As a company owner or a marketer you’ve probably heard about SEO, and thought “What is this SEO thing exactly?” or “Why would I even consider doing optimization?” and “Can it even help my website?”
Below we would like to answer these and similar frequently asked question about SEO. We’ll discuss what the term itself means, why is it important for websites and what services an SEO company offers in general.
What is SEO?
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. Basically, it is a process which aims to increase a website’s search rank on the result pages of search engines (like Google or Yahoo). SEO is actually made up of several techniques which all target specific ranking factors search engines use to calculate a website’s rank. The better a site’s optimization, the more likely it will rank higher (even as #1) to relevant searches.
More and more companies are getting into online ratings, so the competition is constantly growing. SEO was invented to help search engines find websites and online stores which deserve the most attention from customers and leads. Without SEO, even the least-visited, most unimportant sites could rank as #1.
As we’ve already mentioned earlier, search engine optimization is made up of several smaller components, which include keyword optimization, link building, content marketing and many other techniques. Oftentimes, SEO requires thorough research to find out which techniques a particular site would benefit from the most, and how these could be used to increase said site’s ranking.
Why Do I Need SEO Services?
Here’s a question that pops up regularly. In this digital age, almost every website needs a degree of optimization to rank better. Since you’re reading this page, it’s probably safe to assume that you want to find out why you would need SEO services. The following example could be of help:
Think about the different steps you take while searching for a new company to work with, a restaurant to have a dinner at, or a hotel to book a room in. Before you choose one at random from the telephone book, you probably do a bit of research about who’s worth doing business with. You probably also ask for friends’ and other company owners’ recommendations who already have some experiences with said company/restaurant/hotel, etc.
After this you continue your research on the internet to see what former customers say about these companies. You may also visit some companies in person to gain deeper insight into what they offer. After all this research you come to a conclusion and hopefully choose the best possible option to go with.
What’s interesting is that search engines work very similarly to this process. They use a method not too different from you everyday research to decide which pages should rank higher to relevant keywords. Search engines use several factors for this, such as the quality of the website, its popularity and the users’ satisfaction with it. Just as it would be difficult for you to choose the correct business partner without checking some specific factors, Google couldn’t list the most relevant sites if it didn’t look at some key aspects of each and every one of them.
Search engine optimization is needed because it sends the necessary signals to search engines to rank them higher. A couple of years ago this was a simple process, but nowadays, with the constant development of Google’s ranking algorithm, it is much more of a challenge to keep up with the frequent updates and trends, which define (and often redefine) the SEO landscape.
What Can an SEO Company Do for You?
An SEO company can offer a multitude of services. They can help getting you website ranked (with a rather favorable ranking), optimize your website, create content and so on.
Every SEO company and SEO specialist differ when it comes to the services offered and pricing. We, for example, DO NOT offer search engine optimization as a separate service, as online marketing is a complex science. SEO only has a noticeable effect when it’s done as part of a broad online marketing strategy. Of course, SEO is a major part of these strategies, and if your goal is to get more customers via online marketing, then you can be sure that optimization will play a very important role in the process. For more information, read our quotation policy.
Let’s have a look at some of the most important processes of SEO.
Keyword research and identification
Before doing anything to improve your website’s ranking, the SEO company first does some keyword research for your website to find the most relevant ones. This can happen during a meeting or by looking at the current online state of your niche market (competitors, popular keywords, trends, etc.)
This way, the company will know which keywords they should be able to rank best for. Less popular keywords are generally easier to rank for, but more competitive keywords require more targeted optimization and link building.
Initial website optimization (on-site SEO)
If you have a freshly built website, or it has never been optimized before, then it will require some preliminary SEO. This usually involves placing the previously identified keywords in the source code of the website’s pages, so that the search engines can notice them.
The initial optimization also takes care of the site’s meta descriptions and keyword fields, which are extremely important, as these are the descriptions that search engines show to users when they list out the results of a query. Furthermore, this stage involves writing optimized headlines for all of the pages on the website.
You should have some content on your homepage and every other page as well. A few short sentences or paragraphs let you place the necessary keywords everywhere on your site, so it has more pages to rank with.
The technical aspects, such as loading speed and a responsive design are also important, but they deserve their own article, so we’re only just mentioning them here.
Submitting the sitemap to search engines
This step is crucial for new websites. While search engines eventually find new sites following the links that point to them (from other sites and social networks), the fastest method is to submit the site to search engines so that they can crawl and index it quicker.
Submission happens after the aforementioned steps (keyword identification, initial optimization, etc.) have been taken. After the search engines finish indexing the website and all its accessible pages, they can appear in SERPs (search engine result pages).
After this, more optimization may be required, since the ultimate goal is to achieve the highest rank possible. This bring us to the ongoing optimization phase, the (most common) steps of which are discussed below.
Improving the user experience
The user experience (UX) is one of the most important ranking factors for a website. Is someone visits your site and finds it hard to navigate, or simply unattractive, they’ll leave without any further actions. This immediately sends a signal to the search engine the visitor used to find your site.
When a user leaves a website shortly after arriving on it without taking any other action (such as clicking on a link) first, it’s called a “bounce”. These bounces happen to every website, even the major ones, but the more users turn back without doing anything on the site, the higher that site’s bounce rate becomes. The higher the bounce rate, the more likely it is that search engines will see a site as uninteresting, irrelevant or offering little value.
To avoid these bounces, an expert SEO will try to improve the UX of your website. This can happen in the initial and the ongoing phase as well.
Quality link building
As we’ve mentioned above in our example, Google ranks websites by looking at people’s “opinions” on them. So how can a website convince Google that it’s trustworthy and deserves a higher rank? The answer is: by using link building.
The process of link building has become one of the pillars of SEO. In general, the more competitive a keyword is, the more backlinks a site needs to rank higher for it. Although there are numerous methods to get these links, many companies and small businesses have a hard time building them.
Link building consists of several tactics and techniques. It can involve placing some links in a social profile’s bio or a guest post, but these links can also be a part of a much larger piece of content, which gets shared by many other websites.
A successful and constant link building strategy is invaluable to creating and maintaining a stable online presence.
Content creation and content marketing
The content of a website holds an infinite number of opportunities. It provides your visitors and customers with something to read and helps them better understand your products, your services. It can also serve as a source for news and important information about your business.
Great content will probably get a lot of shares, which leads to further link building. When it comes to SEO however, it’s the site’s content that search engines analyze to decide whether it’s relevant to a particular keyword or not.
Your website’s content, especially that’s placed on the homepage and your landing pages has to contain the relevant keywords to improve your ranking. While it’s not necessary to always create content that fits both your visitors and search engines’ needs, it’s not impossible either. SEO companies usually offer creating these sorts of content as part of their services.
Frequent updates and ongoing optimization
Thanks to the ever-changing nature of online marketing, achieving a favorable ranking and maintaining it poses a constant challenge to marketers. One day you could be on the top of the list, and – thanks to an algorithm update – find yourself on the bottom of the SERP on the next. Working together with an SEO company ensures that your website remains up-to-date and that it can react to these sorts of changes as soon as possible.