If you have a business or a website, the chances are good that you’ve heard of search engine optimization (SEO) and been told that you need it. Chances are also good that you still have no idea what SEO is or how it’s supposed to benefit your bottom line. The following article will help you understand what SEO is and what it can do for your business, your website, or your job search.
Search Engine Optimization
In its simplest form, search engine optimization is a strategy for helping a webpage, social media profile, image, etc. appear more easily in organic search results. Search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, and Google use different algorithms for displaying search results, so the SEO approach you need differs depending on which search engine in which you’d like to appear more prominently. Typically, people focus their strategy on Google’s results, since they are the most popularly used search engine.
Who Needs SEO?
People whose entire business operates online are in the greatest need of SEO since they can’t rely on foot traffic or advertise effectively in print. However, almost every business can benefit in some way from an SEO strategy. If you’re an active job seeker, putting a small amount of effort into your search engine friendliness can also be a good idea, since it allows companies to find your LinkedIn page or portfolio site more easily.
Different Types of SEO
When people hear about SEO, they usually think about SEO companies that put a lot of work into promoting your links. You can think of this type of approach as the aggressive strategy. This strategy all but guarantees results. However, there are other, less involved approaches that may not promise results, but will likely lead to results eventually.
The aggressive approach usually requires a dedicated marketing team who’s experienced in SEO and familiar with the constantly changing nuances of Google’s search algorithm. They will typically employ methods such as link building, content optimization, and more. To get the results that this strategy promises, you’ll have to pay someone. The aggressive approach appeals primarily to mid to large sized businesses.
The less aggressive, less involved strategy includes things like having a blog, making sure your content is readable to people as well as web crawlers, having a sitemap, formatting titles and headlines correctly, etc. The basic idea is to make your site content rich and organized both from a visitor’s perspective as well as a web crawler’s perspective. This approach appeals primarily to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and others. It’s often beneficial to have an SEO company or expert help with this level of SEO as well.
Using SEO to Boost Your Career
If you’re looking to improve your career, then SEO is something that you should consider. The first step, however, is to give Google’s web crawlers something to find. That means making the appropriate social media profiles and filling them out completely, creating a website, or blogging regularly. All of this gives you an online presence for Google to find. With some basic insight into Google’s preferences, you can make your blogging, and social media efforts search engine friendly. Eventually, this will produce results.
Search engine optimization is a vast and ever-changing topic. That’s why you can find so much written about it and so many marketing agencies offering its services. Even if you don’t think about it, chances are it affects you every day, since most people turn to Google for answers. If you’d like to take advantage of the benefits of being on Google’s coveted first page results for a given keyword or set of keywords, then you’ve got to be willing to put in the time, effort, and money to make it happen. If the keyword results that you are hoping to be featured in are less sought after, then you might be fine sticking with basic, common sense SEO strategies and a little help from free SEO plugins and analytics tools. Either way, it’s important to recognize the role that SEO plays in the modern business world. If not for using it to your advantage, then at least for understanding how it influences which web pages you visit online.