SEO is becoming an increasingly popular tactic in the field of digital marketing. But what is SEO exactly, and how does it work? Let’s explore SEO at a high level and dig into some of the most popular strategies than can generate leads for your business.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of bringing traffic to your site through “organic search.” Organic search refers to the non-paid results you see in a search engine, like Google or Bing. In order to bring traffic to your website, there are a wide range of strategies and tactics you can employ.
All search engines use an algorithm to decide which websites rank number one, two, three, and so on. Optimizing your website for organic search requires an understanding of these algorithms and how to tailor a website to meet the criteria of these algorithms.
The Importance & Benefits of SEO
The primary benefit of SEO is that it offers businesses an opportunity to reach a large audience. In 2016, Google reported to Search Engine Land that they had processed over two trillion searches in that year alone, up from 1.2 trillion the year before. This comes out to several billion searches per day. By ignoring SEO, you could be missing out on a massive opportunity to generate a significant number of leads through your website.
For example, let’s say you own a real estate business and you are trying to sell condos in downtown Chicago. The keyword phrase, “Downtown Chicago Condos For Sale,” gets searched nearly 900 times each month. If you rank on the first page of a Google result for this keyword phrase, you could receive several hundred warm leads each month.
I stress the word choice, “warm leads” here, because someone typing “Downtown Chicago Condos For Sale” into Google is obviously interested in buying a condo. An organic lead has a much lower acquisition cost and shorter sales cycle than a cold lead.
How does SEO work?
As mentioned previously, SEO is all about making your website meet the criteria of the search engine algorithms. There are several different strategies you can leverage to satisfy the algorithm and beat your competitors in organic search. Generally speaking, these strategies fall into one of the following categories:
- Technical SEO
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
- Local SEO
What is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO includes all aspects of how your website functions. For example, items such as your website’s loading speed and mobile friendliness would fall in this category. Ensuring your website functions well and uses proper coding is crucial to SEO and user experience.
We typically recommend technical SEO enhancements as the first step in a campaign. No matter how much work you put into other SEO strategies, nobody wants to visit a website that crashes often and loads slowly. The Google has been known to penalize websites that don’t adhere to quality standards.
What is On-Page SEO?
On-Page SEO encompasses any enhancements you would make to your website and its content. For example, breaking up the text on your website into sub-sections such that it’s easy for users to navigate would be an on-page SEO activity.
The Importance of Content Marketing in SEO
Another aspect of on-page SEO is publishing new content to your website. Content can include anything from blogs posts, articles, and service pages to images and video.
Google is very protective of their algorithm. They have never fully revealed every single ranking factor their algorithm uses, but they have confirmed that your website’s content is among the top three most important factors to optimize for. By adding value to your website through content, you are optimizing for one of the primary factors of the Google algorithm. The importance of website content can not be overstated!
What is Off-Page SEO?
Whereas on-page SEO includes all activities related to your website and its content, off-page SEO includes all activities related to representing your brand on other websites. For example, ensuring your company is listed on directory websites like Yelp and Yellow Pages would fall into the off-page SEO category.
What is Link Building?
Link building is the process of getting other websites to link to yours. You can think of another website linking to yours as a vote. Your website’s SEO performance will increase with the number of “votes” cast for you, in addition to the quality of those “votes.” For example, a link from a website like Forbes is a much stronger “vote” than a link from a lower quality website.
Along with your website’s content, another one of the top three ranking factors confirmed by Google includes the number and quality of links coming from other websites to yours. By pursuing a link building strategy, you are optimizing for another one of the most important ranking factors of the Google algorithm.
How Social Media fits in an SEO Campaign
“Social signals” are another ranking factor the Google algorithm takes into consideration. Social signals constitute anything related to social media engagement – likes, shares, and follows would all be considered social signals.
A social media marketing campaign can work in tandem with an SEO campaign. For example, if you were to publish a blog post to your website and share it on Facebook, not only is your blog post adding content value to your website, but any social media engagement from the corresponding Facebook share further enhances your website’s SEO value.
Overview of Local SEO
Local SEO pertains to any action taken to enhance your website’s visibility for location-specific searches. For example, a marketing agency in Chicago would leverage a local SEO campaign to appear in Google whenever someone searches, “Marketing Agency in Chicago.”
Local SEO touches on aspects of on-page SEO and off-page SEO. An on-page activity for local SEO could include adding geographic-focused content based on your service area, while an off-page activity for local SEO could include building links on chamber of commerce websites in your company’s location.
SoMe Connect’s SEO Services
There are several SEO strategies which can enhance your company’s digital reach, but it isn’t as simple as optimizing for technical, on-page, off-page, and local factors. SEO is an investment, much like a 401K – only when you continue to build high-quality links and publish valuable website content over a long period of time do you fully reap the rewards of SEO.
An ongoing SEO strategy is best handled by industry experts, and SoMe Connect employs the best in the field. Contact us to discuss an SEO strategy custom-tailored to generating leads for your business.