The online marketing industry continues to grow as more businesses take to the internet to sell to a sea of potential online customers. But for any business to thrive, they must make themselves easy to find in a quick Google search (or Bing, Yahoo, etc.). Currently, there are more than 1 billion websites, and each of these must jockey for attention in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
68 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine, and naturally you want your brand to be part of that experience. Whether you’ve just launched your new website or you’re a savvy business professional looking to experiment with search marketing, SEO is an essential skill. It’s no surprise there are countless agencies that offer SEO as a service.
Master the multiple facets of SEO with the Advanced Search Engine Optimization Certification Training. Check out the course preview now!
What Is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of optimizing your website with the intention of improving keyword rankings and increasing organic traffic from search engine results pages (SERPs).
Forget ranking #1 for a second. To rank on the first page of Google for a term you care about (let’s say it’s “cloud computing platform”), you need to master the basics of SEO and make changes to your website and desired landing pages to be optimized for cloud computing and cloud platform keywords.
SEO is a fundamental part of marketing that improves your website's online visibility for searches relevant to you. If your website isn’t showing in the SERPs for keywords and phrases that you feel you should be, you’re either not doing something right or you’ve got more work to do.
A few reasons why you aren’t ranking include:
- Your competitors have better content
- You aren’t using keywords effectively
- You use poor link building practices
- Your webpage load times are slow
- Your website has a poor user experience
Understanding How Search Engines Work
Part of ensuring your web pages are optimized is understanding how search engines work. Search engines cater to users by listing the web pages that are the most relevant to the terms people are searching for.
There are multiple factors that search engines use to analyze and determine relevance for a given website. Google doesn’t often reveal these, but there are plenty that is widely known and used by marketers. An SEO expert should be aware of top ranking factors, and according to OptinMonster, the top SEO ranking factors in 2019 are:
- Domain age, URL, and authority
- Optimized content
- Page speed (including mobile page speed)
- Real business information
- A secure and accessible website
- Social signals
- Technical SEO
- User experience (Google RankBrain)
Websites are ranked primarily based on how well they meet the search engine’s ranking factors and best practices. The web pages that do this best will outrank others that don’t. Search engines generally follow three steps when ranking a website:
Google is fully-automated and uses web crawlers to traverse your website and add its pages to their index. The engine then stores those page addresses (i.e., URLs). Pages can be found by different methods, but the main one is following links from pages that have already been found elsewhere (such as other websites).
Once Google finds your pages, it attempts to analyze what each page is about. It looks at the content, images, and videos, and all of this is stored in the engine’s index, which is a huge database.
3. Serving Search Results
When someone performs a search on Google, the engine will determine the highest quality results. These results have many factors, including the user's location, language, device, and previous queries. Results are often personalized to the searcher. As an example, searching for "cloud computing company" would return different results to a user in Australia than it would to someone in the United States.
What are the Benefits of SEO?
SEO has become quite popular in today's digital marketing world. Countless businesses rely on it to maintain a strong online presence, bring new visitors to their websites, and generate leads.
In HubSpot’s State of Marketing Report, it’s revealed that about 64 percent of marketers actively invest time in search engine optimization. If you think about your competitors, more than half of them are empowering their business by spending time on SEO and possibly outranking you.
There are a number of ways in which SEO benefits businesses:
SEO Has Great ROI
In a vacuum, leads that come from organic search typically have a higher conversion rate compared to leads generated by paid search, social, and print advertising. And while you’re spending real dollars on ads, SEO is more about investing your time.
SEO Improves Online Visibility
People perform organic searches in different ways and with different combinations of keywords. If your website appears in search results for various permutations of keywords (cloud computing, cloud platform, platform for cloud), there’s a good chance you have strong visibility.
SEO Gives Your Brand Credibility
Your rankings are often synonymous with your credibility. Would you believe in a business that doesn’t have a great search presence?
SEO Provides Insight into the Minds of Customers
Analytics tools (such as Google Analytics) are an important aspect of SEO. Analytics can decipher customer search trends, page preferences, search mediums, and even their locations. Dive into the minds of your customers so you can optimize your website for them.
Benefits of Becoming an SEO Expert
SEO is perhaps the most challenging and rewarding marketing discipline, combining data, analytics, content marketing, and technical proficiency. Mastering and leveraging SEO will unlock the potential of your marketing efforts.
The Demand for SEO Experts
SEO professionals are in high demand as companies practice search engine optimization to keep up with competitors. SEO experts are hired to help marketing teams garner quality web traffic, help create successful digital campaigns, and bring new business to the company.
These days, an SEO expert is expected to be responsible for about half the traffic to the average website. Considering that sites that manage to secure the top five positions on the SERPs receive an estimated 68 percent of clicks, earning a high rank can have a tremendous impact on your business growth and revenue.
Whether you're currently an SEO professional or you’re working your way into the field, an SEO job promises excitement and tremendous potential for growth. There are other avenues you can go with SEO experience as well, including content marketing, business consulting, and data analytics.
Job Responsibilities of an SEO Expert
Many different components make up an SEO strategy. Your days in a typical SEO job will have plenty of variety, and your responsibilities will likely include the following:
Optimization will be the most significant responsibility of an SEO expert. This includes both on-page and off-page search engine optimization; the primary types are:
- Content creation and optimization
- Conversion optimization
- Header tags, title tags, meta description tags
- Images and ALT text
- Keyword research and placement
- URL structure
- User experience
- Asset creation (infographics, videos, etc.)
- Guest blogging
- Increasing traffic from social media to your website
- Link building
- Press releases
As an increasing portion of searches happens on mobile devices, Google wants its index to work well for mobile users. The user experience on a mobile device will, in turn, influence your mobile SEO. Google is now crawling websites with a mobile-centric approach, so it’s imperative to ensure your content is optimized for mobile devices. This includes the concise use of language.
As an SEO specialist, you’ll perform keyword research to determine relevance and competitiveness to target the best possible keywords for conversion.
How do you measure what has worked and what hasn’t? That’s where analytics comes in, and you’ll regularly track and analyze data to see how your webpages and focus keywords are performing.
When another website links to yours, this is called a backlink or inbound link, and it’s one of the most crucial ranking factors. Think of this type of link as a vote of confidence from another website. One of your responsibilities will be “build links” by seeking opportunities to get other websites to link to yours without payment.
Keeping Up with the Industry
The first step to becoming an SEO expert is reading articles authored by established professionals and following the latest search marketing news to stay abreast of changes in the industry. Keeping up and evolving your strategies is an ongoing responsibility.
Working with Other Marketing Teams
While juggling all these responsibilities, the typical SEO expert in a corporate setting will spend time working with other marketing teams to align strategies, including the following:
- Content marketing
- Paid search marketing
- Social media marketing
- Web development
Steps to Become an SEO Expert
In today’s modern world, you can learn countless skills on your own; and many of these can be done online in a structured and thorough manner with sites like Simplilearn. Here are seven steps to follow if you’re new to the industry intending to become an SEO expert:
- Learn the basics of how search engines work
- Understand SEO strategies and concepts
- Participate in SEO training
- Keep up with industry trends and news
- Get familiar with SEO tools
- Experiment with SEO tactics on your website or blog
- Show employers your efforts and results
How good are your SEO skills? Try answering these SEO Online Practice Test Questions and find out today!
Start Training Today to Become an SEO Expert
Simplilearn is excited to help you take your career to new heights! SEO jobs are in demand and can be established anywhere in the world. As you’ll soon learn, the SEO industry continues to evolve, so check back periodically for news updates and ongoing training.
Our Advanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Training Course will transform you into a full-stack SEO expert driving sustained growth in your website’s most critical marketing channel. You’ll master the many facets of SEO, including keyword research, technical SEO, link building, analytics, and how they correlate to form an effective marketing strategy. Learn the latest tools, techniques, and concepts with hands-on experience in projects and labs. Key features include:
- Seeing 20+ real-life, industry-based projects
- Learning Google’s popular tools like Keywords Trends and Search Console
- Gaining detailed insights on advanced web analytics
- Getting a 360-degree understanding of planning and marketing a website