This article will tell business owners everything you need to know about SEO. That includes what SEO stands for in business, how SEO works, the meaning of SEO, the different types of SEO, and some best SEO strategies and practices. If you have any more questions about SEO, or how to improve your online presence please contact us at SEO Design Chicago for your digital marketing needs.
How SEO Works
First of all, let’s talk about what SEO stands for and what it is. SEO stands for search engine optimization. Once you understand SEO, you’ll be able to utilize it for your own website and hopefully, jump straight to the top of the search engine results page.
What does SEO Mean?
SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization. Search engine optimization is the means by which websites increase both the quantity and quality of their website traffic by increasing a website’s ranking in search engines. The goal of SEO is to gain a higher search engine ranking for search queries and more organic traffic for a website.
How Does SEO Work?
To understand how SEO works, you’ll need to know how search engines rank the results on their search engines results pages (which you’ll often see referred to as SERPs.) Search engines want to choose the best possible match for what their users are searching for to display at the top of their search engine results pages. The best possible match will answer the question the searcher is looking for the answer for, and also contain high-quality content.
So how do search engines choose which results to display first? Search engines crawl (which is the technical term for how they scan) websites to see what the website is about. They also look for keywords and phrases that match what the searcher is looking for.
Search engines also scan websites to see how easy they are to read and navigate. The more user-friendly a website is, the higher ranking it will get from search engines.
An often overlooked aspect of SEO is to remember that your content needs to be relevant and valuable for your target audience. The better your content, the better your traffic will be. Search engines recognize quality content, but so do readers who will keep coming back again and again if they like what you’re doing with your website.
What is the Meaning of SEO?
Now you know a little more about SEO, but what is SEO really? Let’s use a real-life example.
If you’re going to the grocery store for some milk, and you walk in the store and there’s a display of milk products right there, are you more likely to grab a gallon of milk from the display? Or are you going to walk all the way to the back of the store where the rest of the dairy is and investigate the rest of your options? You’re probably going to grab the milk that’s your first option and head to the checkout counter.
Now imagine that your website is a gallon of milk and the grocery store is all the possible results on a search engine. In layman’s terms, utilizing SEO means making sure your milk is the milk in the display at the front of the store. In internet terms, we make sure your website pops up as high as possible on the SERP, or search engine results page.
Did you know that 75 percent of people never scroll past the first page of search engine results? That means if your website doesn’t show up on the first page, it’s like not being seen by most search engine users.
That’s why SEO is so important. Without using SEO best practices for your website, you might have the best, most well-designed website out there, but it will be very hard for anyone to find it.
What Are the Benefits of SEO?
There are several benefits to optimizing your website for search engines. Implementing SEO results in a higher ranking on search engines, increased visibility for your business or brand, and greater organic web traffic for your website.
The best part of using SEO to gain more web traffic is that it’s free! It might take some hard work to optimize your website, but if you do a good job, the traffic will come to you. The alternative means paying for ads to direct traffic to your website. Although ads may appear before organic search results on the search engine results page, many searchers skip the ads and go straight to the organic results. Those searchers are looking for you directly and constitute quality web traffic.
Types of SEO
There are several different types of SEO. Here we’ll break down four different types of SEO for you: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO and local SEO.
On-Page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages of a website. The goal of on-page SEO is to improve a website’s search engine ranking and earn organic traffic. (Organic traffic is the traffic that finds your website after entering search terms into a search engine. It’s the opposite of paid traffic, which is generated by paid ads.)
There are a number of components that search engines like Google are looking for on your website. After writing blog posts, it is important to use proper page titles, title tags and to link to other relative pages with internal links.
Some other good practices of on-page SEO include optimizing your headlines and URLs on each web page, adding HTML tags (like your header, title and meta descriptions, linking between pages and adding images. It also involves making sure each page has high quality and relevant content.
On-page SEO also means incorporating keywords that are relevant to the topic of your website. Keywords are the words or phrases that a search engine user types into the search bar of a website like Google or Bing. There are certain keywords that have higher traffic, so if you want to grab the attention of all the people searching for that particular word or term, you’ll want to use it repeatedly in your content. (But you also want to use it seamlessly and not just stuff it where it doesn’t belong! Your content needs to be easy and fun for your readers, too.)
Here are some tips from Google about how to do keyword research and create a great keyword list.
Off-Page SEO is everything you do to make your website look good for search engines and achieve a higher search engine ranking from other websites. Sounds confusing, right? One example of Off-Page SEO is other websites linking to your website. When other websites link to your content, that tells Google and other search engines that your site must be pretty good (otherwise, why would anyone bothering linking to it?)
Technical SEO is the means of improving technical aspects of your website in order to obtain a higher ranking on search engines. This includes factors including user experience, like how quickly a page loads. Optimizing your site can also decrease bounce rate. Here are some of the important ways you can distinguish your website as one that is technically optimized
- It loads quickly for users, which is important, so they don’t get frustrated and go to a competing website.
- It’s easy for search engines to crawl.
- It doesn’t have any (or many) dead links.
- It doesn’t have duplicate content (that confuses search engines!)
- It’s safe and secure for users.
- It has structured data that tells search engines what kind of information you have on your website.
- It has an XML sitemap, which is a list of all the pages of your website.
Local SEO is important for any business that has a brick-and-mortar location. Not only can Local SEO increase web traffic for a business, but also its foot traffic! It does so by making sure your business is found in local search within search engines. If your website is well optimized for local search, a customer in your area will find your store online first and then come in and hopefully make a purchase.
Some good steps for utilizing local SEO include creating a Google My Business page (it’s free!) and adding your storefront to Google Maps. You can also add business listings and business citations to your website.
Analyze Your Website’s SEO
An important step in optimizing any website for search engines is to make sure what you are doing is actually working. That’s where monitoring your website’s traffic comes in. You can use Google Analytics to monitor your own SEO. Google Analytics is a popular service and tracks and reports website traffic for you.
You also have the option of hiring a full service web design agency like SEO Design Chicago to do a free SEO analysis of your business. Our consultants can see how you’re really doing online, how you compare to your competitors, and recommend and implement fixes to attract the web traffic you desire.
Contact SEO Design Chicago today
Understanding and utilizing SEO techniques correctly can be complicated. That’s why agencies like SEO Design Chicago exist. If you’re not happy with your search engine rankings, or you’re looking to attract more organic traffic to your website, contact SEO Design Chicago today. We’re the experts in SEO and can help you implement all the strategies you just read about, without you having to do any of the hard work.