What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO, is the process of improving a website's visibility on a search engine result page. In simple terms, it means when people search for your products or services related to your business in Google, Bing or any other search engine, your website should rank higher in their result page. The better the visibility of your website or webpages have in search results, the more likely people will navigate to your website and your website will attract prospective customers to your business.
On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO
Search engine optimization or SEO can broadly be divided into two categories: On-page SEO and Off-page SEO. On-page SEO is essentially about building the website that appeals to the users and therefore affect the search engines. Off-page SEO is about building trust and authority by exposing the content of the website.
How Do Search Engines Work?
When someone uses search engine such as Google or Bing. The crawler starts adding the website into the index by going from site to site, collecting information and sorting it according to an algorithm. Think of it like a giant library managed by a librarian who find and gives you exactly what book you are looking for. Then the algorithms analyze the webpages in the index, sorting and ranking them using multiple factors and determine in which order the pages should appear in the results page. Corelating this with the librarian analogy, the librarian reads every single page of every single book in the library to tell you exactly which book will have the answers to your question.
The search engine algorithms are designed to help users find relevant and authoritative pages with an efficient and seamless search experience and optimizing your website with content with these factors in mind can help your website rank higher in the SERP.
Unlike paid ads, Organic Search Engine ranking cannot be changed by paying search engines to get a higher rank. This is where the SEO experts come in and optimize and work on the webpages to help it rank higher in the search engine result page or SERP as it is commonly abbreviated.
The SEO of a website is how much a search bot estimates the website or web page can give the user the information they are searching for.
To summarize and recap, Search engines can be divided into three components, for the sake of understanding how they work: Crawler, Index, and Search Interface. Search engines work by crawling billions of webpages using web crawlers, also known as spiders or bots. The crawlers navigate the web and follow links to find new pages. The pages are then stored in an index. The search engine then serves the result page with the links to the websites from the index when someone searches for something on the search engine website using the Search Interface.
Why is Search Engine Optimization Important for Marketing?
Search Engine Optimization is one of the fundamental parts of digital marketing because people perform trillions of searches every year and more often than not, with a commercial intent to gather information about products and services. Google, the search engine giant claimed that 1.2 trillion search queries were performed in 2012. It is safe to assume that the figure has only grown since.
Search is often one of the primary sources of digital traffic for a company and complements other marketing channels. Having better visibility and higher ranking higher in search results than your competitors can have a greater impact on your bottom line.
The search engines have been evolving over the past few years to answer users in a more direct fashion and to keep the users on the search result page instead of driving them to the other webpages.
Features like knowledge panels and rich results in the search results can help increase the visibility and provide users with more information about your company, directly in the search result page.
The Zero-Click Search Trend
According to Jumpshot data, more than 56% of Google searches are conducted from a mobile device and 34% of Google desktop searches end without a click to another website. Rand Fishkin, the CEO and Co-Founder of SEOmoz comments, "However, the trend is the same: organic, going down; while paid and zero-click searches are on the rise" on optimizing for and against Google.
What are Rich Results?
Websites that have a list of FAQs or frequently asked questions that contains a list of question and answers regarding a particular topic or service can markup the questions and answers with an FAQ structured data, which Google can show in their search results snippets.
What is a Knowledge Panel?
Knowlege Panels are information boxes that Google displays on its search results page when a user searches for a product or service which can also be a person, place, organization, event or such. Google displays the information in Google's Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Graphs acquires its information from a variety of sources such as Wikipedia. Wikipedia is one of the most commonly cited sources in Knowledge Panels. The Knowledge Panels updates automatically when the source information changes.
In conclusion, SEO is the foundation of a holistic marketing ecosystem. When a website understands its user needs, the knowledge acquired from analytics can be used or implemented across your paid or organic campaigns, social media platforms and more.