What Is SEO Anyway? Branding in the Digital Age

SEO: What’s That?

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. Still doesn’t answer your question? LOL (that stands for Laugh Out Loud). When it comes to terms like SEO, SERPs, ranking, keywords, organic search, PPC advertising, and link building (to name a few), you may feel about as out of your element as you do when trying to decipher your teenager’s latest text messages. New terms seem to pop up all the time and can get quite confusing. Not to worry; we’re here to help! Well… probably not with your teen’s text messages (that’s another subject altogether); but as for the rest, read on: answers await!

Simply put, Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your website the most popular of the crowd. It’s how to get your website recognized as being more important than AND ranked by search engines (such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing) higher than your competitors’ websites. Highest ranked sites obviously appear in searches first, with the rest of the sites following according to their ranking order.

Search engines have several different jobs to do: crawl the web (check out the place), build indexes (take notes of the place), analyze site relevancy to calculate rank (determine who is popular), and provide search results (based on who is popular). In order to determine site popularity, search engines are capable of “considering” numerous factors, such as the number of links to and from your site, keyword usage on your site (as a whole and on its pages), overall site content, traffic (or visitors) to your site, and more.

Keywords (and key phrases) are important words related to your products or services that should be incorporated throughout your site, as search engines refer to these when providing search results. Associating the correct keywords to your website is an extremely important part of SEO. For example: Let’s say your company sells shiny blue things. When a potential customer types the key phrase “shiny blue things” into a Google search, sites using that phrase will appear in Google’s result pages. (By the way, those results are called SERPs, or Search Engine Results Pages.) With the correct SEO, your site will rank high for that key phrase and appear high in the SERPs. This increases the amount of traffic to your site, which in turn means increased business possibilities.

When a user types in a keyword or phrase and finds your website organically, this means your site appears in a SERP naturally (free). PPC (Pay Per Click) or paid advertising is the opposite. For PPC advertising, you bid on keywords and phrases that are relevant to your site. When a visitor types in one of those keywords or phrases, site advertisements will usually appear at the top and to the right of the SERPs. Those appearances are called impressions. If the user clicks on your ad, you must pay for that click. The cost of the click depends upon the price of your bid. Links to and from (and within) your site are important also.

External links are connections from one site to another site. Internal links are connections from one page of a site to another page within the same site. When done correctly, external links to your site from other sites will promote your site’s popularity. Blogging and social media networking are excellent tools for link building.

In summary, SEO concentrates on how to best promote a website’s popularity within search engines. There are many factors to consider when integrating SEO into a website. Just as with teenagers, these factors become quite complex and are constantly changing. SEO experts have an in-depth knowledge of the field and are committed to staying abreast of new developments in order to maintain expert status. We share SEO basics in order for you to understand its importance. Pinpointing how to maximize importance and rank of your website by search engines leads to its greatest organic potential and truly is the key to SEO success.

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