Traffic is the pre-requisite for any successful business. Just like how a typical brick and mortar shop needs people walking around to see their shop, an online business needs eyeballs as well.
The problem is that for many new entrepreneurs, they lack the financial budget nor knowhow to generate tons of traffic for their businesses through Paid Advertisement.
And then in the early internet marketing years, a group of people came up with the term “Search Engine Optimization (SEO)” and this has been the forefront for free traffic generation till today.
Remember, SEO deals with improving the ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ results that a search engine generates for one’s website. Organic here means that the results are not optimized through paying the search engine as is done in ad-based optimization to get paid or sponsored results, which involves different set of strategies or tactics, as well as payment. That is another search engine marketing methodology altogether.
Let’s dive deeper into this amazing Phenomenon.
What is Search Engine Optimization
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Marketing is a method of generating traffic for your online business without any cost. This method has been used ever since from marketers around the world to create online traffic streams till today.
Search Engine Optimization, known with the acronym SEO, is the process of generating traffic and exposure to a website via search engines to get the website ranked highly in the resulting search results pages. It helps to build an online presence that is bigger and better than just slapping a static website up on the Internet and hoping that some people drop by the site. It is a strategy whereby how you create the site, what you do to promote it, and how you analyze the results of those actions that help the website owner to develop bigger and better online exposure.
Why is it Important?
One of the good things about SEO marketing as it has the ability of creating passive traffic. Which means, you’ll be getting traffic without having to actively be there.
This seems like the ultimate choice especially for marketers who are on a shoestring budget. The essence of SEO marketing is that traffic generation relies on the optimization of web content to draw free traffic through search engines such as the big “G” (Google).
Google is the biggest search engine in the world with millions of searches going on daily. By tapping into SEO, you will be swimming in loads of traffic.
SEO is essentially the art of getting your page on the first page of Google for search terms relevant to your online niche business. Let’s say you are in the dog training niche… Hence, when people search for terms like “dog training tips” or “dog training guide”, you want your web page to appear on the first page of the search results.
History of Search Engine Optimization
Google is the main search engine that started it all. It was through their AdWords campaigns that Internet marketers became savvier about using the power of the advertising model to help shoot certain pages to the top of the search results pages. They noticed that the same keywords that online businesses were buying because their research showed many people were searching for them could be used to attract those same people to other sites. Soon, it became a standard SEO strategy to include keywords in content that was used to get pages ranked highly in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
Understanding Search Engines
Although search engines are basically just navigators of the internet, it would be impossible to imagine the internet without them. Due to the sheer size and depth of the World Wide Web, this very wealth of information becomes meaningless or unusable without search engines. Search engines basically perform three tasks:
1) They search the World Wide Web using specific words or phrases.
2) They index the results they find and their locations.
3) They provide a user access to this index and the ability to search it using combinations of words or phrases of their choosing.
Today search engines perform up to ten million queries every given day and are constantly in a process of evolving and reinventing their services to balance the needs of websites, users, and advertisers.
How Search Engines Work
It all starts with something called crawlers (also called Spiders). Spiders are robots composed of software or coding. Just like real spiders, internet spiders do something called web-crawling or just crawling; to make huge lists of what is found where on the internet. Crawling is the act of browsing, indexing and copying done by spiders. They start with a heavily used server or popular website (a busy part of the web) and crawl their way outwards to every link found on that website or server, behaving pretty much like real spiders in the way they spread.
Spiders perform indexing of everything they ‘read’, using, among other things, something called metatags which are the descriptions of the keywords or phrases under which the website owner would like his or her website to be indexed. They help the spiders understand what the page is about and where it belongs in an index. Webmasters might use words or descriptions in the metatags which are inaccurate or reference popular topics and keywords which their site 20 might not deal with. To protect against this, spiders are designed to correlate the metatags with the content found on the website and come up with their own understanding of where the page belongs on an index.
Search Engine Optimization Techniques
Since then, a variety of services have popped up to help the online business owner compete against others for maximum website exposure. Some of these techniques deal with how the search engine classifies a page topic and what types of elements in a Web page create or obstruct high page ranking.
It wouldn’t be fair to neglect mentioning that some SEO tricks are called “black hat” because they tend to exploit weaknesses in the search engine model and can lead to a site using “black hat” techniques to be sandboxed (dropped to the bottom of the SERPs). Marketers trying to game the system may get away with it for a while, but Google has been known to severely punish those that are caught, making it unwise to implement black hat techniques.
Another technique, known as “white hat” or organic strategies don’t carry the risk of being sandboxed. They use the guidelines that carry a sense of integrity and authenticity while gaining wide exposure through providing value and understanding SEO. These are the techniques that we are going to discuss in this report. To caution further, always avoid techniques like – 3 – keyword stuffing, spamming people by sending unsolicited emails, and generating false websites with commercial links only and no content (link farms). These activities are considered black hat techniques and will ruin your Marketing Efforts in the Long run.
Search Engine Optimization Methods
There are three types of optimization Methods: On-Page Optimization, On-Site Optimization and Off-Site Optimization.
On-Page optimization deals with the things you can tweak and modify on your individual website pages to make it more relevant to Google searches. This involves Improving on your Page Speed, Content Formatting and Arrangement.
The first thing you must know is keywords. In short, every page should have about 2-5% keywords density. So, distribute your keywords across your Content where it’s due but don’t overdo it.
For total optimization, keywords or key phrases should be present in the titles of blog posts, the first sentence of the first paragraph and also at least once in the body.
Keywords should also be bolded or italicized every now and then. Links should be worded with anchor text links (keywords and phrases).
Also, onsite linkages is highly recommended. Meaning, you should link blog posts and pages together if they are relevant. These small steps contribute to SEO and should be applied when convenient.
This deals mainly with your Website’s Design, Layout, Content Management Software and how easy it is for users to Navigate through your Site.
Your Website’s Design should be Mobile-friendly and provide a Smooth User Interface. Your website should also be easily Navigable, Users should be able to Locate Relevant Contents on your Website easily.
Off-Site optimization deals with interactions with websites outside of your own. This could be in the form of getting backlinks, social interactions, etc.
A backlink is basically someone else’s website linking to you. Obviously, pages with higher page rank that link back to you give more Google Juice. The key is to get as many high page rank, RELEVANT websites linking back to you.
So, it would be a good idea to scout around your competitors websites and request a link exchange.
Another important component is social interactions. Like I said, Google’s algorithm changes from time to time, and recently they implemented a new ruling that social interactions are important for SEO. This could be things like sharing on Facebook, Twitter, comments etc.
Importance of Content as an SEO Technique
The base of white hat SEO is in content creation. No website can hope to even minimally prosper without content that is of value, relevance and some form of uniqueness. All these elements need to come together in a body of content that can easily be scanned, since visitors are going to come towards detailed reading and viewing after an initial scan. White hat SEOs rely heavily on what is called link bait, the technique where content is created with the objective of being shared on a massive scale with the expectation of earning backlinks.
The modern SEO revolves around the users, thus content has a major role in SEO. Creating outstanding content will help you attract the users, which will also be a signal to search engines that your site provides value, thus improving ranking of your website.
The last category to be mentioned in this section is that of grey hat SEO, which exists on a kind of boundary between black hat and white hat SEO. These are SEO techniques which carry a risk of being disapproved and penalized by search engines but are technically not against the guidelines and parameters set by search engines. A common example of grey hat SEO is the creation of microsites which are owned by the same webmaster, and then linked back to the parent site which is the intended beneficiary of the optimization.
Search Engine Optimization as a Marketing Strategy
Search Engine Marketing, is defined as a series of actions that are aimed at increasing visibility of a website in the search engines through both paid and free processes. The main goal of these processes is to increase the visibility of a website and gain traffic, in order to increase sales and conversions. Search engine marketing should be an inseparable segment of the marketing department in a company, as it can significantly promote a company, as well as collect relevant data about the customers, which helps with market analysis.
As such, search engine marketing requires a comprehensive strategy which will include the goals, as well as planned actions that should be conducted in the purpose of achieving those goals. The actions in the process of realization of the strategy will differ, depending on the type of search marketing that is used.
Search engine optimization is a way to enhance your relationship with search engines, to be seen as much as possible. Using our previous metaphor, it means to make as much sound as possible. Investing in SEO is quickly becoming an integral part of the marketing strategy of businesses, groups and individuals alongside other methods, which take up the bulk of the marketing budget, such as advertisements, endorsements, social media marketing etc. The reason for this is very simple – experience. Investment in SEO pays off and businesses/organizations witness significant results popularity and revenue after making SEO a part of their marketing strategy.
The importance of search engine optimization is primarily the fact that it improves the visibility of your website. In modern business, visibility is everything if you want to go ahead. People have to be able to find you and this is not an easy task, having in mind the number of competitors, i.e., those who want to be positioned for the same keywords.
When you understand the importance of visibility, you will be able to understand how this reflects to your business. Starting from the number of visits to your website, which is the first to improve on, once you increase visibility, you will see how other aspects of business are affected, such as sales, reputations, etc.