If you’re new to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), you might be wondering, what is SEO? And more importantly, have you actually done any other forms of online marketing?
Here’s a simple definition: SEO is the process of making your website more visible in search engines for the targeted keywords or phrases you want to rank for. When people click on your product or service listings in the search engines, they’re typically landing on a page with a lot of content. That content is often called the “body copy” or “content body” for SEO. You want to have high-quality, engaging content on your website that is also relevant to your target audiences. This means your copy will contain the right keywords and phrases, and it will be easy to understand and interesting.
So you might be wondering, how does SEO work? How do I become an expert? And what additional types of marketing can I do to grow my business?
The SEO Journey
Like many other forms of digital marketing, SEO is both broad and deep; it has many facets, and it can seem very complex. The good news is that, although it can seem like a daunting task, understanding the basics of SEO isn’t actually very difficult. In fact, if you’re able to answer yes to all of the following questions, you can consider yourself an expert in SEO and can start taking your career to the next level:
- Do you understand what a keyword is?
- Do you know what SEO is?
- Do you know what search engine optimization (SEO) is?
- Do you know what a backlink is?
- Do you know how to create backlinks?
- Do you know how to create high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience?
- Do you know how to measure the success of your SEO campaign?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, you probably already know what SEO is and how it works. If not, don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to HubSpot Blogs Research, only 19% of online marketers have a good understanding of SEO, while 28% have some understanding and 37% are completely ignorant. So if you’re reading this and you’re wondering, “What is SEO? And more importantly, how can I get started?” you’re in the right place.
The Keyword Is The King
If you want to do SEO right, you need to understand the importance of keywords. A keyword is a word or phrase that people use to search for content when online. For example, if you’re doing SEO for a real estate platform and you want to rank for the keyword “real estate,” people will type in “real estate” when searching for content on the internet. When a user searches for content using a specific keyword, your content appears (or “lands on the first page”) of the search results because you were able to optimize for that keyword. Let’s say you own a restaurant in Cincinnati and you want to promote it online, you might want to try doing some SEO on a local level to get some initial traction. You might want to try entering the following keywords into the Google search bar:
- restaurant cincinnati
- Cincinnati restaurant
- diner cincy
- pizza cincy
- pizzeria cincy
- papa john’s cincy
- buffet cincy
Now, if you do an analysis of your restaurant’s website to see how users are finding it, you’ll probably see a lot of keywords and phrases like “pizza,” “buffet,” and “Cincinnati” (if you’re doing local SEO). These are exactly the types of keywords you should be targeting.
The 3 Pillars Of SEO
When someone mentions SEO, they usually mean one thing: keywords, backlinks, and mobile-friendliness. These three pillars are crucial to any SEO campaign. If you want to do SEO right, you need to understand their importance and how to apply them correctly.
Keywords are the most important part of any SEO campaign because they determine what your content appears (or “lands on the first page”) of when someone searches for content online. You can target the right keywords and phrases for the most relevant local and global searches to ensure your content is being found when someone is searching for it. For example, if you’re an e-commerce store that sells women’s clothing and you want to rank for the keyphrase “buy women’s jeans,” you will want to make sure that your content connects to both men and women in a general way. You can’t target all of your content to one specific gender; you want your content to be relevant to everyone.
Backlinks are another important part of any SEO campaign. A backlink is a link posted by a website or an article that points to your content. When a user clicks on a backlink, they’re often landing on a page with a lot of content. That content is often called the “body copy” or “content body” for SEO. You want to create content that is interesting, engaging, and doesn’t duplicate existing content on your website. When other websites share your content, it means they’re recognizing it as being good quality and relevant to their target audience. You can try getting backlinks by contributing to high-quality blogs in your niche, by creating helpful how-to guides for beginners, or by developing interesting insights based on your own experience.
Finally, mobile friendliness is an important aspect of any SEO campaign. Just like Google and other search engines have become “smarter” and more mobile-friendly, your content should be structured in a way that is easy to understand and convenient for users when they’re searching for content on the go. You can easily test how mobile-friendly and convenient your content is by performing a quick Google search on your phone. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for easily, then you know you’ve created content that is not suitable for mobile users. On the other hand, if it is easy for you to navigate and find the information you need on your phone, then you know you’ve created content that is suitable for mobile users. For example, if you sell outdoor gear on your website and you want to rank for the keyword “outdoor gear,” you’ll want to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly and is doing everything it can to make the experience convenient for the user.
With the right approach and some time, you can certainly become an expert in SEO. Just remember to apply the right keywords, build backlinks, and make your website mobile-friendly.