According to a study conducted by Forrester, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
This is not that surprising, really. By now we all recognise the internet to be a huge library of information available to everybody. We all go to the internet in search of answers and knowledge. Heck, the term “Google” is now a verb!
But do you remember when debates among friends could go on for hours and even days? The term “search” referred to a flip through the pages of a dictionary, encyclopedia or other reading source and possibly even a trip to the local library.
Then in the mid 90s the world of “ask and answer” changed. Engines like Archie, Veronica and Jughead and Excite entered the scene. (Here’s an awesome Search Timeline to walk you back down memory lane.)
As readily available as content is today, have you stopped and wondered what makes it possible for the correct information to hit the tip of our fingers? How is it that we can get the most relevant answer when searching for our questions?
If you Google that question you will find this answer: SEO
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
It is a process that ensures a website can be found on search engines for the relevant words and phrases that describe it.
When you have a website, it is important that people find it, good SEO helps you get more free and organic traffic in exchange of you providing indexable information.
It’s a simple transaction: you help Search Engines provide the best content and Search Engines help you with ranking your website correctly.
How does it work?
SEO is intrinsically about Search, Social and Content.
Search Engines follow an algorithm to make sure they are listing websites correctly. In order for a search engine to rank your website higher, it needs to comply with some key rules.
To get a first glance of those, take a look at this great Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors by Search Engine Land:
Words are the smallest elements of meaning in speech and writing and in SEO, they are imperative. Having the correct words listed will help search engines narrow down the websites that contain the correct information you’re looking for.
To make sure you have the right keywords listed on your website, you can use the free Google Adwords Keyword Planner to search for words that match your description. If you want to make sure you’re selecting the right keywords to better your ranking, read this fantastic article by Andy Crestodina on What to write. How to rank.
Each page on the web has an official title, although sometimes it is hidden behind a code within a platform. For search engines, though, the title is super important as it helps with defining what a website is about.
<title>My website is about Marketing</title>
If you want to make sure you understand how this works, check out this video by Google Webmasters where Matt Cutts explains more about Titles and Snippets.
SEO takes links as recommendations. When a page links to another, it means something good is there. By having bona fide links to your website in other spots of the web, Search Engines assign higher value to your site.
(Note: adding empty or bogus links around the web in order to trick the system is a bad practice.)
Good content leads to Good reputation
It all comes down to having valuable content on your website. If your content is good and trustworthy, search engines will recognize your effort by placing your website on the top ranked. Good content leads to good reputation, which result in more bona fide link backs and recommendations.
Why is SEO important?
Now that you know the basics, are you still wondering why you should optimize? Well, having a high ranked website on Search Engines is one of the key aspects to the success of your website.
In search (ha, Google SEO again!) for good reasons to SEO, I came across this post by the Search Engine Journal that lists 24 Eye-Popping SEO Statistics.
These 5 caught my attention:
- 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
- 79% of search engine users say they always/frequently click on the natural search results. In contrast, 80% of search engine users say they occasionally/rarely/never click on the sponsored search results. Here’s a look at what the natural (blue) and sponsored search results (red) look like:
- 70-80% of users ignore the paid ads, focusing on the organic results.
- There are over 100 billion global searches being conducted each month.
- 82.6% of internet users use search.
Where do you you begin?
As a copywriter, SEO is a subject that is always on top of mind. One resource that serves as my go-to on the topic of search, social and content marketing is Lee Odden and TopRankBlog. Lee and his company’s blog may already be on your radar.
If so, then you’ll want to put Paper.li’s #BizHeroes Tweet Chat on your radar too, because Tuesday, June 3rd we have Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing joining us as our Tweet-guest! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this!
Lee will be discussing the ins and outs of SEO and guiding us through the Search, Social and Content algorithm. Hopefully he will tell us why “Content isn’t King, It’s the Kingdom”. If you want to know more about SEO, you’re in for a treat! Be sure to show up to our chat and turn your Basic SEO knowledge into Expert level!
Bonus! If you’re in Europe, take advantage of meeting Industry thought leader Lee Odden at the upcoming Content Marketing Conference in Antwerp June 10th. He’ll be speaking about the power of content, search and social.