What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization or simply SEO is the process of optimizing websites to obtain higher rankings in search engines with specific keywords and phrases, and getting “free” organic traffic.
The largest search engines being: Google, Bing, Yahoo. Discover more alternative search engines.
To be found in Google today and in the future is a critical element of building a successful business online. Every company should be utilizing it the best it can, in its marketing strategy.
Search engine optimization is one of the best methods in gaining organic traffic to your website, business, and content in search engines.
The effects of search engines can be felt in every business online and offline, and its effects are still growing.
Search engine optimization can be divided into three groups, technical SEO, content optimization, and keyword research. Every group is essential for a good SEO strategy.
Technical SEO is the practice of optimizing websites. For example, to have better user experience, faster loading speeds, and its security.
In content optimization, the goal is to create content that serves readers and their search queries.
The goal of keyword analysis and research is to create a strategy, where the most profitable keywords are found and are implemented through content creation and technical SEO to the website itself.
The very definition of search engine optimization is to be as relevant as possible to the search queries we are targeting.
It’s highly essential to serve your customers by providing the right content that equals their searches. The search engines reward websites with higher rankings when customers are kept longer and engaged on the site.
Search Engine Optimization Benefits to businesses and websites
Be found at the right time
The goal in search engine optimization is to make companies’ products and services easily foundable on the web for the customers. Most customers are searching on Google first before their final decisions on a purchase.
A key is to provide customers with the information they are seeking, whether its better user experiences or customer reviews.
With correct keywords, you can be at your customer’s side when they are searching for the services you are providing.
A high Google ranking builds trust with customers. It tells the customers that your website has been used and searched by others, and overall trust in Google searches is high.
To be found with the accurate keywords that match your business is an essential part of a long-term marketing strategy.
Optimal rankings and results could take months, generally at least 6 to 12 months. Its harder to drop from high rankings if everything was done correctly, and the strategy, and content are always relevant.
Profitable keywords and high rankings are usually not obtained by accident. Good rankings take time, the correct strategy and its execution.
Search engine optimization provides insight into what your competitors are doing online and how to benefit from the data.
By creating an SEO-based competitor analysis, companies will find opportunities on how to grow beyond the competition. Look into industry leaders who are ranking the highest.
Search engines list millions upon millions of websites, therefore its crucial to stand out from the masses. Optimizing your business online helps you succeed against the competition.
Companies who utilize and actively reacts quickly to changes in a keyword and SERP (Search Engine Result Page) are more likely to stay on top of the results.
It all leads to gaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Even smaller companies can find niches and allows them to compete effectively.
24/7 "Free" Marketing
Search engines work around the clock providing the most useful results for their users. Being found on the first page on a search engine is a marketing tool that never rests long after it was produced. Other marketing strategies might have a shelf life due to budgeting or time constraints.
Customers can always find the company from the searches, whether it’s actively optimized or not.
Online access due to search engines increases marketing attribution for a company, as touch-points increases, it will lead to increased sales. It will also improve brand awareness online.
To be found at the right makes search engine optimization a strong and long-lasting marketing strategy for any company that conducts business online.
Search Engine Optimization Analytics and Results
Measuring results from SEO is efficient, and it offers a constant opportunity to provide insight into the betterment of results.
Proper use of web analytics, installation of its tools, and management is a necessity, to have a successful strategy for SEO.
Web analytics provides critical data and KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) to track the results of search engine optimization.
Keywords or search queries are the words users insert into search engines to find relevant topics, and the search engine provides them with query results that match the keywords the best.
Choosing and discovering the right keywords at times can be difficult, but through analyzing past results, better keywords to target can be found.
Use tools like the keywordtool.io and keyword planner in Google Ads to discover new keywords to be used.
Long-tail keywords are more than three words and usually have less competition than their shorter counterparts. Long-tail keywords provide a more detailed intent of a user. In SEO, it’s vital to have long-tail keywords in your strategy.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is one of the most powerful tools to track your results and growth of organic traffic and the keywords that produce it.
Google Search Console enables websites to find:
- New keyword opportunities
- New long-tail keywords opportunities
- Betterment of click-through-rates
- Optimizing titles will get higher CTR
- Tracking the amounts of clicks for each keyword
- Tracking average positions of keywords and your pages in search results (SERP)
- Tracking current reach with impressions
- Tracking the results of image and video search
- Tracking performance by country, or device
- Additional enhancement tools:
- Mobile usability
- Sitelink Search Box
Google Analytics: Organic Traffic Reports
Google analytics organic traffic reports offer a way to see in real-time how the users from organic traffic are behaving and converting.
For example, track the following:
- Organic landing pages and their conversion rates
- Bounce rates
- Search engine sources
- Mobile vs. desktop users
- New vs. Returning organic users
- Session duration and pages per session
Through the use of web analytics companies will find new avenues to expand on, that wouldn’t be obvious at first. Especially, with search console, you could discover new products or even product categories that users are already searching to find your website.
How much does being first in SERP matter in the end?
In short, a lot, but that isn’t’ the whole story.
Learn more from a case study of being first in SERP affected this online store when we used the right ecommerce SEO methods.
Keywords themselves will need to have a certain amount of monthly searches to be viable for a strong strategy. Being first in keywords that don’t produce value or even traffic should not be included a keyword plan. Always optimize with goals in mind.
It’s critical to measure, from time to time own keywords, and their positions. Look out for how much they are producing organic traffic, or more importantly, conversions.
Search engine optimization is more than just being first in SERPs. The whole picture must be taken into consideration. How much clicks, impressions, and conversions every keyword, in the end, produces.
Every keyword plan or strategy requires updating if goals and results are not met. With SEO analytics, try to discover keywords for the future that has the potential to bring in more results.
When finding and testing new keyword ideas, it’s important to keep the keywords as relevant as possible to the search query in question.
All the above are the best benefits of web analytics to search engine optimization.
Disabling barriers, organizing, and optimizing content and the utilization of new technologies provide growth.
Organic Traffic and Search
Organic traffic means traffic from a search engine. Search engines are not paid for delivering organic traffic. Referral or social traffic isn’t considered organic traffic.
The point of search engine optimization is to grow organic traffic to websites, which websites can turn into sales and other conversions.
It is considered that organic traffic brings the best quality of leads online when compared to paid traffic. Read more through Hubspot State of Inbound Report 2018.
In most cases, organic traffic is more user-friendly and less annoying for customers than paid search. Search engines always try to match the search queries with the best possible options for the users.
Meaning investing in high-quality customer-first content will bring more results.
Learn more about content marketing.
Organic search, as of now, still brings most of the clicks from a search engine. Paid search placements are increasing and becoming more helpful every day, though.
Organic traffic can be tracked with web analytics, as mentioned earlier, and give a better figure of new and current customers and users.
Search Engine Optimization improves websites by default
A well-optimized website has, by default, a better user experience that makes users enjoy the site for longer, thus increasing rankings.
Optimization helps companies to improve their online sales process by producing content that matches users’ intentions.
Ideas to increase user experience and optimization:
- Faster website loading speeds
- Content quality (Read more on how long-form content has worked better for rankings.)
- Unique and targeted content
- Improved safety (at least https, for example)
- Inbound Links and Backlinks
- Highly functioning mobile version
- Improving click-through-rates across the website
- High-quality materials like videos and images
- Expanding content on a website
- Deleting unuseful pages and dead links and pages
Search Engine Optimization Cost
While organic traffic generated from search engines by itself is free, the process of SEO is not. The cost of search engine optimization is based on the work itself, whether done internally by employees or outsourced from an SEO agency.
High-quality organic traffic and high rankings in SERP, when done well, will decrease overall online advertisement budgets in the long-term. The benefits of SEO for a marketing strategy is, therefore, essential.
Search engine optimization usually has a high return on investment and, when using proper metrics for results, the cost for work can be calculated easily.
Take the following examples into consideration when calculating the ROI of SEO:
- Improved brand awareness
- Increased revenue
- Customer acquisition costs
- Leads from organic traffic
- Improved user-experiences
- Increased pageviews
- Cost of SEO service
- Cost of work of an employee
- Comparing cost-per-clicks of paid and organic search traffic
- Giving value for organic clicks with past advertisement campaigns from Google Ads or by their estimates for click prices.
Most likely, every dollar spent on SEO will provide more returns when comparing to other marketing channels.
Search engine optimization is a continuing and constantly changing process that is defined by competition, keyword choices, and updates to the search engines.
SEO is something that should be included in every online marketing strategy early on to gain the best benefits of it.
For SME companies, SEO provides the most cost-effective growth technique. While large companies can and will use their massive advertisement budgets to produce large and costly campaigns, SME companies can still thrive with SEO in their niches.
For example, small companies and websites using platforms like WordPress can utilize plugins (Yoast, and many others) to guide you in SEO.
Outsourcing SEO becomes viable, when you don’t have enough time, the results aren’t good enough, or guidance is required.
The process of working with an SEO agency can be divided into two parts, normally:
- In the first stage, there’s an auditing procedure in which current results are measured and making primary changes.
- In the second stage, there will be more analysis and tracking in which the results are made better with smaller increments.
How SEO Benefits Other Online Marketing Methods
SEO can be seen as a starting point for online marketing, after which its easier to add other online marketing methods profitably to the strategy.
An established brand online will gain the most benefits of additional online marketing strategies.
Read more about search engine marketing (SEM), or Facebook Ads.
An example in PPC-advertising (Pay-Per-Click):
SEO plays an important role when creating successful PPC- campaigns. When done correctly, it will lower the costs of PPC.
- A customer clicks on the ads first.
- Then decides to do some research on Google to find other competitors.
- Clicks on the first results of organic results on Google
- It was the company from the ad all along.
- The click came because it felt familiar from earlier.
We were able to lower the cost of marketing for our clients as their main keyword rankings rose from 5 and 9 to 1 and 2. Effectively it changed how the marketing strategy was implemented for the next couple of months for the benefit of SEO.
Earning those positions doubled organic traffic. We concluded that investing in SEO, in this case, was the best course of action for the future.
Every online marketing strategy has a complementary effect on SEO, which in itself provides valuable data for other strategies.
For example, building a brand online with the use of PR provides important backlinks for SEO to utilize.
Learn more about growth marketing. A Strategy dedicated to growth, in which SEO plays a part as well.
Engaio Digital is an SEO Agency that helps companies to reach their potential and grow beyond it in organic searches and traffic.