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What is Search Engine Optimization?

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, is the process of increasing the volume and quality of traffic to a website from search engines via organic or search results. The higher your company's website ranks on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP), the more searchers will visit your site.

SEO consultants consider how search algorithms work and what people search for as a marketing strategy for increasing a site's relevance. An SEO process may involve a site's coding and structure, content and copywriting, site presentation, and fixing other problems that will prevent search engines from indexing your company website. Suppose search engines do not index your company's website. In that case, there will be no chance for your site to get high visibility rankings on search engines. Therefore, businesses need to take note of SEO and make sure that search engines properly index their websites.

"SEO" can also refer to "Search Engine Optimizer." This is an industry term that refers to agencies and consultants who carry out search engine optimization processes on behalf of their clients and employees who perform SEO services in-house. Every agency and consultant has its SEO methodology; they may use different methods to achieve high organic rankings for websites. In most cases, to have effective SEO, may require changes to the HTML source code; SEO tactics will be incorporated into website development and design. That is why almost all credible SEO agencies and consultants will first look at a website's design and back-end architecture before starting any SEO process. This will ensure that SEO is carried out effectively.

Search Engine Optimization as a Marketing Strategy for Businesses

So how should businesses use SEO as a marketing strategy? The primary objective of implementing SEO to a company's website is to drive targeted traffic to it. Eye-tracking studies have shown that searchers scan a search result from top to bottom and left to right, looking for relevant results. Therefore, if your site is near the top of organic listings rankings (organic listings refer to the web results listed on the left-hand side of the SERP), it will most likely increase the number of searchers who will visit your site.

A successful online marketing campaign may usually involve SEO. Still, it also consists of using paid advertising on search engines, building high-quality Websites to engage and persuade site visitors to take action either through inquiries or online sales, setting up analytic programs to allow site owners to measure their successes and improve a site's conversion rate.

Benefits of SEO for Businesses

Businesses can benefit from SEO in many ways, be it to increase brand awareness, get sales leads or increase sales revenue. The following is a list of benefits that businesses can get from SEO:

o, Get more targeted traffic. SEO can increase the number of visitors to your site who are actively searching for your product or service.

o, Increase brand awareness. SEO can give your brand a high international profile. You can also use SEO to create brand awareness for any new service or product by optimizing related product/service key phrases to rank higher on search engines.

o Marketing your brand 24/7. With SEO, your website will get exposure 24 hours a day, seven days a week - without stopping.

o Higher sales. As SEO brings you targeted traffic, it can increase your product or service sales.

o Long-term positioning. Once a properly optimized & designed site is in place, rankings on organic listings should be consistent. In contrast, the cost for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising is ongoing.

o More value for dollars. You will not have to pay for each visit once your company's website has achieved high organic rankings for various key phrases. Whereas for PPC Advertising, to enjoy high-ranking visibility on search engines, you need to pay for each click or visit to your site.

However, to ensure that you have a successful SEO implementation, you need to ensure that your dedicated SEO agency abides by the search engine guidelines when optimizing your site...

White Hat SEO VS Black Hat SEO

When it comes to SEO, there are two schools of thought - White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO. White hat SEO is a technique that search engines recommend them as good practice, and black hat SEO is those techniques that search engines do not approve of. SEO consultants who practice white hat SEO tend to produce results that last a long time. Black hat SEO techniques may get a website to rank well initially. Still, the site will eventually be banned temporarily or permanently once search engines discover what they are doing.

So you need to know the best practices in the SEO industry and make sure that the SEO agency handling your account uses techniques that conform to the search engines' guidelines and involve no deception.

The white hat technique is generally summed up as creating content for users, not the search engines. The content that is created should be easily accessible to search engine spiders rather than intending to trick the algorithms from its intended purpose. So, the general rule of thumb is to stay on the safe side by creating content relevant to your target audience. Search engines value relevancy - they will want to rank a site higher than their organic listings if the content on the site is what searchers are looking for.

The black hat technique usually involves techniques that attempt to improve rankings that are disapproved by search engines or involve deception. One common black hat technique uses hidden text, either as text colored similar to the website's background or positioned off-screen. Another common practice known as cloaking is to load a different page depending on whether the page is accessed by a human or a search engine spider.

Search engines will penalize sites that use black hat techniques, either by reducing their organic rankings or eliminating them from their database completely. This is a very costly mistake from the business point of view. You will lose much ground as your competitors enjoy free organic traffic from search engines due to their high rankings for primary key phrases. One infamous example was in February 2006, whereby Google removed BMW Germany from its database for the use of black hat methods. However, the company has quickly apologized and cleaned up the offending pages and was eventually restored to Google's database.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure that your SEO agency is moving away from black hat methods. You will not want to be blocked by search engines, translating into a loss in sales and profits.

Keyword Research - The Key Factor to Successful SEO Implementation

Major search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN Live, and AOL get many searches every day. Before you implement SEO to your website, you must know what key phrases or keywords your target audience is using to search for the product or service.

Whether you like it or not, there is a good chance that many people have never heard of your company. If only they could find you on search engines and buy from you, these people might be your customers. It is well accepted that building awareness is the first step to landing a new customer. For example, when someone sees a TV advertisement about that new car, you hope that they are in the market for a car at the moment. However, relatively few people are in that situation at any one time. The majority of people who saw the TV advertisement have no interest in buying a car. But someday, they will. So advertisers know that the messages - the model of the car and company name in their commercials will stick in viewers' minds, who might remember the message later when they are ready to buy a car. It is the same for SEO.

Searchers might not know that your company offers a particular product or service unless they see your site listed on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). Unless they see your listings, they will not think of you. Most of the time, searchers looking for a product or service for the first time might not be aware of any specific company or brand name as they are just gathering information. However, according to search marketing consultancy iProspect, more than 55 percent of searchers expect to see big brands listed at the top of search results. The same study also shows that over 66 percent of searchers believe that sites listed at the top of search results are the top companies in their field. So can you imagine how this affects your company's brand awareness? If your company's website is not listed at the top of search results, they will not see your company as a "big brand" in their mind. Therefore, you need to optimize keywords or key phrases that your target prospects will use to find the product or service that you are offering.

So, what types of keywords or keyphrases should you choose? Businesses should target keywords that are relevant to the content of their websites. Keywords can be categorized into three types, which are: "Too Hot Keywords," "Just Right Keywords," and "Too Cold Keywords." Too Hot keywords are single-word search terms like "Aircon" and "Translation," which are not targeted enough to get conversions. These keywords usually bring in high search volume (which is naturally tempting to optimize). Still, the conversion may not be as ideal as targeting keywords that fall into the "Just Right" category. (For examples: Aircon Servicing, Translation Agency Singapore") By optimizing those "Just Right" keywords, businesses can get more targeted traffic to their websites and increase the chance of conversions.

Choosing the right keywords is the real beginning of any SEO effort. After you have determined the right set of keywords to target, you can start the work of search engine optimization.

Why do you need to outsource SEO?

SEO is a time-consuming process as continual fine-tuning and monitoring need to be done. Therefore, it is advisable for you to hire a search engine optimization agency to plan out the optimization plan for your company.

A professional SEO agency will look at your site and recommend increasing your search engine ranking and website traffic. Once they start to optimize your website, they will provide recommendations and monitoring reports for you to know its progress.

Last but not least, to achieve successful optimization results, your SEO agency needs to work closely with your website designer if you have your own IT department. This is because your company website needs to be both visually appealing and search engine friendly to achieve high organic rankings and conversions.

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