How SEO Works
First of all, let’s talk about what SEO stands for and what it is. SEO stands for search engine optimization (SEO). Once you understand SEO, you’ll be able to utilize it for your own website and hopefully, jump straight to the top of the search engine results page.
What does SEO Mean?
SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization. SEO is a way for websites to improve their traffic in search engines, such as Google and Bing and more organic traffic.
How Does SEO Work?
To understand SEO, you need to know how search engines work to rank results on their pages (SERPs). Search engines want to choose the best possible match for what their users are searching for and display it at the top of the results page. The best match will answer the searcher’s question and contain high-quality content.
To choose which results to display first, search engines crawl websites to see what they’re about and look for keywords, meta tags and phrases that match the searcher’s query.Search engines also scan websites to see how easy they are to read and navigate. The more user-friendly a website is, the higher ranking it will get from search engines.
An often overlooked aspect of marketing SEO is to remember that your content needs to be relevant and valuable for your target audience. The better your content, the better your traffic will be. Search engines recognize quality content, but so do readers who will keep coming back again and again if they like what you’re doing with your website.
What is the Meaning of SEO?
Now you know a little more about SEO, but what is SEO really? Let’s use a real-life example.
If you’re going to the grocery store for some milk, and you walk in the store and there’s a display of milk products right there, are you more likely to grab a gallon of milk from the display? Or are you going to walk all the way to the back of the store where the rest of the dairy is and investigate the rest of your options? You’re probably going to grab the milk that’s your first option and head to the checkout counter.
Now imagine that your website is a gallon of milk and the grocery store is all the possible results on a search engine. In layman’s terms, utilizing SEO means making sure your milk is the milk in the display at the front of the store. In internet terms, we make sure your website pops up as high as possible on the SERP, or search engine results page.
Did you know that 75 percent of people never scroll past the first page of search engine results? That means if your website doesn’t show up on the first page, it’s like not being seen by most search engine users.
That’s why SEO is such an important marketing strategy. Without using SEO best practices for your website, you might have the best, most well-designed website out there, but it will be very hard for anyone to find it.
What Are the Benefits of SEO marketing?
There are several benefits to optimizing your website for search engines. Implementing SEO results in a higher ranking on search engines, increased visibility for your business or brand, and greater organic web traffic for your website.
The best part of using SEO to gain more web traffic is that it’s free! It might take some hard work to optimize your website, but if you do a good job, the traffic will come to you. The alternative means paying for ads to direct traffic to your website.
Although ads may appear before organic search results on the search engine results page, many searchers skip the ads and go straight to the organic results. Those searchers are looking for you directly and constitute quality web traffic.
Types of SEO marketing
There are several different types of SEO. Here we’ll break down four different types of SEO for you: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO and local SEO.
On-Page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages of a website. The goal of on-page SEO is to improve a website’s search engine ranking and earn organic traffic. (Organic traffic is the traffic that finds your website after entering search terms into a search engine. It’s the opposite of paid traffic, which is generated by paid ads.)
There are a number of components that search engines like Google are looking for on your website. After writing blog posts, it is important to use proper page titles, title tags and to link to other relative pages with internal links.
Some other good practices of on-page SEO include optimizing your headlines and URLs on each web page, adding HTML tags (like your header, title and meta descriptions, linking between pages and adding images. It also involves making sure each page has high quality and relevant content.
On-page SEO also means incorporating keywords that are relevant to the topic of your website. Keywords are the words or phrases that a search engine user types into the search bar of a website like Google or Bing.
There are certain keywords that have higher traffic, so if you want to grab the attention of all the people searching for that particular word or term, you’ll want to use it repeatedly in your content. (But you also want to use it seamlessly and not just stuff it where it doesn’t belong! Your content needs to be easy and fun for your readers, too.)
Here are some tips from Google about how to do keyword research with some great keyword tools.
Off-Page SEO is everything you do to improve your website’s visibility to search engines. This includes things like getting other websites to link to your content. When other websites link to your content, it tells Google and other search engines that your site must be pretty good (otherwise, why would anyone bother linking to it?)
Technical SEO is the process of improving the technical aspects of your website to improve your ranking on search engines. This includes factors like user experience and page load speed. Optimizing your site can also reduce your bounce rate. Some of the important ways you can optimize your website include:
- It loads quickly for users, which is important, so they don’t get frustrated and go to a competing website.
- It’s easy for search engines to crawl.
- It doesn’t have any (or many) dead links.
- It doesn’t have duplicate content (that confuses search engines!)
- It’s safe and secure for users.
- It has structured data that tells search engines what kind of information you have on your website.
- It has an XML sitemap, which is a list of all the pages of your website.
Local SEO is important for businesses with a physical location. It can increase web and foot traffic by making sure the business is easy to find in local searches. If the website is well optimized for local search, customers in the area will find the store online and hopefully make a purchase.
Some steps for utilizing local SEO include creating a Google My Business page (it’s free!) and adding your storefront to Google Maps. You can also add business listings and business citations to your website.
Analyze Your Website’s SEO
An important step in optimizing any website for search engines is to make sure what you are doing is actually working. That’s where monitoring your website’s traffic comes in. You can use Google Analytics to monitor your own SEO. Google Analytics is a popular service and tracks and reports website traffic for you.
You also have the option of hiring a full service web design agency like Mid America Web to do a free SEO analysis of your business. We can see how you’re really doing online, how you compare to your competitors, and recommend and implement fixes to attract the web traffic you desire.
Contact Mid America Web today
Understanding and utilizing SEO techniques correctly can be complicated. That’s why agencies like SEO Design Chicago exist. If you’re not happy with your search engine rankings, or you’re looking to attract more organic traffic to your website, contact Mid America Web today. We’re the experts in SEO and can help you implement all the strategies you just read about, without you having to do any of the hard work.