What Is SEO? A Complete Guide to Search Engine Optimization

  • Home
  • SEO
  • What Is SEO? A Complete Guide to Search Engine Optimization
Want to learn about What SEO is? Read this guide to learn everything you need to know about SEO and digital marketing

Table of Contents

Search Engine Optimization Guide

Is your SEO house in order? If not, your business is leaving money at the table, at best, and at worse, is losing ground to competitors every single day. 

Failing to keep up with SEO marketing can spell doom for your business before you know it. 

But there’s good news! It’s never too late to learn the mechanics of SEO to benefit your business.

Google gets close to 4 bil­­­lion queries per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year. SEO uses Google and other search engines to help you drum up traffic and business.  

So, what is SEO? How can you get the most from this marketing practice for your business?­­­

We’re glad to explain. Keep reading so that you can get the most out of your marketing needs through the power of SEO.  

What Does SEO Stand For?

The acronym SEO is short for search engine optimization. By focusing the bulk of your marketing efforts on search engines, you’ll always be found by people who need what you have to offer. 

Once you get the hang of it, there are multiple types of SEO to explore.

What Is SEO?

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the most important form of digital advertising at the moment, in addition to the most critical form of marketing to embrace. This form of marketing reverse engineers the way that people search Google and other search engines, which makes your website and brand more attractive.

Ultimately, SEO helps your company bring in more traffic, which you can use however you need to. 

When you use the best SEO strategies, your brand and site will soar in visibility, which will make your company more recognizable to the public.  

How Many Types of SEO Are There?

There are many types of SEO service solutions an SEO agency may use to improve your business depending on your goals. If you are a local business then local SEO, If you have hidden issues then technical SEO is a good option.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a very broad topic and there are many different types of SEO that you need to be aware of:

  • On-page SEO – Anything on your web pages – like product copy, web copy.
  • Off-page SEO – Link-building efforts
  • Technical SEO – Site indexing to help Google bot and other search engine crawlers.
  • Google News SEO – Optimization of news articles to be included into Google News and Discover

Understand the Differences between On vs Off Page methods

Reasons Why Is SEO Important for Business:

You need to be able to answer why SEO is important for business so that you can put it to use in yours. Without question, SEO is vital to the success or failure of your company.  

Greater than 50% of all online traffic comes from Google or other search engines. 

When you learn the logistics how this form of marketing serves your business, you’ll be able to find success for your enterprise. 

Here are a few reasons that SEO is essential for your company:

1. Google Has the Largest Pool of Potential Customers

Without question, SEO is essential if you’re trying to market your business effectively. 

Google is the largest search engine in the world and is the main portal of information that people use when they want to find out anything. This means that for the foreseeable future, this is where your largest group of customers will come from. 

By working with Google’s algorithms and learning to speak the “language” of those who search it, you can always make your company and its services available to new customers. 

YouTube, a Google subsidiary, is the second-largest search engine in the world. There are several strategies you can use that will optimize with these two and other search engines in mind.  

2. Winning SEO Strategies Help You Beat Out the Competition

If you work in an oversaturated industry, you need to do everything possible to gain an edge over your competitors. Using SEO will help you maximize your search queries and gain digital real estate that continues to gain value each and every day.  

SEO expands beyond what you can accomplish with traditional advertising and exposes your business to the entire world.  

Getting started with an SEO campaign is particularly important if your competitors haven’t yet caught on. You’ll stand out from the rest and will be better able to turn this traffic into future sales.

Part of working an SEO campaign involves conducting a competitor analysis. During this analysis, you’ll be able to learn from your competitors and beat them out for the best rankings, keywords, and other aspects of SEO. 

3. SEO Prevents Your Site from Becoming Static 

Without question, SEO and web design go hand-in-hand. The last thing you’d want is for your website to become static. This prevents you from getting a return on investment (ROI) on the site that you built.  

When you start using SEO strategies, you’ll be better able to breathe life into your site and bring about the traffic that you need. 

Learning about blogging will help your SEO efforts as much as anything else. Authoring a blog allows you to bring traffic to your site as organically as possible. 

Running a blog presents your company as an authority in any industry that you’re a part of. It teaches people about this industry and the products and services that you provide so that new sales become second nature. 

A blog is an all-encompassing form of SEO since it creates a straightforward way to incorporate keywords, build links, provide stellar content, and post high-quality multimedia. 

Blogging aside, an SEO professional will continuously optimize your site with keywords, meta tags, links, and other helpful facets that will keep it thriving and taking in new traffic each day. 

4. The Results Keep Paying off the More You Invest in SEO

You’ll love the fact that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an investment that will continuously pay for you. Few things grow your online presence like high-quality SEO marketing. 

Just like other aspects of business, the results will keep paying off after you have laid the groundwork. Since it is highly trackable, you’ll be able to watch your SEO results unfold month by month and adjust however you need to. 

After some heavy lifting, your SEO marketing strategies will become increasingly passive, while still bringing in results that are tangible. Time will be on your side as you continuously work strategies to win the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and gain the visibility that will take your company to the next level. 

5. SEO Is the Most Organic and Non-Invasive Form of Marketing

You will appreciate the fact that SEO is among the most organic and natural forms of marketing that as an asset to your company. 

When you purchase ads for TV, radio, print, or alternatives to use, you’re dealing with finite periods of time and active advertising strategies. Since SEO generates organic website traffic, you’ll appreciate that the seeds you plant will grow on their own and attract new visitors to you. 

Since SEO is so organic and passive, people will often not even know or feel like they’re being marketed to. This is huge, since people naturally resist heavy marketing, even when it involves a service or product that they need. 

Most people don’t appreciate the car salesman approach because of its aggressiveness and air of suspicion. Investing in custom SEO services are far more hands-off outwardly, which gives your consumers time and space to make decisions for themselves. 

From here, they’ll be more likely to do business with you without having their guard up.  

6. Your Business Will Gain Plenty of Credibility

Credibility is king if you want your company to thrive.

By consistently putting out excellent SEO content and popping up highly on search engine queries and other places around the web, consumers will begin subconsciously associating you with the products and services that you provide.

This level of trust builds brand equity that will keep paying off for years to come. It’s not overexaggerating to say that this credibility is worth just as much, if not more, than any of the profits that your marketing efforts bring you. 

7. SEO Marketing Goes Hand-in-Hand With Content Marketing Efforts

One of the best reasons to use SEO is that it has plenty of intersectionality with other forms of marketing.

For instance, you’ll be able to use SEO keywords and powerful link-building strategies with your content marketing, social media presence, advertising, pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, and others.

Think of SEO as the foundation of your marketing strategy. It serves as the beginning of a great business plan.

8. It Helps You with Both Local and Global Marketing

There’s no reason that your company can’t actively hold both a local and global presence. Search engine optimization is the driving force that can help you engage with people in your geographical area, while also expanding to a global outreach. 

For example, if you operate a local hardware store, you can put out blog and video content that teaches people how to fix things around their house or take on new project from their own home even if they’re 10 miles away or 100 miles away. 

To do this, you can input local SEO keywords into this content so that people in your area making searches can easily find your business. You can also expand your online presence by opening a store to sell e-books and courses to accommodate customers all over the world.

9. SEO Is a Cost-Effective Form of Digital Marketing

SEO strategies are also helpful because they don’t have to hurt your wallet. When you’re trying to purchase advertisements or invest in video content, you can expect to pay large sums of money for small projects.  

SEO strategies are helpful because they don’t have to hurt your wallet. It’s possible to accomplish a large amount even with a small budget. You can get started on your own right now by doing keyword research and weaving keywords into any content you put out.  

Once you’ve hit certain metrics with your site and brand, you can easily pass the work off to a marketing agency that can handle the rest of the heavy lifting for you. This allows you to make progress without having to let your cash flow be a deterrent.  

10. Your Company’s Brand Awareness Will Take Off

Using SEO strategies will also help to take your brand awareness to new heights. In many cases, consumers choose one company over another simply because they are more familiar with them. 

By gaining this ground with your consumer base, you’ll be able to hit performance-driven goals and convert the attention that you get into sales and profits. 

How Much Does SEO Cost Per Month?

Now that you know more about SEO and how it is helpful, you should come up with a budget for hiring professionals. A high-quality online marketing agency can assist you with any facet of SEO that you’re interested in.

Hiring an SEO professional requires you to assess your needs and goals, and then to figure out how much budget you’ll need to dedicate to the project.

Some factors that will dictate the price you’ll pay for SEO services include understanding the project goals, how much growth you want to aim for, and the quantity of content is needed achieve these goals.   

Ask yourself, is a blog the right step for my business? How can I create a blog for my business? What can I sell to consumers in an online store? Is it possible to start short video series explaining how to sand and build a table or teaching others how to cook?

It pays to carve out goals for the next quarter or so, and then to get a price quote from an SEO marketing company to get the process started.

On average, companies will spend approximately $2,500 per month in their SEO expenditures. Now, it’s important to keep in mind that these prices fluctuate with the size of the project and the amount of work needed.

How Do I know My SEO Is Working?

It’s important that you take a calculated approach to your search engine optimization strategies. This way, you’ll understand when they are working and when adjustments may be needed.

Here are a few of the major factors that let you know your SEO services are successful:

1. You’re Winning the Keyword Rankings

Gauge the success of your website to know how well your SEO strategies are working. 

Keyword rankings are among your highest priority when you’re trying to improve your SEO success. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to rank as highly as you can with the top 100 search results. 

Since keywords are foundational to SEO, expect to focus quite a significant amount on this piece of SEO specifically, especially when you’re trying to gain some traction.

2. Your Company’s Website Is Getting Fresh Organic Traffic

Analytics will power a lot of your SEO strategies, and you’ll notice a large uptick in organic web traffic once your efforts are working. 

You can use analytics to find out exactly where the traffic is coming from, and which keywords and links are helping you accomplish this. When you’re taking in organic website traffic, you’ll have a tangible ROI (return on investment) on your SEO work, which ultimately makes your site more accessible and strengthens your credibility with the general public.

3. All the Major Metrics Are Picking Up

As you begin using analytics, you’ll start to notice several metrics increasing when your SEO campaigns are working. 

Examples of these metrics include fresh domains referring traffic, keyword density in content, and text readability. SEO is part art and part science, and these metrics will steer you in the right direction. 

4. Brand Mentions Are Increasing by Leaps and Bounds

When your SEO is truly working, you’ll start to notice a buzz pickup based on the brand mentions that you receive. You will notice that both customers and other businesses will become more familiar with what you do, and overtime, the word will spread. 

This can include reviews, testimonials, guest posts, and other forms of engagement that involve your brand. These mentions allow you to “show your work” and will bring about new customers.  

5. Company Sales and Profit Margins Are Improving

Of course, the most defining factor of SEO success is an improvement in sales and profit margins. The length of time dedicated to SEO marketing will coincide with the increase of sales and profits, but keep in mind, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Look at your revenue and growth side-by-side with your SEO campaigns so that you can track the improvement in sales and how your marketing strategies played a role. 

You can also track the success of SEO by comparing the revenue and growth in months prior to restructuring your marketing strategy. Did your online presence grow several months after the restructure? Did you gain several new clients? How does this all compare to the year before?

How Long Does SEO Take?

While search engine optimization campaigns require a time investment, it’s important that you have a ballpark idea of how long it might take. The return on investment (ROI) could start to show up immediately or could take several months to see a substantial change. 

On average, expect to spend at least 4 months doing diligent SEO work before you start to see results. It could also take more than a year. 

A lot of details go into this turnaround time, including the level of competition that you have, the type of content you’re creating, and what types of link strategies you put into place. 

What Does an SEO Specialist Do?

If you’re going to get the best possible results from your SEO work, you need to also understand what a professional will step in and do on your behalf.

Here are a few roles these professionals will play in improving your company’s SEO standing: 

1. They Assess Your Company’s Brand and Image

Branding and image are everything when it comes to your marketing. Consumers have more access to resources than they did prior to the rise of technology, so it’s important as a business owner to be the one in charge of your company’s message.

Learning how to tell your stories on social media will take your company to the next level. What’s your story? How did your business get started? What values do you believe in? What do you want to accomplish with your business? How can you improve the lives of your consumers? Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter are where people spend their most time online, so you need to make certain that you have a presence on the platforms that work best for you. 

An SEO professional will also help you explain your story on your website, from the “About Us” page to every line of content that you publish to your blog. 

You might know who you are and what you want to accomplish, but it’s just as important to be conscious about how the public perceives you, and what you can do to mold this perception. Do you stay true to the values you built your company on? Do you stay true to helping your business have a positive impact on others? How can you donate back to those in need? Having an SEO professional by your side will help you carve out your brand and find your voice.

2. SEO Pros Put Multimedia Strategies to Use

Learning to embrace multimedia will help your business more than almost anything else. 

Today, close to 90% of businesses are putting video marketing to use. An SEO professional will assist you in shooting video content that is paired with professional-grade audio. 

This way, you will not only capture YouTube searchers but also make sure that your YouTube presence is getting the results that you need.

You will also want to explore avenues like podcasts, which give you the chance to speak freely about the topics that matter the most to you and others. It gives you a chance to connect with the consumers that buy your product or believe in the same things you do. As a business owner, videos and podcasts help make you more personable than the figure behind the desk. A professional SEO pro can produce these various forms of multimedia on your behalf so that you’re hitting all of the marks. 

3. These Professionals Test Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Regardless of what SEO strategies you use, it’s important that you track the performance each step of the way. 

There are several Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you’ll need to shoot for and assess as you move forward with your campaigns.  

These professionals can help to improve your website’s Domain Authority (DA), Page Authority (PA), and other important factors. They will also help you get the best from KPIs like bounce rate, average session duration, organic visibility, backlinks, and page speed. 

SEO contractors have multiple software and analytics tools at their disposal that can track every metric until you are satisfied with the results.

4. SEO Specialists Will Helm Your Content Marketing Strategies

No matter what marketing techniques work for your business, your SEO pros will also help you with the qualitative aspect of content marketing. 

Today, about 70% of marketers don’t have a consistent content marketing plan that they put to use. Working with SEO pros will help you improve your content writing, the length of your posts, and the impact of the work that you’re creating. 

They will help you to improve your meta descriptions, spelling, and grammar, and help write effective calls to action (CTA) that will convert your content into sales. 

Since content is one of the most important aspects of SEO right now, you’ll need someone overseeing your campaigns to make certain that they’re succeeding

Putting together quality content strategies will build your brand equity and help to drive more traffic to your site.  

5. These Professionals Will Improve Your Website Aesthetics

You need to also consider the way that your website looks. Impeccable design will create a solid first impression that will make people want to spend time and engage with your company’s brand. 

Using high-resolution images in your business will build engagement. Make sure that these images are backed by quality color schemes and designs that are minimalistic and sensible. A search engine specialist will also make sure to optimize your images to make it accessible for any format and for those with visual impairments. 

6. They’ll Research and Execute Keyword Strategies

When putting together SEO strategies, keywords will always be a major piece of the puzzle. 

There are several different types of keywords that these professionals can research and put to use to help  with your company’s SEO needs. Examples include short-tail, long-tail, product keywords, keywords from competitors, Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords, and phrase match keywords. 

These keywords, and others, are necessary to success and will dictate the results that you get from your campaigns.  

7. SEO Professionals Will Put Social Media to Use for Your Business

Not everyone is tech-savvy. That’s why you’ll need the help and service of SEO pros that will get you actionable and tangible results from your social media marketing. This can include growing your followers, improving engagement, using social media advertising, and converting your followers into regular paying customers. These professionals can assist you with any outlets that you would like to gain ground on. 

8. They Consistently Enhance the User Experience (UX)

The user experience (UX) is a necessity when you’re trying to improve your SEO. A poor UX might spell the last time that a user interacts with you.

As such, these professionals will test your site and make sure that people can easily find the information that they are looking for and take advantage of it. Is it easy to follow? Is it easy to navigate? Do the colors contrast well or is it difficult to read the text? This will help you when you’re trying to make upgrades that keep getting the results that you desire. 

9. SEO Specialist Put Link Building Strategies to Use for You

Your SEO professionals will also assist you with link building. This means understanding the correct mix of internal and external links, link density, and click-through rates. 

You’ll be able to give your site more authority and credibility when you’re using links efficiently and effectively.

10. You’ll Get Improved Brand Awareness and Traffic

Of course, these professionals will make certain that you’re continuously pulling in new traffic. This is the only way you can grow your profit margins and see a tangible change in your business. These professionals will constantly chart your traffic and help you to use it in the most effective way possible. 

How Can I Choose an SEO Company?

Learning how to choose an SEO company is half the battle. The tips below will help you find the right professional available to help you out with your campaigns: 

1. Find Out What They Do Best

Always ask your prospect SEO contractor where they truly think they shine. This way, you can hire someone that best handles your biggest needs.  

Some SEO specialists have experience marketing with law firms or medical offices, whereas some have experience marketing with household maintenance businesses or local parks. You have to decide how you can use their skills to your advantage.

You’ll need a tech-savvy top SEO company, as 55% of households will use voice-to-text in the future, and close to 50% of current search engine queries don’t involve clicks.  [SM1] 

2. Get Some Referrals from Companies and Associates That You Trust

Ask around for referrals to make certain that you’re hiring SEO professionals that you can trust. Discuss these matters with business associates or other companies that you’ve seen grow thanks to quality SEO work. 

This will help you find pros that you’ll feel comfortable creating a business plan with.

3. Make Sure That They’re Focusing on Mobile SEO

You’ll need to work with a company that also puts time and energy into mobile SEO. Most people today spend several hours on smartphones and tablets. 

Since this is how most people prefer to browse the web, you need to accommodate that by making sure that your site is always designed and optimized to accommodate a smaller platform than desktop computers.   

4. Ask About Rates and Trial Periods

While there are several price ranges that you might expect to pay, it’s important that you speak to an SEO contractor directly to learn exactly how much they charge. Get their rates in the form of a written contract and price quote. 

Ask these professionals about whether they have trial periods so that you can see some results before paying full prices.  

5. Consult with the Company to Come Up with a Gameplan

Finally, make sure that you sit down with an SEO pro to learn exactly how they will help your company. They should be able to give you specific examples of how they can help your business. Make sure that you come away from these discussions with a game plan that you feel comfortable with. 

Make the Most of Your Search Engine Optimization 

So, what is SEO? Now that you have a clear idea, it’s time to put this important i form of marketing to use in your business.  

Cindtoro is a high-powered digital marketing company that is equipped to help you with your SEO and any other needs you have. We have a glowing track record of success and would be more than happy to help you take your company’s marketing to the next level. 

Access our online form to contact us, or call us at (407)923-0109.


Join The Newsletter

Join a growing community made up of marketing managers and business owners who receive our top digital marketing insights, strategies and tips sent straight to their inbox.

Table of Contents

Other Marketing Articles

Marketing Guides and Fundamentals

Picture of Walter Moreira
Walter Moreira
Walter Moreira is the president and CEO of Cindtoro a digital marketing firm with 2+ years of professional marketing experience. Cindtoro specializes in working with commercial real estate companies who are looking to increase quality meetings, gain a competitive advantage, and close more real estate deals from online media channels. Walter and his team at Cindtoro do this by using proven and effective marketing strategies. Walter is Cindtoro's head SEO and PPC specialist and a leading SEO consultant for high-profile national companies. Walter spends his free time designing and building handmade pens for people who like unique gifts.