What is SEO and why do I need it?

We get this question often so we thought we’d share a few things we know about SEO. And don’t worry, we plan to explain it in a way that non-experts can understand. We know experts often talk about SEO as if it’s a language of its own, which it kind of is, but we’re going to explain it in as plain English as possible.

Okay, here we go.

What is SEO?

SEO means Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of getting organic traffic from the Internet to your website.

“Organic” traffic means you have not paid for the user to find your site. Instead, you have “optimized” your site so that your ideal user will find you when they type a search into a search engine.

Search engines, like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, create rankings for all the websites that they are connected to. Those rankings are based on the content within those websites, calculated by an algorithm that decides which site is a better match than the next.

Your site content includes things like text, video, and interactive components within your website.

How it works

Behind what users see when they type a question into Google, for example, are bots that crawl the search engine and gather information related to what the user typed into the search. The crawlers are looking for specific things within all the content on websites that best match the search request.

Those crawlers are also looking for things on the back end of your website (often done by your builder) such as title tags, meta descriptions, and internal links. All of these things help increase your website’s rank on top of the content you have within your site.

Crawlers also consider the amount of traffic your site gets, how compelling your content is, how long people stay on your site, if they share it with others, and if users return multiple times.

There are many more actions that create your site’s SEO, but you get the idea.

After a query is made, crawlers bring all the information they gather back to the search engine to build an index. That index is then fed through an algorithm that tries to match all that data with the query, giving the user their results.

A SERP – search engine results page – is where users see the top 10 best matches on page 1 of their search results. The results on page 1 of the SERP are the websites that the bots deemed the best match to the search based on site content and SEO.

Why you need it

Overall, what you are trying to achieve with SEO is increasing both the quality and quantity of your website traffic through organic search engine results.

Quality of traffic means you attract the right visitors to your site that have an actual interest in what your site offers. For example, you aren’t attracting apple farmers to a site that sells Apple computers. Your site’s SEO should be set up to help the bots know which “apple” you are talking about.

Quantity of traffic, of course, means how many of the right people you are getting to come to your site.

Basic SEO can be achieved without payment involved. However, maximizing your site’s SEO so that your website comes up in the SERP top 10 results is often a paid action optimized by a budget or paid search ads.

We hope this helps you better understand how SEO can be used as a tool to impact the leads and interactions you bring to your website.

Click here for ways you can Optimize Your Website for Findability and Functionality.

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