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What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

 

SEO is a discipline focused on affecting the visibility of a website or web page within a search engine’s results.  This is done in the ‘unpaid’ results of the search engine and is often referred to as “natural” or “organic” results.

Search Engine Marketing encompasses the technical and creative elements required when improving search rankings, driving traffic, and increasing awareness in various search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to your site from across the web. Sometimes SEO can be as simple as making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand.

SEO is all about making your site better for people ― not just the search engines.  It used to be that you could figure out what the search engines were looking for and cater your site toward that.  However, the search engines have caught on to that and are constantly updating their algorithms to reflect what people are actually searching for and comparing the information on your site to other similar information found on other sites.

 

Why can’t the search engines figure out my site without SEO?
The math behind search engines causes them to be extremely smart, but they still need help. Google and the other major engines are always working to improve their technology to crawl the web more deeply in an effort to return better results to users ― providing those users with optimal experiences. However, there is a limit to how search engines can operate. Just as having the right SEO can net you thousands of visitors and increase the attention given to your site, the wrong moves can hide or bury your site further down the search results so deeply that visibility is minimal.

Not only is SEO proving content to search engines, it is also helping to boost rankings so that content will be placed where searchers will more readily find it. Over the years, the internet has become increasingly competitive and continues to do so.  Those companies who take SEO more seriously and perform SEO tasks accordingly, will have a major advantage in visitors and customers over their competition.

 

Why does my website need SEO?
Though this question was lightly touched upon in the previous section, it is important to know that so much more goes into SEO.  The majority of web traffic is driven by the major commercial search engines, Google, Bing, and Yahoo!.  Yes, social media and other types of traffic can generate visits to your website, but search engines are the primary method of navigation for most Internet users. This is true regardless of whether your site is an ecommerce site, provides informational content, services, products, or anything else.

Search engines are designed to provide targeted traffic.  That is to say, they bring users to your site that are specifically searching for the information or products that you offer.  Search engines are the roadways that make this happen. If search engines are unable to locate your site, or add your content to their databases by crawling your site, you will miss out on opportunities to drive traffic to your site.

Search queries, or the words that users type into the search box, carry tremendous value. Experience shows us that search engine traffic can make or break an organization’s success. Targeted traffic to a website can provide publicity, revenue, and exposure like no other channel of marketing. When compared to other types of marketing, the investment into SEO can have an exceptional rate of return.

 

Can I do SEO for myself?
Absolutely!  However, keep in mind that the world of SEO is complex.  Most people have the capability of understanding the very basics of SEO.   Even a small amount of knowledge can make a big difference. You can find free SEO education all over the web.  Combining this with a little practice and you could have a great start on your own SEO.

All things take time and, depending on your time commitment, your willingness to learn, and the complexity of your website(s), you may decide you need a little help. There are many SEO firms that are capable of helping you reach your goals.  It may be of note that firms practicing SEO can vary. Some have a highly specialized focus, while others take a broader and more general approach.  In any case, it’s good to have a firm in your corner that specializes in handling SEO.  For a list of some of the firms out there, please check out our SEO Directory.

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