Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Explained
You may be wondering, “What is this SEO I’ve been hearing so much about?” or “why should I consider search engine optimization for my website?” The topics below should help clear up some of the myths and misconceptions about search marketing.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short, is the process of modifying and actively promoting your website for the purpose of gaining search engine rankings and visibility. Modifications can include improvements to your website HTML source code, adjustments to web page body copy, navigation, inbound links, internal links and more.
Basic SEO includes performing some foundational analysis and recommendations on how to better position your site on the web. How you position your site can greatly impact your overall results. Setting your expectations too high or too low can lead to a lack of keyword performance. Each SEO strategy must consider what is realistic for each site and include some short and long term performance goals.
SEO is not guaranteed. This is something you will hear from most experienced SEOs. While SEO works to achieve rankings through best practices and targeting, there are no guarantees that your site will appear in the top position for targeted keywords. The results of search engine optimization depend on how much time and budget you are willing to set in order to achieve top rankings. Often you will see more localized and 4-5 word keywords appear like “Ohio SEO company” before 2 and 3 word key phrases.
How long before I start to see results? This is one of the most common question clients have after hiring an SEO. Generally speaking, if it is a new website, branded terms will be the first keywords to appear within the first couple months. Once a site has 2-3 months to bake in search engines, longer keywords (those 4 and 5 word keywords) will begin to appear. Only after a site is established for some time, up to a year in most cases, will more broad keywords (2 and 3 word phrases) begin to appear.
More visits and more website traffic may NOT equal sales. While ranking well helps improve website visits, visits alone do not translate into leads and sales. Beware of SEOs that clout high rankings and high growth in visitors. Most high sales and lead converting keywords will not drive the most visitors. The goal of conversion focused SEO is to target the right set of keywords to bring in the right customer to your site. By targeting the right keywords and improving your website usability, you increase the likely hood that visitors will convert into sales.
Poor Website Design & Usability = Poor Performance. A user friendly site is a SEOs best friend. If your site is easy to navigate and visually appealing, your site is more likely to gain natural links, retain and convert visitors.
Search advertising is not SEO. Many people wrongly confuse paid search engine ads you see as sponsored links on the top and right of search results as SEO. Pay per click, or PPC for short, is its own sub set of search marketing involving ad copy creation, keyword targeting, bid placement and reporting. While there is some overlap between the types of keywords targeted in PPC and SEO, it’s important to make the distinction. PPC and SEO can work together to improve your placement for core keywords, taking up more real estate in search results. Often Google will only list one of your page listings on the first page of results. The only way to gain more visibility is through a paid search campaign.
SEO is not voodoo or black magic. There once was the perception that search engine optimization is some form of dark art or hocus pocus. After more high profile brands began adopting SEO strategies and seeing profits, this myth was quickly put to rest.
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