The Beginner’s Guide To Understanding SEO

| By Maggie Swift
The Beginner’s Guide To Understanding SEO

Has the little birdy in the tree told you that SEO should be a priority for you? That birdy is really smart–SEO is one of the most important strategies to implement in the age of the Internet. It holds the key to discoverability on search engine results pages (SERPs) and is the answer to the confounding question, why isn’t my website showing up on Google search results?

We know you don’t have the time or desire to be a complete expert in SEO, also known as search engine optimization. However, it’s important to understand the impact of of SEO on your  internet real estate and why it’s an absolute operating necessity for your business. 

What In The H Is SEO?

According to Moz, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of your website traffic and brand visibility through non-paid search engine results. In other words, our goal is to increase your organic website traffic through the thousands of users who are using Google and other search engines to find resources for a specific problem. We do this through a constant series of optimizations and management that help the search engine’s web crawlers discover the pages on your website. Once a web crawler finds your content, they must deem you to be authoritative in the topic that a user is searching for. 

It’s important to note here that SEO is not really about having your website show up in search results, but having specific pages on your website show up. We don’t think of SEO as marketing anymore. We consider it operational because if you don’t invest in ongoing management, your website will simply fall down the SERPs black hole abyss. 

What Makes Up SEO

SEO is extremely complex with many moving parts, including regular updates to the Google algorithm that no one has any control over except Google itself. 

Moz lists the following as key areas to focus SEO efforts on :

  1. Crawl accessibility so engines can read your website
  2. Compelling content that answers the searcher’s query
  3. Keyword optimizations to attract searchers & engines
  4. Great user experience including a fast load speed and compelling UX
  5. Share-worthy content that earns links, citations, and amplification
  6. Title, URL, & description to draw high CTR in the rankings
  7. Snippet/schema markup to stand out in SERPs

Why Is SEO Important

SEO is equal parts about the search engines themselves and the people using the search engines. Search habits are changing frequently. It’s not just about the type of content people are searching for, it’s also about what words they are using. Organic search results are more credible for users, receive more clicks than advertisements and cover more “digital real estate” on SERPs. Search engines drive the majority of all website traffic. In fact, according to Moz’s State of Searcher Behavior Study, SEO has 20x the traffic potential of pay-per-click (PPC) ads on both mobile and desktop. 

Additionally, it is a gift that keeps on giving: content that has been SEO optimized can continue to multiply your traffic with the right keywords in place. 

Local Vs. Organic SEO

Definitions of Local vs. Organic SEO can vary from agency to agency. We define Local SEO as optimizations that are made to ensure your location can be found on Google Maps & in mobile searches. This includes managing and optimizing your Google My Business account, top tier directory listings, schema review & implementation and local backlinks. Many of our tactics in Local SEO are completed offsite, rather than on your website or within it’s backend. 

Organic SEO are optimizations made to ensure your website’s pages can be found in organic search results. This oftentimes includes sitemaps, schema markups, robot.txt, content creation and optimization, and backlink acquisition. The majority of these tactics are done onsite from a  technical perspective. However, content creation has become vital to increasing SEO and showing up in search results that matter. 

What SEO Can Do For Your Business

When SEO is properly managed and consistently optimized, the benefits can be extensive. Expect a huge increase in organic traffic but importantly, expect a lower bounce rate and higher engagement rates on your website. When there are billions of people using search engines to find what they are looking for, it’s important to make sure the users visiting your site are qualified for your products and services. 

With a significantly higher amount of qualified visitors finding your site, your sales process should get easier. Prospects will trust you more off the bat and your close rates should increase. If your site has e-commerce or ability for direct sales, your sales should increase. 

Measuring SEO and the Road To Results

Similar to many marketing strategies, SEO takes a long time to generate results. Expect 6 months time for Local SEO and up to 1 year for Organic SEO. As our SEO Specialist Sam says, search engines have a really tough job. They are searching through billions of websites in a matter of milliseconds to produce the right content for the searcher. 

The good news is that SEO is completely trackable, making it easy for us to see if what we are doing is working. With your primary goal in mind, here are some metrics we use to determine success in our SEO tactics:

Engagement Metrics: by looking at website engagement metrics, we can determine if the right visitor is on your pages. Engagement metrics include time spent on page, conversion rate, # of pages per visit and bounce rate. 

Search Traffic: Google Analytics allows us to dive deep into website traffic sources. You can see specific traffic sources such as organic vs. referral vs. direct. You can also view charts that display your traffic increase (or decrease) over time. Additionally, tracking the click-thru-rate (CTR) of your search results links shows how well your page title and meta descriptions have been optimized. 

Keyword Rankings: looking at your website’s ranking position on specific, targeted keywords will tell us the effectiveness of your current keyword list. Remember, user search habits change frequently and without notice, so it’s important to complete keyword research every 6 months to 1 year. 

Number of Backlinks: the number of links pointing back to your website helps the web crawlers determine authority for your web pages. However, the links must be credible and come from a website with Domain and/or Page Authority.

In Conclusion…

SEO is no longer something that you can ignore. Not prioritizing SEO in your business is causing huge missed opportunities in lead generation and sales revenue. Given the complexity of it, it’s always best to enlist the help of experts to keep you focused on high-level business development.

hello@unframeddigital.com | (315) 430-4609