Search engine optimization, or SEO as it’s commonly referred to, is a concept that a lot of people have trouble grasping. Of course, everyone knows that it refers to your overall ranking and web presence online, but when really trying to explain what it is most people have no idea. This is mainly because digital marketing and SEO is an ever-changing field with new concepts and strategies rolled out over time. Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms which can have a huge effect on how to properly optimize.
Years ago, SEO was a numbers game. Simply put, the more incoming links you had to your website the higher you would rank. As a result, there were a wide array of tools created to help automate and speed up this process. Today however, SEO has actually become much more intuitive. Search engine algorithms have become so complex and advanced that basically if you’re providing something of value online centered around a common theme or phrase, eventually you’ll rank well for that term. Obviously, there are ways to speed up this process and make sure your content stays on track, which is why people typically hire professional SEO firms to handle this.
It may be clearer if you think about it in terms of a traditional brick and mortar store. What you’re selling in your store is basically the content on your website. If you have a great selection and quality of products, people are much more likely to come into your store. The same is true with the content on your website. If you’re providing valuable and unique content that can’t be found elsewhere, people are much more likely to visit your website and share it with their friends.
Now just because you have a store with great products doesn’t mean everyone will be able to find it. When you first launch your website it’s equivalent to opening a store in the middle of nowhere with only a dirt road connecting to it. No one knows about it and not many people are likely to just drive by it. Initially, you need to promote your products and store to get the word out to create some traffic in your store. The exact same is true for your website. You need to leverage social networks, email lists, local blogs, and anything else you can find to promote the content you’re providing. If someone sees your content as valuable, they will likely link back to your website, which is equivalent to paving a new road to your store. It’s important to note that this is an ongoing process that is essentially never done. You always want more high-quality roads to your store!