verifies that your website is the real website the user is trying to access.
Schema is a type of code (semantic markup) that you can add to your website to help search engines understand your content better. It’s used to structure data to make it easier for search engines to read and index. Different schema types depend on what type of content you’re marking up.
For example, if you’re marking up a recipe, you would use the Recipe schema. This schema includes things like the name of the dish, the ingredients, the cooking time, and the instructions.
Adding schema to your website can help improve your click-through rate (CTR) because it makes your listings more eye-catching and relevant. It can also help you get richer results, like recipes or reviews, which can help you stand out from the competition.
To add schema to your website, you’ll need to edit your website’s code. If you’re not comfortable doing this, you can hire a developer to do it for you.
Types of SEO
There are different types of SEO, each with its own focus. The three main types of SEO are on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.
On-page SEO is the process of optimizing your website’s content and structure for search engines. This includes things like optimizing your title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags. It also includes optimizing your website’s content for certain keywords.
Off-page SEO is the process of building backlinks to your website. Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. They help improve your website’s ranking because they show search engines that your website is popular and relevant.
Technical SEO is the process of optimizing your website for the technical aspects of search engine optimization. This includes things like optimizing your website’s speed, sitemaps, and robots.txt files. It also includes fixing any technical errors that could hold back your website’s ranking.
Local businesses need to be visible in local search results. Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website for local search. This includes optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions for your city or town and adding your business to online directories like Yelp.
If you have an online store, you need to make sure your website is optimized for eCommerce SEO. This includes optimizing your product pages for certain keywords and adding product reviews and customer testimonials to your website.
Voice Search SEO
With the rise of voice-activated devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home, more people are doing voice searches. Voice search SEO is the process of optimizing your website for voice search. This includes optimizing your content for long-tail keywords and adding structured data to your website.
More and more people are using their mobile devices to search the internet. Mobile SEO is the process of optimizing your website for mobile devices. This includes things like making sure your website is responsive and adding AMP pages to your website.
SEO is an important part of online marketing because it helps you attract more visitors to your website. Optimizing your website and content for certain keywords can improve your website’s ranking on search engines like Google and Bing, which can help you attract more visitors to your site. So choosing the right SEO partner for your website is very important.