What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the set of techniques and methodologies dedicated to improving online visibility for a website’s organic search rankings.
All major search engines have primary search results and set algorithms to rank organic search results based on what’s most relevant to the user’s search query. SEO involves both on and off page efforts. Unlike paid search, there is no money involved to have a website’s content appear on the first page of search engine results.
Why is SEO important?
Regardless of the size of a business, improving online presence is vital for increasing one’s brand awareness. Putting forth efforts in both on-page and off-page optimization will benefit your website and business in the long run. While these efforts require time to see results and patience throughout the process, the results of SEO are long-lasting and sustainable, unlike the methods of SEM, which require constant cash input.
Some benefits of SEO include the following:
- Cost effective
- Improved CTR
- Higher credibility with users
- Sustainable visibility
- Brand awareness
As this field has been gaining ground over the years, investing time in SEO will either help you gain an edge on competitors or get in the game depending on the efforts they have taken themselves. Through the proper implementation of SEO, a website can increase in rank on Google’s search engine results page, and therefore improve its visibility and in turn click-through-rate.
Improving a site’s ranking within a search engine doesn’t just help with visibility but also gives more credibility to a website. Ranking higher in SERPs for a site’s targeted keywords gives that business a sense of authority over those ranking underneath and appear to be more trusted by the user entering search queries. By improving a site’s ranking, you’re building brand awareness as this increased visibility can bring in a significant amount of traffic, new users, and potential new customers.
How has SEO Changed Over Time?
Only coming into existence in the early 1990s, SEO has changed dramatically from what it once was. Links were more so about quantity than quality, keywords were stuffed and abused with hidden text, and content was created for the search engine instead of the user.
Throughout the years, however, Google and other search engines have introduced major updates to their algorithms, like Google’s Panda and Penguin updates that penalize sites practicing these spammy and low-quality habits.
Today, the responsibilities that fall into the spectrum of SEO are continually expanding. Within the last few years, the push for mobile-friendliness, HTTPS, machine learning and semantic search, and union of SEO and social media marketing have taken the headlines of the search industry. In a field that is constantly evolving and will continue to do so, it’s certain to keep digital marketers on their toes. While the technical aspects of SEO have remained a staple for any website, content creation and user experience have become a necessary practice to ensure the quality of a site for its user.