SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization and is the use of techniques and methods to help your website show up as high in search results as possible. While you might initially assume your company doesn’t need to worry about SEO, it is an important part of building a strong online presence for your brand and getting the most out of your company’s website.
If you’re investing in your digital marketing or a new website, having strong SEO is important to getting the highest possible return on that investment.
SEO can be difficult to understand because SEO experts use lots of technical jargon that requires a deeper understanding of how websites and search engines works. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to understand the basics of how SEO can have a positive impact on your company’s website. At Orsanna, one of our goals is to help you understand digital marketing and SEO in a way that makes sense so we can better serve you with our SEO services.
What Does SEO Mean for My Business?
It’s no surprise that ranking first on a search page can bring in much more business than being second or third result, much less websites that are buried pages deep in search results. A study published in Search Engine Watch from 2013 found that around 33% of all the traffic for that search term went to the first page. While that study is a few years old now, a previous study in 2010 found only a small change, with 34% of all traffic going to the first page in search results. In 2015, we expect that the number to be comparable, likely between 30-32%.
If your business could speak to a third of potential leads for your products or services, what impact could that have for you? You can do this with SEO.
It’s important to know, however, that how successful SEO will be for your business depends on a lot of factors. More competitive industries like medical businesses, jewelry, and professional services make it more difficult to rank easily and quickly. Less competitive niche markets, however, can often see big results almost overnight. Businesses we work with to improve their SEO often see big jumps in their traffic and business because of increased rankings for certain search terms and keywords.
Great SEO for your website can mean increased revenues, growth, and achieving business goals.
The One SEO Fact Businesses Need to Know
When someone searches on a search engine like Google or Bing, there’s an inner working deep inside the search engine that allows the engine to gather the results in thousandths of a second. While we could easily spend an entire day explaining how search engines work, there is only one thing you absolutely need to know to understand what SEO means.
Search engines rank websites based on how well the website will serve the person searching.
Google’s job is to help searchers find exactly what they’re looking for quickly. On top of that if Google doesn’t provide valuable answers, people will stop using their search engine and Google would lose a significant amount of business. Above all, Google wants to serve up the best websites to their users as quickly as possible. It’s all about customer retention, just as with any other kind of business. Google, to a large extent, dictates what your website needs to do for your visitors. This also impacts how your website should be constructed and a huge number of other factors that go into Google’s ranking system.
Google uses over 200 ranking factors in a set of rules, called an algorithm, to rank websites. The more of ranking factors your website can check off in Google’s laundry list of requirements, the higher your website will be able to rank in search results. If your business is in a more competitive marketplace, your website will likely need to check more of these boxes than a website in a less competitive arena for the same results.
Other search engines use a similar methodology, though each one differs. Think of all search engines as ice cream and each individual one as certain flavors—they all have the same foundations and are made in the same way but the result is different because the ingredients.
Search is also becoming more individualized—a search by one person isn’t the same as someone else searching for the same thing. When you Google yourself, you’re not necessarily seeing the same thing as someone else. Google shows results based on your location, your past browsing history, and all kinds of other information it knows about your internet use.
Is SEO an On-going Process? What Happens if My Business Stops Doing SEO?
The internet is not a static place like older forms of advertising, like yellow pages, newspapers, or billboard ads. Instead, it’s constantly changing to meet today’s demands. As the way people use the internet changes, Google and other search engines have to change the way they work.
Ranking well in search is a moving target because the internet is constantly changing.
In Google’s mission to find the best results for their users, they’re constantly at work behind the scenes to improve how quickly they can provide relevant information and websites. That means if you’re trying to game the system, you’ll get caught eventually. It also means keeping up with changes can be difficult. However, if you’re doing things above-board on your website, you likely won’t even notice algorithm changes. None of our clients have suffered because of an algorithm update because we only use white hat SEO rather than trying to skirt the rules before Google changes its rules. (Don’t know what white hate SEO means? Read about what white hat SEO is and why it’s the only kind of SEO your business wants.)
If your business stops using SEO as part of your digital marketing, you might start to see other websites and businesses overtake yours in search results. It depends on your industry and market but getting a head start before your competition to establish a strong SEO foundation will reduce your costs both on the short-term and long-term. If you wait to start doing SEO when another company has overtaken yours on search results, it can be more costly to get back to the top than to stay at the top. Getting started early with SEO is better investment for your company than waiting till it’s too late.
How Do I Get My Business Started with SEO?
Don’t know where to start with SEO? It’s best to take stock of the environment your website is competing in and how well your website is performing now. Taking a look at your website and deciding if SEO is right for you can help you start the search for the right SEO company that will get results for your business.
Start with looking at your website and digital assets:
- How well does it convey the right message to those who get there from search?
- Is it up to date for today’s web standards and ready to work on mobile devices?
- Does it have good technical SEO in the inner workings?
- Does it have a large number of links from social media and good websites to it?
- Is it regularly maintained and updated?
While you might not be able to answer all of these questions, our SEO expert team can analyze your website and digital business assets to find out how your business can improve its SEO.
After you’ve looked at your own website, look at those of your main competitors:
- How does your website compare to theirs in the way it works?
- Does their website look more polished and attractive?
- How often do they update their content, such as a blog?
- Does it work on a mobile device?
- Are they mentioned a lot in other places online or on social media?
We offer a free analysis of your 3 top competitors to help you understand what’s different about their websites and how you can improve yours.