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Whenever someone asks me the loaded question, “What do you do?” I find myself answering that I work for a local Internet Marketing company that specializes in Search Engine Optimization …. SEO.
I am always prepared to get a puzzled face that recognizes the term ‘SEO’ and prepared to explain in more detail exactly what it means. And this is usually how the conversation plays out:
Me: The whole point of Search Engine Optimization is to make sure that your web pages meet and adhere to the search engine guidelines so that your website will be displayed at the top search engine results pages (SERPs).
Person: But how does SEO work? What does it mean to “optimize your site”?
Me: What search engine optimization does is …
“Improve your web pages and make them better, more useful
and more effective for everyone including the people who visit your site
and for the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.”
In other words, search engine optimization helps both the search engines and the visitors.
Person: Oh, you mean like you get the website at the top of the page?
Me: Yes but it’s a little more complicated than just “getting” it there. Websites don’t just magically appear at the top by following a secret formula or paying a fee to Google. There’s much more to it …
Sometimes the person is intrigued and wants to hear more. The rest of the conversation can be summarized below.
SEO Helps the Search Engines
By meeting the search engine guidelines your web pages become more relevant and will in turn, help the search engines to:
- Find your web pages easier
- Review your web pages faster
- Better understand what your website is all about
- So they can Index your web pages properly (add your pages to their database)
- Rate your web pages more favorably
- And list your web pages near the top of the search engine results so people can find you easier
In summary, search engine optimization will help your web pages to:
- Be Found
- Be Understood
- Be Indexed
- Be Rated Properly
- And Be Visible to people who are searching
SEO Helps Your Visitors
Optimizing your web pages to make them as good as possible will help your website perform better in the search engines, which in turn, puts you in front of the very people who are searching for what you have to offer.
Search engine optimization helps visitors to find your website faster and easier plus your website will:
- Be more relevant for the terms people use to find your website
- Be easier to navigate
- Help visitors find what they came looking for faster
- Help visitors make better decisions (sooner) about what you have to offer
- Help convert visitors into customers
In summary, search engine optimization will help visitors to:
- Find your site faster
- Understand your offerings
- Make better decisions about what they want
- Convert sooner
What Does SEO Do?
While you may not know how to do SEO, there are many ways to optimize your web pages to make them as good as possible for searchers and for the search engines.
During search engine optimization, improvement changes can be made to any of the following (plus much more) to help improve your web pages and your page performance.
So in answer to the question, “What do you actually ‘do’ with SEO?” there are many places to make improvements and changes with search engine optimization including:
- Web Page Content
- Body Text Content
- Keyword Usage
- Page Titles
- Link Text
- Meta Data (Meta Titles, Descriptions, Alt Text)
- Content Management Systems (CMS)
- E-commerce Systems (shopping carts)
- Source Code
- In-Bound Linking
- Page Loading Times
- Image Sizing
- Site Structure/Architecture
- Site Navigation
- Social Media/Videos
- Server Setup
- Performance Analytics
Learn More About How Search Engine Optimization Works
By the end of the conversation I usually like to look at the big picture again:
In marketing, the primary goal is to get your message out to as many potential customers as possible so they will buy your product or services.
Online marketing can be very powerful because no other marketing medium has the potential to reach as many potential customers 24/7 as do the search engines.
Search engines like Google simply want to give their searchers the best, most relevant pages that Google thinks will match what is being searched for.
The purpose of doing search engine optimization then, is to try and do just that:
Provide the best, most relevant pages
for the keyword term that was searched on.