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What search engine optimization is and how it works

Chapter 4
What search engine optimization is and how it works

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving content quality and purpose to better align with search intent. In other words, you’re making your website more search- and user-friendly.

You can improve your website’s organic search performance not only by creating relevant, helpful content that features keywords used by search engine users, but also by making sure your site:

  • Loads as quickly as possible.
  • Has easy-to-follow navigation.
  • Is created with the end user in mind.

This means you are optimizing your content to be the best possible choice for search engines to offer to your prospective customers and rank higher in their search results. This increases the likelihood potential customers can find you.

Why search engine optimization is important for your business

About 74% of buyers search online prior to making their purchases, especially if they are bigger expenses, such as buying a home or purchasing industrial equipment.

When you optimize your website’s content to rank well in search engines, more people will find your business. It also offers you the opportunity to lead more right-fit buyers to your site.

It is an effective way to invest in your business, long term.

There are two types of search your prospects will likely use to find your business:

  1. Transactional
  2. Informational

Transactional searches are search queries by people looking for products. For example, “I want to buy something, where can I find it?” or “How do I make a purchase?”

Informational queries happen when buyers want to learn more before they make a transaction. These are the people who know they have a problem but might not know the solution yet. Or they know the solution and want to compare before they buy.

Your website should provide information for both of these searches, which represent the bottom of the funnel and top of the funnel queries, respectively.

Why you should make SEO the first step in building your website

There is all sorts of information you can add to your website that tell search engines what your business does and how it helps solve your customers’ problems. But most importantly, building your website with SEO in mind helps you understand how your site needs to be organized and creates a roadmap for website content development.

Using SEO in the process also helps you avoid making common mistakes, such as creating generic services pages or focusing too much on your “about us” page. Your customers’ problems and needs should be the subject of your website. By using keyword research to develop your site’s structure and content plan, you are ensuring that their needs are foremost.

Let’s say you’ve launched a website for your solar system installation company. After performing keyword research, you might see that there’s a lot more search around solar batteries for homes than you thought. It’s possible that you didn’t know that was going to be such an important topic for your customers, but now you know it should be in the top navigation and that you should create content that addresses this important need.

Keyword research and a search-first approach to your website keep you from using generic language and help you use the same language and phrasing that users do. This also allows you to organize your site in a way that is user-centric — and that should be the goal of every business website. You want to help your prospects find the answers they’re looking for, increasing trust with your business and the likelihood people will want to buy from you.

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