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What is Search Engine Optimization?

the importance of search engine optimization, seo process

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, simply put, is optimizing a website for search engines. Yes, I know, that definition is completely unhelpful and obvious. So I’ll try again. SEO is done to increase the amount of organic high quality traffic to your website.

As you can see there are a few factors working together here:

Increasing the amount of traffic

One of search engine optimization’s primary goals is to attract more to your website by putting your site higher than others on search engine results pages (SERPs). More traffic to your site means more people seeing your product. After all, you can’t sell your product if people don’t know that it’s there, right? If you can show up higher in a SERP, that will help. People don’t usually scroll down the page, much less click through to page 2, 3, 4, &c. (OK, I do, but I’m weird . . . or desperately searching for something incredibly niche). Improving your SEO will help increase traffic.

Increasing the quality of traffic to your website

heart-shaped potato on a pile of burlap
You sell potatoes!

It’s not enough to merely get a lot of traffic to your website if it’s a bunch of people looking for something you’re not selling. Suppose you sell potatoes, but everybody coming to your site is looking for Mr. Potato Head. Sure, you may be getting amazing amounts of traffic from both potato-searchers as well as Mr. Potato Head-searchers, but that’s not going to be very helpful, is it?

Mr. Potato Head outside a shop in the sunlight waving his arm
You do not sell Mr. Potato Head!

You want people clicking on your page in SERPs for the right reasons. Does this mean that you might have a little less traffic? Sure, but it will be higher quality. You want to reduce the number of Mr. Potato Head-searchers and increase the number of potato-searchers.

Organic Results

Wait, what? Organic? Isn’t that for hippies? No. When it comes to web results, organic is for everybody! Go ahead, do a search in your favourite search engine. I’ll wait. While you were doing that, I did a few searches with several different search engines; below are the results. As you can see, there are two types of results — organic and not organic. The not organic ones are ads. People have paid to have their ads placed there.

Why is Organic Search Such a Big Deal?

I’m so glad you asked! Look up there at those screenshots again. Which links are you more likely click on, the ads or the organic results? I know I speak for a lot of people when I say that it makes more sense to click on the organic results. The search engine is better at determining organic results to be more relevant than ads. And ironically speaking, sometimes ads will give you the opposite of what you’re looking for. Have you ever searched for a particular product, only to see ads for the opposite product? Advertisers sometimes use keywords for the competition when advertising their own product. Search engine optimization puts higher quality results at the top of the SERP.

I Want To Be at the Top of the SERP

I know, we all do. It takes a lot of work. Not only that, but it’s ongoing work. You can’t just set-it-and-forget-it. The work you initially do will degrade over time. Many people hire companies like Panda Rose to handle the work for them. The first step of this includes having a darned good website. It should be free of spelling and grammatical errors, mobile-friendly, and fast. Your website also should have a decent amount of linking, both internal and external and a good site structure. High quality content with relevant keywords and key phrases is crucial. You can also improve optimization by standardizing all your contact info in various directories across the web and claiming your Google My Business page. The list goes on and on, and it’d require many separate articles to address all the different aspects of doing SEO.

Be Patient

Two important thing of note:

Search Engine Optimization Takes Time

If anybody ever comes along and tells you that you can see results in one month, DO. NOT. TRUST. THEM. SEO experts agree that it takes a minimum average of 4 months before you start seeing real results. Search Engine Optimization is not quick. Is an investment that provides a solid and positive return that will benefit you in many ways. Patience will pay off in the long run.

There Are No Guarantees

field of green leafy potato plants
Where do YOU buy your potato plants?

If a search engine optimization company promises they can get you in the top three of the first page, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. They are making false promises. Search results can be different from user to user and location to location. If I search for “where to buy potato plants” from my computer in Spruce Grove, I’ll very likely get different search results from someone who conducts the same search from Sherwood Park. So the company trying to get in top SERP rankings may rank high for one area, but not for the other.

A Final Note

Even if someone were to ATTEMPT to accurately promise first page search results, it would have to be an incredibly niche promise like, “I guarantee you that when anybody searches from my mother-in-law’s mobile phone using the Chrome browser with location services enabled at her home in St. Albert for the specific phrase, ‘where can I buy a potato plant at a nursery in Spruce Grove?’ (The answer appears to be Kiwi Nurseries), you will show up in the top 3 of the first page.” But even that is still pretty risky. A good SEO will work hard to put your page on the front page for relevant searches, but promises can’t be made.

Contact us if you want to learn more about how we can help you with SEO!

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