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What is SEO? How does it help businesses?

Various people scratching their heads in confusion

Photo Credits: Nick@, Shandi-Lee, SAN_DRINO

 

I am an SEO copywriter. Unless I'm chatting with other internet marketers, I get a lot of blank stares trying to explain what I do and how I help businesses. Before we even get into what an 'SEO copywriter' or 'web content specialist' does, its useful to know what SEO is.

 

SEO is the short form for Search Engine Optimization. Let’s break it down by each word to understand what it is:

 

Search – Online searching is the second most common online activity behind only email. Search engines have become such an easy source for information that most consumers perform thorough research online before ever stepping foot inside a storefront anymore. Even a few seconds of research can help shoppers make a more educated buying decision.

 

Engine – At the heart of search engines are complex algorithms that determine which websites to push forward in the search engine results page (SERP). Google.com is the most popular search engine, followed by Yahoo.com and Bing.com.

 

Optimization – Online searchers seldom go beyond the first page of search engine results because the information that they are looking for can usually be found within the first three results.

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) then is the process of:

  • a) determining which keywords people use when they perform searches and…
  • b) ensuring that your website gets ranked highly in search engines for the keywords related to your business.

Ongoing search engine optimization is the process of maintaining search engine rankings as well as discovering new keywords that people search for when looking for your product or service.

 

How does SEO help a business owner?

So you’ve set up a website that looks good, contains your contact information and has a detailed description of your product or service. Do you know if the right people (potential customers) are visitin your site? Does your website actually convince your customers to buy your product or service? In other words, are you generating quality leads from your business website?

 

If you haven’t thought about optimizing your website as per SEO best practices, chances are that your website is buried deep down the search results. This is equivalent to setting up a store front with zero signage. It’s like dipping a fishing line into the water with no bait!

 

5 benefits of SEO for a business owner:

  1. Lead Generation – Today, consumers are actively seeking your product and service offerings. An optimized website will be more visible to the potential customers that are looking for you. Over time, using the latest SEO trends will increase traffic to your website, generate qualified leads and eventually grow your revenues.
  2. Branding – SEO is indeed part of branding. How do your internet customers perceive your brand? If your customers see that you have a strong online presence, it just shows that you care enough to invest in your online brand image.
  3. Better Visibility over Competition – If you’re website can be seen in more places online than your competitors, the number of leads that you generate will naturally follow suit.
  4. Online Marketplace – An enormous (and continually growing) online marketplace which stays active 24/7 awaits you. The widespread reach of internet and the growing popularity of e-commerce are good reasons to make your website search engine friendly.
  5. Measurable Results –By virtue of all SEO strategies being digital in nature, everything can be tracked, measured and adjusted wherever required. Detailed reports can be provided for free using Google Analytics and many other online tracking tools.

SEO is an on-going effort and a logical extension to launching a website. If you’re interested in creating an SEO strategy for your business, start with the following books:
Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day
Search Engine Optimization for Dummies

Or if you're in Vancouver, check out these local companies:
6S Marketing
Bloom Marketing

About Jason Sew

Jason Sew - SEO | Google Adwords | Google Analytics
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