SEO or search engine optimization is essentially defined as the process of improving both the quality and quantity of website traffic. It also dedicated efforts towards increasing the exposure of your company, brands, and products or services offered, in an organic manner.
It essentially requires understanding what your company’s or blog’s target audience is searching for online that is relevant to your offerings, researching the search terms they use, and finding out the type of content that they are interested in.
By finding the answers to these questions, marketers can create and tailor their content accordingly, and hence make their websites much more relevant and accessible for relevant audiences.
For companies just starting out in the arena of search engine optimization, all of the adjoining information and supporting tools may seem like a lot to digest and may also spew confusion in your marketing team.
However, fear not, as the multitude of online resources on search engine optimization allows individuals to feel involved, and given below is a complete guide for companies starting out with search engine optimization:
An Introduction To SEO
Search engines can be thought of as question-answer machines: you put in a question or a query and the search engine gives you thousands of answers.
However, in order to come up with those thousands of answers, search engines go through and evaluate millions of web pages and compare them on thousands of factors in order to understand and determine which content is likely to be the most relevant answer to your question.
This task of discovering, scourging, and cataloging all websites and web pages on the World Wide Web is done through mainly two processes which are called crawling and indexing, which occur in the same particular order.
Search engines have software that is known as search engine crawlers that handle the tasks of crawling all over the World Wide Web and cataloging content on multiple factors. These are followed by a process called ranking, which essentially refers to the matching of a query with a web page.
Search engine optimization essentially refers to the process of optimizing and creating website content in a way that appeals to search engine crawlers, and puts the website into its “good books”.
The main idea behind search engine optimization is to understand what makes the crawlers make certain pages rank higher than others, and this information is then incorporated by websites into their web pages and content.
What Makes Search Results Organic?
One may question that if websites can simply pay search engines to run their website’s ads on the top of search engine results when a relevant query shows up, why would someone even bother with all this search engine optimization fuss?
The answer to this question is in fact a question: When you search for something online on Google, would you rather trust a paid result that has Google Ads written on top of it in red and in italics, or would you rather place more credibility on a website that appears anywhere on the first page?
The answer, of course, would be in favor of the latter.
The latter is what defines organic search results which are ones that are earned through good search engine optimization practices rather than from paying Google for ad placement. W
hile earlier Google only had two types of results for queries which were essentially paid ads and organic results, it now has a third category of results which are referred to as SERPs. SERPs include both organic and paid content.
SERPs essentially include snippets, answer boxes, and image carousels, and they answer the question the user is looking for without them having to ever open the website link at all.
An example of a SERP would be when you search for the meaning of the term “phenomenon” and instead of a link to a web page that has the meaning of the said term, Google results simply feature a snippet or box that has the meaning of the term.
Companies should remember that Google and other search engines earn from paid advertising and their ultimate goal is to give their customer the best possible and most relevant answers to their queries to ensure that they keep coming back to them.
Types of SEO
Now that you are familiar with what search engine optimization is and what it stands for, you need to know the different types of search engine optimization efforts that exist. In order to truly optimize your website and to the top of Google’s search engine results, you need to invest in and incorporate all three types which are given below:
1) On-page SEO
On-page SEO refers to anything and everything on your web pages which may include company, product, or service introductions, contact details, web copy, blogs, testimonials, and product or service reviews.
On-page SEO typically includes efforts that focus on optimizing blogs, including relevant keywords, using title tags, meta tags, image alt tags, and incorporating internal links in the website content.
3) Off-page SEO
Off-page SEO refers to all search engine optimization efforts directed towards any place other than your websites such as guest posting and backlinks.
Efforts towards Off-page SEO involve a situation in which reputed external websites, that are both relevant to your website and have a high page authority, include a link on their web page that leads the reader back to your web pages or website.
What happens here is that Google associates the external website’s high page authority as a good sign, and assigns some of that page authority to your website as well and hence increasing your ranking in search engine results.
4) Technical SEO
Technical SEO refers to all search engine optimization efforts that are technical in nature and are aimed towards improving search ranking.
It involves efforts that make it easier for Google’s search engine crawlers to index your website and typically include optimizing your website for mobile usage, reducing image size, making web pages load faster, and working on user experience.
Why Your Company Needs SEO: Its Benefits and Advantages
It is hard to imagine a company that has an online presence has nothing to do with SEO or related efforts in this day and age. The benefits of SEO are innumerable for companies and its advantages are unmatchable. Given below are a few reasons why your company needs SEO:
SEO helps you target quality traffic
Search engine optimization can be thought of as an inbound marketing strategy that has a customer-centric approach.
Instead of traditional outbound methods that involve cold-calling and disrupting consumer privacy, search engine optimization focuses on creating helpful content and resources that are sought out by the customers themselves.
Not only does it result in inconvenience for the customers it also gives your business qualified leads by bringing only relevant audiences to your website.
SEO helps you gain a competitive advantage
Search engine optimization is the staple food in any company’s marketing strategy, which means while you should place a strong focus on your SEO strategy, your competitors are most likely doing so.
The higher your ranking is on a search engine, the more potential customers are likely to land on your website and not on your competitors.
Search engine ranking has become almost competitive amongst industries, and by investing in SEO and achieving a higher ranking than your competitors, you are likely to gain a competitive edge.
SEO helps establish your credibility and trust in consumers
Appearing on the first page of search engine results is completely a result of your search engine optimization efforts and on the authority you create.
Your website will now have relevant content, a good user experience, and superior performance for your target audience. All of these elements combined help create and build your credibility in consumers’ eyes, which leads them to put their trust in your company.
Why You Should Consider Outsourcing SEO Services
Outsourcing your SEO services essentially refers to using an external company’s services and expertise for search engine optimization. While most companies want to pursue search engine optimization themselves, they either lack the expertise or the human resources to do so.
In order to build an in-house SEO team, managers would have to conduct thorough research and then hire executives to carry out the task for them.
However, by outsourcing the task to reputed and experienced SEO agencies, companies would be able to get the same services at a fraction of the price of what it would cost for them to run an in-house operation.
In addition to the obvious cost savings, given below are a few other benefits of outsourcing SEO services:
You can benefit from their experience and expertise
SEO companies have in-house teams that perform search engine optimization services day-in and day-out, and since this is essentially their only occupation, they stay up-to-date with all SEO trends and changes.
Since Google’s ranking algorithms change continuously, you need a full-time dedicated team of resources that keeps track of all these changes, and this is exactly what an SEO company would do for you.
You can benefit from their established processes
If you build an in-house team from scratch, you’d have to spend time on establishing all processes and procedures.
This may include detailing your projects, making necessary changes, establishing deadlines, and mapping out routines.
However, by outsourcing SEO functions to a professional service provider, you’d be able to make use of established processes and functions that they have already in place running smoothly.
You can benefit from their industry linkages and connections
An important part of search engine optimization is guest posting, which is essentially posting blogs relevant to your company or industry on other popular blogging websites.
These blogs contain links that take the reader back towards your website and the high authority of the blogging website reflects nicely in the eyes of Google’s search engine crawler.
However, guest posting requires you to have a ton of connections and linkages in the blogging industry, which can take years to form.
By outsourcing your SEO, you’d be able to benefit from the SEO company’s established linkages and connections
Things To Consider When Outsourcing SEO Services
Once you have decided to go ahead with the plan to outsource your SEO efforts, you will now get online and search for companies that provide SEO services.
You may also speak to a few companies, shortlist them, view company profile and then make your decision.
When handing over the responsibilities of your SEO company to an SEO provider, there are a few things you may need to consider which include:
Match your needs with the service offering
Prior to hiring an SEO firm, you need to first understand what your SEO needs are and then match them with the service offerings of shortlisted companies.
For instance, if you only need to outsource guest posting to an SEO company, and the said company has experience in all things SEO except for guest posting, you now know that you need to look elsewhere.
Your needs may include wanting quality backlinks, improving social media presence, updating your website for mobile use, or researching apt keywords, and hence you should choose your provider accordingly.
Match the service provider’s availability with yours
Many off-shore SEO providers operate remotely and it is quite possible that an SEO provider that suits both your budget and your needs is located in a time zone different from yours.
This would mean that both of your companies are likely to have different operating and business hours, which could possibly make communication difficult.
Prior to hiring an SEO firm, ensure that they have a few dedicated resources working in your respective time zone which is a reality for most off-shore companies as they hire human resources for night shifts to better suit their clients’ time zones.
Check their testimonials and references
Prior to hiring an SEO company, be sure to check their client testimonials on their website. You may also try to verify those testimonials by approaching the said client on LinkedIn or other professional platforms.
In addition to those testimonials, also be sure to ask your SEO company for references whom you can possibly get in touch with.
By getting in touch with a client that has previously worked with your chosen SEO company, you would be able to gauge whether or not you are making the right decision
Check whether their strategies are in compliance with Google’s regulations
A very big red flag that you can spot while outsourcing your SEO to another company is their use of black hat SEO techniques.
Black hat SEO essentially refers to unethical practices that try to cheat Google’s search engine crawlers and try to achieve a higher search engine ranking through manipulation.
Some of these unethical techniques include using irrelevant but trending keywords, doorway pages, and invisible text.
While these techniques temporarily improve your website’s search engine ranking, once discovered by Google your website can be penalized and banned from the platform.
If you figure that your chosen SEO company is involved in black hat SEO, it is your signal to run away and never return.
Check whether they have well-defined and promised results
Prior to settling on an SEO company, be sure to check whether or not they can give you a straight answer about the proposed results of their SEO campaign.
If you feel the company beating about the bush even slightly with this answer, you should know that they may be making false promises under the pretense that “SEO takes time and patience”.
While SEO does take time and patience for its results to materialize, your company should be able to give you a tentative timeline and results for the outcomes of its efforts.
Biggest SEO Trends To Look Out For In 2022
Since search engine optimization efforts are constantly changing in line with Google’s algorithm, you need to ensure that your SEO strategy incorporates all trending practices.
Given below are some of the SEO trends that you need to look out for in 2022:
Artificial intelligence and SEO
Artificial intelligence has grown in its impact tremendously with it now affecting almost all ways of how consumers interact online, and SEO is no exception. The machine learning model known as GPT-3 gave birth to a number of SEO content tools that are powered by artificial intelligence which include Jarvis and CopyAi.
These are likely to empower companies and teams in creating powerful SEO content much faster than ever, as these tools can assist in the development of article topics, titles, meta descriptions, and even content.
Core Web Vitals and their optimization
Core Web Vitals are now an important factor in Google’s determination of web pages’ search engine ranking and essentially include three metrics which are LCP, FID, and CLS.
LCP stands for Largest Contentful Paint which refers to measuring website speed and essentially measures the amount of time it takes for the heaviest content on a website to load.
FID stands for First Input Delay which refers to website responsiveness and measures how long the website takes to respond to a user’s first interaction.
CLS stands for Cumulative LayouT Shift and refers to measuring the number of unexpected layout shifts during the loading and lifespan of web pages.
While keyword research is an integral part of search engine optimization, as Google’s NLP technology has progressed over the years, keyword research has become much more complex than it used to be.
While earlier marketers optimized their web pages for simply one keyword, Google now requires landing pages to use multiple keywords to be ranked high.
This technique essentially refers to keyword clustering which is defined as the practice of identifying and using multiple keywords with the same or similar search intent and optimizing web pages on the basis of those keyword clusters.
An example of a keyword cluster would be online image editing software, online picture editing tool, online image editing, digital picture editing tool, etc.
While search engine optimization may seem daunting for a company just starting out, know that with the right techniques and right guidance under your wing, you’d be able to build and execute your search engine strategy seamlessly and in no time.