We hear the phrase SEO a lot as marketers, but what does SEO stand for really? Well, the short and obvious answer is Search Engine Optimization. But that’s only the answer to what literally SEO is, if you want to know what it’s for, and how marketers use SEO to grow their businesses, keep reading below.
What does SEO stand for?
So like we mentioned, SEO = Search Engine Optimization. and the practicality of it is to basically create web pages with optimized content around a specific topic that will hopefully get your page positioned high in the search results page when someone is searching for a related topic or phrase to what you wrote about.
When you do SEO right, and consistently, you can build your website with traffic, that will convert into leads eventually, or establish your brand as an authority on the topic. Let’s not forget, behind every search term there is a real person who is looking for something.
Now if you’re thinking that SEO is not something you need for your business or brand, here are some facts behind the SEO world that might convince you otherwise:
- more than 40,000 search queries are processed by Google alone every second. That’s every second, you read that right. That amounts to close to 2 trillion per year from all search engines.
- Over 40% of the world population now has mobile phones, and this number will continue to grow.
- If you run a shopping site, search engine traffic will drive 10x more traffic than any other source.
- Next year, the total digital spend will surpass TV spend for the first time.
- If you don’t have a good website with great content, you are losing clients and money
Data taken from Internetlivestats.com and seo.com
All of this has got to convince you that SEO stands for more business and more growth, and you have to take part in it as a business owner.
How to do SEO
Well, this is a very broad topic as SEO has many smaller sub-topics and we could touch all of them, but that’s for a later article. In this article we will touch a few strategies so that people with no knowledge of search engine optimization will understand what’s it all about in very basic terms.
SEO is optimized content
When a marketer ( like me ) has an idea for a new business or he is working with a company and his job is to get more clients, increase sales etc, one of the most popular methods of doing it is by attracting people who are browsing the internet to visit your website.
Some use paid advertising, and some use SEO, we are going to talk about SEO. So the basic tactics of SEO is to just create relevant and informative content about a specific topic, for example, let’s say I own a car dealership and I want to sell more cars.
Obviously, I know that most people today have mobile phones or a personal computer. And let’s say now a person who owns a Toyota is considering changing his car model to say chevrolet.
So it’s pretty clear that this person will browse to Google and search something like ” Toyota vs chevy comparison ” or ” which car is better Toyota or chevy “.
Now, we can understand that when someone is searching for these terms he is most likely looking to buy a car right? That’s called user intent ( That’s a whole other article ) but for the sake of this piece, let’s assume his intent is to buy a new car.
So we want to create page on our car dealership website that will help this person make an informed decision.
So we could create a guide about which car is better, show some tables and stats, share actual buyer’s reviews about both and really provide as much info and help as we can for someone looking for those search terms.
If we do it right, we should start ranking for related search terms and people will find our website and learn about our car dealership and some of these people will call us, come by to look at cars, and buy.
Now for most beginner SEO people, just writing a really good article will be enough over time, yes, many people will tell you to do so many tricks and hacks to try and boost the process but those will only hurt you in the long term. For most, just updating your website with really good relevant content will bring results in the long term.
After we publish an article, we can promote it to our social media followers, email list or friends to get the word out and let it spread naturally.
What does SEO mean for professionals
This is a different level. When a pro SEO decides to take on a topic he does things a little bit differently.
Usually this involves these steps:
- Keyword research
- Competitive research
- Content creation
- link building
Let’s break down each step so you can better understand what SEO is for marketers who knows their stuff.
This is usually the first step to any SEO campaign. You’re a car dealer right? You want to sell more cars, so you better figure out what people are actually searching for online before you even write one word.
In this process, we will use various tools like ahrefs and Ubersuggest Keyword tool to look for specific keywords and search phrases that people use to search for related car terms.
We want to create a list of a lot of keywords that are relevant to our niche, these could be questions that people have about certain cars, reviews, price comparison and many others.
Once we have our initial list of keywords, we want to see what our competition is up to. So every business owner will know a few direct competitors by hear, so we will research these competitors with our tools, and see which keywords and phrases their are already ranking for and get traffic and leads, and we will pick the ones that we feel we can create better content on, or provide better value.
Remember, these are only keywords that actually drive traffic to your competitors, not just random words, these are very targeted phrases you can use.
Once we have all these keywords, and it can be a lot, we can start creating content. We can use writers or sometime have the owner himself write the content if he is passionate enough and has the time. We will cover every topic to the best of our abilities, we will provide real value, and answer the questions that may come to people who search for these terms.
We will research the competition to see what they wrote, and write something better. Once we will we have the best article or piece of content out there, we will publish it to the website.
Once we have our finished piece, we will now optimize it for search engines. This is important to understand that we want to optimize the content only after it has already been written, we do this because if we try and optimize it during the writing stage, we will not be focused on providing the best info or value possible and will be thinking about how to optimize.
So we want to do this after, and we will go through the article and edit it to make it more search engine friendly. There is really no way of explaining exactly how we do this, it involves inserting the keywords and similar phrases inside the article, creating images, sub titles, videos, bullet points and other things to make the article more appealing to search engines. It’s not rocket science, but it does takes experience to get it right.
Once we have our winning content, we will publish it to the website, making sure everything looks great and as it should, this is the shortest step, but very important as if the content is not live on the site and not looking good, the whole process has no point.
Once the article is published, we can begin promoting it, in this stage, we will first share it on Social media like Facebook, Pinterest etc to all of our followers and fans, if your brand is very popular and you already have authority and a strong brand, this may be the only thing you need to do, your brand name will take care of the rest. But if it’s not strong enough, we can push it to your email subscribers as well and any other relevant place we have control off.
This is to get the message out, telling the people who chose to follow us and get updates from us that we have a new content piece out. Most of them will want to see it and read it.
If the content we published and promoted didn’t get the results we wanted, we can push it with strategic link building.
this step is truly only for professionals who know what they’re doing
If you just try and spam the internet with links to your site or article, you will get nowhere, or worse, you will hurt your website in the long run.
SEO people who know what they’re doing, can build relevant, high quality links that will help your content instead of hurting it, we do this very delicately, only creating a few, well researched links to push the content a little bit further. We give it a nudge.
Now please know that what I wrote here is just the general outline of the process, every website is unique and has it’s own issues and advantages, so you need to look at each case as it’s own and build a SEO strategy that is unique to your site.
Below is a great video by Brian Dean:
You may think why in the world would I show this video here, Brian is like a direct competitor to me right? Well, there are two reasons, first, he really brings so much value that I feel it will bring you the reader value, so it’s worth sharing.
Second, everything in the SEO world including what SEO means, is available for free anyway, anyone can do a quick Google search to find out what every they want, so trying to keep info just to myself is stupid, we live in a world of sharing, if someone has something smart to say that can help, I will share it.
So to summerize what does SEO stand for. In one word, it’s visibility!
If you’re not showing up on the search engines, it’s like you don’t exist to a large portion of the world. Think about that.
While doing SEO on a high level and in competitive industries can be difficult and expensive, for most small business owners, the SEO game can be done with just a reasonable investment and a lot of time devoted. Remember that SEO is a long game, and what you do now will pay off big time in six or 12 months from now, so don’t be discouraged if you’re not seeing results right away.
The one who has patience and can be consistent, will probably win in the long run in the serp.