One of the most common questions we receive from clients is “What is SEO in digital marketing?” For website newbies creating their first websites or for businesses going through a redesign, SEO can be very intimidating.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be.
You don’t have to be an expert in SEO to begin making positive shifts that can help you improve your website’s optimization. With just a bit of basic knowledge, you can be well on your way to improve your business’s search engine rankings.
In this article we will cover the principles of SEO so that you can understand how it impacts your business and what you need to do to ensure you’re fully optimized.
We’re sure you’re wondering what is SEO in digital marketing and how it works. Let’s dig in!
What is SEO in digital marketing?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of making changes to your site’s content and design to make it more appealing to search engines like Google. The goal is to receive more unpaid, or organic traffic from search engine results.
In short, SEO is a set of rules that is utilized so that search engines can improve your website’s overall ranking.
Digital marketing is rather straightforward to understand. Without getting too cumbersome with technicalities, it is the act of marketing your business digitally – i.e. in the online space – what is commonly known as the internet.
How does SEO work?
As you can imagine, search engine optimization can be extremely complicated when you try to think about everything that impacts your overall ranking. However, the basics are not hard to comprehend. The main goal that search engines have is to give the best service to their users, aka the people searching for a specific answer, product or service online. They want to deliver the best quality results that are relevant to what people are searching for.
Search engines scan various websites to understand what they are about, which helps in delivering the most helpful results to those searching for particular keywords or subjects. They also look at website navigation - is it easy to read, rewarding, and user-friendly? If so, then these sites get higher rankings than those that are hard to navigate and difficult to read.
Why is SEO important?
Now that we have understood what is SEO in digital marketing, let’s look at why is it important. SEO helps businesses with an online presence rank higher in the search engines by using relevant phrases and keywords. For example, let’s say you own a dog blog with an article about building a dog house. If you want to get this content in front of people searching for dog house building, you will need to optimize this post on your blog in order for it to show up in the top results for anyone searching for the phrase “how to build a dog house.”
When you improve your search engine optimization, you receive better visibility on your website, which helps to grow your business, as well as engage with new customers. By creating SEO-focused content, you will greatly increase your chances of bringing in more targeted organic traffic to your site.
Here are the top 5 reasons why SEO is vital to your business’ success online:
1. Users are more likely to check out one of the top 5 recommendations on the results page. To get more visitors, you need to aim for one of these spots.
2. Positive SEO practices can help the overall experience visitors have on your website.
3. People trust the big name search engines, so having a prominent presence on them within one of the top results increases their trust in your website.
4. SEO is great for social promotion - those who come across your site on Google or Yahoo are much more likely to promote it via Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
5. SEO is extremely important to keep your website running smoothly the bigger it grows, too. When you create a checklist of SEO practices, you then have a common framework for multiple authors to go by, which builds search engine integrity.
Factors that impact SEO
Now that we covered what SEO is and the basics of how it works, we’ll cover what impacts your site’s ranking. While Google will never give away their secret sauce, here are some things that greatly impact your SEO rankings:
1. Content Marketing
The content you create for your website not only attracts the quality visitors you desire, but also where you rank in the search engine results. When creating content for your website, you need to ensure that it’s effective, engaging, relevant, and written with quality. This makes your visitors spend more time on your website, which impacts your ranking greatly, while also leading to more potential sales!
The secret? Creating content that is optimized for both human and search engine visitors. You should aim to create a variety of pieces, such as:
● Audio recordings
● Blog posts
● How-to guides
● Social media content
● And other visual content
Besides creating different content on your website, you also need to ensure that the content you’re posting is fresh. Freshness in this context means how much or how often you’re posting to the website. Making new content is not the only method of adding freshness. It’s important to update past posts, adding more up-to-date information and rewriting them.
Yes, creating content does take time, but trust us when we say you won’t regret the time you spend on it! Google indulges on quality content and consumers yearn for it, especially now-a-days when many websites are littered with low-quality content.
You can begin by creating a few blog posts while working on creating a following on social media. When you have developed a nice group of fans, you can then begin to work on making various types of media to attract and engage both current and new leads.
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2. Keywords and phrases
A huge piece of an effective SEO strategy is making content that is sprinkled with relevant phrases and keywords that users may type in order to get the answer they’re looking for. Creating content with these keywords improves your chances of ranking higher in results. A huge piece of an effective SEO strategy is making content that is sprinkled with relevant phrases and keywords that users may type in order to get the answer they’re looking for. Creating content with these keywords improves your chances of ranking higher in results.
3. On-page SEO
On-page SEO refers to the elements that you have complete control over on your site, which means that you can actively work to improve these factors by following good SEO practices. On-page SEO involves the deeper levels of your website’s HTML, which exceeds your content marketing strategy.
Below are factors of on-page SEO that can help you to boost your search ranking:
● A title tag informs Google what each page of your website is about. Title tags should be 70 or less characters, include keywords and your business name.
● The meta description informs Google more about each page, and helps visitors to better understand what each page is about as well. Again, include keywords and give just enough detail to tell users what the content is about.
● Sub-headings make content easier to read and improves your SEO. Utilize H1, H2, and H3 tags to assist Google in understanding your content.
● Internal links, also known as hyperlinks, help Google to learn about your website. For instance, if you’ve written a post about the value of a service you provide, you can link to that service page in that post.
● ALT tags and image names - When you use images on your site and within your content, you will need to make sure you include keywords into the image name and alt tag. This helps Google to index your images, which can appear in an image search when users type in those keywords.
4. Off-page SEO
Along with the on-page SEO that you have control over, there are off-page SEO factors that you must consider when trying to rank. You don’t have control over off-page SEO, but there are ways you can improve your chances of it working in your favor.
Below are just a few of the off-page SEO factors that can make or break your rankings:
● Trust is really becoming a crucial factor in how Google ranks your website. Building quality backlinks from sites that have authority can increase your overall trust, which helps Google determine if you’re a legitimate website they want to send users to.
● Backlinks are a great way to build from off-page SEO, however, you want to be wary of spamming your website with low quality links, since this is a quick way to get banned from search engines altogether. View links as building a relationship with influencers in your niche and with your fans. When you take the time to do this, you will be gifted with other websites that will want to link to your content.
● Social signals, aka likes and shares, go a long way in boosting your off-page SEO. The more quality shares you receive, the more people that will want to engage with your website’s content.
While you don’t have control over what happens outside the walls of your business’s website, when you create quality content, you automatically boost your off-page SEO. When visitors find what your site has to offer as interesting and valuable, it becomes more shareable on social media, which boosts trust in your business, which the search engines will pay you back heavily for in return.
5. Website Architecture
Content plays an important role in any good SEO strategy, however, don’t overlook the way your website is laid out. You want to aim for a design that is easy for Google to scan through. You can do this by building internal links among your pages, which creates a type of map that improves the overall ‘crawlability’ of your site, giving Google and other search engines a clear understanding of your content.
You also want to keep your mobile users in mind, too. More and more consumers these days are searching for information about products, services and brands on their smartphones. This means you need to make sure visitors are able to navigate your site smoothly from their phones, which can impact user experience and SEO.
You must be strategic in the way you place your keywords and phrases within your website. It is very possible to overdo SEO, which search engines will actually penalize you for if it finds certain phrases too many times throughout your content.
Make sure you’re using only one or two key phrases within each piece of content to ensure it stays relevant. Tackling too many keywords can have a negative impact on your SEO since it makes content lack quality and focus.
There are many factors that go into the impact that your website’s search engine optimization has on your ranking online. Now that you’ve learned more about SEO, you now have the basic knowledge to take action and make necessary changes to improve your SEO practices and boost yourself into the higher search engine results.
Keep in mind that SEO doesn’t happen overnight - it can take months until you get to bask in all your hard work. Don’t let this deter you from following the practices you learned about today! When you take the time to focus on your human visitors, you create better content which will sooner than later yield in a hefty reward from the search engine gods. When you put positive SEO strategies into play, you can plan on bringing in new organic traffic for years to come.
Need help creating your SEO strategy? If you’re not thrilled with your search engine ranking, it may be time to pay a visit to the talented team at WP Adventure. Let us help you to create a quality SEO strategy that improves your rankings and provides you with a nice boost in organic traffic.
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