What Is Search Engine Optimization?
Published: May 18, 2018
In the dictionary Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is defined by a strategy or process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a Search Engine.
So, what does that mean and why should you care?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions business owners, organization leaders, hobbyists and aspiring marketers ask about SEO and now we have created this article as a complete guide on the subject that confuses even the most experienced marketers.
What Is a Search Engine?
Chances are you used a search engine to find this article. A search engine is any dedicated program that searches for links in a database that contains the keywords that the user specifies in the search.
Google, Yahoo and Bing are some of the commonly known examples of a search engine, but outside of the United States, Baidu is the most commonly used search engine in China and Yandex is commonly used in Russian.
Search engines are designed to do one thing…find you the answers you need when you search something in the search bar. Their entire purpose is to find you the BEST answer to your question and this is why if your business has a website, Search Engine Optimization should matter to you.
Why Is Search Engine Optimization Important?
According to a Smart Insights study, as of 2017 there are an average of 6.5 BILLION searches made every single day; Google makes up over half of those searches alone at 4.4 billion. We are using search engines more and more everyday to get our questions answered and more importantly to find services and to buy the products we need.
My website appears on search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo but not at the top or sometimes not even on the first page, is that ok?
Well…not really. It is important to have your website recognized by a Search Engine such as Google because that can take between 1 to 3 months on average to accomplish, but its not in a position where it will commonly be seen. How many times in the past 24 hours or even in the past year have you gone to page 2 or 3 of the Google results page? Chances are you haven’t, because you have found the service or website you were looking for at the top of the first page.
According to Smart Insights, the top three links of any Search Engine typically receive 80% of all traffic and Googles 2nd, 3rd, and 4th pages receive less than 5% of all Search Engine traffic.
This is where a thoroughly developed Search Engine Optimization plan comes in, it is always the goal for any SEO plan to get the website not only to the first search engine results page in a particular search engine, but to get it to the top of the page.
What Is The Perfect SEO Strategy?
The truth is…there is no one perfect SEO strategy! Search Engines such as Google and Bing regularly adjust their complex algorithm and purposely keep all data about the algorithm secretive as to outsmart SEO hackers.
Experienced marketing agencies that offer specific SEO services including White Whale Web Design use tools that can identify when Google and others make major adjustments to their algorithms so we can adjust our SEO strategies to benefit our clients.
An SEO strategy is just that…a strategy so it is impossible for agencies to promise precise SEO results, and those that do should require a more detailed investigation. Most experts will tell you that a thorough and carefully developed SEO campaign will take between 12 to 18 months before amounting to any valuable results partly because an SEO strategy is constantly evolving with the market.
Be warry to those agencies that offer a perfect SEO strategy and promise amazing results in a very short amount of time (1 to 3 months), as this is a red flag they are using bad practices that can get your website penalized by Google.
How Often Do I Have To Work On SEO?
A thorough SEO strategy has to be an actively evolving process. Although it is important to allow a sufficient amount of time between making large changes to your SEO strategy, it is equally important to know when to make changes to improve the growth rate of your website.
For this, hiring an experienced marketing agency with proven SEO results is key. But how do you know if they are experienced? A quick way of proving if an agency if worth their weight in gold is to ask them to explain what search engine optimization is in simple, non-technical terms. An experienced professional should be able to break-down the SEO process and strategy for even the most inexperienced person.
Putting It All Together
Search Engine Optimization is probably the most important marketing strategy any website can use. It involves creating meaningful content for website visitors, fast and easy to use webpages and a target audience based on research and strategy.
Search Engines carry a responsibility to their billions of users to find and recommend quality resources for every enquiry typed into the search bar, but they also create an ever-expanding opportunity for all websites representing big and small businesses to access a growing population of those who seek services and products through the world wide web.
Although some may downplay the importance of a carefully constructed SEO campaign or the importance of getting a websites SEO campaign right the first time, making the decision to partner with a SEO focused company is a big one and one that could shape the growth of your website, your business and ultimately your success for years to come.