Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is by far an essential marketing investment your company can make for continued web presence. If done correctly, it tells search engines such as Google and Bing what you’re about, and what you do, making internet searches relevant and accurate, which can result in better positioning in search engine ranking and increased exposure for your business. 

What is a Search Engine?

Let’s take a step back for a minute. Before you dive into SEO details, you need to understand search engines. A search engine is computer software used to search data (such as text or a database) for specified information on the World Wide Web. A Search Engine Results Page, also known as SERP, is the page you see after searching. Check out our full glossary here.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO is the process of getting traffic from the “organic” or “natural” search results on search engines. All major search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users.

How Does SEO work?

Search engines have three primary functions: crawl, index, and rank. 

  • Crawl: Scour the Internet for content, looking over the code/content for each website they find.
  • Index: Store and organize the content found during the crawling process. Once a page is in the index, it’s in the running to appear on a search engine results page.
  • Rank: Provide the pieces of content that will best answer a searcher’s query, which means that results are ordered by most relevant to least relevant.

Why is SEO Important?

When your SEO strategy works, your website rank improves, which means more visitors will find your pages in search results. With broader exposure and traffic to your high-value content, more sites will link to your pages, which increases your authority and credibility, which leads to improvement in your website rank. 

Increased Traffic

SEO helps bring “targeted” traffic to your website. It brings in people who are actively seeking to find information on your product or service!

If you provide valuable information and make it easy for search engines to find and organize it, they will reward you with higher rankings. This increased exposure means more visitors to your pages.

With SEO in mind, it’s important to remember that the goal of any business is and should be to rank as high as possible in SERPs. To obtain top ranks, you need the help of keywords and transactional searches. 

Keywords are commonly used words found within internet searches. 

Transactional searches are searches performed by people looking to purchase a product or service. 

Companies on the first page of results become the most likely candidates to obtain business from online users who are looking for said product/service.

Ranking higher on Google can also lead to more in-store traffic. When people are searching for specific keywords, it is because they have a high interest in those terms and are farther down the purchase funnel. 

Better Conversion Rates

Since search engines return results to users who are actively searching for a particular term or phrase, getting to the top of that stack means you’re providing information to the people who want it most, when they want it.

Unlike advertising, you aren’t trying to push information in front of people who might not be interested at the time. So, you have an active audience, and you don’t have to pay to get the message to them.

By following best practices at the start, you’ll create engaging, useful content that potential customers want (or need) to read. Then, the search engines will be happy to put you in front of a broader audience.

Brand Credibility 

Optimizing the brand’s website and content, including linking to other websites, also knows as backlinks, can lead to higher rankings, which means potential customers are more likely to trust your brand.

Small businesses that want to build better brand trust should consider investing in SEO to help gain top rankings for the KEY terms related to their business. In the current digital economy, search engines now play a significant role in enhancing your brand. 

SEO is a long term strategy that each organization should take seriously—dedicating time and resources on an ongoing basis is important in achieving and maintaining success. New SEO techniques are developing every day, and the competition is ever increasing. SEO needs to be a permanent fixture for your holistic marketing plan. Investing in SEO offers the best long term value and results in terms of getting your website in front of potential clients.