Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a loaded and confusing term because it includes a lot of different practices. At its most basic, SEO is defined as “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.” Basically, SEO helps a business’ website show up in search results when relevant search terms are used. For example, a bakery in your hometown would want to show up when you search “cupcakes near me.”
The primary split in SEO is between Search Marketing and Organic SEO. Search Marketing involves paying directly to be listed in search results, usually referred to as Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. Organic SEO is the slow-and-steady process of increasing your rankings without directly paying search engines to favor your site over other sites.
The key to Organic SEO is making your online presence is useful for your target audience while simultaneously making sure that search engines understand this usefulness. The crux of your Organic SEO strategy will be your website, but other factors, including social media and directory listings, are also important. Together, a well-optimized website, strong social presence, including reviews, and accurate (and therefore useful) listing presence will help your website rank for relevant keywords.
We’re starting an SEO-focused series and will be breaking down common SEO terms and what they actually mean for your business. Coming up: more on on-page optimization, social signals, listings, Google Analytics, and more. Let us know if you have any specific questions or article requests!