If you don’t have an SEO strategy you’re losing tonnes of traffic. Learn why your business needs SEO and how to hire the right expert for the job.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the best way to get your brand in front of customers
If you’ve built a great website, the next step is to bring visitors. To do that, web searchers need to be able to find your site. The best way to bring traffic to your site is through SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of tailoring a website to rank well in search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. In the early days of the internet, this could be accomplished by stuffing a page with high volume keyword search terms, regardless of whether they made sense in the context of the page.
But search engines have become incredibly sophisticated. As they have, merely working keywords into text has become ineffective. And as search engines have grown in their level of sophistication, so has the practice of SEO.
SEO done correctly will achieve two major results for your website:
Page ranking is where your page sits in the SERPs, or search engine results pages. Pages that sit higher in the search results tend to bring in more traffic. Good SEO should have your site ranking in the first page of the SERPs.
Beyond ranking, page visibility is how prominently your page appears in the SERPs. Search engines have a number of features beyond just a list of ranked pages (we’ll get into some of these features later). With well-executed SEO, you could see your site appear in several different features of search results pages.
Why do you need SEO?
You could have the most beautifully designed website in the world, but without SEO no one will find it. SEO makes your site visible and discoverable.
People find businesses through search
Search engines are how people find the businesses they interact with. A staggering 93% of all online experiences begin with the search. Marketing agency Hubspot found that 97% of internet users said they searched online to find a local business.
SEO brings more traffic to your business
SEO makes your business discoverable and brings more people to your website. But the traffic generated by SEO isn’t just digital. Consumers expect local businesses to appear in search results. In fact, 72% of consumers who perform a local search will visit a store within five miles of their location, and 70% of customers say they visit a store based on information they found online. Moreover, 88% of consumers who search for a local business on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours.
SEO brings you leads
SEO equals revenue. Nearly 39% of all global eCommerce traffic comes from search, and 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase. The leads generated by search convert at a rate 10 times higher than social media.
Consumers trust search. Research has found there’s up to a 30% lift in brand perception for brands that appear in search results.
How do search engines work?
Knowing you need SEO and knowing how to do it are two very different things. To understand SEO, it’s first important to understand how search engines work.
Crawling and indexing
Search engines find website content by crawling and indexing. Crawling is when a search engine bot analyzes the content on your page. It will scan the HTML code to determine the content, and then follow to other linked pages on your website.
Indexing is the process of adding your page to search engines. If a search engine crawler determines your site is eligible, it will add your page to its index, meaning it will be able to be found through search
The ranking is the process of adding indexed pages to search results. Pages are ranked in terms of their relevance for a particular search result. A single page can rank for a variety of different search terms.
Search engine features
Search engines also have features beyond the ranked list of search results. Appearing in any of these features will enhance your site’s visibility. Some of these features are:
Search engines will place advertisements near the top of the page of search results. These ads are for companies who have paid to appear for particular search terms. Ads aren’t placed due to their SEO value alone. They’re placed by the amount the company bid for a particular search term as well as the quality of the ad.
Featured Snippets often appear above-ranked search results, and are text taken directly from a website that is meant to provide a direct answer to the user’s question. A Featured Snippet includes a link to the site the text is taken from.
People Also Ask
The “People Also Ask” feature is a list of search terms related to the original search term. The list tends to appear near the top of the search results. It’s presented as a collapsible list, and clicking on items in the list expands the list with linked search results and generates more related search terms.
The Knowledge Graph appears in a box to the right of the search results. It will present a variety of information related to the original search term, and will often include related searches.