What Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Such a simple phrase has completely taken over the business world of today. Trends in business are now trends in search engine algorithms. When Google updates its priorities, the entire world jumps to meet the new standards. Of course, this should come as no surprise in a world where a business missing from Google Maps might as well not exist. When customers look up their plans online before going out, a business without a web presence – one that cannot be found by search engines – is practically invisible. No matter how big your roadside sign may be.
So, just what is SEO? Why does it matter? Because SEO works when you work it. If you want that sweet internet “foot” traffic; if you want just-in-time blog answers and customers who find your brand right before they purchase or pick up the phone, SEO is the only way to achieve it.
Let’s dive into the details.
The Basics: SEO is How Search Engines Find Your Website
The simplest answer to “What is SEO” is that SEO is how search engines find your website – and how customers find you through the search engines. Your SEO is how well the phrases and words in your content match the purpose of your website. A simple and clear choice of words can make a bigger difference in your initial SEO efforts than weeks of website building.
For customers to find your website via a search engine, first the search engine has to connect what your page offers to what the customer wants. Search engine optimization is how businesses clearly indicate the value each page offers customers. This can mean a clear, descriptive page title, opening your content with a summary blurb, and clearly stating your points and tips on each page. SEO has reduced the number of really cleverly named web pages, but increased our ability to find and be found at the moment of need – or greatest curiosity.
Inbound vs Outbound: SEO is the Core of Inbound Marketing Strategy
You often hear about inbound marketing and SEO in the same breath, but what does that mean? Inbound and Outbound are two different types of marketing. Outbound marketing pushes information at the customer. Billboards, TV commercials, and even mailers are all outbound marketing. Inbound marketing is when the customer comes to you.
SEO makes that possible by providing your relevant pages when the customer makes a search. The customer asks the search engine for tips on repairing a sink drain. Your page just so happens to be titled “How to repair a sink drain in 5 easy steps” and this is exactly what the customer wants to see. They click and follow the link – inward – to your website. Inbound marketing is providing what customers need, when they need it, and letting the customers come to you.
As you can see, SEO is at the heart of inbound marketing in the digital age. We all appreciate businesses that cultivate an interesting and useful blog instead of investing their ad-spend in flashing web banners from the 90s and 00s. SEO allows you to finely tune the content of each page so that customers can find the information or entertainment they seek when and where they want it most. This way, your brand can be that just-in-time expert – every time.
The Evolving Principles of SEO Strategy
- Getting the Attention of Web Crawlers
- Hacking the Backlinks
- Getting Ranks and Clicks
- Content Value and Reader Experience
Did you know that the core principles of SEO have been evolving for the last 20 years? In the 00s, SEO was all about manipulating web crawlers with keyword stuffing and backlink lists. Needless to say, Google has since blacklisted pretty much all of the original SEO tactics and put a new focus for the most-likely-to-succeed SEO strategies: Customer experience.
Today, trying to game the system on a technical level only works through proper website configuration and accessibility features. Beyond this, your best choice of SEO strategy that is likely to succeed through several algorithm updates is a focus on customer experience. Smoother and faster page loads, more interesting and relevant information, authority data sources, mobile performance, and integrated multimedia are now the name of the game.
Writing organically is more likely to hit your keyword targets than stuffing a specific word or phrase. Writing clearly and with easily-skimmed points is more likely to get readership and reduce bounce rate – which are also now calculated SEO elements.
SEO Copywriting vs SEO Marketing (SEM)
Often, there is some confusion about the difference between SEO – the overall strategy of search engine ranking – and SEO copywriting – the act of honing written words for keyword density and clear messages. They are both typically referred to as “SEO” but one is the total marketing strategy and one specifically relates to written content.
If you’d like to differentiate “SEM” or Search Engine Marketing is an alternate term for SEO strategy that is widely – if not universally – used. SEO copywriting is often used to differentiate the specific goal of writing content with the right keyword balance for your SEO strategic goals.
When Your SEO Strategy Becomes Your Brand Identity – or Vice Versa
Over time, you may even realize that your SEO strategy and your brand strategy have become one. This will happen as you hone your website content to Google’s standards. Becoming more transparent, transitioning from content fluff to expert-driven advice, and more clearly translating your brand’s marketing keywords as statements will actually frame your brand in the process. You may be refining your brand identity in the process of boosting your SEO, or you may find that your SEO simply must fall back on your existing brand identity in order to convey the organic and expert-driven style of writing that Google is continuing to require.
Working Your SEO Strategy for Digital Marketing Success
SEO works when you work it. The reason to work on your SEO strategy every week and month of the year is that Google (and other search engines) is the window to your digital audience. Without a presence on Google, customers simply won’t be able to find you. Without a high page ranking for your keywords, customers will see competitive brands before they have a chance to click your website.
For businesses who want to get ahead – and those who simply want to stay afloat – working your SEO strategy, honing your content, and improving your technical performance – is always a valuable effort.
Not sure where to start? The Provato Group can help you know more about what is SEO, and hone your SEO strategy from the opening words on your homepage to a custom website design that will load quickly improving your visibility in search engines, and the back-end mechanics of your website. We’ll help you build a powerful blog, compelling service pages, and even take your SEO off-site with videos, social media, and other forms of engaging inbound marketing techniques. Whether you need an SEO strategist or an expert SEO copywriter, The Provato Group has everything you need.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation on your business SEO status, results, and strategy for the future.