Back to Basics: An Introduction to Search Engine Optimization

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It’s 2018, and if you don’t know what search engine optimization is by now, you might want to ask yourself if you’ve fully embraced digital marketing. No business of any size, shape, or age can survive in this day and age unless they have an online presence. And no website can survive without proper S-E-O. So, are you ready to take some notes? Because today, we’re going to cover the very basics. Class is in session!

Search Engine Optimization: What’s in a Name?

Like we said, we’re starting with the basics. So what is SEO? Moz says it best: “SEO is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines.”

What Role Do Search Engines Play?

Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! are the only reason SEO exists. They dictate SEO practices and keep an eye out for foul play. Every search engine applies a series of top-secret algorithms to each website in order to properly rank search result pages based on the user’s search terms.

For instance, the user types in “brunch places near me,” and immediately Google will show the user a page of results that are the most relevant to that search term. Popular restaurants that serve brunch and that are open in the user’s neighbourhood will show up on page one. In less than a second, search engines will determine exactly what the user wants and where they want it. If you’re a brunch place that’s open and ready for business right next door to the user and your webpage doesn’t appear at the top of search results, then your website isn’t optimized.

Imagine the world wide web as a gigantic encyclopedia and that every webpage in existence is given a page number according to a series of credentials, such as relevancy, authority, popularity, and authenticity. Google has given the page before you a higher ranking because it deems it slightly more relevant to the user’s search terms. The goal of SEO is to help search engines find you and rank you accordingly.

Who Are You Trying to Please, Really?

What do search engines care about? Why, the user experience, of course! Everything a search engine does is for the user. If the user is constantly frustrated because Google never produces results that have anything to do with their search terms, then they’ll go to Bing or Yahoo! instead. It’s absolutely crucial that search engines know a) exactly what the user wants and b) exactly where to find the answers they need.

By extension, the user experience should be the only thing YOU care about as well. Building a website to please a search engine rather than the user is a serious red flag and won’t help your website visibility.

Examples of Search Engine Optimization

If you’re scratching your head because you still can’t wrap your head around SEO, don’t worry. There may be a lot of jargon attached to SEO, but a lot of it is straightforward and intuitive. In fact, you may have already used SEO practices with your own website without realizing it. Here are some examples of search engine optimization practices:

  • Quality content
  • User-friendly design
  • Backlinks
  • Rich keywords and phrases

SEO Academy

Search engine optimization is not something you can pick up in a single afternoon. If you’re really serious about tackling SEO on your own, we seriously suggest taking some courses or reading in-depth eBooks on the subject. This post was not meant to get you started on your SEO DIY journey. If anything, this back-to-basics introduction was meant to show you the importance of implementing a strong SEO strategy. As a Toronto SEO company, we don’t recommend striking out on your own if you’re new to digital marketing. However, we do admire your gumption for giving it the old college try. Here are some excellent resources for getting a thorough education on search engine optimization:

Sound Confusing Yet?

There’s a lot to unpack in a short back-to-basics post. And trust us, we’re not trying to confuse you. When it comes to SEO, there are many moving parts and each page element has to fit perfectly with each other if you want to give your website a chance to be visible on a search page. That’s why so many business owners like you decide to go with expert web developers and digital marketing agencies who can stay on top of current SEO trends to ensure your website runs like a well-oiled machine. And hey, Awkward Media just happens to be one of those! If you want to experience real growth this year, contact Awkward Media today to find out how we can help.

Published by Genevieve Morrison