SEO and Google: The Basics
Acronyms. There are just so many to keep track of. We are not ones for jargon, but if there is one to learn in the web game, it’s SEO, or search engine optimization. As long as people have needs, questions and desires, search marketing will be a thing. So, get on board, buckle up and consider this your crash course. Here are three key SEO basics for non-developers.
If you were to ask three different marketing professionals to define SEO, they’d likely give you three different answers, and would likely all be right. According to Google, SEO is “the process of making your site better for search engines.” Or, as we like to put it, how to get more of the right eyeballs on your site. It’s the ongoing practice of increasing the quantity and quality of website traffic.
We say ongoing, because search marketing tactics are not a one-and-done activity, but something that you need to tend over time to truly realize the benefits of. If you’re thinking, “Isn’t that Google’s job?” The answer is yes and no.
For as brilliant as Google is, we still need to speak its language. And in a sense, their language is SEO. While there is definitely plenty of nerd speak associated with the ins and outs of SEO (as web dev nerds, we’re allowed to say that), if you’re serious about growing your business, it’s good to have a basic understanding of how it all works.
Google’s Secret Sauce
Google boasts an unbelievable 3.5 billion queries every day, which adds up to 1.2 trillion per year, worldwide. The search engine giant’s algorithm is like “Mission Impossible” meets the Rubik’s Cube…no matter how elaborate your plan or how many how-to YouTube videos you watch, you’re not going to beat it. And even if you were to get close, it’s always changing.
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for in the land of SEO, and if you want to rise to the top, you’re likely going to have to put some money behind it through search engine marketing, leveraging pay-per-click ads. For example, in 2017 alone, Google’s search and advertising tools contributed to $15.7 billion of economic activity for Texas businesses, websites, publishers and nonprofits.
While it’s impossible to outsmart Google, a strategic organic and paid approach to SEO keeps you in the ranking game.
Ranking Factors and SERPs
Are you ready for more jargon? Google uses several different ranking factors to comb through billions of webpages to quickly find the most relevant results, which then make up the contents of a Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). Both organic and paid content is included in SERPs, and will be unique to each search (even when the same keywords are used), as its influenced by an individual user.
While there are many different factors that affect SERPs at varying degrees, here is a sampling:
- Site security
- Page speed
- Internal linking structure
- Number and quality of backlinks
- Amount and quality of content
- User intent
- User experience (UX)
- Keyword research
There’s So Much More…
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes a lot of time and effort to maximize the benefits of SEO, but the great thing about it is that once you have a baseline and data about what is working and what isn’t, you can make immediate changes to test something new. No bottlenecks, no red tape. If you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin, we get it – it’s a puzzle. Let’s have a conversation about how we can help.