This article was originally published on The Huffington Post Blog.
SEO is one of those terms that people throw around without knowing much about. Sure, most business owners know that SEO helps drive traffic to their websites via search engines. But how does SEO work? How much does it cost? And does your business really need it? In this blog, we’ll boil SEO down to its basics to give you a rudimentary understanding of this complex, yet crucial practice.
First of all, what is SEO?
Short for “search engine optimization,” SEO is a methodology used to boost the ranking or frequency of a website on search engine result pages, with the end goal of directing more traffic toward the site. SEO is a natural, or organic, way of improving a website’s visibility on search engines, as opposed to “paid search,” which involves paying search engines directly for prime real estate.
How does it work?
Say you’re looking for a new pair of sunglasses, and you want to explore different brands and styles on the Internet. Conventional wisdom will likely lead you to a search engine like Google. To initiate your search, you’ll probably type “sunglasses” into the search bar. A quick glance at the results will reveal everything you need to know about a website’s SEO prowess. Websites with the best SEO will appear first, while websites with poorer SEO will appear on secondary pages.
Why should I care where my website is ranked?
No matter the purpose of your website, being on Page 1 of search engines for search terms most relevant to your business is essential. According to studies, Page 1 garners 92 percent of all traffic from the average search. The higher you’re listed on Page 1, the better. On average, the top ranked result for any given search scores 32.5 percent of traffic share, while the second ranked result gets 17.6 percent. The drop-off gets even steeper from there.
How do I get my website to rank higher?
There are a number of steps you can take to improve your SEO, which in turn will boost your ranking. Updating your website content to incorporate keywords is the first step. There is really no substitute for well-written and relevant content. Optimizing your metadata and alt tags is also very important. Getting other websites to link to yours is also valued by Google’s algorithms, as it helps to establish your website’s credibility.
Alt tags? Metadata? What are those things?
An alt tag is a text alternative for an image or object on your page. Metadata is data that provides information about other data.