SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, means setting up your website and content to show up through online search results and rank competitively for relative keywords. It is a great way to increase the quality of your website by making it user-friendly, faster and easier to navigate.
While many marketing tactics rely on you reaching out to your audience, SEO gives you the power to reach people when they are actively searching out information related to your products and services.
Why does SEO matter
If you don’t optimize your website for search engines, you risk losing potential customers to your competitors because their websites appear higher in search engine results than yours.
SEO is also one of the only online marketing channels that, when set up correctly, can continue to pay dividends over time. If you provide a solid piece of content that deserves to rank for the right keywords, your traffic can snowball over time, whereas paid advertising needs continuous funding to send traffic to your site.
When someone searches for information that relates to the products and services you offer, you want to show up. And ideally, you want to show up prominently. Research shows that 60 percent of traffic from Google searches go to websites that appear in the first three search results.
What are the main stages of the SEO process?
SEO is not a static process but rather a framework with rules and processes. For simplicity though, SEO can be broken down into 3 main stages:
Technical SEO: With technical SEO, you can ensure that the search engines can crawl and index your website without any issues.
On-Page SEO: Rules to apply on your site and content to make it search engine friendly.
Off-Page SEO: Ways to promote your website or blog so that it can rank higher in search results.
The first stage in the SEO process is called technical SEO. As the name implies, technical SEO has nothing to do with the actual content of a website or with website promotion methods.
It has to do with settings you need to configure to make the job of search engine crawlers easier. Usually, once you get your technical SEO correct, you may not have to deal with it again.
On the other hand, if you have problems with crawling and indexing, it can negatively impact your rankings.
The second stage is On-Page SEO. On-Page SEO has to do primarily with the content and other elements found on a page.
Unlike technical and off-page SEO, the main focus of on-page SEO is to provide search engine crawlers enough signals so that they can understand the meaning and context of your content. Remember that search engines don’t read a page like a human so they are looking for signals to figure out what a page is all about.
It is at this stage that you will deal with website structure, SEO keywords, title optimizations, headings, internal links, image SEO, structured data markup and other techniques that can send the right signals to search engines.
If followed correctly, on-page SEO will also improve the usability and credibility of a website or blog. Note that content optimization is part of on-page SEO but sometimes this is referred to as Content SEO.
Besides the changes you can do to your website (on-page SEO) so that it ranks higher in the SERPs, the other way to improve your website’s ranking position is by using off-site SEO techniques, which is the third stage.
Off-page SEO is generally known as link building but we prefer to use the term website promotion since a proper way to promote a website involves many more methods and techniques than building links.
What is the difference between SEO and Internet marketing?
A lot of people tend to ask the question “Is SEO the same as Internet Marketing?”. The simplest answer is that SEO is one of the tools available in your Internet Marketing arsenal. One might even say that it is possibly the most significant for any kind of business.
It is not Internet Marketing as such but it can be part of your overall Internet Marketing strategy which normally includes other things like social media promotion, content strategy, etc.
SEO IS A MUST!
To sum it up, SEO is a way to optimize your website so that search engines will understand it better and give you higher rankings.
It is important since a good SEO approach can drive more traffic to your website, blog or online store and gain more customers, make sales and fulfill your business objectives.