If you are looking to grow a platform for your internet content, something that you should probably familiarize yourself with is SEO, otherwise known as search engine optimization. You have probably heard of it before, since it has become a common buzzword used in the past few years to drive traffic (which is kind of ironic when we consider what it means).
Why is it so important, though? What even is SEO in the first place? They are questions I will seek to answer in today’s article. So, if you are wondering those things (or if you are already familiar), you might find that I am offering some useful details!
What is Search Engine Optimization?
It only seems natural to start here, so that is what I will do. When it comes to SEO, is there a basic definition? These scholarly articles are filled with tech guru jargon, which is not super helpful for many businesspeople just trying to create a popular website.
Essentially, it is a set of practices that we can utilize to improve our web pages. It could involve changing appearance, changing the actual copy, or adjusting otherwise. It is quite important for generating traffic.
How Does it Work?
A lot of this has to do with understanding search engines in the first place. If you are unfamiliar, search engines play a huge role in how we navigate our time spent on the internet. Most people have one set as their home page, be it Bing or Google or Mozilla Firefox. Just keep in mind that they all operate fairly similarly, so you do not need to get hung up on those specifics.
However, it is good to recognize how they provide search results to users who insert inquiries in their search bars. It is a somewhat complex process, despite the fact that it appears instant for us in front of the screen. It is this that we tap into when we are using SEO strategies.
The first step of this happens autonomously and almost constantly. These engine websites send out little pieces of code known as crawlers, bots, or spiders. They are gathering data and information regarding all of the different sites and content that exist on the net. You can read articles such as this one to learn more about it.
The intent of crawlers is to establish an index. This index holds all of the data that has been gathered and serves as something for the engines to draw upon any time that a user puts in a search. Then, they offer organically generated results (along with some sponsored ones, usually, but SEO focuses on the former type).
You might be wondering what sorts of factors influence the ranking of search results. Well, as I am sure you can imagine there are a lot, but I will offer some insight here. The three types are known as technical, on-page, and off-page practices.
The three highest ranked factors in terms of search engine result generation are domain-level link features, page-level link features, and keyword and content-based features. After that comes prior website traffic levels, domain-level brand metrics, domain level keyword usage, and page level metrics such as social ones.
It can all get a bit confusing, but with a bit of optimization, you can adjust the content on your website to boost your own performance in these levels. You can find out more about it on websites like Best Search Engine Optimization Company, but thankfully there are a large variety of possibilities out there. Keep an open mind!
Why This Matters
So, now you know some of the finer details of what search engine optimization is. The big concern or consideration now is likely why it is important, anyway. Surely this can happen without us changing up many things, right? Especially given that the engine websites do things like crawling and compiling their indexes remotely.
Well, it is a bit more nuanced than that in reality, I am afraid. We can not expect these programs to do our work for us, as there are likely other established pages that already have their foot in the door and thus will be recommended more readily to users over our own. So, that is why we need to emphasize within our own businesses how we will approach this issue.
Being able to capitalize on organic search results can save us a lot of money, as well. You see, pay-per-click advertising can get quite expensive. The largest alternative is simply to drive traffic through good SEO practices.
What is the difference between a pay-per-click result and an organic one on a search engine results page (often referred to as a SERP)? Well, the former will be distinguished by the word “ad” being shown next to them, or something along that line. The website owners have paid to push their content to the top.
The latter, though, have been selected from the index and ranked in order of perceived relevance to the user. The goal is to get yourself among the top of that list without having to spend money on it. That is probably the biggest reason that this is important.
It is a Skill to be Learned
While it might seem overly complex or even overwhelming at first, one thing to keep in mind is that SEO is something that we can learn. It is really not an inherent skill – everyone starts somewhere. You do not even have to have a deeply familiar with how engines work.
Rather, you can get external help too! It can be a bit too much to handle all on our own sometimes. There are many different options online, and with a bit of research, I am sure you will find one that suits you if that is the route you want to take!