Almost nothing gets me out of my shell like a rousing discussion on SEO. Not to be confused with SEM (Paid advertising), SEO is the art and science of growing a websites’ visibility in search engine results. Years ago, I was introduced to the power of SEO, as an intern. I was asked to do some “high intel”, on-line reputation management for a self-described “VIP CEO”. Eager to impress my boss, I spent endless hours (that turned into a passion and years) of learning Search optimization techniques for driving positive information about a person or brand attention away from negative or salacious information. What a relief it was when I entered the workforce as a paid and valuable employee when my SEO focus was no longer on the reputation management of a person’s “publicly displayed bad choices” but on the brand recognition of legitimate new products launching in competitive markets. However, my entry into the riveting world of reputation management using SEO taught me so much about search engineering; including how the search engines work, the enormous value of ranking online and just how difficult it is to manipulate your visibility within search.
If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you may know that I am a huge SEO enthusiast and I believe it is the single best investment any business can make with their marketing budget. In fact, I believe, if you can afford it, you should implement SEO well in advance of many of your other marketing efforts, ultimately you should begin when you launch your website.
Most new business owners have been focused on starting a new business or building a new product. For those interested in understanding more about SEO and why I encourage and recommend it to my clients I have created this Blog.
What is SEO?
There are several components to SEO that contribute to your search visibility success or failure; from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. If carefully executed, SEO improves searchability for your potential consumers which drives increased traffic from search inquiries. You do want people who are actively looking for your products or services to find you by searching for you right? Consumers who are searching for products are much more likely to make a purchase or commitment than clients who are randomly advertised to. However, you must be careful to strategize how you drive traffic from search engines so that you drive relevant traffic.
What is Relevant Traffic?
Relevant traffic means that when a person searches for something and lands on your website, they find what they are looking for and stay on your site for a while. If a visitor comes to your website and realizes that it’s not what they want or they are confused by your site, they will bounce, meaning they will leave your site quickly. When they bounce, this adversely affects your authority. In search results, Google displays links to pages it considers “authoritative”. Authority is determined by the number of links from other web pages, as well as how frequently your visitors linger or bounce from your site. Your web pages have the potential to rank in Google so long as other web pages link to them and you don’t have a very high bounce rate.
What is the difference between Onsite and Offsite SEO?
Onsite refers to what is happening on the front of your website; your content, images, videos, the keywords you are using, visitors time on your site, relevancy, and website performance such as page load times.
Off Site SEO is a little more complicated, requiring an online share of voice, meaning your content is being shared by outside sources to their social sites which generate unique visitors back to your website. There are tools you can have your developer implement that make this far more effective once your site is live or add even after the fact. Syndication of your site content and links are also necessary. This is accomplished by providing relevant information, and media links to your site data. The catch is that Off Site SEO only works if someone else is giving you the credit. SEO expert, Gaetano Pizzi of Audiology Design states that “Effective off-site SEO requires a balanced link portfolio because sources of information and references matter to the search engines. For example, a link that contains your main keyword from a similar content themed site and a keyword used out of context from an unrelated site have very different degrees of relevance.” https://audiologydesign.com/what-is-off-site-seo/
Do I need both Onsite and Offsite SEO?
We all know that “search queries” are the words that users type into the search box of search engines to find answers or links to products or services they are looking for. This is called “organic traffic”. In a nutshell, search engines provide targeted “organic” traffic—that is to say people who are actively looking for what you offer without being prompted by an advertisement. Search Queries carry extraordinary value because they drive organic targeted traffic to a website. The majority of organic online traffic is derived from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, with Google being arguably the highest authority due to its aggressive policies and tactics for keeping the web matrix a fair market. Social media can also generate visits to your website, however, it can be argued that organic search traffic from search queries has a higher likelihood of conversions than traffic from social sites. (I promise to speak more on that and provide some statistics on another Blog. There are so many aspects to SEO I can easily go off on a tangent.) This is accomplished with both onsite and offsite tactics working in concert keeping in mind the constantly evolving and updated Google algorithm. Google routinely updates the algorithm, to improve and keep page ranks fair and legitimate within their search engines.
Why do I need SEO at all?
Simply, SEO can help direct thousands of visitors to your site. But search engines are smart. In order to have a competitive edge, you need to make your content easier to be seen by search spiders. “A spider is a program that visits Web sites and reads their pages and other information in order to create entries for a search engine index. The major search engines on the Web all have such a program, which is also known as a “crawler” or a “bot.”” (definition provided by, http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/spider) Google, Bing, and Yahoo are consistently working to improve their technology to crawl the web more deeply and return better results to users. And this is where SEO can give your website a competitive edge.
SEO makes content available to search engines and also boosts rankings so that content will appear where searchers will more readily find it. Fair warning, the Internet is extremely competitive! Companies who perform SEO will have a clear advantage in gaining organic traffic, however, SEO takes time. On average, even in the least competitive keyword ecosystems, SEO efforts take 4-6 months for a website to get ranked in the first few pages of Google, Bing or Yahoo.
Amee Gray is a Digital Marketing Strategist and owner of Ms.Gray Marketing in Los Angeles.