What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization keeps growing in importance and it has become crucial for webmasters and business owners alike to be able to take advantage of its potential to boost the online presence of a website in numerous ways.
Put in simple words, SEO is a set of rules. These rules, when followed by website owners, dramatically improve the way search engines rank a certain site, and improve not only its presence on the web, but also its quality and efficiency, making it fast, responsive and user-friendly.
Since SEO comprises not only guidelines, but also the stages at which these guidelines are to be implemented, and also controls which help enforce them and set the process in motion, we can safely call SEO a framework.
What makes it important?
The importance of SEO arises from the competitiveness of today’s market and the need for quick access to information. Search engines are used by millions of users daily, looking for answers and solutions. These millions of users will not waste time scrolling through hundreds of pages of search results (the so-called SERPs, or search results pages).
Instead, what they are mostly sure to do is click on the top few entries and, if they are satisfied with the obtained information, they are not going to look further.
What that means to your website, is that if you do not rank one of those first few entries, chances are there will be hardly any traffic to your page.
What is more, top-ranking sites gain the users’ trust because search engines are trustworthy, so if a site has made it to the top of the SERP, then it’s the real deal.
Try to find out if your competitor’s website has been seo-optimized. If not, you can use that to your advantage by optimizing yours. As a result, when people look for goods you both offer, chances are they will visit your site and buy from you, simply because it popped up higher on their search results and they saw it first.
You can find out more about the best SEO tools and practices from USA SEO Expert Bradley.
How Does it Work?
As already mentioned, SEO’s job is to improve your website in such a way, as it will appear as close to the top results on Google or Bing (or any other search engine for that matter) as possible.
This ordering of results is achieved by relying on complex algorithms, which take into account a whole host of factors in order to determine which page should come first, second etc.
What Are the Stages of this Optimization Process?
So, as we already stipulated, SEO is not a static phenomena. Its framework can be broken into two main stages, namely On-site SEO and Off-site SEO. The first one encompasses all the measures that make your website search engine friendly, and the latter applies to how you promote it to rank higher in the search results.
On-site SEO measures include the following:
- providing unique and accurate page titles that reflect page content in the best way
- writing a short and sweet description of what that content is
- improving link structure and providing breadcrumbs where applicable (read more about breadcrumbs here)
- provide internal links within the website in order to help the user find and read information in the correct sequence
- Improving formatting and structure, which applies to headings as well
- Optimizing images and page speed
Off-site SEO measures revolve around the so-called link building.
The basic job of search engines is to establish which are the most important pages on the web and place them first. And that importance is determined by the number of incoming links.
Incoming links stand for trust and reliability and, depending on their source, they can greatly contribute to a better ranking position.
How to Get More Links?
Well, the best way is by creating quality content. This will result in people naturally linking their content to yours and increase your traffic and online credibility.
On the other hand if you try to buy links or try some other recipe for quick success, you might either achieve the opposite result or simply see your website disappear from the higher ranking positions as soon as the next Google algorithm update.
How is SEO different from Online Marketing?
A lot of people think that SEO and Online Marketing are the same thing. The short answer would be that SEO is a part of it, it’s one of the tools available to the online marketing specialist. A marketing campaign would include a lot more stuff, such as content strategy, advertising, and social media promotion, to name a few.
A final point to make here is that SEO cannot replace quality content in any way. If you try to promote a website with poor content and structure, no matter what SEO magic you try to employ, the results will always be temporary or nonexistent.
At the same time, if you have good content, it will speak for itself. In this case SEO will only be an auxiliary measure to promote it, because it will be absolutely capable of doing so on its own.
All in all, SEO is a tool that helps search engines like Google “read” your content better. As a result you can enjoy higher rankings and more online visibility. And that is important because it drives traffic to you and gets you an audience or customers, in case you operate a business which is the reason for your online presence.