In the last five years, the relevance and importance of digital marketing have continued to expand for both small businesses and corporations. Search engine optimization, which is otherwise referred to as SEO, is an essential component of digital marketing and helps ensure that a business stays competitive online. The SEO marketing process connects internet users with the products and services that a company has on offer. If you are a small business owner seeking guidance and support surrounding your brand’s online presence and visibility, you may want to consider reaching out to an experienced digital marketing and SEO agency.

SEO and web marketing can be a tricky process for business owners to understand fully. The processes surrounding website development, content writing, and improving your position in search engine results are undeniably complex. Digital marketing continues to innovate quickly. Google, which controls most web search traffic, also continues to change what ranks well with its regular algorithm updates. This makes digital marketing and SEO a moving target. Most of the time, you’ll want a marketing professional on your side to keep your business competitive.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the basic principles of SEO marketing, including how and why they make a difference for your campaign. Unlike paid search and display advertising, SEO takes time, operating more like a marathon than a sprint. Depending on the complexity of your industry and the competitive landscape you’re facing, this process may take anywhere from three to twelve months. However, for almost all small and medium-sized businesses, SEO and digital marketing services are essential investments for supporting the growth and profitability of the business.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization, more commonly referred to as SEO, is the process of increasing the visibility of your business in Google’s search engine results pages. SEO targets individuals who are searching for the products and services that you’re offering but usually aren’t aware of your business. In many ways, SEO is the process of building a bridge between your business and these new potential customers or clients.

How Does SEO Work?

Search engine optimization is a multi-step process that requires considerable time, effort, and expertise. For this reason, many businesses choose to work with a marketing agency rather than find an in-house solution. For small businesses, in particular, signing up for an SEO marketing contract frees up your time and ensures you’ll continue to gather quality leads.

Website Development

If you’re going to rank well in Google, you’ll first need a website that gives value to incoming users. The site should educate visitors on the value and reliability of your products, services, and team. In addition, the site should at all points carry substantial visual appeal and with an easy-to-navigate layout. Pages should load quickly, images should display in high resolution, and using contact forms and email signup interface should be easy. If you don’t have a high-quality website that supports conversions, then ranking your business on Google won’t increase sales and profitability.

Many SEO and digital marketing agencies can help you find the website development solutions you’ll need to succeed online. In many cases, the agency already has a team of developers that can support this initial setup phase of your business marketing efforts. Your website is the foundation for your online presence, and the site’s speed and visual appeal can determine your marketing campaign’s success (or failure).

Keyword Research

To connect relevant users with your business online, you’ll first need to research what they are searching for when they go to Google. The search terms, phrases, and words that the user inputs into Google are referred to by digital marketers as keywords. Understanding the keywords surrounding your business, industry, and product lends valuable insight into how people view, describe, and understand what your business does and what it can offer them. In addition, these relevant keywords serve as marketing targets for which you’ll want your business website to rank in Google’s search results.

Where your business is ranking for a particular keyword dictates the quantity and quality of incoming users to your site. Users that come to your site by searching for a particular keyword are referred to as organic traffic. If you’re ranking first for a specific keyword, you’ll be the first organic result when searching for that keyword on Google. If your ranking is in the one to ten range, your website will be listed on the first page of search results. If your rankings are higher, you’re likely further back in the results and less likely to see new incoming organic traffic.

Content Writing

Content for your website, including the homepage, landing pages, and services descriptions, should directly utilize the keywords you’re targeting with your SEO marketing efforts. You’ll also want to regularly release content for the site through a blog or new reference pages. If you have existing content on your site, a digital content marketer can assist your business by adding a few keywords throughout the site. The process of building in keywords throughout your site content, including in headers, meta-descriptions, and image alt text, is an essential process for successfully improving your website ranking for targeted keywords.

On-Page SEO

On-page search engine optimization includes fixing broken links, missing pages, and other site errors. When Google crawls your website, they frequently rank your business down in search engine results because of these site errors. In addition, you’ll want to optimize page speed, fix schema markup, and include a sitemap that helps Google index your site.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO most frequently refers to the process of building backlinks that lead back to your website. A backlink originates on a third-party website but leads the user directly to your website through a hyperlink. It’s an important process for improving your keyword rankings because it increases the perceived authority of your website in the eyes of Google’s algorithm.

Why SEO Matters

Optimizing your website for search engines is a crucial process in digital marketing that supports your business by connecting individuals searching search for similar products and services with your company and brand. SEO ultimately increases the flow of organic traffic to your site, which increases conversions and contact page interaction. For many small businesses, SEO is an essential process for increasing overall growth and profitability.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.