What is SEO or Search Engine Optimization and Why is it Important?
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Search Engine Optimization is a method of optimizing websites and web pages to improve their rankings in search engines.
Search Engine Optimization helps to increase the quality and quantity of “organic traffic” or free traffic that your website receives from the search engines like Google, Bing and others.
Why is SEO Important For a Website?
Search engines are the most important source of new visitors to websites.
It is estimated that 85% of customers begin their search for products and services on the internet.
In order to get organic or free traffic from the search engines, your website must be found by users when they search online for products and services that you offer. A website will be ineffective in attracting visitors and leads if it is nowhere to be found when users search online.
Search engine optimization helps your website to rank in the top pages of search engine results pages (SERPs) when a user performs an online search with keywords relevant to your business. When the user clicks on your website listing in the search engine results pages, they will be sent directly to your website.
Since these users are already interested and searching for products or services that you offer, SEO helps to send targeted visitors to your website based on search keywords which are relevant to your business. This targeted traffic to your website increases conversions, leads and sales.
According to estimates, 3.5 billion searches are made on Google every day.
Search engine listings on Google and other search engines are highly competitive. There are millions of websites competing for rankings for every product and service. It is estimated that Google alone gets more than 70% of search traffic.
Search Engine Optimization is essential to your digital marketing strategy. Your website needs to be optimized for SEO so that it will rank in the top pages of the search engine results, and compete with millions of other web listings when customers perform an online search for your product or service. SEO helps improve your search rankings and sends targeted visitors to your website to increase traffic, conversions, leads & sales.
A website needs to be mobile-friendly and responsive, as well as SEO-optimized, to rank well in Google search rankings. Google gives mobile-friendly websites a higher search ranking in their search results. Google has recently rolled out a new Mobile-First Search Index that makes having a mobile-friendly website essential for a business.
Anatomy of a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
The Google search bot software called “Googlebot” crawls websites and adds them to the Google search engine directory or “search index”. When a user performs a search for a specific item, Google presents a list of search results from its search index. Google uses more than 200 software algorithms to rank these results and presents them to the user on a search engine results page (SERP).
The figure below shows an example of page 1 of a search engine results page (SERP) for a Google search for “Dallas endodontists”.
This search was very competitive, Google found 160,000 listings for this search. The listings were ranked by Google and presented on the search results.
The listings on top of the page are the Paid Google ads. These are the paid search ads or Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing ads. To qualify for these ads, you need to run a Google Ads PPC campaign.
The Google Ads are followed by the local business listings, also called the local pack. These businesses are selected and ranked by Google based on trust, proximity and relevance to the users search.
At the bottom of the page are the organic or free SEO listings for this search. These were the listings that got top SEO rankings from Google among the 160,000 results that Google found in their search index for this search.
How does SEO Work?
Search engine optimization requires a combination of technical and creative methods to optimize a website for the search engines and improve search rankings.
On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO are different methods of search engine optimization.
1. On-Page SEO optimization refers to the optimization of individual web pages on your website with relevant keywords so that they rank highly on the search engine results and attract organic or free traffic.
On-Page SEO optimization includes research and optimization of the following items on your website:
- Extensive keyword research
- Optimization of website URLs
- Optimization of meta tags including title tags, meta description tags, meta keyword tags
- Optimization of content
- Optimization of headings
- Optimization of image alt tags
- mobile-friendly, responsive website
- fast page speed
- schema markup
On-Page SEO will be complemented by technical SEO optimization that address the technical factors of the website such as mobile-friendliness, responsive design, page speed, website structure and sitemaps.
2. Off-Page SEO optimization refers to methods used outside your website to help your website rank well on the search engine results.
Off-Page SEO techniques include:
- online directory listings
- video marketing
- social media
- influencer marketing
All of these off-page SEO methods help your website to be perceived as a high-quality and trustworthy site by the search engines.
Off-page SEO complements On-page SEO. Both methods of search engine optimization work together to improve your website rankings on the search engine results and send organic and high-quality traffic to your website.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is very important for a local business. It helps to boost your local search rankings and help you reach local customers. This helps your local business rank well in search rankings for local searches.
A Local SEO strategy will include on-page SEO optimization, local content, Google My Business listings, directory listings, local links and more. Local SEO helps your business rank high in the organic search results and the “Google Local Pack” when local customers search online with keywords relevant to your business.
To learn more about Local SEO, read our article on 10 Local SEO Tips to Boost Local Search Rankings.
What are the Benefits of SEO?
Your business website must be optimized with search engine optimization to rank well in competitive search engine results for your important keywords.
Here are some of the benefits of SEO.
- Search Engine Optimization improves your search rankings on Google and other search engines
There are millions of websites competing for the top pages of Google or Bing for every product or service. SEO helps to improve your website rankings in the search results so that your website is listed in the top pages of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Search Engine Optimization helps your website to be found when customers search online
There is intense competition for search rankings for every keyword. Your website needs to be SEO-optimized to come up in the top pages of Google search results for your keywords. Without SEO, your website may never be found when customers search online for products or services that you sell.
- Search Engine Optimization sends targeted visitors to your website & helps to increase leads & sales
SEO helps attract visitors to your website at the exact time that they are searching online for products and services that you offer. Since these visitors are already interested in your products or services, they are more likely to convert to leads or customers.When your website is optimized for SEO, targeted traffic is directed to your website based on search keywords which are relevant to your business.
- SEO rankings take time & effort but provide long-term results
Once your website is optimized for search engine optimization, it will not rank overnight. It will take a few months to start ranking on the top pages of Google. Most websites begin to rank in about 6 months, it can take longer for highly competitive keywords.SEO is not a one-time effort because Google search algorithms are continually changing. Competition for top rankings is also constantly increasing. Search Engine Optimization is a continual effort to maintain top search rankings but provides long-term results.
- Local Search Engine Optimization helps to attract local customers4 out of 5 people search for local information on search engines according to Google.
Local Search marketing or Local SEO is very important for local businesses. When customers search for a product or service in their local area, Local SEO helps your website to rank well on Google search results.
- SEO improves Return on Investment (ROI)
Search Engine Optimization is a cost-effective method of inbound marketing with significant gains. It is affordable marketing on the search engines. Once your website begins to rank in the top pages of the search engine results, you will get organic or free traffic from the search engines which is highly targeted. Search engine optimization is a much less expensive method to acquire customers than print, radio or TV advertising.
For more information on the benefits of Search Engine Optimization, read our article on 11 Reasons Why You Need SEO or Search Engine Optimization
When should my website be optimized for SEO?
For new websites, the ideal time for Search Engine Optimization is during web design and development. This ensures that technical SEO factors and On-Page SEO optimization factors are correctly implemented when the website is built.
SEO rankings do not happen overnight, they can take up to 6 months on Google. If SEO optimization is completed during web development, your website will be SEO-optimized and ready to be considered by the search engines for SEO rankings when it goes live. There will be no delays.
If you have an existing website, your website can be optimized for SEO at any time. After the website is optimized for SEO, it can take up to 6 months for it to begin ranking on Google and other search engines.
Search engine optimization of a business website is essential to improve your search rankings, and attract high quality organic traffic from the search engines.
On-page SEO and Off-page SEO are both methods of search engine optimization that help your website to rank in the top pages of search engine results. They are complemented by Technical SEO methods to improve your website. Local SEO will be required to attract local customers if you are a local business.
We hope you found this article informative. If you need help with SEO optimization for your website, please contact us at https://goldmangodesign.com
Article First Published: February 11, 2016, Updated: March 19, 2019
This article was selected as one of the “Top 25 Digital Marketing Articles” on the UpCity Blog for the week of 3/29/19. We are so honored!
Top 25 Digital Marketing Articles- Week of 3/29/19| UpCity
For additional information on Search Engine Optimization, here are some related articles.
- Gold Mango Design, Plano, 11 Reasons Why You Need SEO or Search Engine Optimization
- Gold Mango Design, Prepare for Google’s Mobile-First Indexing Change: Website and SEO Impacts
- Gold Mango Design, 10 Local SEO Tips to Boost Local Search Rankings
- Gold Mango Design 11 Ways Blogging Improves the SEO Rankings of a Website
- Moz, What is SEO
- Entrepreneur, 15 Ways to Get a Top Google Ranking for your Small Business
- SEO vs PPC: How to Reach Customers with a Blended Search Marketing Strategy
Gold Mango Design LLC. helps small and medium businesses build a strong online brand with professional website development and digital marketing services. Our digital marketing services include Responsive and Mobile-Friendly Web Design, WordPress Website Development, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google Ads Marketing. We are located in Plano, TX right outside Dallas. Contact us at https://goldmangodesign.com