The modern digital landscape is full of hidden pitfalls, and poor Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the worst ones you can fall into. When you’re starting your website or social media pages, you’ll constantly hear about SEO. Everyone swears good SEO is the key to success, but strangely enough, few can tell you how you can cultivate strong SEO yourself.
You may start thinking to yourself, ‘How do I improve my Search Engine Optimization?’. Let’s take a look at SEO and find out just what this common-place term actually means in a meaningful, practical way.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization is all about clicks. Essentially, it refers to the improvement or enhancement of your content to make it more visible on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Typically, people will input words concerning a topic of interest they want to explore in a search engine. The search engine will then use complex algorithms to pull the most relevant content. The exact mechanisms behind search engines are difficult for laymen to grasp, but they essentially pick up on trends related to the type of content people click on. That’s why when you search for something like “sneakers” on a normal day, you will probably find search results related to popular sportswear brands.
How Businesses Harness the Power of Search Engines
Successful online businesses keep an eye on search engine trends and utilize these trends to get more online traffic. The best way to think of SEO is through news stories. For example, if there’s been a recent scandal in a professional basketball league, people may just search “basketball” or “NBA”. In this scenario, they likely don’t want to see a Wikipedia page concerning the history of basketball. They are probably more interested in articles by newspapers, gossip magazines, or celebrity blogs concerning the scandal. Google will recognize that more people searching for “basketball” are clicking on these new stories, many of which may contain similar keywords such as the basketball team or players related to the scandal. Google will then catalog these keywords as important and refer more people to content containing them.
This works in much the same way for businesses, although you’ll likely have less hot topics such as scandals. Taking a less extreme example, consider how brands and products end up on the first page of Google search results. There are instances where a celebrity endorses a product, either as a brand deal or through their own personal experience, and that product ends up on the first page. However, social media has made these trends a lot faster and more volatile. An unknown TikTok user may make a
video containing an otherwise unknown product that they enjoy and it goes viral, making that product and those similar to it a hot item for the week.
Search Engine Optimizations Across Platforms
Usually, people will think about Google search results when they think about Search Engine Optimization, but this is a narrow way of utilizing SEO. In practical terms, hashtags on Instagram and product descriptions on Amazon are quite similar to the SEO you would use on your own website. When someone looks up a topic or product on these platforms they will typically use the internal search engine of the platform. That means when you make a post, you need to consider how the keywords on that post will fare on both the platform SEO and Google SEO.
Attaining Strong Search Engine Optimization
Now, you have a pretty good understanding of Search Engine Optimization. You pick the best keywords and phrases from your industry, and you try to splash in trending keywords where applicable. However, in practice this amounts to a full-time job. Just because you understand SEO, doesn’t mean you can leverage it to its maximum potential. This is probably where a digital marketing professional comes in. While small businesses may be able to get by on the determination and rigorous research of their founders alone, businesses seeking to experience rapid growth can definitely benefit from a professional in digital marketing.
For example, the tools at your disposal will be vastly different. While you may lean on free services such as Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner, which are great, a professional digital marketing agent will have already invested in more complex SEO tools. Additionally, they would have earned the experience in the field to know the perfect way to seamlessly blend both industry keywords and trending keywords into the most important aspect of your online presence: worthwhile, quality content! If new visitors think your product or blog post is just trying to cash-in with careless SEO, you might have improved the quantity of your clicks, but you’ll miss out on quality engagement.