What is SEO?

by Ren Costantini

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Red Converse sneakers in the SEO Google Search Bar

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website organically (without paid ads) through search engines (such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo) are ranked and indexed.

The process of optimizing your website for the search engines is predicated on improving your organic traffic efforts by increasing visibility. Relatively straight forward, right?

Well, yes and no.
Search Engine Optimization has many different facets to it because websites, the objects of optimization, have many facets to them as well.

SEO Tag Writing

Let’s begin with SEO Tags, the building block and typical first steps to any Search Engine Optimization campaign. Search Engine Optimization Tags, or Meta Data, is what you see in the search engine result pages, also known as a SERP (See screenshot above).

Optimizing your websites SEO Tags, which includes but are not limited too, Title tags, Meta descriptions, Headers, and Image Alternative Text is imperative.

Title tags are what are considered an "On SERP" optimization. Meaning, this is the first touchpoint for your brand. Title tags are what appear in the search results after you type in the search bar and hit “enter”.

The better you rank for certain keywords, the higher probability your chances are for showing up - which comes full circle to improving visibility. When was the last time you checked the second page of Google?

SEO Digression:

Slight caveat, whatever page on your website that the Title tag is for, it needs to be a true representative of that page due to Googles objective - Searcher task accomplishment.

This is why using the proper keywords for your user base or target market audience is paramount. Utilizing common and unique SEO Tools such as MOZ, Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Keyword.io SEO Strategists can analyze monthly search volume, difficulty, and click through rate of various keywords. This is the optimization aspect of abiding by the search engines algorithms and perpetual updates.

Below the title tag rests the meta description. The meta description is a short 145-160 character long description of what the user will find if they click on your link. These meta descriptions should include a call to action (CTA), keywords mentioned in the title tag above, and fit within the above mentioned character limitations. Meta descriptions should be crafted with care and authenticity. Again, since this is an on SERP optimization this is the first touch point for your brand. What do you want to say? How can your short few sentences make an impact?

What is On-Site Search Engine Optimization?

Your user was enticed by your ranking position due to your optimized title tag and authentic meta description, now what? They click through to a page on your website.

This is where the On Site (short for on website) search engine optimizations begin. Header tags (H1’s, 2’s, 3’s, etc) are vital in optimizing your website for the search engines. The header tag should be similar and sometimes even the same as your title tag. The idea being to keep the message congruent from start to finish, and for other key performance indicators (KPI’s) we want people to find what they’re looking for (so do the search engines).

Lastly is image alternative text. Search engines have bots or spider that crawl our websites to then index what our website is. When these bots crawl our websites they understand the coding and the text, but they do not know how to describe images. They do not have eyes like humans and thusly rely on image alternative text to describe to the images to them. Optimizing the image alternative text is describing the image on your website in written form but also includes weaving in target keywords where they fit!

So how will you know what keywords to include in your SEO Tags? I’m sure you’re thinking you know all the words your buyers or users would use and you may be right, but can you rank well for them? Will they get you the visibility you’ll need?

Keyword research is paramount for a multitude of reasons. The objective a professional search engine marketer is to dive into keywords that we feel speak the language of your business while also taking into consideration search volume, keyword difficulty, click through rate and much more.

Finding a balance between keywords that are hard to rank for and easy to rank for with varying monthly search volumes is part of the optimization strategy of the campaign.

Why Small Businesses NEED Affordable SEO Services

While we only covered the definition of SEO, SEO Tag writing, and Onsite SEO - there are still a myriad of facets that make up SEO. Although SEO may appear daunting, and affordable SEO services are few and far between, it is an investment worthy of sincere consideration.

Candidly, Search Engine Optimization is a MUST for any company or individual with a website (especially e-commerce) BUT it’s often thought of as a marathon.

Gaining rankings and seeing an increase in traffic takes time. Search Engine Optimization is content driven, meaning content is needed in order to increase traffic and visibility. This includes new web pages, blogs, and so much more. Thinking of search engine optimization as a long term investment will not only  pay dividends overtime (see what we did there), it will aid all other facets of the digital marketing channels you utilize.

If you or your business is looking for faster results, I’d highly recommend Pay Per Click or PPC. While SEO is irreplaceable it does take some time to see positive uptakes. That being said, the better your SEO the less money you pay in pay per click campaigns and the more traffic you get without paying a search engine for ad services. If you're interested in pursuing PPC, visit our affordable ppc services page for more information.

For affordable SEO services contact Vade Mecum Marketing today. If you're concerned about SEO being right for you and your brand, contact us to schedule a free consultation where we will give you our honest advice on the best next steps to take (even if that means not signing on with us).

We look forward to helping in anyway we can.

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