It doesn’t matter if you are a business owner, marketer, or create websites for fun; you have likely heard the term “SEO” at some point. SEO stands for search engine optimization. There are many benefits of SEO. This article will give you a better understanding of SEO and how it works.
While you may have heard this term in the past, do you know what it means or why it matters? If not, you aren’t alone. Even if you know a few SEO best practices, you may not be fully versed in the intricacies of what it is and how it can benefit your website.
The short explanation of “what is SEO” is that it is the act of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your site by way of organic search engine results. However, if you want to dive a bit deeper, keep reading. Here you can learn what SEO is, how to use it, and the many benefits it offers.
If you want to better understand SEO, you need to take a look at the individual parts. These include:
It is possible to get people to come to your site; however, if they are landing on your site because Google has told them you are a top resource for quality luggage and offer kitchen gadgets, this is not considered quality traffic. Therefore, one goal of SEO is to help ensure your site attracts visitors who are truly interested in what you offer.
After you attract the right people and they begin clicking through the SERPs (search engine results pages), you get more traffic. This is considered quality traffic because the people coming to your site are looking for what you offer.
Drive Organic Results
Ads make up approximately 30% of the results seen in SERPs. Organic results make up much more, which means working to attract organic traffic is essential. That’s because organic traffic is the traffic your site receives that you haven’t paid for.
SEO and How It Works?
You may believe a search engine is a website you visit to ask a question. After you speak or type your question, you are presented with a list of links to different websites that may answer the question you have asked.
While this is true, you should understand that these links aren’t presented to you haphazardly. Instead, there is a method behind the search engine madness.
Google (or the search engine you decide to use) has a crawler. The job of the crawler is to gather information about all the available content online. Once found, the crawler will return with the 1s and 0s to the search engine and creates anindex. The index will then be accessed by the algorithm, which works to match the data found by the crawlers with your question.
It’s important to note that countless factors go into the algorithm used by a search engine. Learning some of the most important factors will help you better understand how you should use SEO to ensure your site is found for relevant searches.
Some of the most important factors include:
- Page-level link features
- Page-level keywords and content features
- Page-level keyword agnostic features
- Domain-level brand features
- User, usage, and traffic
- Social metrics
- Domain level keyword usage
- Domain level keyword agnostic features
All the above represents the “SE” in SEO.
The “O” part of SEO is optimization. This is where content creators work to create content that search engines will present based on what someone is searching for.
Modern search engine optimization can take many forms. It includes everything from ensuring meta descriptions and title tags are informative, and the proper length to ensuring included internal links point to the pages on your site that best represent your business or that are not visible in the main navigation of your site.
Black Hat vs. White Hat SEO
When you dive deeper into the SEO realm, you will hear terms like “white hat SEO” and “black hat SEO.” White hat is used to describe SEO techniques, strategies, and best practices that follow the rules. These tactics are abiding by the rules set by the search engine. The main goal of white hat SEO is to provide more value to searchers. While this approach takes more time, it will help you avoid being penalized by search engines.
Black hat SEO, on the other hand, is the opposite of white hat SEO. These are strategies and techniques that are trying to fool or span search engines. Even though black hat SEO may be effective, there are potential consequences. For example, if you engage in black hat SEO, it will put your site at risk of a penalty. The site may even be de-indexed in some cases, which means it is completely removed from search results.
There are cases of penalized websites actually bankrupting businesses. This is why it is so important to be careful and follow the rules. In most cases, hiring an SEO agency will help ensure you don’t make any missteps that may result in a penalty or another issue.
Guidelines from Google Webmaster
Before engaging in any SEO efforts, it is important to know what Google recommends.
Basic Principles to Follow
- Focus on the user, not search engines.
- Avoid “tricks” to fool search engine crawlers.
- Don’t deceive users.
- Consider what makes your site engaging, valuable, or unique.
What You Should Avoid
- Doorway pages (pages designed to funnel traffic to your site)
- Automatically generated content
- Hidden links and text
- Link schemes
- Cloaking (showing search engine crawlers different content than website visitors)
- Pages with no original content
Generating Positive SEO Results
SEO is complicated. It is also changing constantly. Because of this, it is important to get to know the basics of SEO, which has been explained above. When you have a solid understanding of what SEO is and how it works, you can then dive into the benefits it may offer your site. Knowing the benefits will help you see why investing your time, money, and effort into this is such a good idea.
If you are ready, we can now dive into some of the biggest benefits of SEO for your website. If you haven’t implemented the right tactics yet, now is a good time to do so. It will pay off for your business in the long run.
Diving into the Benefits of SEO
Now that you have a better understanding of SEO, how it works, and best practices, it’s time to learn about the benefits that the right SEO tactics have to offer. Some of the top benefits you will see when implementing white hat SEO strategies can be found here.
More Organic Traffic
Organic search impacts your website’s performance. It is also a critical component in the buyer funnel and helps to get more users to engage with your site and convert. Most marketers already know that Google dominates a larger part of the market than other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo (to name a few).
While this is true, it does not mean that every search engine does not impact your brand’s visibility – they do. The fact is that Google currently accounts for approximately 75% of the modern search market. It is clear that this search engine is the leader, which means following the guidelines they have set is crucial.
Even though Google is king, it doesn’t mean that the remaining 25% of the market, which is owned by the other search engines, is not valuable or important. While this is true, paying particular attention to Google is necessary to ensure your site has the opportunity to be found by most people.
Since Google has the most visits of any website in the world (including in the U.S.), it is something you can’t afford to ignore when optimizing your site. Also, YouTube is the second largest search engine, and it is owned by Google. This makes it even more important to follow Google’s “rules” and ensure you aren’t doing things that may cause your site to be penalized.
Implementing SEO best practices and following Google’s rules will make your site more visible through the search engine results pages (SERPs). In addition, investing in a high-quality website and quality SEO will help your brand achieve more visibility in the search engines.
Access to Quality Traffic
Getting more traffic to your website is great. However, if the people landing on your site aren’t converting, what’s the point? So, along with helping generate more traffic to your site, quality SEO efforts will also help improve the quality traffic going to your site.
SEO is considered an inbound marketing tactic. Unlike the outbound advertising channels, which include your business reaching out to potential customers to see if they want information from you, inbound methods work to make it easier for your audience to find your business when they are looking for information or answers.
Outbound marketing is often called “interruption” marketing. It involves things like:
- Interruptive Ads
- Cold calls
It is also marketer-centric.
On the other hand, inbound marketing is a “permission” based marketing strategy. It includes tactics such as:
This marketing tactic is more customer-centric.
Today, consumers often find outbound marketing tactics annoying. However, with inbound marketing, you have a customer-centric way to reach people. Rather than interrupting your customers while they are doing something, like listening to the radio or watching television, you create helpful resources and make information easy to access.
By doing this, when users are ready to spend time researching your industry or business or learning about the options they have for a certain product, they will be able to locate your business alone. This makes it more convenient for consumers. It will also provide you with more qualified and quality leads. In fact, according to one study, inbound practices are so effective that they help generate the highest quality leads for your sales team.
Just think about it. Who do you think will be more receptive to the marketing efforts that you engage in – someone who views your ad on the way to work through a billboard or someone who finds the list of tips you create while they are looking for assistance online?
At this point, the answer should be obvious.
If you focus on attracting people who are looking for information related to your services, products, and industry, you are going to find that it is much easier to reach your target audience. Also, this is going to give you the chance to reach your target audience while they are thinking about making a purchase or getting in touch with a service provider. This will also increase the possibility that your marketing message will result in more leads and more sales.
Improve the User Experience
There are more than a few ways you can improve your website to maximize the user experience. For example, when you create a quality website with relevant information, related videos, and photos to support the text, including web pages that are easy to navigate and a mobile-friendly configuration, you will instantly boost user experience.
In the end, this all results in a much better user experience. This will provide you with more clicks to your site, more leads, much better brand recall, and in the end, higher conversion rates. It’s important to remember that these are the things that search engines (including Google) are looking for. Therefore, when you provide a quality user experience, your search ranking will increase, often significantly.
Ability to Educate Your Customers
Every page of your website provides you with a new opportunity to implement SEO best practices. While this is true, most of your SEO efforts will be focused on your content, which includes your blog.
Having a blog on your website is a smart way to improve SEO. However, you need to ensure the blog is full of helpful information. Some of the content to include in your blog can be focused on things like:
- What you have learned
- Your company
- Success stories
- Examples of past jobs or clients
- Service or product descriptions
- Tips and resources
The goal should be to let potential clients know that you offer high-quality services or products. You should also use your blog to answer questions a current or new client or customer may have.
When you create a blog and post regularly, you will find that you can use an array of different keywords. This is going to fill the internet with valuable information on the items you sell or offer. When someone searches for anything related to what you do or offer, your quality content and SEO efforts on your blog will help ensure your site is seen in the SERPs.
Build Credibility and Trust
When it comes to SEO, establishing a strong foundation is a top priority. To do this, you need a well-made, attractve website that offers an effective and clean user experience. It should also be easy to find in search. This is going to help build credibility and trust for your brand and all your related digital properties.
Several elements go into building authority in search engines, including Google. Along with the factors mentioned above, authority can be earned over time. This is based on elements, such as:
- Optimized content and on-page elements
- Quality backlink profiles
- Machine-learning signals
- Positive user behavior
When you establish authority, it will do much more for your brand than most other types of digital optimizations. The issue for most people is that it is virtually impossible to build this credibility and trust overnight. Authority is something that you earn and must build over time.
If you want to establish your brand as an authority in your industry, you must commit to the effort while taking time to build it. Patience is a must; however, you also must offer a quality and valuable service or product that will help your customers trust your business and brand.
Organic rankings in Google (and other search engines) are based on what the algorithm decides is the best results for a certain query and user. This means that after you have created a page that search engines believe is worthy of sending users to, it will keep attracting more traffic to your site. This is true for weeks, months, and even years after the content or page is published.
Creating high-quality content does require you to make an investment. It will either be in the form of time if you create it on your own or money if you opt to hire a digital marketing agency to do it for you. However, after making this initial investment, you won’t have any type of ongoing cost to keep traffic coming to your page or content.
While it may be necessary to update your pages from time to time, this doesn’t require much time, depending on the topic. It may also be necessary to add to the content and take steps to improve it if your competition has targeted the same keyword that you did.
Even though all the above is true, your spot in search results is completely free of charge when you get down to basics.
This is a significant difference from any PPC ads you may create. With these, you have to pay money every time someone clicks your ad and visits your page or website. If you want a better understanding of how beneficial organic traffic is, consider this – the average CPC – cost-per-click – across every industry is $2.32.
When you invest in SEO, though, you can avoid paying this and get more traffic to your site without having to worry about a charge each time someone clicks on your link.
Generate More Leads
If you want to generate more leads, it has been proven again and again that inbound strategies are the most effective way to do this. This is true for non-profit organizations, B2B, and B2C companies. Inbound marketing efforts include things like SEO, content marketing, social media, referrals, and more.
When you don’t get leads from the SEO strategies you are using, it may be time to revisit what you are doing. In some cases, your competition may be getting the traffic and leads that should be coming to you.
Keep Customers on Your Page Longer
When you look at the history of SEO and past ranking factors, you will find a lot of unpleasantness. For example, in the past, ranking in SEO meant using nonsensical phrases and keyword stuffing.
Today, though, search engines are much smarter than they ever were in the past. Coders and developers have created algorithms that are more effective and finding and pointing to high-value content. Unfortunately, if you engage in keyword stuffing, it will put you at the bottom of SERPs rather than boosting your rank and visibility.
With this development, it means that websites that implement current SEO best practices and produce higher-quality content are going to rank higher. That’s not all, though. With SEO-driven, high-quality content on your website, you will encourage your audience to stick around and keep them interested in what’s on your site longer.
This will help ensure your target audience remains on your page and boost your ranking. It may even improve your website’s CTR (click-through rate). Having a single webpage on your site that provides valuable information by addressing someone’s query will make the remainder of your site much more appealing.
Something that is related to your CTR is your site’s bounce rate. The bounce rate is determined by dividing the total number of one-page visits by your website’s total entries altogether.
It’s a good idea to ensure your site’s bounce rate is under 40%, but keeping it under 55% is still considered adequate.
A huge benefit offered by SEO is that it may help you make your website more interesting and engaging. Optimizing your content will help you do this since you are using specific, targeted keywords that help to make your content findable for your target audience. When you can create informative and relatable content, it is more likely that people will remain on your page or site longer and that they will move to other parts of your site, as well.
Improve the Buying Cycle
Today, customers are doing their research before buying anything or choosing a service provider. This is a huge advantage of the internet, from your buyer’s perspective.
When you engage in SEO tactics to share your messaging related to amazing services or products, good deals, and quality customer service, you will have a website that is a true game-changer.
It is also going to impact your buying cycle positively if you do this properly.
It is important to make sure your brand is visible in areas where people require them if you want to make a worthwhile connection. Engaging in local SEO will help enhance your visibility while assisting potential customers in finding the answers they are searching for.
While PR and SEO may seem like totally different marketing strategies, they can be used with each other to help maximize the results achieved from each one.
The most significant connection between these two is link building.
Being able to earn links from other, reputable sites is a huge element and an important factor in any quality SEO strategy. This means that if you are the one in charge of SEO, you must find opportunities for coverage or placement on news publications, industry blogs, or any other relevant website.
Also, if you consider that a PR strategy is focused on having influencers and prominent publications discuss your business and what you offer, this is a huge opportunity for your brand.
When you put time and effort into link-building research, you can find new ways to position your brand in front of potential customers. This is also going to make content distribution to your target audience more effectively.
Increased Close Rates
On average, you will see a close rate of 14.6% from SEO leads. This is significant when you compare it to the close rate of 1.7% from outbound leads. When you have to reach out to customers (cold leads) rather than have them contact you, it will result in much lower conversion rates for your business and efforts.
With an SEO lead, a customer is researching what you offer. They want what you offer. As a result, there is a higher likelihood they will convert. People who research online have a certain purpose and requirement in mind. With the right SEO efforts, you can ensure that you are addressing this requirement or purpose.
You have heard the saying, “no man is an island.” This is true for businesses, too. Backlinking to another website and generating backlinks on these sites is a great way to make your business, brand, and site more relevant. Today, everything is digital. Because of this, it only makes sense that you would increase your online PR.
With SEO best practices, you can source your claims, making them more credible. Or you can link to a different page to help explain things further. This is also why it is not smart to create a backlink to your competition. A backlink is a hyperlink that is linked on one webpage and then takes you to a different website. This is telling Google that you are promoting them rather than your business.
A high-quality or high-value backlink is created when your website receives a link back from an authority site that has a high SEO trust score. This means that Google has deemed the other site valuable. This is going to give you increased value just by being associated with it. Make sure you aren’t linking to the competition, because then you are essentially promoting their brand, rather than yours.
If you have any collaborators, regardless of if they are official, you can build a backlinking system and help promote one another. In an ideal situation, you would both be viewed as credible by Google and be sites that are trusted.
Gain a Better Understanding of the Web
The World Wide Web is always changing. Because of this, you may find it extremely difficult to stay aware of everything that is going on and the changes that are occurring.
However, when you stay informed about SEO, you will be in the loop for any major changes in the realm of search.
Also, by knowing the environment of the internet, including the tactics that are being used by competitors, comparable businesses, and more, it is going to be beneficial and help you gain a competitive edge.
Encourage People to Visit Your Physical Store
After engaging in local research, many customers will visit the local shop or store. For example, if someone searches for the “Best Italian Restaurants in Georgia,” various options will show up.
At this point, the searcher will visit their top choice and, if they like it, become a customer of the restaurant. Some studies back this up, stating that about 81% of shoppers are doing research online before going to the store or making a local purchase.
Improve Brand Awareness
Building credibility and trust is not the only positive part of your business or brand regarding SEO. The biggest benefit occurs through the pages of your blog or website.
Quality content posted on landing pages for your website should not be the only priority. The content produced on any portion of your website will enhance and improve your SEO efforts. In addition, with an online blog, you can build brand awareness.
When creating your website, content creation and SEO should go together. First, it lets you educate your customers, which was discussed above. Another benefit of SEO-driven content is that you can use link building and keywords to help bring even more brand awareness.
The more content you have on your site related to your brand, the more your site will appear in organic searches. It will also become more integrated through other web sources. The more these things happen, the more aware the public will be of your brand.
You Can Measure the Results
Even though SEO does not provide the easy-to-calculate ROI that paid search does, it is possible to measure virtually anything with the right analytics and tracking.
The main issue is attempting to connect dots on the back end of things since there’s no exact method to figure out how all the actions taken relate to one another.
While this is true, it is still beneficial to know how specific actions will impact growth and performance (hopefully, they do this). Quality SEO will enhance these improvements, which means that connecting the actions shouldn’t be impossible.
Most brands want to see digital performance metrics, too. This is especially true for SEO efforts if they have someone or a company being paid to do this for their business. Measuring the results will prove the effectiveness of SEO and show where changes need to be made.
Ensure Mobile-Friendliness of Your Site
SEO helps to improve user experience. This is because Google Search has added a new parameter that acts as a ranking signal. This signal relates to how mobile-friendly your website is.
Google Search first announced the importance of mobile-friendliness for your site in April 2015. At this time, it was explained by Google Search that if your site were not mobile-friendly, it would be penalized. The goal was to provide a better user experience and improve navigation on websites accessed on mobile devices.
If you want to ensure your site is mobile-friendly, Google even offers advice and assistance to get started.
Boost Long-Term Marketing Strategies
It’s worth noting that SEO is not a strategy that is one-and-done or set-it-and-forget-it. Instead, this is a long-term commitment to help your site continue ranking higher or maintain your existing position.
While it may seem like a daunting process to continually invest in SEO for your website, it will benefit you quite a bit in the long run. The benefits outweigh the time and effort you must put into maintaining it.
Keep in mind that it is not possible to see immediate benefits for organic search results. However, once in place, your business will keep seeing the benefits offered by SEO for years after you have made this investment.
It takes some time for your website to start appearing high in organic search rankings. While this is true, once you achieve a top spot, it will take a lot for you to lose it as long as you continue the SEO tactics and efforts you have started.
One of the best parts is how affordable it is to maintain SEO efforts once they are in place and maximize your ROI. While some payment may be required, the financial input is minimal. However, this does depend on who you choose to manage your SEO efforts.
Ties Together Other Marketing Strategies
Some people don’t believe that SEO is an actual marketing strategy. If you are like these people, you may think that this is something that’s going to require a lot of time and effort, like ads or social media influencers, rather than getting results with minimal effort.
It is important to note that content for SEO isn’t considered an independent marketing strategy that is separate from your other efforts. Instead, it is designed to work with the other marketing strategies you are using.
When you successfully integrate SEO into your site’s social media marketing, online advertising, blog content, website copywriting, and more, then all of your marketing efforts will work seamlessly and together. When used in harmony, the strategies can build an efficient bond that will increase your rank and brand awareness throughout your business and website.
Discover New Opportunities
When you implement high-quality SEO tactics, it means you can discover and leverage new opportunities for your brand. This includes options to be discovered and to stand out from the crowd. Your SEO efforts are going to help you continue to grow and achieve ongoing success. In the long run, this is going to improve your business’s bottom line.
Gain Market Share
If you achieve the top listing in SERPs, it means your website is more likely to be found by online users. These people who find your site are considered leads. After finding the information they are searching for on your site, the leads will turn into actual, converting customers.
The individuals may make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, or subscribe to something. The end result of all this is an increased conversion rate. When you begin seeing your conversion rate go up, it also means you have gained a bigger share of your market.
Increased Social Media Followers and Subscribers
When you engage in the right SEO tactics, the results will also help to increase your followers on social media. The more people who find your site after conducting a search, the more people interested enough in what you offer to stay updated with what is going on.
Every searcher who winds up clicking on your site and discovers that it answers their question will have a much higher chance of following you on social media too. They will also be more likely to subscribe to your email newsletter or something else that you offer.
Even in situations where these people are not converting into customers immediately, they have started their way down your sales funnel. When this happens, you have the chance, with every new newsletter or post, to encourage them to convert rather than having to reach out through web searches and SEO to locate the individuals again.
Put simply; it helps to increase your business’s brand awareness.
Constant Source of Promotion
With SEO, you are not using clickbait. You also aren’t waiting for your ads to show up on Facebook. When you engage in SEO, you have a source of constant and ongoing promotion for your business each time a keyword you have used ranks on your site.
Now That You Know the Many Benefits of SEO – It’s Time to Invest in SEO for Your Website
Remember, people are searching for what you offer constantly. If you have not engaged in SEO, there’s a good chance they will find your competition rather than you. Because of this, now is the time to invest time, effort, and money into SEO. While it may take some time to see any significant results, the effort you put into it will pay off in the long run.
In many cases, working with a third-party service provider will help ensure that you see the SEO results you want and need for success in your industry.