What is SEO, and Why Does it Matter

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If you’re a small or local business owner, you have almost certainly heard of “SEO” by now. SEO, or “search engine optimization,” is a huge part of staying relevant in today’s competitive and tech-dominated business world. And even if you’ve been getting away without SEO help for years now, you would be much better off investing in SEO and digital marketing services. That’s because SEO matters a lot these days, even to small and local businesses.

SEO: A working definition

Just what is search engine optimization?

What it means is that SEO experts work to make your business’s web presence as attractive as possible to the search engines (Google, Bing, and the rest of the gang), their “spiders” (programs that crawl the web indexing websites), and their algorithms (which determine the order of the indexed sites on the search engine results page, or SERP).

The complex strategies that SEO experts use to do all of this stuff are all designed with a more utilitarian goal in mind: They want your business to rank higher on the SERP for the relevant keywords your customers and would-be customers are searching for.

The power of search engines

Ranking high on the SERP has never been more important. Search engines have long been powerful portals to the web, but the rise of local search and the ever-increasing number of people searching from their mobile devices has made search engines far more relevant to local shops and small businesses.

If you’re not on map search apps such as Google Maps these days, you’re in trouble. If you’re not on specialized search programs like review board website Yelp (or if you’re not managing your presence on such sites), then you’re in trouble. If you’re not making sure that your business performs as well as it can with relevant keywords on mobile devices and computers alike, then — well, you get the idea.

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Google fields a lot of queries, and some of those are local people searching for businesses like yours. You’ll also find local search engine advertising opportunities. That’s a powerful thing, so take advantage of it.

How SEO is done

We know that SEO is about making your business perform better in search engine results, and we know that this matters a lot. But how is this actually done?

Well, it’s complicated. In addition to working with search engines directly on basic information, SEO involves a lot of linking, explain the SEO experts at LinkGraph, but the quality of the links matters, too. Use too much “link spam,” and you’ll see your rankings drop. You’ll need to master keywords and keyword density, too: You want keywords your customers search for to appear on your site, but you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to Google’s algorithm (and Bing’s, too).

Then, there are the HTML tricks, the metadata text, the images, the intrasite links, the “site map,” and so much more. All of it goes into a complex and unified strategy — one that has to change all the time based on what we know about the search engines’ algorithms. And just to complicate things even more, those algorithms are top secret.

Making SEO work for you

Sound pretty complicated? It is. But that doesn’t mean that you have to go back to school to become an SEO expert, the pros at linkgraph say. What you should do instead is make SEO (and digital marketing in general) an outsourced service. In-house SEO services and DIY solutions are not the best or most financially sound decision for your business. Instead, turn to the pros who know SEO best.