SEO, what is all this fuss about? Is it the latest marketing obsession and is it that important for my small business? These are some of the questions the owner of a small or even large business might be asking themselves.
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” This is the art and science of getting pages to rank higher in search engines such as Google. In simple terms, it is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business in Google, Bing, and other search engines.
SEO, the art and science of getting pages to rank higher in search engines
The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to garner attention and attract prospective and existing customers to your business.
To grasp this aspect, let’s start with this fact of SEO – nearly 14 billion searches online take place every month. With the onset of the ‘global economy’, just about every business has an online presence. Just imagine if a fraction of those 14 billion searches happen to match your business. To get a significant share of those searches, your website must rank higher in the SERP, must perform well in social media marketing, and the PPC (pay per click) activities must perform very well along with other digital marketing tasks.
Google, the dominant player in online search
Google doesn’t share its overall search volume but it’s certainly massive. It is estimated at 3.5 billion searches per day and the volume of searches grows by 10% every year. Google has the largest market share at 92%, dwarfing both Bing and Yahoo! Properly managing your SEO, particularly in regard to Google, is a no-brainer to meet your customers where they’re searching and spending time; for example, between 80-90% of customers check online before finally purchasing any products.
As with other search engines, Google’s results page features paid ads at the top of the page, followed by the regular results which are commonly referred to as organic search results. Traffic that comes through SEO is often referred to as “organic search traffic” to differentiate it from traffic that comes through paid search. Paid search is often referred to as search engine marketing (SEM) or pay-per-click (PPC).
Organic search v paid for advertising
The main difference between SEO and paid advertising is that SEO involves “organic” ranking, which means you don’t pay to be in that space. SEO is the foundation of a holistic marketing ecosystem. When you understand what your website users want, you can then implement that knowledge across your campaigns (paid and organic), across your website, across your social media properties, and more.
SEO is important in that it can help you achieve many of your business goals. Users trust search engines, achieving a top spot in search engine rankings signals to searchers that your site is a credible source. This will help you build better relationships with your audience, improve the customer experience, increase your authority, drive more people to your site, give you an edge over the competition, and increase conversions, which means more sales, more loyal customers, and more growth for your business.
SEO keeps the search results fair, this reduces the ability to manipulate these results as much as possible, so that the sites appearing for each search are there because they deserve to be there. Hard work and a website that appeals to visitors correlates with high search engine rankings, so if your site meets these criteria, you’ll have a better chance at showing up in the results.
WordPress and Yoast SEO
WordPress holds a 64% market share for content management systems so it’s likely your content managed website is built on WordPress.
To rank highly in search engines, you need to beat the competition. You need a better, faster, stronger website than the people who sell or do the same kinds of things as you. Yoast SEO is the most-used WordPress SEO plugin and has helped millions of people get ahead, and stay ahead.
When you’re working with a self-hosted WordPress site, the Yoast SEO plugin is one of the most valuable tools you can have. Yoast SEO is one of the most widely popular WordPress plugins around and it’s easy to understand why. Whether you’re running a personal blog or you’re an SEO professional managing a website for a client, Yoast is a powerful tool that can help you make your site as search-engine-friendly as possible.
Yoast SEO can be installed on any self-hosted WordPress site. You do have the option to buy premium Yoast SEO extensions for some extra functionality, but its most important functions are part of the free plugin. Once installed to your WordPress site, the Yoast SEO plugin will appear on each of the pages and posts you create. Yoast SEO analyzes the page’s content and provides suggestions on how to improve it.
It also makes it easy for you to do things like control titles and meta descriptions, set your targeted keywords and track how often you’re using them, manage sitemaps, and so much more.
SEO is a complex undertaking that involves many different techniques, tactics, and best practices. These best practices are always evolving as consumer and web-user behaviours change, as new technologies emerge, and as search engines change their algorithms. Even with that, SEO is still one of the utmost importance for any business that wants to be visible online, so your efforts are well worth it.
No matter how successful your business becomes, you should never stop optimizing your website. Even the largest, most profitable companies in the world still use some level of SEO. The only thing they might change is the specific amount of time and resources they dedicate to each specific SEO tactic.
Search engines consider the freshness of your content as well as how recently other sites have linked to you. If you don’t update your content, you may not gain new links, and your site will lose relevancy over time. Your competitors will always be working to outrank you, and search engines will always be changing. SEO must become one of your key marketing processes, engrained in your marketing DNA. Unless you keep up with the optimization of your site, you won’t have much luck maintaining the success you find online.