Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
An introduction to the basics of SEO
Being successful in any digital marketing campaign relies on understanding SEO. A successful SEO strategy is an incredible opportunity to ensure positive results, elevating the ranking of a website until it is visible upon searching. No matter what else is done, SEO is a vital component of any marketing effort.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In a nutshell, SEO is the practice of improving the standing of a website when it is searched for on search engines. This means that the website will appear near the top of the SERP, not buried under page after page of results.
In a broader stroke, SEO also works to improve several other key areas of a website. These include landing pages, having good load times (TTFB/FMP), and other methods which will increase the traffic to the website and improve the ease of use to users of the website.
SEO is also unique in that it doesn’t require a paid advertisement campaign – which shouldn’t be confused with costless – as it often requires a team or agency to make sure the principles & techniques are utilized correctly. The hard work of ranking a company in SERPs can pay dividends for much longer than an ads campaign. Do not be deceived, ad campaigns are not to be thrown out in order to solely focus on SEO efforts, in fact these two marketing efforts work best in tandem.
How Does SEO Work?
SEO takes a bundle of best practices and applies them to a website. This in turn improves the website’s performance on search engine results. This is done through several types of techniques, each of which has a specific role to play. It also is the use of the GMB, directories, social media, and other ranking sites in order to increase the digital footprint of a business.
SEO is made up of the activities that improve the friendliness of a website in relation to the end users and search engine crawlers. These automated bots, or “spiders,” check a website for how easy it is to read, access, and the trustworthiness of that site.
SEO works by improving these metrics, of which there are some 200+. When combined, the scoring against these algorithms either raises or lowers a website’s positioning in the SERPs.
What Are the 3 Types of SEO?
While it may seem like SEO practices only take place on a website, that isn’t true. There are three types of SEO that, when taken together, form the overall best practices of an SEO campaign. These happen on the site, off the site, and behind the scenes, in the coding of the site.
On-page SEO is exactly what it sounds like. This is the act of improving the content and quality of the website. Making viewports easier to navigate, information easier to access, and keyword density, and elements more accurate to the content being presented. On-page SEO focuses on each individual page of the website, improving and optimizing it for the best possible user experience, and we do this by following best practices provided by search engines and by paying attention to what has worked and has not.
Another way of looking at it is that on-page SEO hyper-focuses on user experience. It is about improving the experience for the user, which will be noticed by the search engine crawlers which highly value positive user experience & ease of use – which is measured by things such as bounce rate, dwell time, etc.
Technical SEO focuses on what the indexing crawlers of Google and other search engines are looking for. There are over 200 rankable items that go into determining what position your website receives and technical SEO plays a huge role in determining your SERP placement.
Technical SEO is going to focus on website architecture. Improvements to rendering, indexing, and crawling are all focused on during technical SEO. Technical SEO often analyzes and improves the coding of the website from the inside out.
In recent years, a great example of technical SEO is making sure that tablets and smartphones can access the information on your site. As they have become more popular this is now standard practice, but those websites that were already optimized for such traffic saw incredible benefits thanks to their forethought. Now, Google actually ranks your site primarily from a mobile view.
Off-site SEO are practices and optimizations that are incredibly important but don’t necessarily only affect the actual website. One of the most common forms of off-site SEO is link building. This helps to prove the trustworthiness of your site.
Social media influence is also an off-site SEO strategy, building up organic traffic from various platforms to improve the score that your website receives. When it comes to factors, the more people that frequent your website, look for you in other engines, in social media, on other websites, the higher the ranking your properties assets will be in the SERPs (it’s connected).
Writing content on sites/blogs, videos in Youtube, podcasting, and other efforts not located on the main website all fall under off-site SEO. Essentially, anything that is done to improve the digital footprint of a company or brand in the SERPs, not taking place directly on the website is a form of off-site SEO.
How All 3 Can Improve Your Digital Marketing
Focusing on any one type of SEO is going to improve a website’s ranking to some extent. The goal, however, is to make sure that all three are optimized to the highest level possible. As stated before, there are hundreds of factors that are taken into consideration by the Google algorithm when ranking websites.
The only way to address all, or even a majority of those factors, is to have a combined SEO optimization strategy. This is an intensive, on-site, off-site, and technical review and optimization of every aspect of the website in question.