Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of creating and improving content on your website to earn more organic visibility from search engines – which leads to more traffic, a growing brand presence, and more qualified leads to drive revenue.
The long-term goal of SEO is to rank as the top result on a SERP (search engine results page) as many times as possible, earning high-quality clicks to your website for relevant key terms, and exponentially increasing the volume and quality of your website traffic over time.
While the timing of SEO results can be unpredictable, when done well, the ROI can wildly outperform other marketing channels.
Efforts are most commonly focused around Google, with some considerations for other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo.
While written content is a necessary foundation, you can improve your organic visibility by incorporating other types of content formats. Infographics, well-labeled imagery, video, slideshares, audio, and custom website modules are just a few of many ways to create a great online user experience – and these can all help you earn more attention from search engines.
While we’ve collectively learned over time what type of content performs best, search engines rarely publish the exact criteria they use to choose which sites rank the highest. This is why SEO is commonly referred to as “a black box”.
Constant, hidden algorithm tinkering can make SEO an unpredictable, evolving practice – just as the search technology we use and interact with evolves and changes.
Over the last few years, video has become increasingly prioritized as sites like YouTube and apps like Instagram have grown in popularity. Now, we’re seeing the rise of voice search through smart speakers and voice-activated assistants like Google Home, Siri, and Alexa.
High-quality SEO uses keywords – words and phrases commonly used in search queries (i.e. how to make an amazing peanut butter and jelly sandwich) – as a starting point to understand what users are searching for.
From there, SEO means building helpful content around that ‘query’ with an understanding of the searcher’s intent. In the PB&J example, that means creating content that shows the searcher how to make an excellent PB&J sandwich.
More helpful content leads to a better search (user) experience, and increases the chances of search engines like Google sending more search volume your way through higher rankings.
While it can sound paradoxical, lasting, high-quality SEO focuses on the user – not on trying to beat search engine algorithms. The logic is simple:
The goal of Google and other major search engines is to provide users with the best search experience possible.
Websites that deliver high-quality user experiences regularly top search engine rankings.
By leading with in-depth audience research that translates into high quality user experiences – and following with the right optimization practices – your website can outperform your competitors and rise to the top of the most relevant search rankings.
Good SEO takes time. While you can speed up the process by creating new pages and optimizing old ones at a faster pace, SEO is a long-term marketing investment with an unpredictable timeline – dependent on search engine crawlers, the activity of competitors, and audience behavior which can shift and change over time.
We typically see results in the first six months, but we’ve also seen SEO work take years to impact an organization’s bottom line.
As a Catch 22, the more you fall behind the efforts of your competitors, the longer it takes to catch up and compete for organic visibility.
For quick-lever marketing techniques that tend to have a quicker path to ROI, explore our full suite of marketing and lead gen tactics.
If you’re not intimidated by a long-term marketing investment, here’s how we can help you lay the foundation to rank higher and grow your organic traffic:
Marketing has always been a difficult investment for us. Tracking the results of what you get for your money isn’t always clear. Magneti has been different because of how much time they spend educating and showing you how each marketing effort they use is working. The in-depth reporting and data analysis they are able to show really proves what kind of bang for the buck we are getting and gives us confidence in the relationship we have with them. I would recommend Magneti to any company who is serious about getting strong, proven results from digital marketing strategies.”
– Ryan Menachof, COO, Advanced ENT & Allergy Center
An SEO audit provides transparency around what key terms you’re ranking for, how high or low you appear in search engines, what your competition looks like, and where you need to improve in order to rank higher and grow your organic traffic.
Ranking well relies on a myriad of technical website factors, including site speed, code cleanliness, indexing, and rendering. A technical SEO audit can help make sure your website is built to meet the requirements of modern search engines so that your high quality, hard-earned content isn’t penalized.
If search engines can’t clearly understand the hierarchy and organization of content on your website, they’re less likely to point traffic to it. Having an intuitive website structure helps with site crawlability by signalling to search engines crawlers (robots) how they should understand and index your website. Items like breadcrumbs, schema, structured data formats, internal linking, and avoiding dead ends can all help point these robots in the right direction and increase the overall visibility of your website.
Items like the proper use of header tags, alt image tags, page titles, and meta descriptions are all valuable ways to ensure search engines feel comfortable pointing traffic to your site. Alternate content formats like videos and infographics can also help increase rankings.
When search engines started pointing traffic to web pages, they used one primary metric to score pages: how many other sites link back to them. Over time, Google has complicated their scoring system to incorporate lots of other metrics, but ‘link building’ – the activity of generating links that point to your site, preferably from high quality websites – is still one of the highest drivers of better rankings. In addition to back links, ensuring your Google My Business listing is claimed and up-to-date can help with your visibility.
SEO begins and ends with what content lives on your website. Understanding where your competitors fall short, how to serve the market in new and innovative ways, and how to structure and write your pages can determine the level of organic traffic that comes to your site.
While ranking first for any given keyword can take months or even years, pairing SEO efforts with PPC means you can appear above the fold with paid ads by bidding on keywords. This paid traffic can help drive search-based leads and support your funnel while SEO work is ongoing.
For businesses targeting specific geographies or bound by physical locations, local SEO efforts can help you appear first in front of the right audiences. Clearly signalling to search engines where your offices are located, paired with local optimization tactics, ensures your SEO work is specific and targeted.
Magneti has a long history of driving excellent SEO results, taking brands from market entry to leading their market by driving leads through organic and paid search engine marketing.