When most of us need an answer to a question, we turn to Google.

A woman saying into a microphone,

Have you ever thought about what lies on the second page of your search result? Probably not! You get what you want from the first page and move on.

Spongebob burning a piece of paper that reads,

Now ask yourself, what decides which sites end up on the first page?

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It improves your website by increasing the quantity and quality of website traffic via organic (non-paid) search engine results.

A woman in an office saying, It increases the visibility of your site in relevant search results, increasing the likelihood of attracting viewers or customers to your website.

Having good SEO means making sure your website has great content and is discoverable by your target audience.

How Does It Work?

Search engines create SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) by:

  1. Gathering information on the available content on the internet and creating an index via a process called "crawling and indexing".

  2. Analyzing the pages in the index using an algorithm and determining the order they should appear in the search results given a specific query via a process called "ranking".

An image showing graph of activity on a website for the last six monthsPhoto by Stephen Phillips - Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash

You can get your website on the first page (and maybe even the top result!) by creating good content and having good keywords.

A woman in a kitchen making a chef's Kiss

Why Is It Important?

SEO is an integral part of digital marketing, since search engines drive the majority of online traffic.

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You can use SEO to:

  • increase your business sales

  • grow ad revenue

  • retain website traffic

A wheel chart showing that SEO accounts for 53% of web traffic to a particular siteOrganic search dominates 53% of traceable website traffic.

Flaticon Icon

Ava makes customized ceramics. She creates a website to expand her business online. Ava has budgeted for advertising and is willing to learn more about online advertising.

She's considering increasing traffic to her website by:

A. Creating social media posts showcasing her ceramics.

B. Advertising her ceramics by paying for online ads on Google and YouTube.

C. Optimizing her website using SEO fundamentals.

Quiz

Which of the options above will most likely achieve the strongest increase in traffic to Ava's website?

A

B

C

None of these

"White Hat" Vs "Black Hat" SEO

There are two ways to use SEO to grow your business:

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"White hat" SEO applies SEO techniques, best practices, and strategies that abide by search engine rules to serve the needs of users.

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"Black hat" SEO applies techniques and strategies that attempt to spam/fool a search engine to grab random web traffic.

Note:

Black hat SEO is often considered unethical. A business that practices it is penalized and removed from SERPS, which has led to bankruptcy for some businesses.

Scenario

Company A and Company B created websites to advertise their plush toys. Note the difference in how they use keywords.

Flaticon IconCompany A

  • Has beautiful website design with images embedded with descriptive alt text

  • Naturally uses keywords

  • Focuses on quality content, product, or services

"We offer a range of plush toys for children and adults. We created our toys using allergen-free material."

Flaticon IconCompany B

  • Has a mash-up of images and cluttered or concealed text

  • Stuffs keywords onto the website

  • Focuses on increased web traffic instead of quality content

"We have the best plush toys available. Our brand created the best plush toys in the United States. We offer you the best plush toys for children and adults!"

Quiz

Which company is using ethical SEO techniques to drive organic website traffic?

Company A

Company B

Take Action

If you plan to start a successful business, blog, or brand with an online presence, you need to understand and use SEO effectively.

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This Byte has been authored by

ZG

Zhaneille Green

Graduate Student