What is SEO Really? Whether you’re a one-man-business, an up-and-coming entrepreneur, or the CEO of an immensely successful and highly-established company, it’s more important now than it ever has been to get your website on the map and keep it there. So it’s no surprise that virtually every business has been working frantically to understand the concepts behind online advertising, banners, visual branding, link exchanges, and more. Even the smallest companies are capitalizing on Facebook, YouTube, and other channels to try and up their online presence.
However, learning the bare minimum of online navigation and Internet marketing is no longer enough. As technology is becoming more and more integrated into our daily lives, if companies want to have any hope of standing out, it’s essential that they become familiar with more advanced digital marketing techniques, all with the idea of directing traffic from the general audience to your company’s website.
By far the most important tactic a company can use is called search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO is an absolutely crucial skill to learn if you hope to maintain a stable and highly regarded presence online. When you type a word, phrase, sentence, or even full paragraphs into search engines such as Google, Ask, Yahoo, or Bing, the search engine uses special programs to determine the order of links it displays. You’ve probably noticed yourself how it’s a common habit to click on the link that is highest on the list. Most people never even bother to past the first half dozen listed links, much less to view another page of results!
The whole idea of SEO is to trick those search engines to displaying your link as high up on that results page as possible. Search engines use a series of algorithms to figure out what sort of links they should display according to the terms that a user put into the engine. SEO involves capitalizing on the programs that detect relevant phrases and URL tidbits such as meta-tags, article titles and subheadings, keywords, descriptions, and other content including not just text but also visual graphics.
Now, in order for your SEO techniques to get you to the top of that list on the search engine results page, your keywords and phrases must be chosen very carefully so that the search engines can detect the relevant content. However, it’s important to make sure your integration of these keywords and SEO cues is subtle enough that visitors to your website don’t feel as though repetitive buzz words are being shoved in their faces. Aside from SEO, the most important thing you can do to guarantee the success of your website is to create consistently interesting, useful, and high-quality content.
Even though high-quality content will ensure consistent levels of traffic to your website, major search engines use a variety of programs to analyze all of the data on a given website, both published for your viewers to see and encrypted in the HTML behind the scenes in order to determine where it should rank in a search engine results listing. In fact, you might not realize all the clever ways to optimize your website. For instance, having a simple, professional domain name – especially one that ends in .edu or .gov – will almost definitely allow you to rank higher than one that ends in .com. Additionally, even the names of tabs, pages, and buttons can help search engines rate your website as highly as possible.
In fact, a neat, aesthetically pleasing website is just as important to keeping your clients happy. When the Internet first developed, its graphics were notoriously low-resolution and unrealistic. Business’ websites were stocked full of cheesy diagrams, sound effects, and more unnecessary decorations. However, these days, it is much more common to seek a professional, minimalistic design. A clean, high-quality website is easy to navigate and fully functional. A website that is simple to understand and pleasant to look at will make your viewers want to stay longer. Most online users make a decision within the first several seconds of viewing a homepage if they are going to stay or look for another website.
You might not be entirely sure how web design relates to SEO. Well, if your website is easy enough to navigate and work through, it will attract more viewers, even if it takes time to pull ahead of other websites. This will also allow your website to rank higher on search engine result pages. Keep in mind: the titles of your posts, pages, tabs, and other organizational factors can double as a method of search engine optimization in addition to helping your website stay as user-friendly as possible.
While SEO strategies are perfect for your website, you can use a similar attitude with social media accounts. Social media has made it easier than ever for individuals to keep in touch, so it’s only smart to take advantage of this new type of communication to keep in touch with your clientele! Having accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more can drastically help establish your brand and build up your reputation, allowing your audience to be more direct and open with you. If you keep SEO in mind as you manage these accounts, keeping things as relevant as possible to your brand and providing links back to your website, not only will your social media rank high on search engines but continue driving traffic back to your main website.
There are so many more advanced online marketing techniques you can look up on your own time, but SEO remains arguably the most important. There is no reason not to give it a try. It doesn’t take any additional money unless you are paying for expensive analytical programs and widgets or to train employees, but even so, helping your company stay at the top of the search engine results page is a worthy investment. Email marketing, mobile marketing, and other strategies will help you increase the amount of visits directed to your website, allowing you to develop a better relationship with your clients and consumers.