What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Let’s say you have a question or you’re looking for information on a specific topic and you decide to Google it. You’ll be provided with a very long list of links to websites where you can find related answers to that query. Have you ever wondered how the search engines know which websites to display first? Well, don’t think too hard, this is a result of Search Engine Optimization.

But wait, does it really matter if my website appears on the first page?

In short, yes it does. The more frequently a website appears and the higher it’s ranked (the earlier the site appears in the search results), the more traffic it will receive from the search engine’s visitors. To put a number behind it, research has shown that websites on the first page of a Google search result acquire almost 95%(!) of the clicks.

Search Engine Ranking Factors

Search engines use what’s called an algorithm to decide what sites to show and in which order. In Google’s case, it uses over two hundred signals to score websites for their ranking. Influencing and improving on some of these known signals is the goal of SEO. 

Also, online search engines like Google, Bing, and other alternative search engines largely depend on authority to rank websites. In evaluating the authority and popularity of a page, Google calculates using something called PageRank. Increasing the number and quality of backlinks to a website can greatly improve its PageRank.

OK, what is Search Engine Optimization again?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of influencing the online visibility and ranking of a webpage in the unpaid search results. That is, SEO is merely an activity that helps to improve a website’s search engine position for specific keywords.

By considering what search engines use to calculate the ranking of a webpage, different search keywords that are typed into a search engine, the competition for each specific keyword, and various other factors, SEO can be used to create consistently targeted content that helps to increase the visibility and ranking of a website. 

However, this is not all that SEO entails. It can also involve editing the content of a website and performing related coding to both increase the website’s relevance for a specific keyword & remove any obstacles in the way of the search engine’s indexing activities.

Different Types of Search Engine Optimization

Practicing SEO can take the form of two distinct activities known as On-Site and Off-Site SEO. On-Site SEO is carried out on the actual website being optimized to improve its organic (unpaid) visibility. Essentially, it’s the act of optimizing and promoting a website’s content to enhance its relevance, accessibility, and experience to users. Such activities include content optimization, enhancing user experience, and fixing any technical issues.

The term Off-Site SEO refers to activities that are performed outside of a website to improve its popularity. The goal here is to increase the number of quality links pointing to your website from other sites with more trust, authority, and relevance. This activity is known as link building and utilizes press releases, social media sharing, and engagement to grow these numbers.

SEO Do’s and Don’ts

There are two types of SEO practices to be aware of: white hat and black hat. White hat strategies are the kind you want to perform. The goal here is to create website content for a human audience and not strictly to perform better in the search engines. And then there’s black hat SEO. It includes unethical tactics such as loading up your content with a keyword too many times and using link networks to generate more backlinks.

Whatever the case, it’s beneficial to not direct all your effort on search engine ranking factors and instead focus on the goal of providing the best experience for your audience.

Do I need to hire an SEO company?

Absolutely not, but the time and attention required to properly optimize a website is more than most people have that run a business or perform the work needed to generate enough content for their website. You would also need to familiarize yourself with many different tools to perform tasks like keyword research and conversion tracking. Plus, the costs of some of these tools could be more than you’ll actually pay for SEO services performed by an experienced professional.

With that being said, we strongly recommend you contact a reputable SEO company to help improve your search engine rankings and start increasing your website traffic and sales!

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