SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and is defined by one of the most trusted SEO resources, Search Engine Land as “the process of getting traffic from the free, organic, editorial or natural search results on search engines.” Moz also defines SEO as “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”
While it’s crucial to have an effective marketing strategy in place, it’s important to note that the majority of traffic is driven by search engines. Organic search results take up the majority of the space on the search results and furthermore appear more credible to users. According to imforza, 70-80% of people ignore paid search results, choosing to only click on organic search results.
SEO pertains to all major search engines including Google, Yahoo, and Bing. These search engines all provide search results where web pages are ranked based on what the search engine finds most relevant to a user’s search query. These results are displayed on a search engine results page (SERP) organically, meaning placements aren’t paid for (unlike search ads).
SEO can benefit your website and overall business in a number of ways, including:
A well-optimized website that consistently follows SEO best practices will continuously grow its organic traffic over time. By improving your website’s visibility in relevant search results, more users will find your content visit your website.
But remember, SEO is a long term strategy that proves to be more effective over time as seen in a case study done by Search Engine Land.
Getting traffic to your website is great, and getting a lot of traffic to your site is even better, but does that matter if users who land on your site don’t find your content, product, or service relevant to their search? SEO aids in helping users who are searching for specific information land on the most relevant websites and pages in order to satisfy the information they’re looking for.
Conversions help indicate whether your SEO efforts are profitable and delivering ROI. They also give you insight into how users are engaging with your website. If you're earning traffic but users aren’t taking desired action, it could be an indication that your SEO efforts aren’t effective.
Increasing conversions should be as important to SEO managers as increasing organic traffic.
SEO is about more than just satisfying the search engines - your content should primarily serve to satisfy the people using search engines to find information. It’s about understanding what users are searching for online, the words and phrases they’re using to find answers and the type of content they’re seeking online. Understanding these things allows you to connect with the right audience.
SEO can help your website rank higher in the search engines, which will ultimately drive more traffic to your site and hopefully lead to more conversions. However, keep in mind that part of an effective SEO strategy includes driving the right quality traffic to your site as well. When done effectively and well, it helps businesses achieve goals that will ultimately lead to success.
For more tips on SEO strategy, check out How to Use Your Competitors to Gain Key SEO Insights.
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Andrew is an SEO Specialist at Hawke.