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  • Writer's pictureSeth Flora

SEO: What It Is, How It Works, and Why You Need It

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

Well, you may be wondering what exactly it means when we say someone has good SEO or that they are an SEO expert. So, let’s get the basics out of the way first by breaking down what exactly search engine optimization (or SEO) is in layman’s terms.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making your website rank higher in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! The higher your site ranks, the more traffic you can expect to receive from these search engines over time. SEO isn’t just about getting a high ranking for a single keyword; it’s about getting found by as many people as possible who are looking for your products or services. SEO helps your business get found online so that you can start generating leads and sales. And when it comes to small businesses, SEO is an essential tool for success because it allows small businesses to compete with big-name brands that have larger marketing budgets than they do.

Know the Basics of On-Page Optimization

Optimizing your website for search engines is an essential part of driving online traffic. The best way to do that is to make sure your content is easily accessible to search engines. The basics of on-page optimization include making sure you’re utilizing keywords in your title tags, headlines, alt tags, body copy, and meta descriptions. Additionally, it’s important to have a solid understanding of how internal linking can impact SEO efforts. For example, if you want to rank well for vegetarian recipes, it helps if your page about vegetarian recipes links out to other pages with relevant information about vegetarianism.

Understand the Long-Term Impact of Off-Page Optimization

Search engine optimization is about so much more than content. In order to improve your site’s SEO ranking (and therefore help you get found online), it’s essential that you understand what goes into off-page optimization. If you want more customers visiting your site, check out these tips for increasing your search rank—without making any changes to your content! The focus of off-page optimization is getting other sites to link back to yours. While links are usually given in exchange for something, such as a product review or a guest post on another site, there are ways you can earn free links by providing value without asking for anything in return. For example, if you write an informative piece on your topic and share it with others via social media or email marketing, they might share it with their audience. This way, you don’t have to ask anyone for a link; instead, people will naturally share your content because they think others will find it valuable too.

Evaluate Whether or Not an Agency Is Right For You

SEO is a complex field with a lot of moving parts. If you’re not interested in going down that rabbit hole yourself—or if you simply don’t have time to do SEO on your own—an agency can be an excellent solution. But with so many options out there, how do you know which one to pick?

When deciding whether or not to hire an agency, it’s important to evaluate each company individually and think about what they offer as well as what they charge. Here are some questions you should ask any potential SEO agencies before making a decision:

1) Do they offer consulting services? 2) Do they do all of their work themselves or subcontract it out? 3) What is their process for doing SEO on your site? 4) Are they transparent with how they measure success? 5) Can you meet with them in person (or at least talk on Zoom)?

Learn more about why you should hire an SEO agency by clicking here.

Learn as Much as Possible About Your Business’s Industry

If you’re a small business owner with an established product or service, you already have a bit of credibility. But to win over customers who aren’t familiar with your company or brand yet, it’s important to get as much information about your industry as possible. Researching keywords that are frequently searched in relation to your business will help you create content that is helpful for users—and potentially rank your website higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Keep Up with Trends in Your Industry

In a constantly changing industry, staying up-to-date with trends can be a challenge. The quickest way to make sure you’re on top of what your customers want is to follow industry news and related trends. Look for articles in trade publications as well as websites and blogs from experts in your field. Stay on top of new developments by signing up for newsletters and engaging with companies in your niche on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Also check out podcasts, videos, and webinars. The key is to find content that provides fresh information—and that you personally find interesting enough to pay attention to!

Know When to Update Content

Search engines continually scan content for changes. When they detect new or updated content, they re-crawl it to determine if it deserves a higher rank in search results. If you're writing lots of new content on your website but keeping old pages intact, search engines may consider your site as a low-quality site in their index. Keeping old pages updated is a crucial part of keeping a high Google ranking.

Track and Analyze Data Regularly

Search engines—especially Google—love data. If you want to rank for competitive keywords, you need to monitor your search rankings regularly and compare that data with data for competing websites. Google Search Console is a free tool that makes it easy to monitor how your site is ranking in search results. In addition to seeing what keywords are driving traffic to your website, you can also see where competitors rank and how many backlinks they have. This information will help you better understand what strategies work well for other businesses like yours so that you can focus on improving those metrics. For example, if a competitor has more backlinks than you do but doesn’t appear higher in search results than you do (or less), then their links probably aren’t helping them as much as they could be.

In Conclusion

SEO isn’t only for big companies. If you have a small business or run your own professional services, then you can benefit from knowing how to use SEO to drive traffic to your website. The more visitors you have coming to your site, the more money you’ll make!

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