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What Is SEO? A Complete Guide to Search Engine Optimization

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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 far from too late to jump on the SEO train as long as you learn the ins and outs of it. 

Google gets close to 4 billion queries each and every day. SEO uses Google 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 Is 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, and makes your website and brand as a whole more attractive. 

This 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.  

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. 

There are multiple types of SEO that you can explore once you get the hang of it.  

How Many Types of SEO Are There?

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.

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 ins and outs of how this form of marketing serves your business, you’ll be better able to find success for your enterprise. 

Here are a few reasons that SEO is absolutely 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 a number of strategies you can put to use that will optimize with these and other search engines in mind.  

2. Winning SEO Strategies Help You Beat Out the Competition

If you work in a cluttered 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 appreciate in 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 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 make adjustments 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 you can put to use with your company. 

When you purchase ads for TV, radio, and print, or put other such marketing efforts 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 associating you with the products and services that you provide.

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

The internet is filled with noise today, so consumers will appreciate that your web presence is professional and that you value their time. 

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 so many other strategies. 

This way, you will know that your SEO efforts are taking your marketing strategies in the same direction, rather than working against each other. Every major facet of marketing in this day and age coincides with SEO and will build upon the time and effort you invest in it. 

8. It Helps You With Both Local and Global Marketing

In this day and age, there’s no reason that your company can’t actively hold both a local and global presence. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the driving force that can help you engage with people in your geographical area, while also expanding to bring in people from all over the world. 

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 projects. 

You can sprinkle local SEO keywords into this content so that people in your area making searches are able to easily find your business. You can also expand to accommodate customers all over the world by opening an online store and selling e-books and courses to people trying to handle their handy projects. 

This one-two punch allows you to accomplish more than companies in any other era of business have been able to. 

9. This Is a Cost-Effective Form of 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 even for small projects. 

SEO, on the other hand, is incredibly scaleable and you can accomplish a lot with any budget that you’re working with. You can get started on your own right now by doing keyword research that you can use in your blog or website. 

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 that can carry out your strategies. A high-quality online marketing agency can assist you with any facet of SEO that you’re working on.  

Hiring an SEO professional requires you to take a look at your needs and goals, and then to figure out how much it’ll cost to get you from Point A to Point B. 

Some factors that will dictate the price you’ll pay for SEO services include understanding the exact nature of the projects you’re planning, how much growth you are projected to achieve, how much content is needed to achieve these goals, and several other factors.  

It pays to carve out goals for the next quarter or so, and then to get a price quote from an SEO marketing company that can help you carry out the game plan. 

Companies today average $2500 per month in their SEO expenditures. These prices could easily reach several thousand per month depending on the size of the project and the type of work that’ll go into it. 

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 it’s working and when you need to make adjustments. 

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

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 do a lot of heavy-lifting when you’re trying to gain some traction with this form of marketing. 

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 on your SEO work, make your site more accessible to the public, and will build long-term trust with the people that matter the most.  

3. All of the Major Metrics Are Picking Up

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

Examples of these metrics include fresh domains referring traffic, keyword density in your 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 thus, 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, dollars and cents are truly where the rubber meets the road with your company’s SEO success. When these strategies are taking place, you will notice an improvement in your sales and profit margins. 

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. 

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. Today’s consumer is more conscious and aware than ever, so you need to always control your company’s message. 

Learning how to tell your stories on social media will take your company to the next level. Outlets 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 outlets 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’s it’s just as important to be conscious about how the public perceives you, and what you can do to mold this perception. Having an SEO professional by your side will help you hone this each step of the way.

2. SEO Pros Put Multimedia Strategies to Use

Learning to embrace multimedia will help your SEO 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. A quality 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 put to use, it’s important that you track the performance each step of the way. 

There are a number of 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 a number of software and analytics tools that can track every metric until you are satisfied with the results that you get from each. 

4. SEO Specialists Will Helm Your Content Marketing Strategies

Nuts and bolts techniques aside, 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 hitting the mark.  

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. 

This is just as important as any other strategy since people today have an overabundance of web content options and a shorter attention span. 

Using high-resolution images in your business will build engagement and bolster your SEO. Make sure that these images are backed by quality color schemes and designs that are minimalistic and sensible.   

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 of the types of keywords that these professionals will help you with include short-tail, long-tail, product keywords, keywords from competitors, Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords, and phrase match keywords. 

These keywords, and others, all have a place and will dictate the results that you get from your campaigns.  

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

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. 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 usefulness when you’re using links intelligently without being too ham fisted. 

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.  

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

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 by leaps and bounds thanks to quality SEO work. 

This will help you find pros that you’ll feel comfortable hitting the ground running 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 people today prefer to browse the web, you need to accommodate that by making sure that your site is always designed and optimized to accommodate this.  

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 one-on-one 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 or not 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 you, rather than only speaking in generalities.  

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 impeccable 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.

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