Frequently Asked Questions: Importance of SEO in Modern Business
The importance of SEO in modern business cannot be understated. Today’s consumers are shifting the business landscape away from brick and mortar stores, and into the digital realm. More people buy goods and services online than ever before, and all signs point to continued growth. In Advertising, the businesses with a big online presence are the businesses which succeed. This article discusses SEO with an in depth look at what a good SEO strategy looks like, and answer common questions about SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a strategy whose ultimate goal is to create a website that ranks as high as possible in Google search results in as many relevant searches as possible. The importance of SEO is directly related to the amount of traffic that comes to the website or web page, as well as the actual position of a webpage in search results. An effective SEO strategy is made up of a wide array of elements; and it is these various components working in unison that help a website rank highly.
Some important aspects of an effective SEO Strategy Include:
- An Engaged Social Media Audience Across All Platforms
- Quality blog content, updated regularly
- Effective Use of HTML Meta Tags
- Continuous Research of Volume Data Regarding Relevant Search Queries
- Continuous Research of SEO guidelines, and best practices from google
- Building quality link backs
- Market Research/ Competitor Research
- Maintenance of Website Via Webmaster tools
- Analyzation of Keywords
- Use of Business Directories
- Reputation Management
- Building Quality B2B Relationships
- Effective Organic, and CPC Campaigns
- Optimization Across All Search Engines (Bing, Yahoo, AOL, Google, etc)
How does SEO Work?
To understand how SEO works, you first have to understand how Google works. There is a very long winded, complicated, and in depth explanation of how google ranks websites, but we will give you the abridged version.
Google has become the dominant search engine due to the quality of the results people get when using Google to search. Simply put, people use Google because they feel that the results they get from it are consistently the most relevant, and most trustworthy results that they will find. In this way, Google has established a reputation of authority in our society. Google takes this reputation of quality, trustworthy results seriously; and because of this, Google had to develop a way to sift through the millions and millions of websites in it’s index and find the most relative, useful, unique and trustworthy sites to display to users.
How does Google accomplish such a daunting task? Each website in its index is analyzed using an incredibly complex algorithm which judges the content of the website, in addition to several other factors to decide the quality of that site. The concept was developed at Stanford University in 1996 based on an equation used to gauge the authority of papers written by law students. The exact algorithm is closely guarded by Google, and is constantly changing. We do know a few factors Google uses to establish the legitimacy of a website.
Some things we do know about Google’s Algorithm are:
- The more high ranking websites that link to a site, the higher that site will rank
(Basically, if a bunch of sites google already considers trust worthy “vouch” for a site by linking to it, google ranks that site highly)
- Both how long people spend on a website on average, and the amount of traffic a website gets make a difference in ranking
(If a lot of people visit your site, but then immediately leave, google will rank your site lower. If many people visit, and spend time on your site, then you rank higher)
- The uniqueness of content plays a role in establishing ranking
(If your site just copies content from other sites, it will rank low. Sites which offer unique, innovative information rank higher)
- Websites with good meta data, that are easy for the google bots to crawl, rank higher
(Such as schema mark ups, rich info cards, relevant page titles, relevant meta descriptions)
- Websites which are frequently shared on social media rank higher
(The assumption is that people will share useful, factual information)
- Pages which have keywords that are relevant to the content on their site rank higher
(If your site claims to be about chicken farming, but the content is all about something else, you will be ranked lower)
- Websites with outbound links to other relevant, high ranking websites rank higher
These are just a tiny, tip-of-the-iceburg idea of how google ranks sites. This contributes to the importance of SEO in today’s market.
The Goal of good SEO is NOT to “trick” Google
As the algorithm Google uses to rank websites is constantly honed and refined, old tricks which were once used to try and “fool” Google, are now a sure-fire way to rank very low. The developers at Google are onto these misleading tactics, such as “keyword stuffing”, “link farming”, misleading meta information, hidden text on webpages, misleading links and many others. Inevitably, you cannot trick Google. To rank high, you need a person or agency that is aware of the most current “best practices” as outlined by Google, as well as the intuition to know what kinds of content your consumers will want to engage with, and will find useful.
Why Automated SEO Software Doesn’t Work
SEO Analysts and Advertising Directors share one very important trait: the ability to understand what consumers want, and the ability to, intuitively, predict what consumers will want in the future based on research. Intuition is what sets an SEO analyst apart from automated software. Yes, automated software can put in the right meta information, or auto shorten your meta descriptions, but what automated SEO software cannot do, is look at the behavior of all of the traffic to your site, and analyze that behavior to create content that will engage them. Automated software is a useful tool; however, it cannot keep up with the rapid rate Google changes its guidelines, nor can it keep up with the ever-changing needs and interests of a specific demographic/consumer base.
Why is Getting to the First Page of Google Search Results So Important?
Imagine this scenerio:
You’re home, and decide to go have dinner with friends, but you want to go some place different than the usual. What do you do? Pick up a phone book? No, you instinctively pull out your phone and use either Google or Yelp to find out about the restaurants near you. You read reviews, and look at pictures, and based on that, you pick a place to go. Google is so much a part of our daily lives, that it is hard to think back to the time when a person would wonder about something, and would often times just have to be content to wonder. Now, we have all the world’s knowledge at our fingertips constantly, and Google is what the overwhelming majority of people use to learn about the world, and more importantly, the businesses around them.
85% of People Never Go Past the First Page
Most people never go to page 2 of search results when looking for a specific query. Society has become accustom to instant gratification, and as such, the websites which are not ranking on page one of Google search results lose out on 85% of the population. The difference between ranking on the first page for a highly competitive keyword, and ranking on higher page number can be the difference between success and failure for a company. Now, more than ever, consumers are turning to their mobile devices and to the internet for everything. Companies with poorly designed websites are often viewed as sketchy, and untrustworthy. Companies with bad SEO practices, or no SEO at all may as well not exist since the chances of anyone seeing their page is slim to none.
At the end of the day, the importance of SEO in the modern market is one which is reflected in the traffic and business received by websites which use a designated SEO Analyst. There are those out there who claim that SEO is nothing but a myth, but the evidence is just too compelling to ignore. As people continue to shift away from brick and mortar establishments, and into the digital world, businesses which want any shot at being relevant will have to keep up with the times, and invest in a quality SEO strategy which is built on experience and intuition. Google never tells everyone the exact criteria by which it ranks websites, but it is clear that an effective SEO strategy is the only way for businesses which aren’t already brand names have any shot at making it to the front page. And we can see from the statistics that businesses on the first page of google is the ultimate place a company can position itself to maximize profit.