By Athena Alexander
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is one of the best tools a company can use to grow its business online. But what is it, how does one use it, and why is it effective?
What is SEO?
SEO is an organic marketing strategy that increases traffic to websites via search results. To reach its target audience, key words and phrases used on a company’s site are consciously selected to correspond with the products or services offered. Internet searchers most often click on websites on the first page of results. Only 25% of searchers go on to read subsequent pages, making appearing on that first page of results important. Businesses use SEO to increase the discoverability of their websites by using keywords or key phrases that prospective clients may search for. Although it is a powerful tool, SEO can take time to show results due to factors such as keyword difficulty, competition, inbound links, and domain age. It also takes time for search engines to recognize a company’s SEO contributions as these platforms add millions of pieces of information each day. If a business takes advantage of this process, SEO will make the business more visible to future clients by increasing website traffic and company awareness.
How to Use SEO
The basics of an SEO strategy include:
Content that aligns with relevant keywords
Optimizing meta tags, URLs, headers, and content
Increased website speed and performance
Signals that reflect trust, authority, and expertise
The strategies can be enhanced in multiple ways, such as:
Building an easy-to-use website
Creating site content that includes keywords that reflect the products or services
Adding descriptions and title tags to photos and videos
An easy-to-use website drives in traffic. Clients who enjoy a site will return more frequently and tell their friends about it, boosting engagement. In addition to making a website user-friendly, a company must make sure tabs and links are functional, numbers and addresses are up-to-date, and the site is easily navigable. Creating site content such as blogs as well as captioned photos and videos is an effective way to use SEO. Blogs are powerful due to the multiple opportunities to embed keywords; photo and video captions using keywords and title tags accomplish this objective well. The key is to consistently update posted content to show clients the site is active and to repeatedly use keywords that help position a website at the top of related searches. However, especially in blog writing, companies need to make sure not to overuse keywords. While it is important to use keywords, it is equally important to create a balanced blog that is informational and not repetitive. Creating keywords and phrases is important. For example, if a company is selling a new kind of athletic show that is manufactured out of recycled materials and has a mission to reduce waste and the world’s carbon footprint, their keywords/phrases should be: athletic shoe, waste reduction, recycled material shoe, ethically made shoe, green shoe, etc. If the company has a blog, the articles should focus on athletic products, ethically made products, or topics otherwise related to the company’s mission. Even if the blog post topics do not directly include the product or company mission, the blog should include SEO keywords.
Why it Matters
Whether it’s shopping, health services, or entertainment, many prospective clients choose to locate goods and services online due to its efficiency, timeliness, and selection. This organic marketing strategy is powerful but must be applied consistently and may take some time to show results. Using SEO positions, a company for success locally, nationally, and globally by making it discoverable. In a competitive market, businesses need to ensure they are doing everything possible to position themselves at the top.