What Is Search Engine Optimization – A Beginner’s Guide

  • November 5, 2015
  • SEO
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In the past, advertising your business was as simple as taking out an ad in the local yellow pages. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Today, if you want your company to be successful, you need to find a way to compete online.yellowpagesdead

Sadly, that is easier said than done. There are countless businesses vying for the attention of online users, making it difficult to find a way to help your business stand out from the crowd. One option that is well worth looking into is search engine optimization (SEO).

What is search engine optimization? It is the practice of optimizing your site for the search engines so that it appears as high as possible in the search results for important keywords within your industry.

Understanding why SEO is so important starts by understanding how users behave online. In most cases, when people are searching for something in particular, they open up their favorite search engine and type in a search phrase. For instance, if they are looking for a roofing repair company, they may type in phrases like “roof repair” or “fix a leaky roof”.

The results that are returned usually have paid advertisements at the top of the page, and then a list of websites that match the query. Chances are the person will click on one of the top two or three results that are returned rather than scrolling all the way down the page to see all of the results. They are even less likely to click to the second page to look for additional results.

If you run a roofing repair company, obviously you want your site to appear in the top few results on the page. Otherwise you are missing out on a great deal of traffic. The same holds true for any industry. Being able to get your site listed well for key terms within your industry is the best way to capture a large percentage of online traffic. This in turn can result in more sales or leads for your business.

As you can well imagine, however, there is fierce competition for those top spots. Because of that, you need to find ways to show the search engines that your website is the most relevant and helpful result for the keywords that you want to rank for. This is where search engine optimization comes in.

So, just what is search engine optimization and how does it work? SEO uses a variety of techniques to boost your site’s standing in the search results. The basic concept behind all of the techniques that are used is to prove to the search engines that you provide high quality content that is popular and useful. This is accomplished in a number of different ways.

First and foremost, you need to address the content on your website and make sure that it is truly valuable to your visitors. You need to find ways to keep them active an engaged since one of the metrics that search engines use to judge the quality of your site is the amount of time that visitors spend on your page.

If they visit your site and immediately click the “back” button, it sends a strong signal that they didn’t find what they were looking for. If, on the other hand, they click through to your site and spend a lot of time there visiting multiple pages, it indicates that you have relevant, engaging content. The more engaged you can keep your visitors, the higher your site will rank.

Another important factor that is taken into consideration are what are known as social signals. This basically refers to your company’s social media presence. Not only do you need to be active on social media, but you also ideally want a lot of people to be talking about you or interacting with your profile. Again, this tells the search engines that you are popular and that customers enjoy engaging with your business.

Although it is not as important as it used to be, having links to your website from other high quality sites can also help you rank higher. These links are seen by the search engines as endorsements of your content. When they come from sites that are considered leaders within your industry, it can help give your website additional clout.

However, it is important not to abuse backlinks when trying to optimize your site. If you get too many links from low quality pages, it can actually wind up harming your standing in the search results rather than helping. If you decide to use backlinks, focus only on high quality sites and don’t go overboard trying to get too many.

Because SEO is a constantly evolving field, it can be hard to keep up with all of the latest changes and techniques. This is where hiring an SEO company can help. The right company will know just how to go about optimizing your site to help you get listed as high as possible in the search results. More importantly, they can avoid using outdated optimization techniques that may wind up getting your site penalized rather than helping it.

What is search engine optimization? It is the process of making your website as attractive as possible to the search engines through a variety of optimization techniques. When done correctly, it can help you capture a large portion of online traffic for your industry, allowing you to grow your business and increase your profits as a result.

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