Demystifying SEO: Understanding the Basics

Brayden Ware
By: Brayden Ware
Reading Time: 4 minutes

SEO, Listicles, Remarketing, Golden Ratio, Omnichannel Marketing, Hamburger Menus, Inbound Marketing, PPC...the list of marketing jargon goes on and on. There are plenty of marketing industry terms and strategies that leave non-marketing folk wondering what the heck they even mean, let alone how to utilize them.

Here at The Squad, we're all about making marketing approachable and tangible for our clients. While we can't give you the full run-down on all of those marketing terms in this post, we thought we'd start with one that gets thrown around a lot, SEO.

If video content is more your MO, then you're in luck. In the video below our VP of Business Development, Marshall Fall, sat down with one of our Directors of Partner Marketing, Alea Petersen to talk SEO and how she sees SEO strategies winning for her clients. Pop-in your headphones and get to watchin'. But if you want to take a deep-dive into the ins and outs of SEO, then keep reading!

What is SEO?

For starters...SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is often a mystified subject that can seem overwhelming to business leaders and sales teams.

Put simply, SEO is what helps your website appear when people are searching online for topics related to your business. There are all kinds of tips and tricks business owners can take advantage of to show up on the first page and rank.

However, it should not be a business’ goal to “trick” search engines into thinking they are relevant for something when they aren’t. Ultimately, this can hurt your website’s traffic - plus misleading search engines leads to misleading customers and no one wants that.

The goal of SEO should always be to make it very clear to search engines what service or product you provide. The most effective and safest way to do this is to be open, honest, and clear about what your business does.

How does search engine optimization work?

There are a handful of search engines out there on the web, but let's be honest, Google is the go-to search engine. So for the purpose of this post, we're going to talk about Google. But these basic SEO practices are standard across any search engine.

The best way to think about Google's search engine is to think about them as a business. As with any business, their goal is always to provide the best product they possibly can to their customers.

Google’s customers, in this instance, are the people “Google-ing” information. To best serve those people Google uses an algorithm to scan every website that can possibly show up for a search. This algorithm is designed to scan these websites and discover what they’re all about. That algorithm will then do its very best to serve the most relevant website for each search.

The goal of optimizing a website for Google is to clearly show the search engine what your growing business is all about.

How do I know if my website is optimized for search?

The easiest way to see if your website is showing up when people search for terms and phrases related to your business is to actually go and search for those terms and phrases for yourself.

To avoid any bias, use an incognito or private browser, this will keep Google from showing you your own website simply because it knows it belongs to you.

For example, you own a store that sells fruit and your apple sales are vital to your business’ success. To quickly see how you stack up against the competition you can google the phrase “apples for sale." If your website is not on the front page then your website needs some SEO love. If it is on the front page, but it is buried at the very bottom there is still work to be done to climb to the top!

Who needs SEO?

It is a common misconception that SEO is only for big businesses when in reality, SEO is vital to any business.

Running ad campaigns are great to accomplish short-term goals, but for long-term, sustainable growth SEO is your best investment. SEO will keep your website traffic growing at a consistent and exponential clip.

At first it may seem insignificant, but after 6 months to 12 months you will see the fruit of your labor if your SEO is managed properly. The best benefit of optimizing your website is the cost. SEO is designed to attract organic traffic, and organic traffic is free traffic!

Are the “SEO Guru’s” telling the truth?

Unfortunately, “SEO Guru’s” are known to overpromise. If someone ever tells you that they can make huge improvements to your SEO in a short amount of time they are not being honest.

SEO is not a quick fix, it takes time to improve your search engine optimization the right way. There are ways to “game the system," but with each new update that Google rolls out, those techniques become obsolete and websites that were using them lose all of their traffic...and online business.

With SEO it’s best to stick to the age-old principle, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is."

Your website is the foundation of your marketing and you don't want to trust just anyone with it.

Here at The Squad, we take SEO seriously. As Trusted Allies and Faithful Stewards, we are dedicated to doing SEO the right way and we're in it for the long-haul. There's no smoke screens or magic hats here. Heck, we've even pulled back the curtain on our own SEO tactics and tools in a past post.

We also have a case study that demonstrates the power of concentrated SEO efforts to increase organic website traffic. The proof is in the pudding. Click here to download our "SEO: Increasing Visibility Organically" case study!

If you still have questions about SEO, we'd love to answer them! Drop us a comment below or reach out on social.

And if you're looking for someone to come alongside your growth-minded business and help you increase organic traffic and lead generation through SEO, then let's start a conversation. We think conversation goes great with coffee and we're willing to buy, just name the place!

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