Business practices have become highly advanced during the internet age. The proliferation of the internet has offered businesses the chance to expand their operations and attract customers from all corners of the globe, and more conveniently than ever too. One of the most important marketing factors to keep in mind when taking full advantage of the new digital age is search engine optimization, or SEO. This is a critically important concept for growing your business organically online and helping people of all stripes and locations find your website. Here, we’ll dive into what SEO is and how it works over the course of the next seven questions.
#1. What is SEO?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a processes businesses use to improve their search engine rankings, on sites like Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo. These sites use search algorithms to determine how popular a site is and should be, and SEO is the process of improving your site’s popularity within these algorithms. Improving your site’s SEO efforts is important because increased SEO means increased traffic and more customers going through your website, looking at the products or services you sell. SEO is all about increasing organic traffic.
#2. What is Organic Traffic and How Does it Differ from Paid Traffic?
Organic traffic simply refers to the traffic your website receives from visitors who find the site through search engine results. They’ll type a question, a phrase, or another set of words (keywords) into Google and, hopefully, your site will appear near the top of the page. Sites at the top of the page are visited most frequently, because they usually offer the answers users are looking for. Organic traffic differs from paid traffic, which is the traffic you’re website garners through paid ads on other websites. In short, the difference between the two is that paid traffic involves those who are brought to your site through referral, whereas organic traffic involves no such referrals.
#3. What Is Website Crawling and Indexing
Once you jump down the SEO rabbit hole, you’ll often see and hear these terms, which are quite simple. Crawling is an action taken by search engines. Search engines must go thoroughly through the content of your website, a process known as crawling, and in doing so, they “index” your site. The information is indexed and crawled through at the same time. This process helps search engines determine if your site will answer users’ questions that they type into the search engine. In other words, the search engine is looking for keywords and other factors which appeal to users.
#4. What Are On-Site and Off-Site SEO factors?
These terms are self-explanatory. On-site SEO is any information which appears on your site, such as keywords and descriptions, in addition to factors like header tags, alt tags, and URLs. Off-site SEO, however, deals with any components which are not directly located on your site, such as link building, authority development, and influencer outreach. Both types of SEO are important, although on-page elements are usually improved first, before off-page elements. On-page elements are also cheaper and usually easier to augment without the use of a paid service.
#5. What are Backlinks and What Determines Their Quality?
Backlinks, also known as inbound links, are links which are created by one website and lead to another. This link is an outbound link, for example. Backlinks are incredibly important in Google’s search algorithm in determining if your website will answer questions asked by users. However, not all outlinks are created equal. Links to and from reputable websites will be more valuable than links from sketchy websites or those which are generally unhelpful and ranked low in SEO themselves. Linking to popular websites is a great way to increase the popularity of your own website, in other words. This is because popular websites are generally seen in consensus and helpful and already rank high in search engine results.
#6. Does Local SEO Work?
Local rankings are like generalized rankings, but specific to your local community, for wherever your website is located in the physical world. Local ranking tells you how popular your website is in relation to other websites and businesses in your area. To improve local SEO boost your website’s local rankings, you’ll want to add some local citations, quality online reviews in good numbers, and other considerations. All of these factors will affect where your website ranks next to other local venues within your community.
#7. Do I Really Need to Worry About SEO?
Yes! SEO is critically important in helping customers find your website, both those who aren’t directly looking for it and those who are. SEO takes some time, effort, and skill, but mastering the process will help your business rank among the best, both in the country and in your local area. When your website and company are easily found online, your customer base will grow, and you may become the go-to service for questions people are searching for. It takes practice and a concerted effort, but SEO will always help your business in one way or another, including contributing to your bottom line.
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