The Basics of Search Engine Optimization

The Basics of Search Engine Optimization

When I first started learning about search engine optimization (aka “SEO”) I was really intimidated by it. It seemed big and scary, and I thought that only really smart people could learn about it and execute it well.

I was wrong.

Over the years I’ve learned that SEO is a little bit art, a little bit science, and a whole lot of common sense.

The key is to look at SEO from the eyes of the search engines. Once you start doing that, the pieces begin falling into place, and that big scary monster isn’t that scary at all.

So What is SEO?

SEO is simply the process of getting website traffic from “free” or “organic” search results in search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo.

All major search engines provide answers to users’ inquiries and these answers (or search results) are ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to a given user’s inquiry.

The process of search engine optimization helps maximize the number of visitors to a particular website or page by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.

Let’s look at SEO from the eyes of the search engines … and in particular Google.

Here is Google’s definition of SEO:

Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results.

Notice how Google states they are small modifications?

They are small, but there are many little things you can do to help position yourself better in search. The key is making these changes together — and in a planned manner — that is structured.

It’s the structure that most website owners and bloggers miss.

Why is SEO Vital to Your Website or Blog?

If you’re like most website owners, at one time or another, you’ve asked if your website really needs SEO. It’s a fair question, but one I can quickly dismiss.

The majority of web traffic is driven by the major search engines like Google, Bing, or even the quirky, privacy-focused DuckDuckGo.

Social media, email marketing, and advertisements can push traffic to your website or blog, but the bulk of internet activity is driven by search engines.

This is most clearly demonstrated by the millennial generation, who quickly suggests that they or someone else should just “Google it.” In my family I tell my kids to “ask the Google” because I know Google generally has a much better answer than I can offer myself. I freely admit, I’m not smarter than a 5th grader on many topics!

Search engines are powerful because they provide targeted web traffic. Or in other words, search engines bring users that are seeking what you offer or sell. Targeted website or blog traffic provides exposure to the exact people you want to reach.

An Example of Targeted Traffic with SEO

If you’re a food blogger and you want to reach people who only want recipes and information about clean, organic eating, then you make sure your SEO is targeting just those people.

You use words and phrases that organic food lovers would look for and you ignore topics that would pertain to the McDonalds lovers of the world.

What you end up doing is serving the exact audience you’re aiming for — healthy eaters — and you serve them with targeted content that will help solve their problems and provide them with answers to their specific questions.

It’s that targeted approach that makes SEO work.

Some Interesting Stats on Search

Take a look at this …

  • Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day
  • Organic search drives 51% of all visitors to business-to-business and business-to-consumer websites
  • Paid-search drives an average of 10% of traffic
  • Social drives an average of 5% of traffic
  • 20% of search is now driven by mobile
  • The majority of the world’s internet users have yet to come online

Those are some seriously powerful statistics, that clearly show search is a powerhouse of marketing that is worthy of your attention and time.

Does A Beautiful Website Exist If No One Can Find It?

Have you ever read heartbreaking posts about bloggers who have spent their hard earned money and precious time producing a beautiful blog loaded with awesome content … and no one ever came?

Yep, me too. It saddens me beyond words.

But it doesn’t have to happen. You can build it and they will come! You just need to make sure smart search engine optimization is part of your process, and you’re doing your job of helping the search engines find your content and solve a user’s problem.

SEO is an amazing tool that helps you bring your story to the world around you. It helps you reach the world and connect with them.

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