What is SEO?

You’ve heard some talk around the break room about SEO, known as Search Engine Optimization. You have a few questions, which is understandable. SEO is a topic that has a lot of layers. What is SEO? How does SEO work? Can I optimize my own website? We’ll go over some information you need to get on the path to professional quality Search Engine Optimization.

SEO is a marketing tactic focused on growing visibility in organic search engine results that does not include paid (Adwords) results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page, the images you use, videos that you show, to the way other sites link to you on the web. SEO that is done properly allows for a search engine to efficiently index your website. To determine the purpose of your products and services. The main goal of a search engine is to find websites that deliver relevant results to an end user.

Remember, and this is hugely important, SEO isn’t just about making sure search-engine-indexing robots can see and read your site. It’s about making your site better for actual humans too.

Why does my website need SEO?

The vast majority of web traffic is driven by the “Big 3” commercial search engines; Google, Bing and Yahoo. (According to the latest netmarketshare report (January 2018) 74.52% of searches were powered by Google and only 7.98% by Bing.) Although social media and other types of traffic can generate visits to your website, search engines are the primary method of navigation for the vast majority of Internet users. It doesn’t matter if your site provides content, services, products, information, whatever… people are trafficking your site though a search engine, more than they are through Social Media.

Search engines are unique in that they provide highly targeted traffic. Search engines are the traffic control centers that make this happen. If a search engine cannot find your site, or add your content to their index, your site will simply not show up for searches queries that may specifically involve your services or products.

Search queries—the questions, sentences and words that users type into the search box carry extraordinary value. Experience has shown that search engine traffic can make (or break) an organization’s success. Targeted traffic to a website can provide publicity, revenue, and exposure like no other channel of marketing. Investing in SEO can have an exceptional rate of return compared to other types of marketing and promotion.

Why can’t the search engines figure out my site without SEO?

Search engines are crazy smart, but they still need help. The “Big 3” engines are always working to improve their technology to crawl the web more deeply and return better results to users. There is a limit to how search engines can operate, though. While the right SEO can net you thousands of visitors and increased attention, the wrong moves can hide or bury your site deep in the search results where visibility is minimal.

SEO boosts your rankings on search queries so that your content will be placed where searchers are more likely to find it. The SERP (search engine results page) is extremely competitive, and companies that perform SEO will have a definitive advantage over companies that don’t engage in search engine optimization practices.

The latest piece to this puzzle is having a “mobile first” approach to web design and functionality. What that means, is that your website needs to optimize for a smart phone environment. Usually without a wi-fi signal. That means your site has to be blazing fast, with a small amount of data to and from the server. Otherwise, a competitors site that has similar content that is better mobile optimized will outrank you on keyword searches you want to rank for. Also, your site needs to look perfect on any device; iPhone, Android, tablet, laptop or desktop view. That’s where the word “responsive” comes from. Meaning you build one website that accommodates every possible viewing platform. Ask us about making your current website responsive or building a new site with a “mobile first” approach.

Can I do SEO for myself?

The world of SEO is complex. Most people can easily understand the basics. Even a small amount of knowledge can make a big difference. SEO education is widely available on the web. Depending on your available time, your willingness to learn, and the complexity of your website(s), you may decide you need an expert to handle things for you. Intaglio Marketing and Design is a firm that can help you as much or as little as you see fit. Don’t want to deal with it? Dandy. We’ll figure it out and send you monthly reports. Want the reigns, but need some guidance? Groovy. We can shine a light on your path.


Want some light reading?

Here’s a few vocab words you can use to impress your peers.

What is a search engine?
web search engine is a software system that is designed to search for information on the World Wide Web. The search results are generally presented in a line of results often referred to as search engine results pages (SERPs). The information may be a mix of web pages, images, and other types of files. Some search engines also mine data available in databases or open directories. Unlike web directories, which are maintained only by human editors, search engines also maintain real-time information by running an algorithm on a web crawler. Internet content that is not capable of being searched by a web search engine is generally described as the deep web.

A search engine maintains the following processes in near real time:

  1. Web crawling
  2. Indexing
  3. Searching

Web search engines get their information by web crawling from site to site. The “spider” checks for the standard filename robots.txt, addressed to it, before sending certain information back to be indexed depending on many factors, such as the titles, page content, JavaScriptCascading Style Sheets (CSS), headings, as evidenced by the standard HTML markup of the informational content, or its metadata in HTML meta tags. “[N]o web crawler may actually crawl the entire reachable web. Due to infinite websites, spider traps, spam, and other exigencies of the real web, crawlers instead apply a crawl policy to determine when the crawling of a site should be deemed sufficient. Some sites are crawled exhaustively, while others are crawled only partially”.   Dasgupta, Anirban; Ghosh, Arpita; Kumar, Ravi; Olston, Christopher; Pandey, Sandeep; and Tomkins, Andrew. The Discoverability of the Web.