Why SEO is important
If you are the owner of a small business, you have undoubtedly heard that SEO is important. However, you might not even understand what it is, much less how and why it is relevant to you. This article attempts to answer the question of why.
First of all, a quick glimpse at the question of what SEO means. SEO stands for search engine optimization. Essentially, it is actions that improve how well your website pages rank when people search for relevant terms on Google or a similar engine.
Now, you might be thinking that this doesn’t matter to your business, that you are doing just fine and don’t need the internet much to keep things going. Well, that is an outdated way of thinking. Even if your business offers products or services solely in-person, you need to have a strong internet presence that is professionally maintained.
Otherwise, you will fall behind your competition. For a long time, the internet was just one of the ways that people found out about new businesses via searches. Today, it is the main way. For your business to remain strong, you must continue to build your customer base. While other forms of advertising and communication have not yet disappeared, they are well on the way!
When a person wants to find a business that offers something they need, the most likely action today is to pull out a mobile phone and search for it. Mobile searches now exceed searches via desktop computers. Your company needs to show up when people are looking for businesses that offer the services you provide.
Let’s say you own a steakhouse. A new family with two kids has just moved into town and is looking for a place from which to get dinner. One of the parents grabs the cell phone and searches for a steak restaurant because they are craving some steak. If you have properly implemented SEO with your online content, your business should be listed.
Provided that you make good food, these four people might become regular patrons of your restaurant. On the other hand, if your business is not ranked well enough for them to find it, they might never even think about eating with you.
While there are some things that the layperson can do regarding SEO, it is usually best to hire an expert for help. Just as you use an accountant to keep your books balanced, you need an SEO expert to keep your business well-ranked.
Certainly understanding the basics of SEO is a good idea for any business owner, but you cannot keep up with all of the intricacies of the field. For instance, being mobile-friendly, and using SSL certificates are just two recent changes in the way that Google determines rank.
Hopefully, you can see the importance of search engine optimization for your web pages. Keeping your business in the eye of the public is essential to remaining ahead of the competition!
Search engines are basically a set of rules and algorithms and do not “see” web pages in the same way as humans. SEO helps to interpret the pages in ways that the engines can understand and can then decide which ones are most likely to be useful to the person carrying out the search.
This is done in a number of ways, including:
- Logical structure of your website
- Quality of content provided to the user
- Ease of navigation
- Speed of loading
- Links to/from authority websites in the industry
Getting the technical details of search engine-friendly web development correct is important, but once the basics are covered, you must also market your content. The engines by themselves have no formulas to gauge the quality of content on the web. Instead, search technology relies on the metrics of relevance and importance, and they measure those metrics by tracking what people do: what they discover, react, comment on, and link to. So, you can’t just build a perfect website and write great content; you also have to get that content shared and talked about.
There are usually ten positions on each search results page. The websites that fill those positions are ordered by rank. The higher your page is on the search results page, the better your click-through rate and your ability to attract searchers.
Results in positions 1, 2, and 3 receive much more traffic than results down the page and considerably more than results on deeper pages. The fact that so much attention goes to so few listings means that there will always be a financial incentive for improving search engine rankings.
No matter how search functionality may change in the future, websites and businesses will continue to compete with one another for this attention, and for the user traffic and brand visibility it provides.
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