Remember the last time you picked up your phone and searched for “plumber near me” or “buy desks online”? When you search for anything using a search engine such as Google, you are most likely to click on the first few results.
And Just like you, there are millions of people searching for all sorts of things. They will hardly ever get past the first few search results. Besides,
75% of Internet users never scroll past the first page of search results, which means you’ll need to get on that first page to capture people’s attention.Source
For better rankings, you need to get more people to visit your website. The better the traffic, the better the ranking.
From a business point of view, you need to get your website in the top search results. The process of optimizing your website, so search engines can rank you higher in search results is better known as search engine optimization (SEO)
How do you make sure your website is among the first few search results?
Well, you need to optimize the page for the search keyword. Optimizing the site for the relevant keywords is called search engine optimization.
In this article, we will have a detailed look at,
- What is SEO
- How does SEO work?
- Why SEO is important for a website?
- How SEO is important for businesses?
- SEO Ranking factors
What is SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means optimizing your website so that search engines can better understand your content and reward your website with higher rankings.
SEO can be formally defined as,
“The process of identifying keywords and optimizing your website according to it in order to rank higher in search engines”.
For example, If you have a website that is related to cooking, how do search engines tell that your site has content related to cooking?
You need to optimize or include keywords related to cooking. When search engines index or crawl your page to know what the page is about, it can easily understand what the content is related to, and will also show your website in relevant search results (in this example it is cooking).
Many bloggers, digital marketers, and SEO specialists work hard to bring the website or blog to the first two pages as the audience will rarely go past the third page.
To bring it to the first page, marketers use several techniques to improve their website’s search engine optimization. But the most important thumb rule is to have value-rich content with relevant search terms (keywords) in the content. And, such keywords need to be placed strategically in headings, subheadings, introductions, etc.
Types of SEO
SEO is divided into two main categories, On-page SEO and Off-page SEO.
On-page SEO involves making optimizations on your website like creating relevant and value-rich content, creating internal links, ensuring the website loads fast enough, and checking for the correct usage of URL structure and titles on your website. Check our guide on How to Improve On-Page SEO on your website.
Off-page SEO involves making optimizations indirectly to your website, where you have no full control over it, like creating backlinks to your website, sending social signals, etc.
How Does SEO Work
Search engines crawl millions of web pages and digest the content available on those web pages. When a user makes a search query, they search their database for relevant results related to the query and display them to the user. The order of results is dependent on how well the website is optimized.
That sounds too technical, right?
Let me simplify it for you.
Let’s say, you have a website that sells shoes online. When someone searches “buy shoes online” on Google, the search engine will scan several websites and bring out the best websites with related content to the search query.
In order for your website to show in the results, you need to optimize your website for the related search term. When a search engine crawls your website, you need to ensure it is optimized with relevant content. The website should be optimized both for search engine bots and users as well.
Why SEO is important for a website?
There are many sources of traffic. You can drive traffic from paid ads, social media, influencers, and several other sources to your website. However, if organic traffic is not your main source of traffic, it may not be long before you stop receiving traffic.
For example, if you run paid ads, you can see a high influx of audience visiting your website, but once you end your paid ads, your traffic will go down drastically. It’s the same in social media channels too, if you stop sharing fresh new content on your website, it is likely your traffic will also take a nosedive.
According to Bright Edge Research, 53% of the audience comes to a website with SEO efforts.Source
Let’s say you have a website for cooking recipes and have optimized the website with relevant keywords. Whenever someone searches for cooking recipes, your website will appear in the search results and will click on your website. In this case, the traffic coming to your website is organic and will be constant.
When implemented correctly, SEO can continue to drive traffic without much effort. Often when you have ranked for a few keywords, there is not much more effort required. Maybe just minor tweaks here and there. The majority of the work is put in initially when you want to start ranking for a keyword, and once you are ranked the traffic will come on autopilot.
With SEO, dividends are reaped over time and great content, along with other SEO techniques will result in more traffic eventually. While search engines have become smarter over time, it is still important to optimize your website. This will help search engines better understand your content and rank it for relevant terms.
How SEO is important for businesses?
SEO has several benefits for any business. Generally, the benefits revolve around better search rankings, which leads to more traffic and hence more conversions or revenue.
- Helps increase organic traffic
- Results in better user experience
- Increases conversions
- SEO has the best ROI
- Helps increase organic traffic – Organic traffic is search engine traffic that is not from paid ads. It is of high quality and one of the best sources of traffic. Users tend to click on your website when you offer a solution to them. So, by providing value-rich content along with good SEO, you are increasing your chances of ranking higher in search results, thereby improving your organic traffic. More traffic also means more conversions.
- Results in better user experience – Often website owners will overlook the user experience of their website. A good user experience is a combination of neat design, a fast-loading website, relevant photos and videos, an easy checkout process, no errors, etc. All these are part of SEO and if a website improves its SEO, it will need to improve on the user experience as well. An improved user experience can lead to higher conversions.
- Increases Conversions – SEO is important to increase the credibility of a website. If Google and other search engines are ranking you higher in search results, it obviously means they have some trust in your website. The search engines understand that your website is relevant to certain search queries. Users also understand that your website is credible enough to be ranking for the search terms. Hence without doing much you will have already built some trust with users, which ultimately will result in better conversions. This is an excellent way to build brand awareness.
- SEO has the best ROI – SEO is an inbound marketing strategy. This means you are not putting yourself out there and interrupting people with ads. Instead, when people are searching for your products or services, your website shows up in search results and they land on your website. They already have an interest in your products and services, else why would they be searching for those terms? Hence, there is not much more convincing that you need to do. When you rank higher in search results, you have won most of the battle before it even starts.
However, the best way to understand why SEO is important is to take an example of 2 businesses, say A & B that are in the same industry selling similar products.
Business A has a search engine optimized website and constantly improves its rankings. Business B has a website but does not focus on SEO. Which one would you expect to get more leads? Which business is likely to have better conversions? Which business is likely to grow at a faster pace?
Of course, all other things being equal, business A with an optimized website is likely to attract more customers through searches.
Whether your competitors are doing SEO or not, you need to get started with it to get your fair share of organic traffic. If they are doing SEO and you are not, they probably love you right now for giving leads away.
On average, 83 percent of the traffic from search engines comes from SEO, and 17 percent from paid searchSource
SEO Ranking Factors
There are several factors considered by search engines when ranking websites in search results. Here are the major ones that you must optimize for if you want to rank higher in search results,
- Relevant & Optimized Content – Search engine algorithms rely on keywords. These are words and phrases that users search for. So these words and phrases need to be on your website content to guide search engines about your website’s topic. Ideally, the two should match up, i.e keywords that people search for and keywords on your website.
For example, if your website is related to cars, you don’t expect it to show up in search results for computers because your website will have content related to cars. Have you ever realized how accurate search results are? This is usually due to search engines understanding a website’s content and ranking it for only relevant search terms.
Watch our video tutorial on how to find low competition keywords that are relevant to your website.
- Responsiveness – Consider two competitors who have similar websites and sell similar products in a similar niche. If one has a responsive website that fits any screen size, e.g desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones. The other has a non-responsive website that only fits in large-desktops. For search engines, they will rank the responsive website higher in search results. This will result in more traffic to the website that is mobile responsive. Your website should be responsive and not just for ranking purposes only, but also for a better user experience for your visitors.
- Website speed – Another major ranking factor is website speed. Slow website results in poor user experience as visitors won’t waste time waiting for a website to load. Again let’s consider two sites in a similar niche, one website loads in under 3 seconds and the other in 9 seconds. Which website has higher chances to get in better results? Yes, the one that loads in 3 seconds. Search engines will always rank the website that loads faster in top results. There are several ways in which you can increase a website’s speed like, choosing a good host, using caching, optimizing the code, using CDNs, etc.
- Bounce Rate – Another important factor that will impact SEO is how long visitors spend on your website. If a user lands on your website and leaves quickly it means they have most probably not found what they are looking for. Hence they end up looking elsewhere. If your bounce rate is high it means your content is not relevant to the search query. Your website will eventually end up ranking lower.
- Security – An SSL certificate is vital for any website. Not just for ranking purposes but for the overall security of the website. Search engines tend to rank websites that have a valid SSL certificate installed higher in search results. This is to ensure users are not at risk. Watch our video tutorial and learn how to get a free SSL certificate for your website.
Other than an SSL certificate, there are also other ways to improve your website security.
Search engine optimization, therefore, involves identifying the ranking factors considered by search engines and optimizing your website to comply with those ranking factors. Although there are several other ranking factors, the above list contains all the major factors that will impact SEO rankings.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the first things you need to concentrate on your business website. Because, no matter how much ever paid traffic you get on your website, nothing matches the organic traffic from the Search Engines Results Page.
Though you now understand why is SEO important for your website, you may still be confused about where to begin? Like, what are the steps I should take to Optimize the website? It may sound like a monumental task, but trust me, it’s not.
To generate more traffic to your business, check our video tutorial on How to Rank your Website on Google.
And to analyze whether or not your website is driving more traffic, you need to make use of an analytics tool like Google analytics. An analytics tool analyses your website and finds how the number of visitors has increased over time.
To get started, check our detailed tutorial on How to Install and use Google Analytics on your WordPress website.
To more such informational video tutorials, subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Why is SEO important for small businesses?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a key role when it comes to businesses, especially small businesses. Because the more you optimize the website for search engines, the better the organic traffic will be, which will eventually turn into more sales.
- How important is SEO for blogging?
Many blogs struggle with less audience even after having engaging content. Well, it’s probably because of not optimizing their website for search engines. With SEO optimized web pages, blogging can generate more and more organic traffic to the website, which eventually converts to some form of revenue.
- How do search engines rank a website?
Search engines take into account several factors before deciding the position of a particular website. Those factors include,
- Relevant Content
- Website Speed
- Bounce Rate