As the biggest search engine, Google sees millions of searches every minute.
Some of those searches are potential buyers.
This is a huge business opportunity if your brand is well-represented in the search results.
Search engine optimization (SEO) Definition
Search engine optimization (SEO) enhances a website’s online visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
It involves various techniques, such as improving website content, optimizing website structure, and enhancing online presence.
SEO can be done through various methods, including on-page, off-page, and technical optimization.
On-page optimization involves optimizing website content and structure, including keyword research, meta descriptions, title tags, and internal linking.
On the other hand, off-page optimization involves building high-quality backlinks to the website from other authoritative websites.
Technical optimization consists of improving website speed, mobile-friendliness, and security.
Implementing SEO strategies can help businesses increase website traffic, generate leads, and boost revenue.
By appearing on the top of the SERPs, companies can gain more visibility, credibility, and authority in their respective industries.
This involves keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, and technical SEO (more on later) to make the website attractive to both business and industry: search engines and users.
Businesses engage in SEO to get found and capture demand. This can increase website traffic, drive conversions, and increase sales.
Main Components of SEO
Creating SEO programs includes essential components, such as keyword research, content creation, website development and design, and link building.
But before getting into that detail, it’s worth briefly explaining how Google Search works.
The basics are easy to understand:
Google wants to provide relevant results to searchers.
It does this by crawling websites, indexing the pages, and providing the best results to searchers.
Planning and Keyword Research
Keyword research is finding, identifying, and prioritizing search terms to create content that ranks for those search terms.
For example, a company that creates artificial intelligence software for content creators would benefit from appearing in search queries related to “AI content.”
Keyword research is how a company identifies potential keywords and evaluates their search volume and metrics, such as keyword difficulty.
On-page SEO and Content Creation
SEO content development is creating and optimizing content that answers search queries to help it rank for target keywords.
This may mean creating new content. Or it can optimize existing content.
Sometimes, you need to optimize more minor on-page SEO elements, such as title tags, internal linking, and content structure.
To have the best chance of ranking for your target keywords, you want to provide the best content in a structure that aligns with Google’s ranking factors.
Actions taken on your website to improve site rankings and organic traffic.
For the most part, this means link building and backlink management.
Backlinks are links to your website from other websites. Google’s algorithm considers backlinks in ranking factors, so your backlink profile is essential.
Building high-quality backlinks can be done in many ways:
Guest blogging, digital PR, creating quality content to gather natural backlinks, and more.
Technical SEO is a broad category related to your website’s technical infrastructure and its relationship to SEO.
Simply put, there are factors other than content, keywords, and backlinks that lead to higher rankings and more traffic.
Like page speed, website user experience, and mobile friendliness.
Everyday technical SEO tasks include:
Submit your sitemap to Google
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
Use HTTPS instead of HTTP.
Have an SEO-friendly website architecture with streamlined navigation.
Optimize for Core Web Vitals (metrics that indicate the quality of user experience)
Improve your page speed.
Technical SEO ensures your website is crawlable and indexable, usable across devices, and properly organized.
This drives better SEO results, better website performance, and more conversions.
Local SEO involves optimizing your website and related properties to increase visibility and local traffic.
While this doesn’t apply to all businesses, it’s significant for those with a local focus or geographic location.
Local SEO includes several elements, including optimizing your Google Business Profile, adding local business schema, local keyword research, targeting, NAP (name, Address, and phone number), etc.
The importance of search engine optimization for local businesses is unique.
Your directory listings are essential to your discoverability, but monitoring them and ensuring they are accurate and effective helps attract motivated customers to your business.
The listing management tool provides detailed information about local presence, including total listings, listings needing work, average rating, and total number of reviews.
Benefits of SEO
Organic Search Is a Good Source of Website Traffic
Organic search is often one of the highest sources of traffic for companies. And sometimes, SEO traffic is the primary source.
This chart from Google Analytics shows a website heavily invested in organic search traffic:
The sheer number of search queries relevant to your business daily is likely much higher than the number of clicks you can generate through channels like social media.
And it would take a substantial investment to reach that number of clicks through paid ads.
Focusing on organic search can increase traffic over time if you increase your rankings because there’s a clear correlation between high rankings and click-through rates.
SEO Is Cost-Effective
SEO is a more cost-effective way to drive traffic compared to channels like paid social.
Paid acquisition requires extensive spending for creative, design, copywriting, landing pages, and experimentation.
Plus, the amount you have to pay to run the ads themselves.
With SEO, you must spend on your website and content production. But you don’t have to buy an ad placement.
And when you start to see results from SEO, they can continue coming in even if you stop or reduce spending.
Companies that invest in SEO tend to maintain or grow their results over time, even with reduced effort.
But paid channels require continued ad spend to remain competitive.
SEO Complements Paid Marketing Efforts
There’s a connection between PPC and SEO.
This could be because you occupy more real estate on SERPs.
Taking up less SERP space increases their chances of getting clicks on their website.
And the increased brand visibility that comes with being seen twice on the same page can also have a positive impact.
Due to mere exposure, a phenomenon in which people develop preferences for things because they are familiar with them.
SEO builds trust, reputation, and brand recognition
Appearing in search results often creates the impression that your brand is a trustworthy and reliable source of information.
The SERPs are like a highway. And the pages that rank are effectively billboards.
The more searches you appear for, the more brand awareness you’ll begin to build.
This brand awareness increases the probability of someone choosing to do business with you over lesser-known competitors.
Google also values experience and expertise. These are essential elements of E-E-A-T, a guide to evaluating the quality of research that demonstrates experience, expertise, authority, and credibility.
SEO connects you with customers throughout the buyer’s journey
You can connect with leads multiple times during their journey as their searches change over time.
Imagine a marketing director developing a marketing strategy for the coming year.
They started their account-based marketing (ABM) research by searching “What is ABM?” and “ABM Example.”
They then start comparing solutions with keywords like “best ABM platform” and “[brand] review.”
You can find these keywords relevant audiences search for by doing keyword research.
Or by seeing what keywords your competitors are targeting using Keyword Gap.
SEO is a scalable growth channel
SEO is one of the few genuinely scalable customer acquisition channels.
Think of SEO as a continuous cycle where your actions (content creation) create results (rankings, traffic, and customer acquisition).
And the revenue from these efforts can be reinvested into creating more content to generate more rankings, traffic, and customers.
This concept is called growth rings. Scalable channels generate incremental output that you can reinvest in the pipeline.
SEO is the same with one unique benefit:
Once you stop investing, profits continue to increase.
SEO best practices help your overall marketing performance
SEO best practices (such as excellent website user experience, high-quality content, and relevance to search intent) will help you improve your overall marketing performance.
If you just created a website with a great user experience and lots of helpful content, this will be beneficial even if you don’t get organic traffic from search results.
And quality content can improve conversions and drive more sales, no matter where the traffic comes from.
SEO reflects changes in consumer behavior
Optimizing for search means you’ll stay up to date with trends and changes in consumer behavior.
Because keyword research will show you up and down trends if you do it right.
SEO results are quantifiable
SEO results are easy to measure. This way, you can evaluate your performance and whether you need to make any adjustments.
You can track your organic traffic using Google Analytics or an alternative web analytics platform compared to other channels.
And you can attribute conversions to SEO and even specific pages or blog posts.
You can track keyword rankings and position changes over time with position-tracking tools.
SEO maintains your competitive advantage
Investing in SEO helps you keep your competitive edge.
Because SEO is a must if you want to keep up and possibly surpass your competitors in search results, it is often essential to outperform them as a business.
If your competitors are ranking for search terms and you need to, it’s a missed opportunity.