• Jenna Gleespen

What's the deal with SEO, anyway? A very basic guide to SEO

Updated: Jan 16

What is SEO?

You’ve likely heard of the term SEO, right? Even if you aren’t familiar with what it actually is, chances are you’ve heard the acronym mentioned somewhere before. Well, there’s a reason for that. SEO, or search engine optimisation, is pretty much a big deal. What is it exactly? semrush.com define it as “the art and science of persuading search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, to recommend your content to their users as the best solution to their problem.” SEO is pretty much exactly that.

Why does SEO matter?

So how is SEO used and why does it matter? It matters simply because for your site to get ranked higher in search engines like Google, the search engine will need to know exactly what is being searched for. Keywords and key phrases get you organic, or free, traffic to your site. This is where keywords come into play. Keywords and key phrases are used by search engines to rank website content according to what is being searched. For example, if your blog is about how to make a cheesecake, you want to include keywords and key phrases in your written content that competes with other blogs of the same nature. Now, this is where it gets tricky. You want your keywords to be competitive, but you also want them to be just the right amount of niche as well. If you don’t have enough niche, or specific keywords in your blog article or web content, then you are competing against millions of sites with the same big keywords, like in this instance, cheesecake. Now, perhaps you have a special recipe for a blueberry cheesecake, or the recipe is from your nan. You want to be sure to use those niche keywords and key phrases pertaining to and including those words in your writing so that Google and other search engines can accurately, and competitively place your content.

You want your content to organically rank in Google and the likes for one major reason, it comes off as authentic and exactly what the searcher is looking for. Inorganic, or paid for results, are what come up at the top of a SERP (search engine results page) which are displayed as AD or Sponsored sites. The big reason to focus on SEO traffic is that if SEO writing is used effectively, then it is a continuous source of free traffic that seems authentic and genuine to the searcher.

How do search engines work?

Search engines are like an answering service. They pour over literally billions of websites, those websites’ written content, and attempt to analyse thousands of factors which bring results most related to your query. Search engines do all of this by cataloguing any available content on the world wide web. This practice is called indexing and crawling, and is extremely important when it comes to SEO. Along with indexing and crawling, search engines also order the content by how well it matches your search query. This is called ranking. Both crawling and indexing, as well as ranking, work together to bring the most reliable pieces of information to you.

What makes good SEO?

For SEO to be successful, you need to figure out what your customers and those you are hoping to bring to your website are searching for. Hone in on the phrases they use and incorporate those phrases in your web content. There are many programs and tools available to help you find the best keywords and phrases for your content and your website. One highly popular tool is www.Ubersuggest.com, where you can search basic keywords and phrases for free, and also have the option to upgrade to a monthly plan that gives you access to more tools that help produce better results. With Ubersuggest you can also plug in your website to the search bar to see how your content ranks against others. Think of how YOU would search for something if you were looking for a cheesecake recipe, use those exact keywords and key phrases in your writing. For example, you may search “how to make blueberry cheesecake,” instead of just “blueberry cheesecake.” Try and put yourself in the shoes of your prospective customer and think how they might when searching.

Should I hire someone to do my SEO?

While it isn’t too terribly difficult to learn the basics of how to best use SEO, if you want really great results, like with anything you should hire a professional. It never hurts to become familiar with SEO yourself, as this can help you better analyse any work a copywriter would do for you. However, someone, such as a copywriter or web designer with extensive knowledge of SEO can take a lot of the headache and guesswork out of SEO for you. Many copywriters today are typically familiar with SEO and understand how to get your site ranked higher with the use of keywords and phrases. Hiring a copywriter for your site’s SEO is often the best thing you can do for your business. They will not only be providing you with professionally written copy this way, but with content that gets your brand or business noticed and seen. Just like with anything, if you aren’t an expert at something you need done, it’s often better to hire someone who is!

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