What is SEO & Why does it Matter?
Investing in SEO is one of the smartest things you can do for your business. Almost 70% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, so you’ll want to do everything you can to make sure your brand appears in relevant search results.
So what exactly is SEO and why does it matter for your business? Let’s dive in together.
What Is SEO?
Short for “search engine optimization”, SEO refers to the practice of making a website more visible in relevant search engine results pages – what you see when you perform a Google search.
If a website has been optimized for search, it’s more likely to catch Google’s attention and be seen as a valuable source of information for web users. That’s exactly what we need to drive traffic (a.k.a. future customers) to your website!
How Does it Work?
SEO involves some complex processes, but the basic breakdown looks like this:
- Search engine bots crawl every website and index every individual web page they can.
- Search engine algorithms (i.e., secret calculations used by major search engines like Google) sort through the indexed pages.
- The indexed pages are ranked using hundreds of different signals to determine perceived merit and relevance.
- This ranking order is what appears when you type a query into the Google search bar and results are shown to you.
Search rankings aren’t random. The better a site is at showing Google what it’s about and how it can solve specific problems for web users, the more likely it is to receive a good ranking in search results. A site that’s easier to find based on a pertinent search query will receive more traffic and attention.
Doesn’t SEO Happen Naturally?
It can – to a certain extent! Google wants to provide users with high-quality, relevant information. So if a non-optimized website contains something useful, it may show up somewhere in search results.
But to reach your goals, you’ll need to make a deliberate effort to appear prominently in Google search results. With millions of websites now in existence, small businesses have to work even harder to get noticed. You can’t rely on pure luck to drive traffic to your site.
What Are the Different Types?
There are different components of SEO that make up virtually any strategy.
On-page SEO, sometimes called “on-site SEO,” refers to optimizations that are performed right on your business website.
It is meant to provide context for search engines while simultaneously providing value for human web visitors. The goal here should be to communicate what the page or site is about, connect the page or site to relevant search queries, and offer a clear benefit to users. Highly valuable website content, like landing pages and blog posts – optimized with relevant keywords and internal links – will check all those boxes. Your site must also be technically sound to provide the best possible user experience (something Google really cares about!).
Off page SEO happens off of your site but still impacts how Google perceives your brand. In fact, it’s arguably just as important as On-page SEO. It can involve things like business reviews, online listings, and backlinks placed on other reputable sites that link back to yours. Social media marketing, influencer marketing, and public relations can also fall under this umbrella.
Instead of targeting the whole internet, this type of SEO focuses on appearing in local search results – amplifying your search visibility within a certain geographical area.
As a small business owner, targeting customers within your specific service area will help you connect with locals who are ready to buy. That way, you won’t waste time and money trying to compete with global corporations!
Local SEO isn’t drastically different from regular SEO. It’s really just the scale and the specific techniques used that make the difference.
Is There a Wrong Way to Do It?
In a word, yes.
Achieving overnight SEO success sounds good… but it’s actually too good to be true.
There are unscrupulous providers out there who will guarantee they can fast-track your Google ranking to #1. However, SEO isn’t meant to be a quick fix – and we can’t control exactly how or when Google ranks websites. The agencies that make these promises will typically:
- Take your money and run, without delivering those results OR…
- Use shady, outdated tactics (known as “black hat SEO”) in an effort to fool Google and game the system – which can cause your site to be blacklisted from search results
Reputable SEO providers know that this process takes time. In fact, most experts agree that it takes at least 6 months to start seeing real results.
That’s by design. SEO isn’t meant to work immediately like digital ads. It’s all about building your organic online presence, reputation, and trust. That doesn’t happen overnight!
With SEO, slow and steady wins the race. If you have patience and work with the experts, it’ll pay off in the end.
Why Does SEO Matter?
So with all of that in mind… Why is SEO important, especially if you’re also marketing your business in other ways?
- It’s affordable and builds value over time
- It drives more consistent traffic than other types of marketing
- It helps build customer loyalty and a better user experience
- It improves your reputation online
- It separates you from the competition
SEO is a cost-effective, long-term solution that drives consistent traffic months (or even years!) after those initial optimizations are made. It can also boost your brand’s reputation, authority, and goodwill – something ads simply can’t do. Over half of all web traffic comes from organic search, so you’ll be left in the dust if you’re not doing SEO.
The bottom line: You don’t need to know everything about SEO to succeed. (That’s what we’re here for! Contact Us!) But understanding the basics of what SEO is and why it matters will create a strong foundation for our ongoing partnership – and get you on the right path to achieving your goals.