SEO: What is Search Engine Optimization?
Updated: Mar 1
What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of optimizing a website so search engines (such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, ect...) can better understand what the page is about. There are many different aspects to SEO, but they can generally be thought of in two different subgroups: on page SEO, and off page SEO.
On page SEO in essence, is anything that is or can be done on your website page that will help your SEO, hence the name. A few examples of on page SEO practices are making sure certain HTML tags are set up properly, keeping your website speed fast, and arguably most important, the content that is offered on your website page.
Off page SEO is any practice that is done off of your website page to help your site become more visible on the web. This includes getting quality links from other high ranking websites back to your own, your social media presence (assuming they are linked to your website properly), and any other exposure your website gets from outside sources.
Why does SEO matter?
Both on page and off page SEO are important for your website health because they help search engines determine if your page is relevant to a particular search query. They also help search engines determine if your website is trustworthy, or considered spam. If your website is trustworthy, and has relevant content that is optimized, then your website has a higher chance of what's called ranking in search engines or SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).
Ranking is when your website appears in the top results of Google, i.e. on the first page of Google. Pages that rank on the first page of Google receive as much as 71%-92% of the clicks that come through Google (according to Moz.com), with the top few search results capturing the majority of all search traffic.
To translate: If your page isn't on the first page of Google you're missing out on a whopping 71%-92% of potential online customers. And that's assuming you're getting any traffic at all to your site from organic searches.
Options to grow your SERP rankings
SEO can be a very complicated, long, and even frustrating process for those who are untrained or lack experience. There are lots of small details that are often missed when it comes to on page optimization. Not to mention, finding and acquiring quality links back to your site is a whole process in itself.
There are a few options to help grow your website search rankings. Keep in mind, one option may be better suited for one business versus another. With that said, here are three common options business owners tend to use:
Option 1: Do it yourself
You can put in the time and work to study SEO for yourself. This is great if you have extra time, and are on a tight budget as it can help save some dollars on the basics of SEO. One thing to keep in mind however, is the time commitment in the long term. As your business grows and your free time becomes more sparse, your ongoing SEO will suffer and your search engine rankings can drop. Another problem is the price of common SEO tools. Even if you do SEO yourself, you will NEVER get away (and produce results) without paying for tools. Common tools run from $30-$40 month to well over $100 a month. Typically you will need a few different tools to run an effective SEO campaign, totaling in the realm of a few hundred bucks.
Option 2: Freelancer
The second option is to hire a freelancer to optimize your web page for you. This is beneficial as well if you do some of the SEO yourself, and need some extra help to finish up projects or free up some of your time. Freelancers can range in their expertise and prices. Freelancers are also good if you only need a few things done that take minimal time. Freelancers tend to charge much higher rates per hour or project because they are serving one or two time clients.
Option 3: Marketing or SEO Agency
The third option is great for businesses and business owners who either lack the time, or don't have the experience to do SEO themselves. This route tends to be a more long term solution. Hiring a professional to take care of your SEO needs long term is ideal because SEO tends to TAKE TIME. There are a wide variety of marketing agency's that offer solely SEO services, or packages with multiple services including SEO. One of the biggest benefits of using an agency is having a team of professionals on your side, as they have the experience you lack. Because they serve multiple clients, they also have the necessary tools to run an effective SEO campaign which means you don't have to fork out a few hundred each month just for tools. An added bonus is that they tend to charge less than freelancers (and are more results focused) because they have long term relationships with their clients.
As you can see there are many ways to take advantage of SEO. Whether you decide to do SEO yourself, hire a freelancer, or use an agency, don't brush off SEO any longer. The key to being found on the web is long term consistency; the sooner you start the better edge you will have on your competitors. Don't lose out, think long term and start now.
(If you are looking for an agency to help take care of your SEO or any of your marketing needs, head over to our home page and check out our services here.)