You’ve probably heard a hundred times that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital digital marketing tool. But do you really know how SEO works? Even if you have a basic understanding of what it entails, you may still not have a solid grasp on this complex and multifaceted process.
SEO is made up of multiple elements, and knowing what they are and how they work is key to understanding why SEO is so important. In short, SEO is crucial because it makes your website more visible, and that means more traffic and more opportunities to convert prospects into customers. Check out the SEO tools you can use for optimal ranking.
It’s also a valuable tool for brand awareness, building relationships with prospects, and positioning yourself as an authoritative and trustworthy expert in your field. So, here's everything you need to know about SEO and why it’s vital to succeed in today’s digital world.
The Crucial Elements of SEO Marketing
Long gone are the days when keywords were the only SEO technique that mattered, but that doesn’t mean they aren't still crucial. The difference is that today, keywords must be well-researched, carefully chosen, and judiciously used in your content in order to be effective.
But what are keywords, exactly? Keywords are words and phrases that prospects use to find online content, and that brands can then use to connect with prospects who are looking for their products and services.
When undertaking the key steps of keyword research, it’s important to look for ones that have high search rates and low competition and to choose short-tail keywords (such as dog), long-tail keywords (such as terrier puppies for sale), and local keywords (such as puppies for sale in Boston) to work into your content. Along with a primary or seed keyword, you should also have secondary and tertiary keywords as they will still offer value to your business. Finally, use keywords to optimize all your titles, URLs, and other on-page SEO elements (more on that later...)
Content is a vital part of SEO because it’s the vehicle you use to reach and engage audiences. Knowing your angle and crafting content that fits is essential.
For instance, if you owned a nursery and wanted to increase your visibility, you might publish a series of blogs about gardening, choosing the right species of plants, growing tips, and more. When a person who wanted to know about gardening went looking for that information, your blog would come up, and you'd be able to build a relationship with that prospect by providing valuable information. The idea is that when the time came for that prospect to buy a plant, for instance, you’d be the first nursery that came to mind.
Today’s content must be educational, but also interesting, relevant, and shareable. Content comes in a variety of forms, including:
Web page content
Blogs (it’s easy to start your own blog to practice!)
White papers and e-books
Social media posts
Off-page SEO involves external optimization practices that happen away from your site rather than on it.
The main technique used for off-page SEO is backlink building since quality backlinks to your site from external sites tell search engines that your site is valuable and high-quality which helps to build authority.
There are many tactics to backlink building, and some of the current best practices include guest blogging, creating lots of infographics that will be highly shared, and using influencer marketing in your content.
P.S. You can read a complete guide to on-page and off-page SEO to make sure you know the difference and make the most of both. In addition, some experts are beginning to refer to off-page SEO as “reputation building”
Local SEO is becoming increasingly important as more and more people use mobile devices for search. These days, 60% of all searches are performed on a mobile device , and nearly half of those searches have local intent.
So, let’s say you own a restaurant, then local SEO would ensure that when people in your area went looking for the best restaurants in town, they’ll come across your site.
Along with using local keywords, other local SEO best practices include claiming directory listings, creating location-specific pages for your site, and creating pages for your business (also called doorway pages) on Google My Business local directories and Google Maps.
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to paid marketing efforts, and it includes things like native ads, Google AdWords, social media ads, pay-per-click (PPC), Google shopping ads, display ads, and more.
Although SEM isn't always a major component of a comprehensive SEO strategy, it does have its place as it can help you reach new and highly targeted audiences. You can also make your SEO and SEM work together.
Examples of SEM advertising activities include:
Paid and targeted campaigns
Keyword based copy that specifically relates to your business or product
Performance indicators such as click-through-rates (CTR) and cost-per-click (CPC)