What is SEO and Why Does it Matter?
Mar 23 2021
Marketers work hard to make digital content shareable and shoppable, but no campaign even gets off the ground without first being visible. Search engine optimization (SEO) refines how easily-discoverable your content is to relevant searches and audiences. Improving site visibility means more eyes on your brand, more qualified and informed customers, and a better sense of what content connects best with your target audience.
SEO is a process. Frequently, search engines make internal changes causing ripple effects for marketers looking to drive traffic to branded websites. Search engines are always searching to define high-quality digital content and determine which content is most relevant to a user. When a shopper searches “spring fashion trends,” related ecommerce brands compete near-instantaneously to receive top priority on the results page. Streamlining your company’s SEO means pushing what you have to offer to the forefront in a crowded digital marketing space, making it a critical component to your advertising efforts.
Why SEO Matters
Your website is loaded with information — the company blog, product descriptions, and even the “About Us” page has data for search engines to locate and index through a complex system of ranking factors. The search engine attempts to gauge the user-friendliness of each website and how much of the information presented there is relevant to new customers. Marketers can therefore improve their rank among peer websites by adjusting their site’s content, landing pages, mobile-friendliness, and keyword usage to create a more optimal search experience.
While paid search exists — just try searching places to eat near you and count how many of the top results are noted “Ad” — SEO positions organic content according to search algorithms without factoring in budgets or bid prices. This makes brand visibility an even playing field for smaller advertisers savvy enough to learn the language of SEO and the factors most beneficial to improving a site’s score.
How to Improve Your SEO
It’s a rule as old as marketing itself — customers can’t buy from brands they don’t know exist. For all the brand awareness campaign offerings available through social channels, there’s still no substitute for being easy to find. Google processes roughly 3.5 billion searches every day, creating a virtually limitless pool of opportunity. What separates winning companies from the pack is how well they manage their online content and cater their websites to optimal searchability.
There are hundreds of factors determining a site’s SEO, but marketers can see dramatic improvements by focusing on these main levers within their control:
Content: The questions search engines are constantly trying to answer can be simplified down to, “Does this site offer value?” — quality content answers this question by offering accurate, relevant, professionally-presented material. Answers to common questions related to your industry or product, keywords, timely articles, and other forms of media are all part of the content family.
User-friendliness: Once content is taken care of, the most important driver for SEO is how efficiently your website operates. Search Engine Land calls this category “architecture,” and it includes the many factors creating the functional framework of your website. Search engines know if your site’s pages take too long to load or aren’t secure, or if the overall format isn’t mobile-friendly.
HTML or Coding: This one is straightforward even if you aren’t an expert in the language of backend coding. You want search engines to match your content with users interested in certain subjects — accurate titles with useful keywords, headings and descriptions of your content tell search engines how to index your site properly.
Engagement: This could also be titled simply “Not being spammy.” While it’s unclear exactly what metrics search engines employ to determine website authority, a track record of healthy engagement like shares, links to other sites, and generally presenting your site as an authority on a subject plays a role in SEO rank.
SEO’s purpose is to facilitate the mutually beneficial relationship between search engines and websites. While the ins and outs of the SEO universe can prove complex, it’s in every marketer’s best interest to understand the basics of what makes a site valuable.
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