SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines. SEO is a branch of the broader marketing aspect known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEM entails both organic and paid search. With paid search, you can pay to list your website on a search engine so that your website shows up when someone types in a specific keyword or phrase. Organic and paid listings both appear on the search engine, but they are displayed in different locations on the page.
So, why is it important for your business‟ website to be listed on search engines? On Google alone, there are over 694,000 searches conducted every second. Think about that. Every second that your website is not indexed on Google, you are potentially missing out on hundreds, if not thousands of opportunities for someone to visit your website, read your content, and potentially buy your product or service. Practicing SEO basics, as well as more advanced techniques after those, can drastically improve your website's ability to rank in the search engines and get found by your potential customers.
What about paid search? Yes, you can pay to have your website listed on the search engines. However, running paid search campaigns can be quite costly if you don't know what you're doing. Not to mention, about 88% of search engine users never click on paid search ads anyway.
Because the sole purpose of a search engine is to provide you with relevant and useful information, it is in everyone's best interest (for the search engine, the searcher, and you) to ensure that your website is listed in the organic search listings. In fact, it is probably best to stay away from paid search all together until you feel you have a firm grasp on SEO and what it takes to rank organically.
Outbound marketing as we know it is dead. It used to be that a majority of a local company's marketing budget went to yellow pages, newspaper, and radio advertisements. In order for you to get any business, you had to put your offers and advertisements in your prospect's face. Well, not anymore. The age of the Internet has made it so that consumers are now in control.
It has never been easier for consumers to tune out the plethora of advertisements and commercials they hear each day. Since you can no longer get their attention with outbound marketing, you have to switch your approach to inbound marketing and make sure you're easy to find when consumers are looking for you. When was the last time you used a phone book? Google is the new phone book. If your website is not indexed and optimized to show for keywords and phrases that are relevant to what you have to offer, all of that potential traffic is going to your competitors.
Just before we go deeper into this interesting subject, lets clearly see how search engines work;
How Search Engines Work
Search engines have one objective – to provide you with the most relevant results possible in relation to your search query. If the search engine is successful in providing you with information that meets your needs, then you are a happy searcher. And happy searchers are more likely to come back to the same search engine time and time again because they are getting the results they need.
In order for a search engine to be able to display results when a user types in a query, they need to have an archive of available information to choose from. Every search engine has proprietary methods for gathering and prioritizing website content. Regardless of the specific tactics or methods used, this process is called indexing. Search engines actually attempt to scan the entire online universe and index all the information so they can show it to you when you enter a search query.
We've all heard it - when it comes to SEO, content is king. Without rich content, you will find it difficult to rank for specific keywords and drive traffic to your website. Additionally, if your content does not provide value or engage users, you will be far less likely to drive leads and customers.
Here are a few ways you can expand your online presence and generate more traffic to your business website;
Homepage: Use your homepage to cover your overall value proposition and high-level messaging. If there was ever a place to optimize for more generic keywords, it is your homepage.
Product/Service Pages: If you offer products and/or services, create a unique webpage for each one of them.
Resource Center: Provide a webpage that offers links to other places on your website that cover education, advice, and tips.
Blog: Blogging is an incredible way to stay current and fresh while making it easy to generate tons of content. Blogging on a regular basis (once per week is ideal) can have a dramatic impact on SEO because every blog post is a new webpage.
By Mwebya Fred