SEO. You’ve probably heard the word, listened to talks about its importance and seen videos and panels about how to integrate SEO initiatives into your own work and business.
More importantly, do you understand the impact of SEO on brand success, career growth, and emerging business initiatives?
Most web traffic comes from search engines these days — in fact, 75 percent of search engine searches come from Google alone. So, if you want to get noticed, you need to make sure your website and content are ranking pretty high on its list.
And whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting your business career, it’s important to understand the importance of SEO and its impact on your future professional goals.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the practice of increasing the organic traffic to your website through content and design optimization — promoting your content higher on Google, and other search engine pages, so that it is noticed by visitors.
But it’s not just about quantity. It’s about getting the right people to your website — quality over quantity. And it’s based on organic initiatives — not paying to get more visitors, but conducting research, optimizing content and creating an effective design that lends itself to more organic search traffic.
SEO is more than just incorporating the right keywords, however. It’s about creating an overall user experience that benefits the consumer. It’s about creating websites that users actually want to interact with.
SEO is important for businesses, in the simplest form, because brands want exposure. They want to drive leads, conversions and ultimately sales. This means that the more traffic your website sees, the higher chance your brand will see actionable results.
SEO is on the rise, with most professionals claiming its effectiveness is continuing to grow. In fact, 82 percent say that SEO continues to help them improve rankings and traffic and that it will only get better.
But what goes into SEO considerations and what can brands do to improve their SEO initiatives?
Essentially, SEO boils down to a mathematical formula or algorithm. Search engines rank your content and landing pages using a number of different criteria to determine relevance, authenticity, and popularity.
The higher the ranking, the higher up on the search engine page they’ll sit. And I’m sure you know from experience that users rarely ever go farther than page two — so you want to make sure your content is ranking as high as it can.
That means that you need to create content that’s trustworthy. It needs to be full of research and quality information. And you need to be able to show that you’re an authority and your content is authoritative as well.
Your website needs to be offering something of value to consumers. That’s what Google and others want to see. They also want to see that your website loads quickly, looks organized and has a credibility to it in its design.
When it comes to SEO and SEO marketing initiatives, it’s important to know that your main focus should be on how consumers interact with your content. That’s what Google is thinking about, and it knows what they want intimately. Brands and businesses need to ensure they’re giving their audience the content they want — content that’s credible, unique, interesting and trustworthy.
You might be wondering, what does SEO have to do with me?
And that’s a valid question — for SEO marketers, understanding SEO is a no-brainer. It’s your job to create websites and content that captivates, informs and drives conversions. And you need SEO to reach those consumers and increase that organic traffic.
But it’s not just SEO professionals that can use this knowledge to advance their careers. Almost everyone in the marketing, advertising, and general business worlds can leverage this information to their advantage. They’re in the business of creating content and impacting consumers, after all. And the fundamental goals of SEO are to give consumers what they want online.
These professionals can use SEO tactics to conduct better research and understand more fully what their audience wants and how to get it to them. This will help them reach their goals and propel them into their future endeavors.
But even outside of marketing, emerging professionals can learn a thing or two about SEO that can help them overcome future obstacles and fulfill their professional goals.
If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, having a website is key to success — having an online, mobile-friendly web presence is imperative for engaging with audiences, most of whom are online. And these websites can help get the word out about you, your brand and your projects.
But if the content isn’t optimized for SEO, then very few people are actually going to see it. You could be the hottest, freshest new thing in the business world, but if no one actually knows who you are, it doesn’t matter.
An optimized website can help increase traffic, foster leads and drive sales — which is ultimately what will lead to business growth and success.
Similarly, if you’re in a professional field like medicine and business, SEO can help you build up an authority, credibility, and trustworthiness. Using the right keywords can get your page to rank higher and incorporating link building initiatives — writing articles for other publications with links back to your website and allowing others to do the same — helps to establish an authority in your field, encouraging others to look at you like a leader in your profession.
Those in the more creative fields like design can also put this understanding to good use too. Designers create mediums through which brands interact with consumers. They’re reaching out to their audience through visual mediums — understanding how to do that and what their audience wants is vital for creating a design that sells.
Similarly, web designers build websites — and they need to ensure they’re integrating SEO best practices so that the website itself is looked at favorably by Google. This means that its domain needs to be clean, it’s loading speeds need to be fast, its layout needs to be organized and there are meta titles, descriptions and tags put in place that can be optimized with necessary keywords. This will ensure a website has the potential to shoot to the top of the page.
Overall, understanding SEO doesn’t hurt you, and only works to teach you skills and techniques for reaching out to your intended audience and creating a bridge that connects you with them. Whether your audience is individual consumers or big businesses, an online presence that’s catered to them is imperative for success. Similarly, understanding consumer behaviors thanks to SEO research can help you create a brand and a presence that captivates, driving sales and driving awareness.
Even if you yourself don’t know how to implement these initiatives, it’s a good first step to at least acknowledge its importance. And thankfully, there are dedicated SEO marketing agencies that can help you bridge that gap and increase your organic search traffic.
If you’re ready to take on SEO head-on, there are tools that can help make implementation a breeze.
Google offers a host of free tools that can help you get a better understanding of how to rank higher on Google. The search engine ranks based on site speed, content quality, relevance, and trustworthiness — these are the big indicators. And thankfully, their free tools shed some light on how to improve.
Google Analytics is a great tool for understanding how your website is performing based on metrics and data. This lets you know how many users you get, where they’re coming from and more. Using this data makes it easier to understand your audience, also making it easier to create the website they want.
Google PageSpeed Insights measures the loading speed of your website and its landing pages. And considering 47 percent of users expect a site to load in less than two seconds, this is a powerful tool for making sure you’re on the right track.
Keyword Tool is also great for learning about what keywords are being searched for most, giving you options for what to include in your website landing pages, blog content and more to attract the right consumers.
These are just a few of the free tools that can help simplify the SEO process and help you boost your organic rankings for free.
Search engine optimization is something that all professionals should have a basic understanding of — if only to learn how to better connect with their audiences and leave an impact on consumers.
Whether you’re in marketing or medicine, there’s something to be learned about SEO and its impact on your business. SEO is what drives users to your website, and at the end of the day, if you’ve got a website, that’s exactly what you want.
But even though on the surface SEO seems complicated — with its complex algorithm and varying criteria for rankings — there are some simple and effective ways to learn about SEO on your own and implement effective strategies to improve the traffic and ranking of your website.
Emerging professionals should take this information into consideration and put it to good use as they grow in their professional careers. SEO is only becoming more important, and it’s better to know now than find out the hard way later.