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What is search engine optimization (SEO)? Why should it matter? Many business owners ask themselves these questions. Nowadays, brands already have a lot of things to worry including website design and social media. As such, it isn’t much of a surprise to know that many business owners aren’t aware that SEO is now a thing. If you’re one of those brand owners who aren’t familiar with SEO, then this article might come in handy to you, so make sure to stick around.
First off, what is SEO?
In simplest terms, SEO is the optimization of a website to drive unpaid traffic from Google, Bing, and other search engines. This method boosts the quality and quantity of the traffic of a website. In other words, SEO is about making changes to your website’s design and content so it can rank higher on various search engine results pages (SERPs).
But why should you bother about getting your website on the top Google result? What makes organic traffic generation better than paid ads? Search engines operate like the internet’s librarians. They attempt to match a user’s search query with the most relevant information they can find in their database. For business owners, it’s important to understand how search engines work so you can comprehend why SEO is crucial in the first place, which leads us to our next topic.
How do search engines work?
Search engines work in three stages. First, they use crawlers to go through all the available content on the web. And by content, this could be anything from web pages, audio, images, videos, and so on. Crawlers are bots that gather snapshots of all content and send them to the search engine’s servers. From there, the information is organized into a list. This vast list is what they call a search index and can also be a guide for a raw keyword search.
However, Google and Bing, in particular, have taken things up a notch. They rank all the pieces of content that are relevant to the user’s query through an algorithm that will organize the generated list from the most to least relevant. These algorithms are regularly changing, and specifically with Google, algorithms are constantly adjusted.
Search engines that can provide consistent results attract more repeat users. These loyal users will come to depend on that search engine more than others. As shown in recent data, Google and Bing account for nearly 85% of all internet searches. This data only highlights how high the number of users trusts those two search engines.
How do websites get ranked?
Based on recent market share stats, most people start their online experience using a search engine. This alone explains why it’s essential for your site to rank higher on search results–a high rank signifies high relevance, which in turn, establishes trust in your brand and website. Google considers a mix of hundreds of various ranking signals when ranking your website. The top three ranking factors that have remained strong are on-page content quality that should satisfy the search, links directing back to your website, and RankBrain that utilizes AI to interpret hard searches.
Clicks, time on the website, and page views are taken into account in measuring the levels of user engagement of websites. A user engagement indicates the satisfaction level of your site visitors when it comes to the information they find on your site. The more quality, which means the more relevant, the content your site has, the higher your web pages are more likely to be ranked by search engines. In summary, good content generates satisfied visitors.
Another way search engines determine the relevance of your site is by looking at the external sites linked to it. The quality of the backlinks is just as important, if not more, as the quantity. In fact, search engines like Google will ban websites that spam backlinks. The best way to build backlinks is to establish solid relationships with the community. Readers and other satisfied users will be motivated to link back to your site when they mention and write about your business on social media. As a result, it gives you more organic backlinks that are much valuable than a hundred spammy links that are generated by bots. Plus, quality content has higher chances of getting shared, so it’s essentially a win-win for you.
While SEO may take some significant time and investment to set up properly, especially with creating quality content and building organic backlinks, it surely is a worthwhile practice that provides a chain of benefits. Following the principles of SEO will allow your site to receive a steady stream of organic traffic and leads, all for free.