Search engine optimization, often called SEO, is a procedure that can be employed to increase the presence of your website in search engines. This article will start by giving an explanation of what search engine optimization is and why you need it. Then we’ll move on to look at benefits you get from SEO besides just increased traffic.
In its simplest form, search engine optimization is the process of improving the visibility of your website through “natural” or unsponsored listings within a search results page. To say it another way: it’s making sure that if someone searches for something related to your product or service – whether they use terms such as keywords, tags or even partial descriptions – then you’re one of the top results.
Really, it’s all about making it easy for someone to find you when they want something that you provide. This means paying close attention to what users might be searching and developing a strategy that meets the needs of searchers, while also maximizing your visibility in search engine results pages. You may have heard of “content marketing” as part of this process — but SEO is so much more than just writing content.
There are three primary areas in which SEO works: on-site, off-site and backlinking. On-site optimization includes any adjustments you can make directly to a homepage or page within a website (such as title tags, meta descriptions and keyword placement). Off-site optimization, by contrast, refers to factors such as incoming links or mentions on other websites. Backlinking is the most important part of SEO — it’s what happens when someone links back to your site from a blog post, press release or forum thread.
Complementary but separate to these areas is search engine marketing (SEM). This specific technique involves advertising through sponsored results that appear above or beside organic listings. It involves very different strategies than SEO and can be more expensive — though for some businesses it may be necessary in order to achieve top rankings. However, if you’re just starting your business you might need a website with “credibility”. SEM can help boost this credibility factor while also bringing additional traffic and conversions from people who find you through these ads.
While SEO can never guarantee a particular website ranking, it will always help to improve your site’s visibility in search engine results pages – which over time should correspond with greater traffic and sales for your business. Some of the added benefits that come along with an optimized site include:
1. Ranking higher in search engines: As mentioned above, one of the main benefits is being at the top of organic or unsponsored listings in search results pages — whether directly (i.e., Google) or through other services (Moz). This means that more people are going to see your company’s name and brand before clicking on something else or scrolling down to the paid or sponsored results.
2. Increased traffic from search engines: This also means that people will be able to find your site using organic keywords, not just “sponsored” terms or phrases you’ve paid for in advance. You’ll get traffic and sales you simply wouldn’t have had otherwise — consider it an invisible but free kind of advertising!
3. Longer visits by customers: By having more exposure through listings and rankings, a website visitor is more likely to spend time reading about your company or reviewing some of your products (if they’re featured on the website). All this means more time on-site means you can potentially convert even more users into purchasers down the road.
4. Improved brand recognition: A major benefit of SEO is having a greater presence online. This means that your website is more likely to be associated with your company and the services it offers. Even if someone doesn’t click through, they might remember later when they need what you offer.
5. Greater customer satisfaction: Whatever percentage of traffic does click through to your site, you can rest assured that these users will likely be more engaged than those who arrive at businesses using SEM or other paid marketing techniques — especially as long as their experience is positive!