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What is SEO and How Does it Work?

SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS GUIDE TO SEO

SEO

If you run an eCommerce business, offer services, or have an online presence, SEO aka Search Engine Optimization is vital. And as a business owner, you might even ask yourself, “What is SEO, and how does it work?”. Well look no further, this guide will answer all your SEO questions and give you all the secret sauce us SEO professionals use.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO is a mandatory marketing tactic for all those who wish to market their business online. Good old dictionary.com defines Search Engine Optimization as,

 

the methods used to boost the ranking or frequency of a website in results returned by a search engine, in an effort to maximize user traffic to the site.

 

In other words, SEO helps you optimize your site for search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. So you can increase your website’s visibility and ranking. Even though we have generally defined SEO, you still might be asking yourself the following questions:

  • How exactly does search engine optimization work?
  • Why and how does the SEO ranking of my website affect my business?
  • Why is SEO Important? Is SEO even worth the time and effort?
  • Are there different types of search engine success factors?

Well if these are your questions, then you are definitely in for a treat. We are going to continue and answer all of these questions.

Why is SEO Important?

Companies understand the importance of marketing when it comes to attracting customers. Most people are familiar with traditional methods of marketing such as print brochures and running ads on radio and television. These strategies work well, but as the world becomes more digitized, one needs a significant online presence. Traditional methods can be expensive and also can reach a limited amount of people. You can be restricted to audiences base on geographical locations in almost all conventional marketing methods as well.

The internet has turned the world into a global village, where information is just a few clicks away. It means you can reach a large population by merely going online. As of December 2018, there are 4.1 billion internet users in the world; putting it mildly the internet provides you with the most significant marketing platform yet.

A personal across the world from you can access your website, learn about your products and services, contact you, and even become your next customers. On the internet, every company is global.

There is a direct link between the number of audiences you reach and the number of customers you have. The more people that you contact, the higher the chance you have to gain a new customer.

So how do better SEO rankings help reach a larger audience? Let’s use an example of a dry cleaning service. To promote the business online, the business owner gets a website made for the company. But, every time a potential customer searches “dry cleaning services,” the site appears on the 5th page of the Google search engine results pages (SERPs). What?! Who looks on page five of Google? Because the dry cleaner was not on the first few pages of the search results, they lost potential customers.

Search engine optimization is essential because it makes sure that you don’t end up on the 5th page of Google search results. If your website is optimized correctly, you will likely appear on the first page. SEO always gives you awareness of your competitors. If your site is optimized, then when a potential customer searches for a product or service that you offer, they will find your website and not your competitors.

SEO Explained​

Now that you know the importance of search engine optimization let’s take a look at a few things that every SEO Beginner should know. Google is responsible for a majority of internet traffic with 5 billion internet searches a day. The goal of search engine optimization is not only to increase the flow of traffic to your website but for that traffic to be specific and high intent.

Proper SEO implementation will promote your website to people who search for it, but also to potential customers that might be interested in the products or services that you offer. Here is what you can do to ensure you drive just the right kind of traffic to your website.

1. Relevant Information

Make sure you don’t full your website with all sorts of information and content with no relation to your business. Keep it relevant to your business and the products and services you offer. Ensure that the content on your website is accurate and high-quality content. If all your content is relevant, accurate, and high-quality, Google is more likely to show your website in response to relevant search queries. Content on your website can come in all forms, such as:

  • How-To Guides and Tutorials
  • Articles and Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Videos & Podcasts
  • Social media content

2. Keywords

Keywords are the terms that searchers are likely to type in the Google search bar. Keywords play an important role when it comes to directing relevant traffic to your website. So, make sure you use the right keywords and use them smartly to prove to the search engines that your website is what searchers would like to see. Here’s a list of factors to consider when choosing the best keywords for your website:

  • Search Volume: Choose keywords that people are likely to use in their search queries.
  • Relevant Terms: Even if millions of people use a particular keyword every day, it is useless if the keyword is not related to your business. So make sure you use relevant keywords.
  • Competition: Seach engine rankings can get very competitive. So it’s essential to know the race for a keyword when you choose it for your website.
  • Understand your Audience: If you want to pick the right keyword, you need to know your target audience. It helps to know the demographics and psychographics of your audience. Always useful to reference your buyers’ persona.

If you choosing and managing keywords seems like a plateful, don’t worry. There are lots of tools available that can help you with keyword research and help you find the perfect keyword. Here are some popular tools that can help you find the best keywords.

3. On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization is where we take those top keywords and implement them into the content on your website. It is helpful to use the strategy of using a different “core keyword” and a “basket” of related terms for every webpage.

Make sure you add the relevant keywords to the title tags of your webpages. And don’t confuse your title tag with your main heading of the page. The title tag is important because it is what we see on the browser tab when the link for a webpage is clicked.

Also, ensure that you pay attention to meta-titles, meta descriptions, and XML site-maps. These items are all key when working on On-page Optimization. And last but not least, add relevant internal and external links.

4. Good Quality Content (aka Backlinks)

So, what is good quality content, anyway? Well, search engines use several means to determine the quality of your website content. One of the prominent methods to determine quality content is through the number, quality, and type of webpage or sites that link back to your website. Otherwise known as backlinks. For example, if your website can get a link from places such as CNN.com, the search engine will rank your content as authentic and good quality.

5. Searchers’ Habits

Search engine algorithms are always evolving, so they give searchers the most accurate results. For this purpose, search engines look closely at how users interact with your site. Were users able to find the right information, or did they have to continue searching? Did the user purchase something thru your website or interact with the website? Customer interaction with your site, helps search engines determine the quality of your content and if it is relevant to their searches. It is why website layout and user interaction is critical.

6. Page Loading Speed

When it comes to speed and page loading time, every second, it takes matters. An average searcher is likely to abandon the webpage if it takes too long to load. It means that slow-loading directly results in higher page abandonment. Searchers will leave a page if it takes too long to load (Oh no! Potential customers, please don’t go!). Page abandonment can negatively affect your SEO ranking and push your site down the search results list.

According to 2017 research from Google, even if page load time increases from 1s to 3s can increase the probability of a page bounce by 32% — Crazy!

 

Just think about it, if an e-commerce site is bringing in $100,000 per day in revenue, a 1-second page delay could cost them $2.5 million in sales every year. So you must make sure your website is fast. To help ensure your website’s speed it up to par, use simple navigation, and try to keep the design content as light as possible.

 

7. Content Uniqueness

Content uniqueness is all about steering clear of incorporating duplicate content on your website. Duplicate content is defined as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely matches other content or are appreciably similar.” There is no penalty for using duplicate content across your website, but there can be consequences. If there is duplicate content, the search engines will probably prevent some of your content from showing up in search results.

 

There are several tools to make sure you steer clear of uploading duplicate content to your websites. You can use Screamingfrog crawler to help determine if you have duplicate pages on your website. Also, we recommend the Siteliner tool. Siteliner can help you ensure content uniqueness along with an in-depth analysis of your website. So make sure your content is useful, unique, and exciting for your audience.

 

8. Mobile Friendliness

In today’s world, searchers expect the same quality experience on their mobile devices that they enjoy on their desktop. Because of this, search engines look at the mobile-friendliness of your website. If you want a spot on the first page of the search results, make sure your site runs as smoothly and fast on a mobile device as it does on a PC. Keep in mind that browser experience is an essential factor when it comes to SEO ranking, no matter the device the searcher is using.

 

So what do you think? Ready to take on the SEO world? We went over all the essentials that any SEO beginner needs to know. Search Engine Optimization is the practice of optimizing websites, so they rank higher in search engine results pages. The practice of SEO includes many things. Such as picking the right keywords, making sure your site has relevant content, and ensuring your website has some good backlinks. So go forth into the land of search engine optimization!

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