Search Engine Optimization is the tool that allows you to drive organic traffic to your website: here you will find all the information about SEO what it is and what benefits it offers to your web marketing strategy.
Whether you are a content creator professionally or otherwise, if you have an online presence (and I hope you do) you cannot overlook one of the most useful tools for increasing your visibility in the digital welter.
I'm talking about SEO, which is. Search Engine Optimization, which is that technique that basically allows you to channel traffic at no cost to your website or any of your pages.
Perhaps you are already an expert in it, and then in that case you will find a simple review here; otherwise, in this article you will understand in a simple way what SEO is, what it consists of, and why it is so important for your web marketing strategy.
What is SEO?
As I mentioned, SEO stands for. Search Engine Optimization, literally therefore "search engine optimization."
It is a set of processes that serve to improve the visibility of your website, ranking you higher on the results page (of Google, for example).
Search is one of the main ways in which people discover your content online: occupying the top positions among the results can therefore lead to an increase in organic traffic to your website (where organic traffic is defined as the set of people who find you without you having spent money to advertise with paid ads).
As such, it is a crucial part of any digital marketing strategy.
The higher the visibility of your pages in search results, in fact, the more likely you will be found and clicked on.
In essence, SEO aims to meet users' search needs by creating relevant, high-quality content and providing the best possible user experience so as to attract visitors who will become loyal customers.
It encompasses a whole range of techniques, including the use of keywords, inserting links and links of various types, optimizing the URL and meta description of a page, and so on (we will see everything in more detail in a moment).
Of course, on its own it is not enough to guarantee you the success you desire: it needs to be implemented in conjunction with other digital marketing strategies, such as the PPC advertising o email marketing.
How is SEO different from SEM and PPC?
You may have already come across these other two acronyms, SEM and PPC, so now you're a little confused as to what they are and whether or not they have anything to do with SEO.
Let's make this clear right away.
SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing and includes all those strategies that are used to get traffic and visibility from search engines.
So it's the same thing as SEO?
Yes and no: SEM includes SEO, but it does not end with it, because it also includes activities to drive traffic to your site that are paid (so-called PPC advertising).
Imagine SEM is a coin: SEO is one side, while PPC is the other.
In fact, most search engine results pages contain two types of results: organic (you have to "earn" your position, through SEO) and paid (you have to pay to be there, through PPC).
PPC stands for pay-per-click, a type of digital marketing in which you pay each time one of your ads is clicked on.
You might ask, why not just use paid advertising to be among the first (being able to afford it)?
The answer is simple: the vast majority of people simply ignore ads (or intentionally avoid them) and instead click on organic results .
Yes, SEO requires more time, effort and, although it focuses on "free" organic traffic, a lot of resources as well.
But once you are positioned for your target keywords, you can reach more people and generate "passive" traffic that does not disappear the moment you stop paying.
Another key point: it is important to never think of it as "SEO vs. PPC" (i.e., which one is better) because these are complementary channels and each plays a different role within marketing strategies. They are not in competition with each other, on the contrary: together they can get you great results if used effectively.
The three pillars of SEO
Well, now that we've got some clarity on terminology and what SEO means, let's go a little deeper.
We can divide SEO into three main components or pillars:
- Technical SEO;
- On-site SEO;
- Off-site SEO.
Imagine SEO as a soccer team, where you need both a strong offense and a strong defense to win - just as you need fans (i.e., an audience).
Here, think of the first as the defense, the second as the offense and the third as the way to attract, engage and maintain a loyal fan base.
It aims to optimize your site from a technical point of view, through processes that are not related to content.
Some ways include having an XML sitemap, structuring content in an intuitive way for user experience, and improving site performance such as page load times, proper image sizing, and hosting.
On-page optimization is the process of ensuring that the content on your site is relevant, relevant and provides a great user experience.
In SEO, your content must be optimized for two main audience "segments": people and search engines. This means that you optimize the content that your audience will see (what is actually on the page) and what the search engines will see (the code).
This means including the right keywords in the titles and body of text and ensuring that each page includes meta descriptions, internal site links and external links to other reputable sites, as well as a good keyword URL.
The goal, always, is to publish useful, high-quality content.
It is a technique for improving rankings through activities outside the website. These largely include backlinks, which are links that other sites make to your website, which can be generated by partnerships, social media marketing and guest blogging.
How does SEO work?
To understand how SEO works, you need to understand how search engines work.
Let's start with an assumption: the ultimate goal of any search engine is to make users happy with the results they find.
To reach it, they must then find the best pages and show them as the first results.
Google, for example (I mention this because it is the most popular), uses the following steps to find and rank content:
- Scan: uses various programs to scan the Web for new or updated pages;
- Indexing: analyzes each page and tries to make sense of what it is about, then stores this information and adds it to a database;
- Ranking: when a user enters a query, Google determines which pages are the best, both in terms of quality and relevance, and ranks them in the SERP; it does this with relatively complex processes, known as "algorithms," that take into account multiple ranking factors .
Your job is to help search engines do this.
Main SEO techniques
So basically, what does it mean to apply SEO?
Using SEO as a digital marketing strategy essentially means implementing the following techniques:
Keyword research and selection
That's the starting point: you need to research keywords on the terms for which you prefer to rank, while also considering what your competitors are doing and targeting longer word combinations.
Quality content creation
Pages are more likely to appear higher in SERPs by creating quality content relevant to readers and their search queries.
Development of effective titles, URLs, and meta descriptions
Page titles should include the keyword focus of the page, and meta descriptions should be brief summaries of what a user should expect to read.
The URL must also contain the main keyword.
Using the Alt Tag in Images
The Alt (or Text Alternative) Tag is used to describe an image on a web page. This is critical for the bot that scan the site to figure out what the image represents-and is another opportunity to insert keywords.
Insertion of backlinks
Since links from external websites are one of the main ranking factors in Google, being able to get high-quality ones is one of the main levers of SEO.
Sites that acquire links from other sites gain authority and quality in the eyes of search engines, especially if the linking sites are themselves authoritative.
Use of internal links
External links are not the only thing that matters for SEO: internal links, that is, those that lead within one's own site, also play an important role.
Why is SEO important?
SEO is a key part of online marketing because search is one of the main ways users browse the Web.
Every day, in fact, people ask Google billions of questions: every time they want to go somewhere, do something, find information, research or buy a product/service, their journey starts with a search.
To take advantage of the potential of this traffic source, you must appear in the top search results. The correlation is very simple: the higher you rank, the more people will visit your page.
Organic result #1 is 10 times more likely to receive a click than a page ranked in position #10.
And the top three organic results get more than 50% of all clicks.
This is where SEO comes in.
Search engine optimization plays a key role in improving your rankings: better positions mean more traffic. And more traffic means new lead, major brand awareness and more likely to increase your customer base.
In other words, neglecting SEO would mean neglecting one of the most important traffic channels, leaving that space completely open to your competitors.
But that's not all: SEO also offers other important benefits.
Builds trust and credibility
Sites that rank high in SERPs are considered quality, authoritative and more reliable. The results shown on the first page are the most relevant, resulting in greater credibility for the company or website.
This consequently strengthens your perception as a leading expert and thought leader In your industry.
Provides a competitive advantage
When good SEO is implemented consistently, those that do it more and better will outperform the competition.
Reaches more people
SEO helps attract any user at any time, regardless of what stage of the buying journey they are in.
Supports content marketing
By having a list of keywords and building content around them, users are more likely to find the information they are looking for. Content and SEO work in harmony with each other. A site will rank better by creating useful, high-quality content optimized for those keywords.
It is sustainable
Another reason why SEO is critical for brands and businesses is that, unlike other marketing channels, good SEO work is sustainable and long-lasting. When a paid campaign ends, so does the traffic - similarly, traffic from social media is also unreliable at best.
Provides quantifiable results
There are analytical tools and data that can be used to measure the effectiveness of SEO efforts. Google Analytics can provide comprehensive data on organic traffic, which includes the pages that customers interacted with and the keywords used in search.
This data can then be cross-referenced with the planned actions taken to see how SEO played a role in customer engagement or acquisition.
Conclusion: but isn't SEO dead?
One of the best ways to learn SEO is to experiment. Practical experience is necessary to improve your skills and deepen your knowledge.
So try various tactics and techniques, find out what works and what doesn't.
Remember well, though: even when you have fully and effectively implemented your SEO strategy, your work is not done.
By itself, in fact, SEO is not enough to ensure you have a solid online presence and make sure your leads turn into paying customers.
Now, I don't know if you know this (and if you do, I'm telling you now), but I wrote a book about it a few years ago...
Which is actually titled "SEO is Dead."
Yes, I already know what's on your mind: but so, after all we've said so far, what does it mean?
Is SEO something still useful in web marketing, yes or no?
The answer is clearly yes, only my provocation was referring to the fact that there are plenty of alternative strategies and traffic sources to it.
The quality principles of SEO should certainly be pursued in order to create top-notch content, but it is equally true that the game of traffic and customer acquisition is now being played heavily in other terrains (such as social networks or email marketing) and through much finer tactics, such as retargeting and customer profiling.
To disregard these, consequently, would already put you at a disadvantage.
If you want to learn more about it, of course, I recommend you read my book: you can find it here.
But now tell me, do you use SEO?
Let me know in the comments!
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