What is SEO?

By August 27, 2016SEO Tips

what-is-seoSearch engine optimization (SEO) is a process that affects a website’s visibility and ranking on web search results. The objectives of SEO includes achieving an increased volume of inbound traffic or the number of visitors to a web-page or site, promoting awareness of the webpage among online users, and elevating its search engine ranking. SEO is not a sprint, but a marathon investment into your best converting, most profitable revenue source: organic search.

Why is SEO Important?

For decades, families gathered around the television night after night to watch their favorite shows. During the commercial breaks, individuals were strategically introduced to businesses that spoke to their needs and desires. Television provided a channel for businesses to get their products and services directly into our living rooms, creating a huge opportunity for ROI. In 2018 the search engine has provided an even greater opportunity for ROI. Rank highly on the results page, and you will see ROI in the four hundred percent range!

SEO affects a site’s visibility and accessibility to both search engine robots and online search users. SEO follows a pull marketing philosophy versus a push marketing, allowing visitors to flow onto your website based on search intent while respecting their privacy online.

Various SEO techniques help a search engine locate a “text” or a string of words on a page to match the query entered by the user. When a search engine finds the pertinent site, the latter is included in the top results. The higher a site gets placed on the SERP, the more chances it has of receiving visitors. Our goal is to help you build and optimize your pages.

Increased volume of inbound traffic is always good for a website because it correlates to higher potentials for conversions to sales or subscriptions.

Therefore, SEO plays a crucial role in internet marketing and – when implemented effectively – helps the website owner promote the information, products, or services featured on the website. This will help consumers read, share, and ultimately purchase your product, especially on mobile. This is particularly useful for e-commerce shops, because it is critical to attract target customers and boost sales. The main objective for any website is to provide a seamless online experience that turns a casual visitor into a loyal customer.

How Does It Work?

When users look for information on the Internet, they usually run some “keywords” or phrases on a search engine such as Google, Yahoo! or Bing. The search engine spiders crawl through billions of pages that may possibly contain the material that the user needs. It then indexes these pages and returns a list of site addresses, which are displayed on the search engine results page (SERP). A particular page or site’s display “rank” is influenced by certain factors such as the value, relevance, and popularity of the information it provides. SEO experts implement various techniques designed to anticipate the possible search “keywords” and to structure a webpage’s content in such a manner that it would be ranked higher by a search engine algorithm. The hope is that the webpage would be shown at the top of the results list and gain more visitors as a result. Google determines ranking factors using the three tactics we will talk about next; Backlinks, Content, and Rank Brain.

Backlinks

In 2016, Google publicly shared that backlinks are now one of the top two confirmed ranking factors that it’s algorithm utilizes in order to to gauge a site’s authority. Google’s algorithm does this by evaluating the number of domains that refer to a given site, as well as how authoritative those domains are within a given niche. Thus, it’s not merely the quantity of links pointing to a given site, but also the quality of links that determines where it will rank organically. It’s often useful to think of backlinks as votes of popularity for a particular site. The more votes received from trusted voters, the more likely a site is to receive visibility in Google searches. For that reason, link building is a critical component to Victorious’ overall SEO strategy.

The Relationship Between Content and SEO

The most important on-page ranking factor confirmed in Google’s 2016 announcement is content. Since the “spiders” that Google uses to crawl and index sites are unable to understand images and videos the way humans can, Google leans heavily on written content to determine a page’s semantic relevance, and ultimately it’s authority. Google’s search engine aims to provide its users with the best possible solution to a given query, so it makes sense that a site’s content would play a large role in determining whether or not a particular page will serve a useful, valuable result for users.

As you might expect, pages that are content-rich, use target keywords naturally throughout content, and discuss thematically-related materials tend to perform the best organically. Therefore, it is essential to integrate SEO into your content marketing strategy checklist. For starters, webmasters or website owners should consider allocating resources to develop a blog as a means to expand the site’s content footprint.

Rankbrain

The third most significant ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm is called RankBrain. Back in October 2015, Google informed the world that it had created RankBrain – a machine-learning artificial intelligence system – to improve its search engine’s ability to better handle never-before-seen search queries. RankBrain does so by embedding vast amounts of content into mathematical entities called vectors that computers can grasp and utilize to understand other, previously unknown phrases. Though there is still lots we don’t understand about the AI tool that’s impacting rankings today, we do know that RankBrain has outperformed Google engineers in search-related tests, and is making Google’s algorithm more accurate than ever.

Types of SEO

Most SEO tactics fall into two very different categories: those that abide by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines (white hat) and those that exploit them (black hat).

White hat techniques are those that adhere to best practices and guidelines of search engines. These strategies are implemented with the end user as the ultimate consideration and not the search engine algorithms. The methods focus on providing valuable and relevant content. These practices have shown to deliver longer-lasting benefits and returns for a webpage.

One of the biggest benefits of white-hat SEO is how well it supplements other digital marketing efforts like paid advertising and social media marketing. As you might expect, improving the user experience of a website for SEO purposes also results in increased performance for all visitors regardless of source and medium. But the benefit of a white-hat approach doesn’t end

there. As strategies that follow Webmaster Guidelines are executed and user experience improves on a site, sitewide metrics that serve as secondary and tertiary ranking factors begin to also improve. Thus, it’s common to see a site’s bounce rate decrease, the number pages per visit increase, and conversion rates increase – all of which impact a site’s bottom line value and further improve it’s search optimization.

Black hat techniques do not conform to the search engine’s standards. They are designed to improve the site ranking through the use of deceptive methods that seek to bypass algorithm rules. Such practices include the use of hidden or off-screen text, keyword stuffing, and page swapping. Black hat SEO tactics are strongly disapproved. When discovered, search engines will likely impose sanctions against the page in question, including permanently banning the site. However, webmasters who look for quick financial returns on a page resort to these methods, regardless of the risk.

As of today, black-hat SEO is less effective than ever. Recent algorithm updates cause most spammy tactics to fail in terms of immediate growth

and results. Even worse, black-hat SEO can land you an algorithmic penalty or a manual penalty from a member of Google’s web spam team. Google updates its search algorithm around 500 to 600 times a year in order to maintain a well-balanced search experience and avoid exploitations of ranking signals (the very thing black hat SEO is trying to do), and if a site is engaging in low quality SEO, there is a high likelihood that it will get noticed during one of those updates!

Find Your SEO Experts

The intricacies of SEO may appear daunting to new website owners. Fortunately, a lot of online information, guides, and tools are readily available, free, and most people can easily navigate through the basics. Take note, though, that developing effective SEO techniques takes time, effort, practice, and commitment.

Depending on the site’s goals, needs, and target timelines, webmasters can always hire or consult experts to help them develop a good SEO plan and implement it successfully. However, regardless of the nature of the website’s business or objectives, SEO is essential to the continued presence and exposure of any website in the online community.

The bottom line? If you’re not yet visible on Google, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to attract, convert, close and delight new customers every single day. But in order to understand how to increase your site’s visibility through organic search, you first must grasp how Google determines rankings themselves. We’re here to help, your success is our success!

Victorious is a team of true SEO partners working everyday to improve organizations around the world. As the trusted “outsourced, in-house” SEO team for hundreds of businesses in the SaaS, E-Commerce, and Service Industry, our partner list spans 18 countries and 6 continents and is growing everyday.

Michael Transon

Author Michael Transon

Michael Transon is the Head of Growth at Victorious. He's a big fan of ASU football, his cat Tux, and dinner parties. He lives in the Inner Richmond neighborhood.

More posts by Michael Transon