Table of Contents
Why Do Search Engines Exist?
In order to understand search engine optimization (SEO), it helps to know a bit about search engines. Most people don’t realize that search engines are big business, raking in billions of dollars off the searches we do every day. With that much money at stake, it’s not difficult to understand why search engines want to deliver their users the most optimized search results.
Here's how Google makes money by being the best search engine:
Step 1: Serve the Best Results
Google’s goal is to deliver the best content for your search.
Step 2: Earn a Large Base of Users
Because Google delivers the best search results, their website accounts for 79% of global search activity.
Step 3: Attract Advertisers
Google has a lot of users so they serve them a lot of ads. 80% of Google’s revenue is derived from search advertising (not self-driving cars… yet).
Step 4: Invest in Even Better Search Results
To stay ahead of their competition, Google updates their search algorithm 500 to 600 times each year.
Now go back to Step 1 and repeat!
Takeaway #1: Google has a strong incentive to continue delivering searchers the best possible organic results. Therefore, in order for you to earn organic traffic from Google, you must strive to be the best possible search result.
What Does Google Define as the Best Result?
OK, so now you know that all you’ve got to do to drive organic search traffic is be the best. Easy. Wait… what is Google looking for when it rates who is best? There are hundreds of factors that go into Google’s ranking algorithm, but all you need to know are these three categories.
Create a site experience that engages your visitor.
- Is your website mobile-friendly?
- Does your website load quickly?
- Does your website work on all browsers?
- Are visitors sticking around?
- Do you have clear calls-to-action for your visitors?
Build a trustworthy web presence.
- Does your website represent the quality of your business?
- Do reputable sites link to you?
- Do you link out to resourceful sites in your industry?
Create content that your customers are looking for.
- Can customers find answers to their frequently asked questions on your website?
- Is your content unique? Is it readable?
- Do you use media other than text in your content?
- Are you using relevant keywords in your content?
Takeaway #2: Focus on your customer, not search engines. If you give your customers the best possible experience on your website, Google is going to reward you for it.
Building Blocks of an SEO Strategy
Now, you understand that being successful at SEO requires three main ingredients: (1) creating a great user experience, (2) building your site’s authority, and (3) publish content with high relevance to your audience. Let’s explore SEO Strategy 101 so that you can begin your journey towards driving massive amounts of organic traffic!
You may create the best content in the world, but you won’t drive much value from organic search if you can’t do the following:
- Build a website that Google can access, crawl and index efficiently
- Develop your website to be viewable on all devices and major browsers
- Optimize your website to load content quickly for your visitors
As you can imagine, getting everything right that is listed above takes some technical know-how. If you’re not sure how you fare in these areas, we recommend that you start with an SEO audit. An assessment of your website’s technical infrastructure will help you understand how much work needs to be done.
Once you have a strong foundation, you’ll want to signal to search engines that you are trustworthy. Google wants to direct its searchers to websites that have a strong online reputation. How do you position your website as an authority?
- Work with reputable websites in your industry to earn backlinks
- Establish your brand on relevant social channels, industry directories and content syndication sites
- Publish content on other websites
An effective way to earn backlinks naturally is to simply focus on producing great content for your customers. In the next section, we’ll cover the importance of having a strong content marketing strategy.
With a strong site experience and growing authority, creating and optimizing content that matches your target audience’s search intent is what brings you organic search traffic. Here’s how your create relevant content:
- Commit to regularly publishing content on topics in your field
- Drive high-funnel traffic by answering your customer’s commonly-asked questions through content creation
- Optimize service and/or product pages for when your customers are ready to convert
As you continue forward, creating great content is your most effective tactic for earning tons of organic search traffic. If you strive to publish content that’s better than your competition’s, you’re sure to outrank them in the long run.
Takeaway #3: Your SEO strategy must be three-pronged to be successful. Optimize your site experience, build your authority and publish relevant content and you’ll reap the rewards.
Where to Begin
- SEO Strategy: There’s no guarantee of SEO performance without a plan. Learn what we call an outcome-driven SEO strategy.
- Keyword Research: Learn how to uncover the best keyword opportunities for your content creation & optimization efforts. Check out Moz’s guide to keyword research.
- On-Page Optimization: Use the keywords you’ve research to optimize essential elements of your web pages. Learn where to use keywords from Backlinko.
- Authority Optimization: Increase the quality and quantity of your backlinks and brand mentions. See which off-page SEO techniques would work best for you.
- Content Marketing: Content is what earns rankings, drives traffic and, ultimately, gets you new customers. SEO simply doesn’t work without content. Read this guide on creating focused content.
- Reporting: Track the ROI of your SEO investment, and make data-driven decisions, with accurate measurement and reporting. See which metrics you should be tracking.