Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Simplified
Search Engine Optimization is the process of ranking higher in the organic section of the search engine results pages (SERPs), to position your company right where people are looking for the goods and services you offer at all stages in the buying cycle, from initial research, to vendor selection and engagement.
The concepts and details of Search Engine Optimization and what it and what it takes to rank highly in the SERPs is unknown to most business people, giving it an air of mystery. Combined with the fact that it is intangible, complex, hard to understand, AND can be expensive and time consuming , and most small business people remain wary when the subject comes up.
And this is exactly why it is important to simplify Search Engine Optimization for people. Since SEO had the lowest long term cost of customer acquisition of all the major Internet Marketing techniques, it can provide tremendous benefit and ROI to companies that understand it’s value and are willing to commit to SEO internally or by working with a qualified and experienced Internet Marketing Consultant.
The easiest way to simplify SEO is to boil it down into its two foundation aspects—Relevance and Authority.
A primary role of the search engines is to act as a broker for the person entering in a search string or keyword phrase into the search engine. It is their responsibility to comb the universe of websites to identify those it thinks have the most relevant content on their site that matches the searchers keyword phrase.
Achieving Relevance is done through “On Page” SEO, and is focused on the quality of your content, the focus of your metadata and how search engine friendly it is. This can also be called “Content Optimization”. If everything is in alignment and consistent, this will provide your website with higher rankings in the SERPs. There are many detailed requirements to execute “On Page” SEO thoroughly and correctly, which will be discussed in later articles.
Besides ensuring that your site has relevant content that meets the searcher’s needs, the Search Engines also want to ensure that your site is authoritative, credible, and popular. This is called “Off Page” SEO, and is based on the steady accumulation of “links”, or having your website’s url mentioned on other websites, blogs, directories and social bookmark sites around the world. The implication is that if other sites are willing to include your url on their site, then they must be vouching for you—essentially saying that you are an authority on the content on your website. Here also, there are many approaches to building links and a good SEO can educate you and provide these services to you.
So to rank higher, and to maintain your high ranking, you need a combination of both “On Page” and “Off Page” SEO, to establish Relevance and Authority. Each search engine may place a different emphasis on these elements in their ranking algorithm, but every single search engine bases their rankings on some combination of Relevance (content) and Authority (links).
Successful Search Engine Optimization Requires Both Content and Links
Everyone has an opinion on what is necessary for effective Search Engine Optimization–some people will say that all you need is Links, that with enough Links the search engines will rank you high. Others believe that all you need is great content on your site aligned well with keywords and metatags. My opinion—you cannot have a truly effective and successful search engine optimization strategy without tightly integrating both content creation/optimization and link building. If either dimension is left out, your website will not even come close to reaching its potential for rankings, traffic, and sales. And isn’t that what we are after? So if you are going to commit to increasing your lead flow and revenue on the Internet, don’t go halfway down the path. Focus on both Relevance and Authority, Content AND Links, to achieve your business objectives.