Have you heard of search engine optimization or SEO? Do you know the number of searches that are performed every month on Google? We don’t know that number exactly either, but we can say that it is approximately 100 billion searches per month. According to a study, the majority of users do not go beyond the first page of Google searches, or even go beyond the first 8 results for each keyword, so, it is of vital importance to appear in the first positions.
Search Engine optimization (SEO) is, therefore, one of the most important aspects of website and online shop promotion and, consequently, one of the cornerstones of digital marketing. Everyone has heard of SEO, but very few people really know how to explain it because it is something quite complicated, still unknown, and changes its criteria according to the whims of Google from time to time.
For this reason, we have decided to detail in the simplest possible way what SEO is and what it is for, the factors that have to do with the good ranking of a website in Google search engines, the different types of SEO that can be done, the strategies to carry out that will help you to know how you are doing and how you can improve. Keep reading to find out exactly what SEO is all about. In a world where digitalisation is becoming more and more important, appearing on Google and being visible on social networks is essential and, even more important, after the crisis caused by Covid.
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What is SEO and what is it for?
SEO (Search Engine optimization) can be explained in a simple way as putting your website or online shop on the street where all customers pass by with the intention of buying or visiting your shop. Using this example, the street is the keyword and the search that users do on Google. Therefore, good SEO is what allows all those who are willing to buy or visit a place to find you.
In more academic and less colloquial terms, SEO is a discipline that brings together the set of web techniques that aim to attract traffic and visibility to a given website by adapting the characteristics of the site to the factors that search engines use to determine which pages are the most relevant for each search term. In other words, it is about changing web pages to make them more search engine friendly. For example, let’s say you sell shoes, it is normal for a person who wants to buy shoes online to search in Google for “buy shoes”. If you manage to position your website for the search of similar keywords “shoes” (something very difficult) you will be able to increase your visits significantly, which will surely result in a higher number of sales.
Now that you know this, you probably want to do SEO for your website right away. But let me tell you that appearing in Google results for the keywords you want is more complicated than it seems, as these results are based on an algorithm that measures a lot of aspects that a web page must comply with, such as: site architecture, images, links, competition, site authority, invisible elements (“meta tags”), page titles, texts, web loading time, speed and probably more things that we still don’t know because nobody really knows what Google’s algorithm is like. It is often said that Google uses more than 200 variables to define the relevance of each page for each keyword searched, but very few people know it for sure (perhaps only its engineers).
In addition to being a difficult task and not suitable for everyone, SEO usually takes some time to be successful, that is to say, it is not automatic. You are not going to appear in the first results from one day to the other, it is a methodical and constant work that in the long term offers very good results. However, not everything is going to be bad news, SEO is one of the cheapest and most sustainable strategies in the long term.
To make it simpler, since as you have already seen SEO depends on many factors, digital marketing experts usually divide this complex job into different areas of work. SEO On page is all the SEO that is carried out on our own website, such as content, loading time, links, and images. SEO Off page is the one that has to do with all the factors external to our website, such as link building.
Important aspects to take into account for the SEO of your website
Now that you have understood what SEO is, it is time to go a little deeper and find out what this is all about. In short, it is all the actions you need to improve on your website in order to appear at the top of Google’s search results. To do this you must optimize the SEO On Page, you must follow a link building strategy and depending on the type of your business, optimize your page for your geographical area (“Local SEO”).
SEO On Page
First of all, you must take into account the SEO On Page, the most basic thing for you to improve your search results. These are internal factors of our website that if optimized correctly can make a difference in order to attract visits from Google, Bing and other search engines.
To optimize the SEO on Page and improve the rankings of your website or online shop you must bear in mind details that you probably think are insignificant, but which are actually very important; details such as: the links or URL’s of your website, the headings or titles of the page, the images, the loading speed (Web Performance optimization), mobile optimization, indexing and crawling and internal linking.
SEO Off Page (link building)
Link building, also called SEO Off Page, is especially difficult because it does not depend only on you, but also on the fact that other websites consider your website interesting and link to it, which brings more authority to your website. In other words, if other websites that Google considers to be an authority in the sector publish links pointing to your site, Google will reward you for this and will move you up in the search results.
This is the origin of link building, which is the technique that consists of creating external links with which to generate web authority and thus improve your rankings. You must be careful with this technique because for Google these links must be created in a natural way and getting them is not an easy task. To do this, you can use techniques such as: link baiting (creating interesting content that other people want to link to), mentions of your company in media that do not have links yet, articles in third-party blogs, links in directories, profile links in forums or blogs, link exchanges or simply asking for them. Asking is always free :).
Local searches represent almost 50% of all Google searches, therefore, it is essential that you optimize your business for local searches. To do so, it is important to claim your business on Google My Business and to improve your listing. Other interesting websites to promote your website locally are business directories such as yellow pages or Yelp.
The most important thing to keep in mind with local SEO is to try to link your website to a geographic location. Therefore, it is also highly advisable that your address and contact information are updated on all the sites you use for local SEO.
Google My Business also allows you to publish offers, articles and photos on your listing, which helps to get more people to visit you because it increases the chances of your page appearing in a higher position in search results (sidebar, or results with maps on the top page).
How is SEO success measured?
Interestingly, although all SEO work is focused on appearing in the first positions of search engines, success in SEO is not measured only by those first positions. It is obvious that it is always better to be among the top positions but being among the top positions does not always mean that you will be more successful or that not being among the top positions would mean failure.
Firstly, since search results are not static, two people can see completely different results for the same search. This happens because search engines take into account our browsing habits, general interests and other searches that we do to arrive at the same result. So, you may appear in the top positions for one person, but not for another.
Secondly, most of the traffic from search engines comes from more specific and longer keywords, the “long tails”. For example, you might not appear among the first results for “buy shoes”, but you might appear for hundreds of long tail searches such as “women’s shoes for summer”, or “shoe shop Barcelona Eixample”. The more times you appear for these types of search terms, the more chances you have to sell as these words also imply a more specific purchase attempt.
Thus, the ultimate goal of SEO is not to be the first for certain words but to get more quality visits from search engines, and if you sell a product or service, to convert those visits into sales. If your visits from search engines are increasing over time and your sales are increasing too, you will be on the right track.
You already know what SEO is and what it is for, now it’s time for you to get going and start optimising your SEO according to the little tips we have given you. We recommend that you start by doing an audit of your website or online shop to optimize all those aspects of your SEO On Page and to start getting some links out there.
If you have any doubts or questions, we will be happy to answer them. We hope this post has been useful for you and that you continue browsing a little more in order to find answers to your questions.