Search Engine Optimization or SEO, as part of any digital marketing strategy, is integral to driving customers to your business via online platforms. But what SEO means in Digital Marketing scheme of things is something we discuss in this article. It is a long term digital marketing channel that allows your website to get discovered by users when they are looking for something you sell (or similar to what you sell) on a Search Engine.
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Search Engine Optimization – An Analogy
SEO in digital marketing is like a Name board (signage) on a shop. Imagine a shop without signage or a board. People passing by the shop wouldn’t know what the shop is selling, and there wouldn’t be any footfalls in the shop. However, with proper signage, the shop will be able to guide potential customers in to the shop. SEO somewhat acts like digital signage for websites.
So, What SEO means exactly
SEO (Search engine optimization) is the process of making a
web page easy to find, easy to crawl, and easy to categorize for a Search
Engine. It helps your customers find your business website from among a million
of other websites. SEO forms an integral part of any digital marketing
strategy. SEO, in a nutshell, can be called a collection of tools and best
practices that help your website rank higher in search engine results (SERP –
Search Engine Results Page – this is the page you see when you search anything
on a Search Engine like Google), thereby resulting in more traffic and
potentially more business.
In other words, SEO comprises of the activities you can do on your website or other websites to ensure that whenever someone searches for products or services that you are selling, your website comes up in search results.
Is SEO a One-Time Effort or a continuous one?
Ideally, SEO is a slow-burn – which means it takes some time to start showing substantial results especially if you have a new website. As the website owner, you need to keep working on your website’s search engine optimisation continuously so it starts ranking in search results for all your relevant searches. But what happens once you displace the previous websites from search results and rank your website instead of them? Is it the final destination? No its not. Just like how you displaced someone else from top results, your competition will also be working to displace your website and get ranked instead of your website. Simply put, SEO is an ongoing battle that you must keep fighting. Luckily, the new algorithms give more weightage to quality content and best practices that you as a website owner anyway should be working towards.
Why is SEO important in Digital Marketing?
Whenever anyone is searching for anything, the first instinct is to turn to search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo! to find more information or products or services they are looking for. People are constantly searching and consuming content on all sort of things right from make-up tutorials to sneakers to news. Search Engine Optimization is an effective tool to create better visibility of your website. More traffic is proportional to more awareness and eventually more conversions (leads or sales).
While paid advertising, social media and referrals can help is bringing traffic to your website, “Organic” traffic or free traffic is still the biggest source of traffic coming to websites. And this traffic is generated through search engines.
SEO is a strong digital marketing channel that when done right can keep paying dividends over time with lower spends and relatively lower efforts.
What are Different Types of SEO Activities
There are three types of SEO you need to get acquainted with for a well-rounded organic search strategy:
- On-Page SEO
- Technical SEO
- Off-page SEO
Let’s briefly touch upon the three types of SEO and how they can impact your overall marketing strategy.
On-Page SEO refers to the content on your website. It involves incorporating strategies to optimize the webpages on your own website. A lot of factors that can help with On-Page SEO include – choosing the right keywords, creating a strong title for your page, making good use of Heading tags, creating high quality original content. These, and more, factors help search engines comprehend the topic of the content and ensure that the website is a valuable source that people want to find. Keyword research involves finding the best keywords that can be used in the content on your website so that Search Engines can easily map them to search queries. Publishing high-quality content is a no-brainer. The Search Engines are getting smarter and Digital Marketers need to evolve along with them. Search Engine algorithms are now giving more weightage to high quality content that adds value to users.
Technical SEO, as the name suggests, refers to the technical elements of your website that are not a part of content. It includes strategies to improve a site’s backend structure and foundation. Technical SEO improves a site’s readability to provide a good user experience which is greatly valued by search engines and users alike. Readers need a good user experience, and the better the experience, the more traffic, and engagement rates.
Site speed, mobile-friendliness, indexing, structured data, and security are some of the SEO included in this category.
The third category the off-site SEO that involves building, strengthening and influencing the relationship of your own website with other websites. Simply put, off-site SEO includes strategies to build a website’s reputation and authority. These factors help search engines see that a website is an ideal search result because it is from a reputable, reliable and a trusted source.
You can learn the beginner concepts of SEO by enrolling for the Free Online Digital Marketing Basics Course that we have put together with industry experts.
For Brands: Should you hire an SEO Agency or a Professional or a Consultant?
The basic SEO which takes care of a lot of hygiene on your website can be done yourself if you have that kind of time on hand. But if you want to focus on your business and sales, you might not have the bandwidth. Hence, it could be a good option to hire and expert to take care of the SEO part of your website. While choosing the experts, ensure they understand your line of business and competition. Also, it is critical to maintain that you want only White Hat SEO to be done and not Black Hat SEO.
You know what SEO means. Now, we have explained what is White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO below.
White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO – which one should you go for
Search Engines have one objective for existence. To show website results that are relevant to what users are searching. To ensure the websites are easily discoverable and comprehendible, search engines have provided some guidelines or best practices that the websites should follow.
White Hat SEO includes the optimization techniques that abide by the guidelines and rules established by the Search Engines. These primarily focus on providing value to the users that land on your website.
Sometimes website owners try to fool or spam search engines by using spurious techniques. They might show great results in a short time but are sooner or later found by Search Engines. Once that happens, your website can get penalized (pushed down in search results) or de-indexed (removed from search results). It also has ethical implications.
Therefore, it is extremely important to stick to White Hat techniques when it comes to SEO.
Hope this article has provided you with some good insight into the world of SEO and you would have a better idea of what SEO means. We have also discussed these basics in our Free Online Video Course. You can check that out. It’s a pretty short and crisp one.