Have you ever wondered what SEO means? Whether you have been running a business for years or are just starting out, you have probably heard about the importance of a strong online presence. SEO is designed to help businesses grow their search visibility online. The higher your business ranks, the more likely potential customers are to see your business and click on your site.
Below, you will find everything you need to know to gain a better understanding of what SEO means, how it works, and why SEO is so crucial for your business.
What does SEO Mean?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, refers to the digital marketing strategy of improving the quality and quantity of traffic directed to your website from organic search results. “Organic search” pertains to the results returned by a search engine that cannot be affected by any paid advertising. Because a website’s rank in an organic search cannot be bought, its position is 100 percent based on the website’s merit as an authoritative, relative, and trustworthy resource on the subject searched.
To put it simply, search engines do not randomly choose what website to feature at the top when they return the results of a search. Instead, that is determined using a complex algorithm. When SEO is used correctly, your site’s organic search ranking should increase.
How does SEO Work?
First, it’s important to understand that search engine results are divided into two distinct categories: organic and non-organic (or paid). SEO pertains to organic searches.
SEO starts when a user opens their favorite search engine and types in their keywords for whatever information, products, services, etc. they are looking for. Then, the search engine scours its index, looking for the best possible content to fulfill the searcher’s query. This index is created using “crawlers,” or programs that constantly browse the world wide web, looking over websites’ entire content, and storing it in a database along with internal and external links to the websites.
The search engine looks through that database for matches to your query, and using a carefully devised algorithm, ranks the billions of webpages on the internet. The top results are those that it has deemed to be the most useful and relevant.
The exact algorithm used is a carefully guarded secret, though some factors are known. They include:
- The usage of highly targeted keywords
- Page speed, including mobile speed and friendliness
- User engagement, particularly number of pageviews,
- The loading speed of the site
- The amount of unique content compared to duplicate or low-quality content
Remember that all of this is considered when determining where your webpage will rank when a search is performed. A high ranking can be crucial to your success because 95 percent of searchers never look past the first page of results. If your ranking is not high, your website will not get the traffic it needs to survive, let alone thrive.
Because SEO is constantly changing, it is imperative that you regularly reevaluate and update your SEO strategy.