Everything you should know about SEO and why it matters for your business.
Post updated March 05, 2020.
What is SEO?
To understand why something matters, first you need to understand what it is. SEO (search engine optimization) has become one of those splashy digital marketing terms that gets thrown around by anyone dabbling in this business. Most people know SEO is good, but not everyone understands exactly what it is.
Simply put, SEO is the practices put in place that help search engines index your website so that it shows up in search results. The goal when designing a website is to make it as easy as possible for the search engines to access your content, understand it, deem it valuable/relevant, and then rank it accordingly.
When a search is done on Google, Bing or another search engine, often it gets millions of results. Most people don’t go past the front page of those results, so the goal is to be on that front page.
SEO is focused on organic search results
Running a business is costly and adding marketing costs, can be prohibitive to some companies. While SEO can be a lot of work and can be a big investment of time and money, it ultimately pays off by rewarding you with organic search results. Organic search results are when a search is done on a search engine using specific keywords and the relevant pages are displayed, without those pages needing to pay to be seen.
Many times, sponsored results also show up on that front page at the very top. Not everyone can afford to use google AdWords to get those top results, so SEO is key in getting those organic front page results and capturing your customers.
SEO done well can provide an impressive return on investment, but done poorly, can negatively impact your organic search efforts.
How to get instant front page results on search engines
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as instant results or quick fixes when it comes to SEO. SEO is a long-term effort that improves over time with consistent use of best practices.
Search engines use ‘crawlers’ that quickly scan websites, pulling out the valuable information and then indexing them amongst billions of other pages. Crawlers look for keywords, links to other sites and backlinks to yours, heading text, meta-description text, and will use site maps, if they are available.
Websites that are built with the crawlers in mind will get better search engine results and if you follow SEO best practices over time, your website will continue to move towards and eventually onto the front page. In 2020 and beyond, best practices are going to matter even more, especially when it comes to writing authentic, worthwhile content. We write about this in our blog post “5 big changes coming to Search Engine Optimization in 2020“, which covers how Google’s algorithm continues to evolve.
Beware of these tactics for improving your SEO
Backlinks are one of the more effective ways of increasing your SEO. Backlinks are links from external websites to yours. For example, if you have a website that sells high-end cooking supplies, and some notable food bloggers link to your page, search engines see that as a vote of legitimacy.
However, there are some companies that buy backlinks as a measure of improving your SEO. Two problems happen here: 1. Search engines understand when unrelated sites backlink to yours and see that connection as illegitimate. 2. Search engines also analyze the typical growth of your website over time and can tell when a spike in backlinks happen suddenly after months of only getting one or two a month.
Sketchy SEO practices are used everyday to promise instant front page results for a too good to be true low price. These practices might get you front page results in the short term, but once the search engine catches on, which is usually quite quick, they completely remove your website from the index. Good luck coming back from that! This type of loss can be detrimental to your business.
So why does SEO matter?
SEO matters because the way people are engaging with businesses and making purchase decisions has changed. People can browse their options from the comfort of their own home while sitting in front of the tv at night. Gone are the days when consumers were restricted to business hours to find out the information they need or access the products they want to buy.
To move with the times, your business needs to adapt and be available online. If a potential customer can’t find your website among your competitors, you lose out on that opportunity. SEO matters because a good or bad search ranking can directly impact your bottom line.
How can I improve my SEO?
At Unicycle Digital, every website is designed with SEO best practices so that your website appears on search engine results from the moment it goes live. If you have an existing website, try our free Unicycle Audit to see how your website scores. From there, you can make changes to improve your score or hand the reigns over to us.