Demystifying Search Engine Optimization

After more than two decades of the internet being in existence, SEO should be a household word by now.

Considering how it’s made itself essential for doing business online over the years, SEO is supposed to be an idea that businesses of all shapes and sizes would do well to adopt, without any hesitation, as part of its digital marketing strategy.

So why is it that so many entrepreneurs with websites don’t even bother with SEO?

In fact, it’s entirely possible that a number of them have no idea what SEO is or that such a thing exists.

Ask people who own local businesses if they know what SEO is, and they’ll probably just stare at you like you’re high or something.

Some may have heard of SEO before because some company offered SEO solutions to them, but declined because the concept mystifies them.

There’s nothing mysterious about SEO

SEO may be a mystery to so many people, but nothing about it is mysterious.

SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization, and it means exactly what it’s saying: it’s about optimizing your website for search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo using certain processes and strategies to rank high in search results and get organic traffic.

How your business will benefit from optimization

Why would you want your website to rank high in the search engine results pages or SERPs and get organic traffic?

But before we get to that, let’s talk about how search engines work.

Google et al. rely on robots—more popularly referred to as “bots”—to help them in ranking websites for search results.

These bots, which are actually automated software agents, have one job: crawl websites for meta descriptions, title tags, relevant keywords within their content, backlinks, and other signals, then report everything to the search engines themselves.

All the information gathered by these bots will then be processed to determine which websites will rank for which queries, and how high they would be.

High rankings in the SERPs mean better visibility for relevant links to your website and a higher likelihood of people clicking on them and checking out what you have to offer.

Higher SERP rankings bring about more organic traffic, which, in turn, could result in leads and eventually, conversions for your website.

Those conversions could be a subscription to your newsletter, a download for your e-book, or straight-up sales for any service or product you’re providing.

SEO can get a bit overwhelming

Admittedly, however, the entire SEO process could get a little complicated and in some cases, overwhelming. The number of ranking factors for Google alone can make an SEO beginner’s head spin.

As of latest count, there are more than 200 ranking factors that can help you get higher rankings on Google, and trying to get all of them right can take a lot out of you.

Some of the ranking factors that you have to consider are title tags, anchor text, site speed, backlinks, content quality, and mobile-friendliness, among many others.

Be wary of promises of quick SEO results

Not a few SEO companies make it a point to tell prospective clients who aren’t that familiar with optimization that they can deliver results in a week.

If you have a website for your business and somebody makes that kind of offer in person or via email, run the other way because the one propositioning you is pitching what could only be a scam for one simple reason: there is no such thing as quick results in SEO.

SEO, if anything, is a deliberate, sustained, and long-term process that takes about four to six months before it achieves results, and those results wouldn’t be even that impressive.

It would take more time before you can get significant results, and even then, you would have to continue your SEO efforts to maintain your rankings.

The importance of content today

In the early days of SEO, practitioners within the upstart industry weren’t too concerned with providing quality content to website visitors.

All they focused on was keyword research and keyword stuffing because search engines back then weren’t that strict.

As long as their bots picked up on the keywords, websites with garbage for content achieved prime ranking in the SERPs.

Websites that actually offered engaging and useful content but had minuscule keyword density were often relegated to the much later pages of the SERPs.

Things, however, have changed since Google put its foot down and made significant—and continuous—changes to its algorithm.

Today, quality content is indeed king, as it’s one of the top Google ranking factors today.

Now if you’re interested in joining the SEO game, there are certain types of content that will serve your optimization purposes well.

1. How-to articles

You can go for how-to articles, especially those that cover specific topics that are relevant to your industry or niche.

If, for example, you’re running a website for your pet grooming business, a guide that will teach people how to maintain a dog’s perfect fur coat will be quite helpful, and Google’s bots will undoubtedly take note of that.

2. Authoritative blog posts

If your website has a blog, you can position yourself as an authority within your industry by creating authoritative blog posts that relay relevant industry news.

Opinion pieces about development within your niche would also be great.

3. List posts

People also love lists, especially when they’re well-conceived and written, engaging, and relevant.

List posts are likely to be shared, which only means wonderful things for your SEO.

4. Infographics

Some people like to read. Others just want a snapshot of a topic, and an infographic provides precisely that.

Aside from being more visually engaging and easier to digest, infographics also have a higher likelihood of getting shared, which will mean more links pointing to your website.

5. Videos

Even more engaging than infographics are videos, which already make up a huge percentage of web traffic today.

And video is going to get even bigger. By 2020, video is predicted to account for 80% of all web traffic.

SEO is a lot of things, but it’s not magic or sorcery, like some people who are mystified by it tend to say.

SEO can be studied, practiced, and with enough time and effort, mastered.

If you have questions regarding SEO or would like help optimizing your websites search engine presence, contact Finepoint Design and get your site ranked!