What is SEO, and Why is it So Confusing
There are many blog posts that tackle the question, “What is SEO?” However, the experts who author the posts often forget that SEO prospects and clients aren’t involved in SEO on a daily basis and as a result, find these blog posts and articles too technical. This creates confusion and ultimately frustration for business owners and executives.
When explaining SEO, I’ve found it’s helpful to take the following high-level approach which avoids jargon and is relatable to any business owner or executive. Whether you are a business owner who wants to understand SEO well enough to decide if it’s for you, or an agency owner looking for a new way to explain what SEO is to prospects, read on.
First and foremost, Google is a business, which is guided by its mission to “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” The more people use Google, and the more frequently they use it, the more Google lives up to its stated and financial mission: to make more money. A large percentage of visits to Google.com result in people clicking on Google’s ads. In fact, for searches with a high purchase intent, meaning that people are looking seriously to buy products, the click though rate is estimated to be as high as 65%! This suggests that Google makes money from 2 out of every 3 visitors.
Google isn’t the only game in town. It competes with other search engines, including Yahoo and Bing. You may even know about Duck Duck Go, a relatively new search engine that is slowly gaining prominence and market share. However, even with competition, Google currently captures 88% of US search market share.
How does Google dominate the industry so completely? By providing the best search results. Most of us use Google because we believe we are more likely to find what we are looking for when using their search tool. In addition to having the information we are looking for, the web pages we find are more likely to be mobile optimized, an important factor as approximately 60% of all searches are performed on a mobile device.
First Page Rankings: Our Reward for Helping Google Make Money
When it comes down to it, SEO is all about helping Google do its job, which is to provide the best results to questions people ask through the Google search engine. SEO boils down to positioning your website to consistently show up in the search engine results by having the best content, the best user experience, and the most authority, which is Google’s perception of how important your site is. Talented SEO professionals formulate strategies and execute a variety of SEO tactics to help you achieve better placement for search engine results. Tactics fall into three buckets: helping you tell Google what you do, improving user experience, and improving Google’s perception of the importance of your site.
Tell Google What You Do
Each page of your website is an opportunity for you to tell Google what you do. Do this by using text, and other assets like images or video, to explain your services in a detailed manner. It stands to reason that if you don’t tell Google what you do, it will be difficult to show up in search results. A good SEO strategist will help you adjust your content and other elements of your web pages to make sure you are telling Google about all of your products and services.
Delight Your Customers
Next, you have to make sure your website provides a great user experience. It should render well on mobile devices, load quickly, and be free of major mistakes. And of course, it shouldn’t block search engines from accessing it. A good SEO consultant can help you eliminate technical issues that impact your user experience and any barriers that might be preventing Google from discovering all of your pages.
Show Google Your Site is Important
Google views links from one page, or one site, to another as digital votes of confidence. However, not all votes are created equally. Links from sites and pages Google thinks have more authority, i.e. are more important, count more. In response to the fact that it’s easy for unscrupulous SEOs to buy links from low quality sites, Google actually penalizes you for links from what is referred to as “bad neighborhoods.” Google prefers that you earn your links. You do this by writing high quality content that people choose to reference and link.
SEO firms may have different approaches when it comes to executing SEO, but they earn their monthly fee by actively investing time in helping you do a better job of telling Google about the products and services you offer, improving the technical qualify of your website, and generating links from third party sites or pages.
How do you answer the question, “What is SEO?” Please share it with us below.
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