Search Engine Optimization is the art of getting your business noticed without paying for it.

Search Engine Optimization is the art of getting your business noticed without paying for it.

Online marketers will always talk about the importance of Search Engine Optimization. We’ve written plenty of blogs about it, too, and even provide service to increase your rankings.

But what exactly is it?

Think of SEO like an organic phone book where algorithms do the work of web surfers. It’s a difficult thing to explain, but the importance of it is inescapable. It’s the foundation of your web presence because if you don’t do it effectively, you’re essentially only marketing to yourself.

Here are some other key SEO facts:

  • The goal of effective SEO is to attract the attention of search engines—sites like Google, Bing and, to a lesser extent, Yelp. Essentially you want to improve your rankings so that when someone is looking for the goods or services you provide, your business shows up near the top of the first search results page.
  • There are two types of SEO. On Page SEO includes everything on your web site that attracts search engines. Off Page SEO is what you do to promote your business and drive customers to your site—things like blogs, advertisements, social media sites, forums, etc.
  • SEO is more than just keywords. If you bake nothing but keywords—or simply use too many of them—on your site, it will be penalized through search engine algorithms. The attempt to stuff your site with keywords will backfire. Modern search engines weigh keywords, of course, but they also take into account how well your site works, if it’s mobile friendly, how much original content it contains and more.
  • SEO is enhanced through links to your web site. You web site should be maximized for search engine optimization, but you need links to if from social media sites, forums, online directories like Google and Bing business pages and review sites. It’s also important that they be correct. Do a quick search so you can claim any business site that’s hanging out in cyberspace and make sure it has accurate contact information, hours of business, etc.
  • SEO is a close cousin to SEM (Search Engine Marketing). SEM is perhaps the most powerful way to improve your SEO, and it’s also the easiest and most expensive. That’s because you pay for it. When you do any type of search on any search engine nowadays, the first few links that pop up on the results page are all advertisements. That’s what SEM is: paying to place ads at the top of search engine results. SEO is free, but SEM is not.

Search Engine Optimization is a tough nut, but it can be cracked. Remember to keep your content fresh, build up an organic audience through your blogs, taking part in community forums and getting involved in online communities.

What else do you do to improve your rankings? Let us know in the comments!