3 Important Things You Must Know About Search Engine Optimization

by Steven Liew

in Internet Marketing,Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization

Have you ever wondered how search engines such as Google rank the results based on your search criteria? For example, if you entered ‘steven liew’ in the google search bar, you will see that http://www.stevenliew.com/ is ranked on the first page (and usually #1 – #3 in absolute positions).

I did a little Search Engine Optimization (or ‘SEO’ for short) on this website some time back as an experiment, and I’m glad to share with you the 3 things you must know about SEO.

  • What SEO really is.. and what it isn’t
  • The benefits of SEO
  • When NOT to use SEO

In essence, Search Engine Optimization is the process involved that brings your website around the ranking on the search engines. From the non-techie point of view – imagine you own a retail shop in a mall. You will more often than not note that not all of the mall is equally populated all the time.

We all already know that. But there is one thing in common – the ones that are closer to the entrance (and popular brands) get the higher traffic. And we all know that traffic = money.

Back to reality.

Everyone’s retail store (website) is sitting somewhere in search engines’ index (mall).

Well, most of the time. I say that because there are some people who choose not to for private reasons and there are ways to do just that. To explain how you can do that will take some time and I will reserve another post for that 😉

When someone types a search phrase into google search bar, google goes through a complicated algorithm that determines the ranking of websites that match the search term, and displays the list of websites accordingly.

Did I also mention that this ‘retail store’ never takes a break? 😉

Search Engine Optimization & Search Engine Marketing

Now, don’t get confused between Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing!

Search Engine Marketing is a form of internet marketing technique that uses paid advertisements to advertise their websites, and provides an almost-guaranteed placement in the search results.

Let me show you a diagram that clearly illustrates the difference:

SEO SEM Difference

The Benefits of SEO

So why is the ranking that important? Simply because it brings traffic!

According to the case study by Optify, the top 3 organic search results for Google receive a whopping 58.4% CTR! And that stands for Click-Through Rate. What it means is that out of 100 people who have been shown the results, about 58 people will visit the top 3 websites.

Chart from Optify

To break the stats a little further – The #1 site receives an average rate of  36.4% CTR, #2 receives an average rate of 12.5% CTR, and #3 receives about 9.5% CTR.

Just being on number one in Google pretty much means that the traffic that go to #2 – #5 make up the same amount as it would to site #1.

And that leads to many benefits (no matter the type of your website):

  • Brand Awareness / Visibility – They say someone needs to flash some brands to you about 7 times before you can register it in your head. Having your website constantly showing up helps that.
  • Power Leads Generation Technique – With a much higher CTR, you will be able to generate more leads. More leads = more conversions!
  • Promotion Of Your Website 24/7 – Enough said 😉
  • SEO is FREE – You do not have to pay the search engines at all. The initial time and effort will pay off. And in terms of business, this means high ROI.

There are actually many more advantages of SEO that I can think of, but I have highlighted the main ones to you. You can see that with just these benefits of SEO, they will actually lead to a bigger chain effect (and benefit) such as making more money, if we’re looking at benefit #2.

And speaking of that, I want to take some time to address a common misconception about SEO and Internet Marketing:

I have had friends who always ask me: “How do you make money with SEO?” or “What’s the best way to make money using Internet Marketing?“.

Weird questions. No offence, but, weird questions.

If you’re understanding what I have tried to explain so far, SEO is a tactic. You need to do this, then do this, do that, then do that. It’s a technique you use to rank websites for Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

How you want to utilise that is entirely up to you. With increased traffic, the sky is really the limit. But here are some examples you might want to consider:

  • Forums use SEO to gain members / subscribers
  • Blogs use SEO to build awareness / gain subscribers / generate leads
  • Ecommerce websites use SEO to generate leads which leads to sales
  • Commercial websites use SEO to build awareness
  • … so much more!

Of course, in due time, I will be sharing with you on the number of ways you can monetize your website(s) using internet marketing.

Patience. And believe me, patience is not just a virtue – you need it for SEO.

When NOT to use SEO

Nothing’s perfect in this world. And so is SEO. Let’s take a quick look at the disadvantages of SEO:

  • It takes time. LOTS of time – You knew this was coming, didn’t you? Applying SEO and sitting through the entire process can take from weeks to many months, depending on the keyword term that you’re trying to rank for… which means that…
  • SEO is a long term strategy – If you are looking for a way to generate leads in a shortest amount of time possible, this path is not for you. You are better off with using Social Marketing techniques, or even SEM. And if you think this isn’t enough for you…
  • Search Engines are constantly updating their ranking algorithm – I know of someone who used to earn $300/day for months and his income dropped to less than $50/day. Thanks to Google. This means that you need to be keeping yourself constantly updated too. The good news is that changes are not frequent.

What next?

As you can see, SEO requires time and effort to get the results you want. It is not just about thinking: “How can I bring my website ranking to #1?”. It’s way more than that.

This article is a brief introduction on what search engine optimization really is, why you should apply to your websites, and the things you must consider before implementing SEO.

In my next few articles, I will be touching in-depth on the types of SEO (on-page / off-page), various SEO techniques, and a step-by-step blueprint on all of the SEO techniques being put together.

Meanwhile, please feel free to drop a comment! Do you use SEO currently? Why and why not?

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