T he Internet is unique among advertising platforms because it gives every business, no matter how small, the ability to access a worldwide audience. With the vast majority of people using search engines (primarily Google) to find what they need online, high rankings in search results are critical to long-term success. Search engine optimization, better known as “SEO,” is the technique used to generate those rankings.
The Role of Search Engines
There is little doubt the Internet allows nearly everyone to access the largest collection of information in the history of mankind. The question, of course, is: “How do you find anything in this mass of data?” You’ve probably already guessed the answer: search engines.
Search engines are really just software programs hosted on a huge collection of web servers. They produce rankings by first mapping and indexing the web with programs known as bots, which inspect every site they can find. This index of data is then run through mathematical algorithms to produce lists of web pages about every imaginable subject, ranked by hundreds of different factors.
When a person performs a search for something like “Wedding Photographer,” the search engine software analyzes all the indexed websites in its database, creates a list of the best websites relevant to the search phrase, and then prioritizes the sites and lists them as the search results which appear on the screen. This is all done in a fraction of a second. The person using the search engine will see the first ten search results on the first page; very few people click beyond that page of results, so it is critical to get your site listed in the top ten for your desired search phrases.
How many people perform searches a day? The numbers are so vast that nobody is entirely sure. What we do know from Google is that it process roughly 3.5 billion searches a day, which is believed to be between 65 and 70 percent of all daily searches. In short, we are talking about the largest captive audience in the world, all searching for the information, services, and products that businesses like yours are selling.
What is SEO?
SEO is the art and process of making a website appear at the top of the search results for a specific phrase. The methodology for accomplishing this task grows more complex by the day, but generally starts with identifying “keyword phrases” used by your target audience when searching for solutions to their problems and needs. These keywords are the words typed into a search box, when someone tries to find something online.
SEO is the art and process of making a website appear at the top of the search results for a specific phrase. Click To Tweet
For example, consider a CPA who has started a business defending taxpayers in IRS audits. The goal of an SEO campaign would be to rank the CPA’s website in the top ten results for keyword phrases such as:
- “IRS audit help”
- “defend IRS audit”
- “fight IRS lien”
People performing these searches have IRS problems. They are looking for the type of help a CPA can provide – and they are ready to pay for that help. By ranking high in the search results, a CPA can count on a steady stream of clients with IRS problems contacting his firm.
Unfortunately, just making sure your website features the phrase “IRS audit help” isn’t enough to rank high for that term on search results. Search engines look at hundreds of other factors as part of the ranking process. Of these, link profiles are undoubtedly the most important. As you know, links connect one “virtual location” with another on the web. In our example above, our CPA might have links on his site pointing to the IRS website because valuable information on audits can be found there. This link counts as a positive “vote” for the importance of the IRS website, in the “eyes” of the search engines. The more positive votes a website receives (particularly from other important sites), the better its rankings will usually be.
Linking is a complex topic which goes beyond the scope of this article. But what you really need to know is:
- Links to your site need to be generated on a consistent basis.
- The links need to come from high quality sites.
- The links need to come from sites relevant to your niche or business.
Meeting these three requirements is a key aspect of our service. Link building involves an expert eye as well as a good bit of grunt work. We provide both and have the years of experience necessary to identify the links which will help your rankings – and those that will not help at all (or may even hurt your business).
Why Do You Need SEO?
The answer to this question is simple: to gain access to a huge audience. As we’ve mentioned, Google receives 3.5 billion searches a day. This number grows to roughly 5 billion searches a day when Bing and Yahoo results are added to the mix. Does that sound like a market your business should tap?
Here’s an example showing why SEO is a critical component to any online marketing effort. Assume you are in the business of selling baby clothing online. Google reports the following number of searches every month for just these seven keyword phrases:
- Baby clothing – 74,000
- Baby girl clothes – 27,100
- Baby boy clothes – 26,800
- Baby clothing – 6,600
- Cute baby clothes 5,400
- Cute baby boy clothes – 3,600
- Cute baby girl clothes – 3,600
If you rank in the Google’s top ten for these seven keywords, your website will be exposed to roughly 145,000 consumers a month who are looking for exactly the type of products you offer – and most of them are ready to buy.
Keep in mind this is just the traffic count for seven phrases. A savvy marketer will incorporate hundreds of similar phrases into the content on their site. This escalates the potential traffic they can receive from the search engines, and of course, their profits.
So – why do you need SEO? In simple terms, you need it in order to gain access to the largest possible target audience for your business, an audience you could never reach offline without spending tens of millions of dollars on advertising.
Why do I need SEO? gain access to the largest possible target audience Click To Tweet
Still on the fence about SEO? Think about these statistics:
- 92% of buyers begin their shopping by using a search engine.
- Search engines are the number one source of website traffic, far outstripping social media.
- Leads generated through SEO close at a 14.6 rate, while traditional marketing has a success rate of less than 2 percent.
- More than 85 percent of users online in the United States (who are 14 or older) use search engines to find products.
These numbers cannot be ignored if you intend to do business online. If you are ready to tap into the billions of searches your prospective customers and clients are performing each day, contact us today for a free SEO consultation to learn how we can turn your website into a lead generation machine.