Almost all businesses and industries have had to go online in recent years, needing to make their presence known in increasingly competitive markets and making sure their name can be found where most consumers are going first; the Internet. Gone are the days where someone wanders around the mall or the shops of their town in search of what they need. They can type in exactly what they need from their couch at home and, in seconds, have pages and pages of options of that product or service and the voices of hundreds, thousands, even millions of other consumers telling them whether it’s worth their time and money.
So how do any of the businesses stand out after that consumer hits “Enter” on their search?
If your business or the business you work for has any kind of online presence, then you’ve probably heard the term “SEO” get thrown around. You might know it has something to do with search engines, you might know it has something to do with your website or landing page, but do you know exactly what SEO means and what it’s for?
Let’s break it down…
“SEO” stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the process of optimizing your website and content to make it attractive to search engines, resulting in free (organic) traffic from that search engine. This is different than paid search ads, when a business might pay for ads to show up where they want in search rankings.
Think of search engines as businesses. They want to provide the best service for their own customers, which in their case are users in search of something specific. The search engine’s main goal is to provide that user with the best and most relevant content to match that search, which means they did their job well and that user will return for other searches.
To provide the best results, a search engine will scan (also known as crawling) different websites that contain words, terms, phrases, images, and topics related to the topic, picking the ones closest to the exact specifications of the user’s specific search. But it isn’t just about relevancy. A search engine doesn’t do its job if it sends you to a website that you end up leaving because it runs slowly, buttons don’t work, you can’t purchase the item you need, or you can’t read clearly what information the site is providing. So the search engine also makes sure to only select and present websites and pages that are relevant AND user-friendly, informative and interactive in the way they need to be for a successful and satisfying online experience.
Your ranking depends on how you manage to take advantage of the algorithm that the search engine uses to crawl through the content related to your business and service. And though we can’t know what the algorithm of the search engine is, those in the internet marketing universe has come up with best and worst practices for succeeding in ranking after years of testing.
The best SEO is often done by those who have long been involved in this testing, years and years of learning by trial and error, constantly refining a complex practice to suit an even more complex environment, on top of navigating the consistent changes to the algorithm that you are trying to understand. Which is why the right SEO can greatly help your business and wrong or nonexistent SEO can play a part in your business failing to compete at all.
There are two aspects of SEO that experts include in their development; on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO is all the factors you can control on your website, including metadata, site speed, informative and easy to find content, easy navigation, enjoyable user experience, etc. Off-page SEO includes all the ways a user could find you on the Internet if they aren’t already on your site, like links on other sites, social media, blogging, etc.
Think of it like this. You want to be the answer to any and all questions a user might have about your industry/business/service so you want to have those answers (if they are quality answers and relevant to the question) to pop up no matter how a user phrases a question and no matter where they go to look for the answers. The more helpful you are in providing these answers, the more likely a search engine will recommend you over and over again, raising your rank higher and higher.
SEO is complicated, even if the concept is clearer to you now. Which is why businesses go looking for help, especially when they finally understand the importance of their ranking on search engines. We live in the digital age and businesses have to digitally optimize their presence in order to compete and stay relevant, or else get lost in the weeds of the Internet.
So we are here to provide you with a solution. We wouldn’t tell you how completely necessary and vital proper SEO is and then leave you to figure out how to get it in your own. Your time is precious to you, we get it. Which is why this blog is also meant to let you know that we, Gravity Internet Marketing, are that very solution. SEO is how we got started and is still the core service of our business. We have over 15 years of experience, with a solid track record and real results, AND this…
We were recently selected, out of 94 SEO experts and agencies in Portland, OR, to be in the final Top 8. We tell you this so you don’t just have to take our word for it (which is what every business is asking you to do). You can take the word of Expertise, a website dedicated to providing the best local experts to its users.