If you’re wondering why SEO is important, you’ve come to the right place. SEO is a concept that is important for any business to implement that wants their website to rank highly on search engines. While the concept is not difficult to understand, what makes SEO difficult is the competition that business owners face.
Not many businesses are one of a kind. Because of this, you have multiple businesses of the same type all trying to rank in the top spots on Google. This make SEO extremely competitive, but equally important for business owners to adopt.
What is SEO?
SEO is an acronym for that stands for search engine optimization. Essentially, it is an applied concept to optimize your website so that it ranks higher on search engines, thereby increasing visitor traffic.
It is comprised of a number of different ranking factors. All which help to improve the overall rank of your website for various keywords.
Among these factors is site speed, quality content, quality backlinks as well as proper page structure.
Sometimes SEO is referred to as a set of rules for websites to follow in order to experience higher rank. As of today, there are 200 plus known ranking factors for SEO.
Why SEO is important
With the amount of competition businesses face online, SEO is as important as ever.
On any given day, there are millions of searches taking place. Every search represents a person looking for an answer to their question or a solution to their problem.
If your website does a good job of acting as a resource to what people are searching for, the likelihood that your website will experience more traffic is much greater.
Now of course, you only want to rank well for the things people are searching for related to your business. This way, you’re ranking well for things related to your products or services.
SEO is important because:
- Most people will not go past page 1 of search engine results pages (SERPS). What’s more, most people click on one of the first 5 results. So if you can be in one of the top 5 spots, you’re in great shape.
- When you focus on search engine optimization, you’re not just helping search engines, you’re improving the overall user experience for visitors to your site. This is actually a best practice for search engine optimization.
- People searching online have a higher sense of trust for websites that rank higher.
- SEO helps promote your social media channels. When your website has higher traffic, often your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages will have a higher number of visitors as well.
- SEO helps make your business be seen before your competition. When potential customers find your website before your competitors, you’re more likely to land the sale.
Intro to SEO for Beginners
Often, beginners find the concept of SEO a little confusing. And rightfully so. It’s all based on a complex algorithm. Sort of like a credit score.
In it’s simplest form, search engine optimization is improving your website so that it ranks higher on search engines. That’s really it. When most people think of search engines, they usually are thinking about Google.
So, when you search for something on Google, the results you see are actually being based on that algorithm we just mentioned. Google is essentially determining which websites to show based on how well they score on that algorithm. The results that score higher, show up higher. Likewise, the one’s that score lower, show up in lower positions.
There are 200 plus ranking factors make up this algorithm. This is how Google determines which site to show first, second and so on for any give search query. When you optimize your website based on these ranking factors, you give your website a better chance at ranking higher in search results.
What are the primary factors that make up the Search Engine Optimization process?
When you think about how search engine optimization works, it’s good to think about it as a process. This is because there are several key factors that must work together in order to really optimize your website for search engines.
You can break these factors down into 3 key components:
- On-site SEO: This is related to the content that is actually on your site. Is it valuable? Is there enough quality content? How fresh/new is the content? Are your pages internally linked well? These are the type of things you’ll want to address for on-site SEO.
- Off-site SEO: This deals primarily with the promotion of your website. Do other quality websites link to yours? Site popularity is a key component of any site ranking well.
- Technical SEO: Is your site set up with proper page structure? Is there a good use of meta tags and title tags? Ensuring that your website is architecturally sound is also important for search engines to crawl and properly index your web pages.
When marketers talk about on-site SEO, they’re referring to the stuff that is actually on your website. Your pages, posts, images, video, etc. This is also referred to as the content of your website.
The primary purpose of on-site SEO is to help search engines understand what your website is about. Are you a service company, a legal professional, etc.? Whatever your business is, that is what your website will primarily talk about.
So when search engines read your site, they should understand what your business is so they can begin to rank your website among other similar businesses or services.
For instance, if your business is a bakery, search engine crawlers will understand that this is what your business is based on the context of the content. Meaning, what your website is about.
Search engine crawlers are looking for signals on your website to help them understand this information. Signals such as keywords in your text, alt tags on your images and titles for your each of your pages, give crawlers indicators about the types of searches your site should show up for.
The best way to ensure that you’re practicing good on-site SEO is to add relevant and quality content regularly to your company’s website. This is often in the form of new pages and blog posts. This let’s Google know what your site is about and what your business is.
When done correctly and with adequate frequency, this can help your website move up in search results over time by establishing expert authority for your industry.
Just as important as on-site SEO is off-site SEO. So what exactly is off-site SEO?
Off-site SEO is all about a site’s popularity. The way that Google determines this is by how many other credible and authoritative websites are linking to your own.
A common SEO technique, this is referred to as link building. Every quality link that your website receives is like a letter of recommendation. For another blog or site to link to yours, there must be a reason for it.
Whether you have written a great piece of content or a resource for other companies, building quality backlinks is easily one of the best ways to improve your off-site SEO.
Proper promotion of your company’s website is a key method to improving it’s overall popularity.
Why is off-site SEO important?
As you know, whenever someone types something into Google, the search engine algorithm is trying to show the best and most relevant results for that search query. This is the basis of SEO and why it’s so important.
Google is not only going to show the result that is most relevant to the search. It is also going to show the result that is highly linked to.
In the eyes of search engines, backlinks are signals of trust. Meaning that if many other sites are linking to a particular site, it must be for good reason.
So because of this, Google will show those highly trusted and authoritative websites to a user’s search vs. another site that has little authority and popularity. As a result, established authority and quality backlinks often lead to higher visibility in search engine results pages.
However, it’s important to note that quality backlinks come in organic form. Meaning that they are not purchased links. Purchased links will almost certainly result in a penalty and decreased rank in search engines.
So do yourself a favor and focus on organic link building.
What can you do to get more backlinks?
The simplest (and best) way is to create great content. Naturally, if you create quality and useful content for your website, people are going to want to share it. And they will. Why? Because it’s valuable. When you create value, you create a reason for people to visit and share.
When this happens, your business grows in popularity and over time, many other quality sites will link to your own.
With improved link quality and quantity, you will begin to experience higher rank and increased traffic.
Last, but certainly not least is technical SEO. This is all about the architecture of your website and how well your site is set up for search engines to crawl it. Aspects of technical SEO include, navigability, page structure and meta data.
When your site is easy to crawl, search engines can more easily index your website. If they cannot, they may not index certain pages or index the pages lower in search results.
Another key aspect of technical SEO is speed. How quickly do your pages load? If they are fast, then that is great for not only search engine crawlers, but actual people. If people have to wait too long for a site to load, they are going to leave.
Proper use of heading tags is also important. For every page, you usually have a page title, meta description and headings. The page title is the name of your page. The meta description is a brief description of what that page is about. This is also the snippet of copy that shows on search engine results pages for that particular page. And your headings are tags in the body of the page.
When properly implemented, this helps search engines to better understand what each particular page is about and what it should rank for.
When focusing on the technical aspects of SEO, the best thing to do is ensure it’s set up correctly when your website is first built. This way it’s taken care of and you don’t have to worry about cleaning up the pieces later.
How to start learning SEO
If you’re wanting to learn more about SEO, the best thing you can do is read and practice. There are a number of credible SEO resources online that are constantly being updated with the latest best practices and advice such as:
With enough practice, you will begin to learn what works well and how to best go about improving SEO for your own business website.
Is there a difference between SEO and online marketing?
In short, sort of. SEO is one of many components of online marketing. Whereas SEO focuses on the organic rank of your business site, online marketing may include a number of different techniques such as social media marketing, email marketing and pay-per-click advertising.
With that being said, organic ranking can save businesses a good amount of money in the long run because they don’t need to advertise as much to drive traffic. The visitors just sort of come naturally. That’s one of the main benefits of search engine optimization.
Quality Content is Still King when it comes to SEO
At this point, this must sound like a broken record, but it just can’t be stressed enough. Without quality content, strong search engine optimization just isn’t possible.
Content and SEO go hand in hand. If two websites have good quality backlinks and great website structure, the one with quality content is going to win, every time. Why? Because while they both have great off-site and technical SEO, without quality content, people don’t have a reason to visit.
And if there’s one thing we know, websites that are a resource to visitors tend to keep those visitors coming back, time and time again.
If interested in learning more about content and search engine optimization, read our article on how they work together.
SEO is important for every business website
In conclusion, SEO is important for any business that wants to get traffic to their website. With increased traffic comes increased leads and sales.
But in order to get increased traffic, you must first be able to rank higher in search results.
Working with a San Antonio SEO company can help. Get started with an SEO plan today!