What is SEO and Why is it Important for your Small Business?
Updated: Nov 17
What is SEO? SEO stands for "search engine optimization. It is a digital marketing practice of optimizing your website and content to rank well in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc.
How Search Engines Work – Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking
Search engines work like a giant library of online content. They examine, or "crawl", the web looking for specific information, then index it, organize it, and rank it based on how relevant it is to your question and other factors.
SEM vs. SEO
SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing, which refers to using targeted keywords to attract searchers to paid content on major search engines like Google Ads, Bing, Yahoo, and others.
SEM helps you sell stuff online to potential customers searching for your products or services, while SEO helps people find you through organic search.
Why is SEO important for small business digital marketing?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is integral to every successful online marketing strategy. Users expect to see relevant, valuable, informative results, and search engine optimization can help. A strong SEO strategy will build customer trust and credibility and help your organic search engine rankings.
Only 2-3% of searchers click beyond the first page of search results. (optimizely.com)
For example, for a typical search query, the number one result will receive 40-60% of the total traffic for that query, with the number two and three results receiving significantly less traffic. (optimizely.com)
How does SEO work?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves many different factors. Search engines are always looking for ways to improve their algorithms and ensure users get the best possible experience on their platforms. To do that, they update their ranking factors regularly.
A search engine optimization strategy optimizes your website and content to demonstrate quality and relevancy to a user's search query. To understand SEO better, consider the three main components of SEO: technical, onsite, and offsite.
This refers to the way your site looks. Several things affect how well your site ranks, including the number of relevant keywords or search terms you include, and the quality of your site.
Onsite refers to the actual content on your website. To rank highly, you'll have to provide high-quality content. Make sure you write unique articles and blog posts that answer specific questions searchers might have about your business or industry.
Offsite refers to strategies that boost your SEO that happen outside of your website, like high-quality backlinks from other sites.
How To Improve your Site's (SEO) Ranking with an Effective SEO Strategy
You can employ various techniques to optimize your site for better rankings. To get started, approach your site and content with your audience in mind.
Publish Relevant, Authoritative Content
Content marketing creates quality content people want to consume, share, or listen to. This includes blog posts, videos, infographics, ebooks, etc. If you are trying to rank well in Google, it's important to publish high-quality content that provides value to readers.
Create Great Content For Your Audience
Considering your site's user experience is key to your SEO efforts. If you are producing content for a specific audience, ensure that the content you provide meets their needs. Are they looking for a particular type of product or service? Do they have a specific problem that you can solve? What do they care about? These questions will help you determine what types of content you should be publishing.
Focus On Quality Over Quantity
People look for quality over quantity and want to see original content that is valuable for the exchange of their attention. When you focus on quality, you increase users' likelihood of sharing your content - and coming back.
Update Your Content Regularly
To keep your audience interested, you need to update your content regularly. You should post new blog posts at least once every week or two. It will help maintain interest and engagement with your followers. This also gives search engines more content and keywords to examine, helping to tell them more about your site.
Use alt tags / meta descriptions
Meta Tags are essential for any site or blog, and they provide additional information regarding your site and help you rank better on search engines. The most common meta tag is called the "alt" tag. This tag tells the browser what the image is supposed to represent.
Things to Avoid in Your SEO Strategy:
Not setting clear goals for your SEO plan
You need to understand your target audience and what they consider quality information.
Placing content that doesn't provide a positive user experience - relevant content that provides value to the searcher
Overusing keyword terms in your creation and optimization process
Make sure your content matches search/user intent. (According to SEMrush, "The search intent is the purpose of a user's search. It's also referred to as audience, user, or keyword intent."
Overusing or underusing quality internal and external links
Use the right keywords in your titles and descriptions.SEO is a long-term strategy, and quality content is essential.
Search engines are constantly updating their algorithm to give users the best possible experience.
SEO is an ongoing process that needs to be updated frequently.