SEO 101: What Is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO 101 What Is Search Engine Optimization_

Do you run a small business?

Have you done any digital advertising?

Or are you just wondering what the heck your team’s SEO specialist actually does?

Good. You’re in the right place.

If you’ve had any experience with digital marketing, chances are you’ve heard the term search engine optimization (SEO).

So, what is it?

SEO is a digital marketing strategy that optimizes your web presence to deliver better search results to search engine users. The practice also helps your website and landing pages rank higher on platforms such as Google and Bing.

At Content Writer’s Workshop, we’d like to give you the core fundamentals of what SEO is, how to develop it, and what it can mean for the growth of your business.

So, let’s dive in.

What is search engine optimization?

As we mentioned above, SEO is a practice in digital marketing that involves optimizing your website content to deliver better search results to search engine users.

But let’s break that down a bit.

One of the most popular search engines on the planet is Google. It’s got a global market share of about 90%. And the reason Google does so well is that it focuses on delivering the best results to its users. They care about more than speed, they care about quality too. They want to give their users the best answers to the questions they’re asking, and the best answers typically fall on the top of the first page of a Google search engine results page (SERP).

So, here’s the next important question:

How does Google decide what’s the best answer among billions of web pages?

Well, for starters it sends out an ARMY of Google bots (otherwise known as crawlers or spiders) to check every page connected to the Internet. These crawlers then check the content on the web page and cast it against the question that’s being asked.

These Google bots are looking at everything from your web page’s layout, how many times the subject keyword is used throughout the site, how the information is arranged (use of headers, bullets, photos, videos, etc.) and how relevant the site is to the information being sought.

Those bots then organize all that data, index it (take note of it), and cache it on their servers.

Essentially, that means Google’s bots are entering what it sees into its “memory.” When you search for something, Google then recalls that “memory”—i.e. The correct search engine results.

Let’s say you typed a search query for the keyword “best Japanese apple pie recipe.”

Google is going to look at all the web pages it has ever seen on “Japanese apple pie recipes” and how other users have engaged with it:

    • Did they stay on the page for more than 30 seconds?
    • Did you click on other recipe pages?
    • Did you share the page?
    • Did you leave comments?
    • Did you use the page as a citation on your own blog?
    • Etc.

All of the above are engagement actions. And every time a user shows that it values the content in a significant way, Google takes note and raises that content higher in search so that it is easier for users to find.

The result?

The top result of any given SERP tends to dominate the total web traffic for that term, netting about 90% of the traffic to that given keyword.

On Keywords

When it comes to SEO, keywords are everything. Keywords are what you type into Google’s search engine bar—literally. It could be a single word (apple) or a long sentence (Is it safe to eat an apple that has been left out on the counter for more than a week?) which are called long-tail keywords.

It’s important to know that the slightest variation of a keyword can yield different results:

“Bike shop in Los Angeles” vs “Bike store in Los Angeles”

So, when planning your SEO strategy, optimizing for multiple keywords is essential.

Now, that we’ve given you an overview of SEO, it’s time to talk about how you can improve yours and why…

How do I get started in search engine optimization?

Optimize your current website content, then create more.

Remember, in SEO the goal is to provide the best experience for your user. You want to give them the best answer to their information quickly and succinctly, yet thoroughly. And you do that through the content you create–content designed to answer a searcher’s question.

Take a look at this blog, for example.

As the writer, I dove right into the definition of search engine optimization. I then spent the following sections of this piece detailing it clearly in relatable terms to give you, the reader, the clearest answer to your question (what is search engine optimization).

So, how do you improve the reader experience?

  • Provide quality information in a consumable way
      • Split it up, use bullets, make it bite-sized, employ images, videos, and graphs
  • Answer the question, then detail why it’s important
      • Deliver more than your reader expects
  • Give your reader everything they need to know about the query subject
    • Long or short, give your readers all the information they need

Much of the reader experience comes down to the quality and layout of the information, so split your paragraphs into no more than 4 lines. Be prescriptive in the information you give or the advice you offer. Ideally, your content should provide clear value to the user.

How does it answer their question completely?

How does it make their lives better?

What can they do RIGHT NOW with the information?

So, what are the benefits of good SEO strategy?

It will improve your search rankings

Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website content to better serve search engine users. When your business ranks on the first page of a Google SERP, 90% of all web traffic going to that term has the potential to see it. By developing your website’s SEO you give your potential customers a greater opportunity to find you online.

You will gain more credibility with Google searchers

If your customers can’t find you on the first page of a Google search when they type your business name in, what does that say about your business? A strong SEO strategy can do more than optimize your current website content, it can create an online presence where there wasn’t one before (i.e. claiming a Google My Business page)

It will increase your web traffic

Being within the top five spots on a page one Google SERP can increase your web traffic significantly. That means new business leads, referrals, and sales. Develop your SEO and give your prospects a clear channel (their question, your answer) and watch your revenue grow.

Closing Thoughts and Takeaways

Search engine optimization is a complex topic that’s always changing. And this is brought on by the fact that Google releases slight changes to its algorithm every day. To succeed in search engine optimization, content is a vital piece of the equation, as the creation of new content means more web pages. And more web pages will mean the opportunity to answer more search questions, increase your web traffic, and gain more exposure and sales.

As consumer attention shifts further and further into the digital space, building a solid SEO strategy that incorporates a strong content marketing plan is paramount to increasing your online visibility and revenue.

If you’d like to learn more on how to develop a strong SEO strategy through content marketing
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