An Introduction to SEO

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What if I told you that there was something that could drive traffic 24/7 to your website, bringing high quality leads to landing pages, or make you a thought leader in your industry.

SEO can do all that and more. What is SEO though?

This question has probably sprung up in your mind during a conversation with a marketing specialist, consultant, or maybe even a friend. SEO is a very broad topic, and one we cover a lot here at Centori and for good reason – there are a lot of benefits it provides.

Here, we will define SEO as well as introduce you to some basic concepts of why SEO is important and how you can become a SEO master for your business.

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym standing for search engine optimization. SEO is the art of ranking high on a search engine in the unpaid section also known as the organic listings.

In other words, SEO is a process of optimizing your online content so that search engines position your content as the top result when searching for a specific keyword.

Obviously, the higher a website ranks in a search engine, the more likely it is people will view it. A goal for any business would be to rank on one of the first pages in search results; ideally it would even be the first page!

In order to attain that lofty goal, you must think strategically. Your website must be filled with quality and well-optimized content tailored to your audience’s needs. The content in that website should be good enough to be linked from other websites too.

If things start to get technical take a step back and think about it this way: Google’s success depends on how well it answers questions, SEO is the practice of creating content that clearly answers a question, and answers it better than anyone else.

Why is SEO so Important?

It may seem obvious why SEO is important, but humor us a bit here.

Ranking near the top of search engine results means that more people are likely to click on your website and explore the products and services you have to offer. However, let’s explore this topic in further depth.

One important factor to consider is what happens if you do not account for SEO in your content marketing strategy. By neglecting to optimize your content, you risk losing out on potential customers to competitors who rank higher in search engine results compared to yours. When someone is searching for information or products similar to what you offer, you want to show up. If you don’t, you’ll appear irrelevant next to your competition, and no one wants that.

Ultimately, in order to show up you need to consider the algorithms that search engines use in providing searchers with information.

How Can I Improve my rank on Google?

After looking at the basics of SEO, you may be wondering, “This information is great but how exactly do I go about improving my SEO skills?”

That is not an easy question to answer as there are many avenues open to beginning content marketers. However, we will look at several possible steps forward and will refer to these steps again as we write more on SEO this year.

In order to present this topic, we will separate these tips into two different categories: onsite and offsite SEO. Alternatively, these terms can be referred to as on-page and off-page SEO.

What is Onsite SEO?

Onsite SEO means optimizing your website to affect organic search results. This SEO strategy entails everything related to your website from content itself to more technical aspects such as meta tags, headlines, URL structure, image optimization and more.

When you search for something, search engines like Google try to find the best content they can to answer your question. There’s a lot that goes into these complex algorithms but really they just determine what the best content might be by its quality and freshness.

Quality Content

At it’s core, you need to produce compelling content. A term we often use is remarkable – meaning something that causes a reaction. That should be your goal: to cause a reaction with every piece of content you create.

Don’t half-ass your blog posts or landing pages. Go deep into topics you are knowledgable about, research them thoroughly, and try to teach your visitors something. People can spot bad content a mile away, but good content can be a real diamond in the rough.

Ultimately, quality content is about becoming the best teacher you can be on a topic.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is an important element of onsite SEO and possibly the most relevant when examining the results that appear in search engines.

Keywords can be defined as the terms people are searching for when they search on Google, Bing or another search engine.

Before you begin researching keywords it’s crucial to know your buyer personas and understand the problems they face and the terms they use. If you’re new to keyword research, start with a brainstorm session and think about the common questions your customers have. Check out the blogs they tend to read or even forum sites like reddit to do some deeper analysis.

When choosing a keyword for your website, you will want to examine a term’s search volume as well as its relevance to your prospective customers. Also keep in mind how competitive the keyword is – a simple Google search gives you an idea of how many results there are for a given keyword, and who’s currently ranking in the top 10.

Fresh Content

In addition to creating quality content, you need to keep your content fresh. Fresh content means keeping your posts updated and current. If new information comes, give the posts a review and update them as needed. Google favors content that is maintained over content that gets stale.

If your post is thorough and explores the issue in depth, your onsite SEO will explode with improved SEO results.

What is Offsite SEO?

Offsite, or off-page, SEO covers all activities you can do to improve the website SEO authority through getting backlinks from other websites. In order to boost your offsite SEO, think about how to incorporate email outreach, guest blogging, social media interactions, cooperation with influencers and writing content that others will share on their website.

This is external stuff, how successful you are will come down to how comfortable you are at reaching out to folks. If the thought of pitching makes you nervous, take a deep breath and focus on building relationships and adding value – that’s how you can succeed. Something as simple as linking to another source, and reaching out to let them know opens the door to a partnership down the road.

Next Steps

As you can see, SEO is a complicated topic. Hopefully this short introduction provides a few helpful insights into how you can get started improving the SEO rank on your website.

In the end, SEO is about creating good content that answers questions, and creating it in a way that Google understands that will enable your website to appear near the top page in Google results.

Throughout the year and beyond, we will be focusing on many topics outlined here in greater depth but if you would like to explore more information on SEO, consider checking out our other posts for more information on SEO.

Take some time to think about how you can incorporate these tips into your digital marketing strategy.

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