What is SEO? Why is SEO Important?

What is Search Engine Optimization?

The true definition of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be stated as a highly specialized process of building a successful website. We say successful because if a commercial website cannot be found in the major search engines, it is not successful, it just isn’t doing its job.

According to Wikipedia Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results as opposed to search engine marketing (SEM) which deals with paid inclusion.

Why is Search Engine Optimization Important?

The reason why you built your website is to showcase your products and services so that your potential customers will know about it and thus increase your revenue and brand value.

But how will your future customers know that you exist?

The answer is ‘Search Engines’. People use Search Engines to find more about products and services they need.

For example if a person residing in US wants a freelancer in India to build a website for him, the easiest way to get a service provider is to Search for ‘Freelance web designer India’. But how will he choose? Because such a query will give him thousands of results detailing each and every free lance designer in India. He will not be able to go through every provider. So the best possibility is that he will choose some companies appearing in the first 2 or 3 pages and send queries to them to see if they are available.

The same rule applies to 95% of internet population. People go through results appearing in the first 2 or 3 pages of the Search Engine and will not look further. So each time a search is made for a product or service you are providing and if your competitors are ranking better, you lose a potential customer. This is where Search Engine Optimization has its role.

In short:

  • SEO helps your website to rank better in Search Engine
  • It helps to build a brand value.
  • It is the easiest method to target the global market
  • It helps to win more customers and revenue

What are the usual trends of people while they use a Search Engine?

  • People do not go through more than 2 or 3 pages of search results.
  • People have a feeling that the websites ranking top for queries are more trusted and have the best information.

“Millions of Searches are made each day, hundreds of potential customers are looking for products or services similar to yours, and all are guided by the above two simple rules. If you are not ranking, you lose the market.”

I can display my ads through news paper advertisements, TV and other advertising media. Then why should I go for SEO?

The reasons are simple.

  • The internet is a global media; it can be viewed and accessed from any part of the world.
  • Advertisements through TV and news papers are mostly constrained to a geographic area.
  • News paper ads have only 1 day life.
  • Advertisements through TV need not viewed by everyone as they will be displayed randomly.
  • These short life advertisements costs you much more than what it would online.
  • Ads in TV and other media are viewed by everyone, it cannot be targeted to a group of people who requires your service.

What are the benefits of SEO over other marketing media?

Search Engine Optimization is known as an Inbound Marketing method (technically). This means you will get inbound leads for your business using SEO; and inbound leads are the most likely to convert to a sale.

  • Your ads are viewed only by targeted customers.
  • It is much more economical than advertising through other media.
  • Your reach is global.
  • The number of internet users is increasing globally. This provides you a growing market.
  • Life of the optimised website in SE position is much higher compared to other media like newspapers which has only a day’s life.

Common Terms used in Internet Marketing:

SEO: Search Engine Optimization

SMO: Social Media Optimization- Includes marketing your website through Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Social Bookmarking websites and forums.

Keyword: It is the word or words used for a query in Search Engines. For example, if you are looking for a web designer from India, the keywords can be “Web designer India” or “India web designer

SERP: Search Engine Ranking Position: The ranking position of your website in Search engine for a keyword.

Backlinks: Links pointing to your website from another website. For example, someone is making a comment in his website regarding a product you are selling, he will include a link to your website.

How is a website optimized?

Each search engine has an algorithm using which the website rankings are determined for a query. They are one of best guarded secrets in the world. But each algorithm is built on the assumption that the more number of Backlinks a website has, the more will be its relevance and hence so will be the ranking.

SEO Process consist of:

1. Keyword Research
2. Competitor analysis
3. On-Page optimization
4. Off-page optimization

Keyword research:

It is one of the toughest jobs in SEO. Not every keyword benefits you. Some highly competitive keywords (Keywords for which most sites of your niche are optimized) will drive large traffic to your website, but will offer only fewer conversions.

For example: If you are a web developer located in india, you will get more conversions for the keyword ’Web Developer India’ than for the term ‘Web Developer’. The latter being highly competitive needs more time and money to be optimized while the former requires lesser efforts and at the same time offers more customers.

Keyword Research includes finding potential keywords that has the least competition. Proper keyword research helps you to get better benefits for a smaller budget.

Competitor Analysis:

It is important to know what your competitors are doing. This applies to both direct marketing and online marketing, we need to check the strategy used by your competitors and follow a strategy formulated from it. In SEO we need to find out how your competitors are ranking and for which keywords. From competitor analysis we can find out the cost and time we need to put in our SEO efforts.

On-page Optimization:

It involves modification in your website design and codes.

  • Optimizing your site design and structure according to Search Engine Ranking algorithms (content, meta tags, descriptions, image alt-tags, titles, link structure, Site Navigation)
  • Implementing Google analytics and tracking traffic trends, keywords, goals, conversion rates etc.
  • Setting up a sitemap account to ensure 100% visibility of contents by bots.

Off-Page Optimization:

Off-Page SEO mainly consists of building links to your website from other websites.

What are the different link building methods?

  • Directory submission: Listing your website in web directories.
  • Article submission: Writing and submitting articles and reviews about your products in article directories.
  • Blog reviews: Reviewing your service or product in popular blogs.
  • Bookmarking: Bookmarking your website in popular social bookmarking websites to make it known to other users.
  • One-way links: Getting links from related websites.
  • Forum Posting: Posting in forums of your niche to find potential customers and also to increase Backlinks.

Is SEO the last word of Internet marketing?

Definitely not. But it is the cost effective method of online marketing.

What are the other methods for Internet Marketing?

Social Media Optimization, Paid listings, blogging and paid ad display are the other common methods of Internet Marketing.

Which are the main Social Marketing Media you use?

Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

How do social media like Twitter and Facebook help to improve your business?

Social media like Twitter and Facebook help you to interact with your prospective customers globally. It is easier to notify people you interact with about your promotional offers, service upgrades etc. Also it is a great source for getting customer feedback on your latest products or services. Social media promotions help to create a brand image which is very helpful in improving your business.

Above all using social media is the best way to educate people about your products or services. Your brochures, articles, guidelines etc can be displayed for your prospective customers through these media. Once your prospective customers are familiar with your products or services they will not hesitate to use them once needed.