SEO or search engine optimization is a way for websites to maximize their visibility in internet browser searches. It’s also a means of gaining increased traffic with free, organic or natural search results.
In a stage funnel, the awareness phase requires some form of SEO so it can create awareness that’s able to generate prospects. More than increasing a website’s search ranking, however, it can make your website more user-friendly when you use keywords that prospects can recognize and be drawn to.
That’s why in essence, good SEO leads to increased exposure for your site and results in better traffic. But does SEO have more benefits than just the usual boost in traffic? Read on to find out!
What are the uses of SEO?
SEO is one of the many different methods used by websites to increase their ranking in search engine results. The majority of people only open the results on Google’s first page results. That’s why not being on the first page means you’re losing out on traffic and potential customers.
To give you more idea on how SEO affects rankings, I’ll be discussing a few details pertaining to it. As such, there are two main branches of SEO: organic and non-organic.
Organic search engine optimization is when the business carries out its own search engine optimization. It can be achieved by building content on one’s website with keywords included. The search engine algorithm then associates the said page or website with the product or service contained in the keywords used.
Building links on other websites is also a key part of organic search engine optimization. This is how the majority of search engine traffic is gathered. The good thing about it is that it’s a fairly inexpensive tactic to carry out if you have an in-house team doing it. This is just for the most part though.
You may also want to try blogging. It’s no doubt the most straightforward and simplified method of SEO tactic known today. There are other more advanced parts of organic SEO but complex doesn’t always mean effective. It really all boils down to how you draw up and implement your strategy.
The second form of SEO is the non-organic type. This is also known as paid search engine optimization. This is when a business pays for the advertisement of their website or one of their pages to be on top of search rankings for a short period of time. It can be quite expensive depending on the competition of the keyword you and is only usually used for short term.
Search engine algorithms change frequently and without an understanding of the above things, you can find your site plummeting quickly down the rankings.
White Hat and Black Hat Tactics
Aside from organic and non-organic types of SEO, there’s also white hat and black hat SEO. White hat tactics are methods search engines approve of. Every search engine, from Google to Bing and Yahoo have guidelines for what a website can and cannot do. White hat SEO make use of tactics that follow the rules laid out in these guidelines. It focuses on long-term results and aims to create relevant and unique content.
Blackhat SEO, on the other hand, seeks to create short-term boosts to rankings with questionable methods that are likely to result in penalties from search engines. Blackhat search engine optimization tries to piggyback on the content of others and stuffs their website with keywords without creating any coherent message. This kind of tactics seeks to link their content with irrelevant sites in the hopes of achieving quick gains despite the likely penalties they’ll receive in return.
These penalties can include being removed from search results altogether. Due to this, it’s not an advisable strategy for businesses looking for reliable and long-term growth. For those looking for something sustainable, white hat SEO is still the way to go.
SEO’s importance lies in how it is shown to be the major means by which web pages gain traffic. In business-to-business or B2B transactions, SEP creates more than half of lead interactions. This figure is slightly lower in business-to-consumers deals but still accounts for about 40% of lead interactions.
It’s estimated that every second, there are four million internet searches every second on Google alone. Of these, 75% of the search clicks go to the first page of search results. Even more importantly, 67% of clicks go to just the top five results on page one.
By using search engine optimization, you’re attempting to attract search engine “crawlers” which are working off an algorithm so that your site becomes the best match to the queries related to the keywords you used.
Now as previously mentioned, this involves having good and relevant links as well as unique content. However, Google and other search engines also want their users to be presented with the best websites first—not just the ones that contain the seemingly most relevant information.
This is the other part of search engine optimization. If your business is selling something, it’s much more appealing to people if transactions can be carried out quickly and conveniently. This is taken into account by search engines when determining rankings as well. It’s in their interest that the first search result is not just relevant, but also convenient for their users so as to boost their satisfaction. So make sure you make the most of SEO when doing it for your website and business.
Specific Steps to Achieving Good SEO
The first thing your website should have is a clear and memorable domain name. When choosing a domain name you should avoid hyphens and spaces. Older domains also take precedence in searches so if you have the capital and the opportunity, consider purchasing an existing domain name.
Next, you need to ensure that your website is user-friendly. This is a lesser-known part of search engine optimization and therefore significant to your website’s success. Simplify all elements of your site, group categories together, make category names understandable, and don’t hide content under too many links. Every transaction or piece of information should be reachable within a handful of clicks. Your content should also include relevant keywords to make it easy to search for.
When using keywords, consider how broad you want them to be. Broader keywords such as “sports” will make your page or site show up in more internet searches but people searching are less likely to become customers since the term is not targeted to what you do. More specific keywords such as “men’s tennis shoes” might account for fewer searches, but those who search for it are more likely to become your customers if your business sells such kind of shoes.
As previously mentioned, you should avoid keyword stuffing and should only use them in grammatically correct and relevant sentences.
The above things can serve as your simple to-do list which covers on-page SEO basics for your website!
Getting In-Depth on SEO
There are other parts of SEO that are no doubt more technical such as sending sitemaps to search engines so that all pages of your site are taken into account in search result rankings. Creating a sitemap and submitting it requires a bit more know-how than blog writing and keyword usage of on-page SEO.
Internal linking is another useful tool for developing your SEO. Your landing page should include links to connect to other pages on your site with a single click. Similarly, other pages on your site should link to each other. However, make sure they’re relevant. This tactic is actually quite simple but is usually underutilized. It boosts your user-friendliness, which we know search engines prefer, and it increases traffic to all sections of your site.
For international websites, you should ensure that translations are available without solely relying on an automatic translation tool. Such tools destroy sentence structure and grammar which undermines your user-friendliness.
Finally, you also want to create off-page links. The best kind of off-page links are ones done by others because they want to be associated with your brand. A simple means of getting off page links is having past customers share your link on their social media. However, the best ones come from related websites.
Obviously, your competition isn’t going to host links to your site, but sites which offer advice on the area you deal with may host your links. Having your link on a high ranking web page will then boost your page ranking. You can pay for these links to be inserted into a native advertising type of post but that tactic is often seen as inferior by Google.
So SEO is clearly a valuable tool for boosting traffic to your site and that’s ultimately what it is—a traffic generating tool. As anyone constructing a sales funnel will tell you, without traffic as well as the creation of awareness and interest, there will be no sales or income.