SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches on search engines. The better visibility your pages have on search result pages, the more likely you are to gain attention and attract prospective and existing customers to your business.
SEO is a fundamental part of digital marketing because people conduct trillions of searches every year, often with commercial intent to find information about products and services. Search is often the primary source of digital traffic for brands and complements other marketing channels. Greater visibility and ranking higher in search results than your competition can have a material impact on your bottom line.
However, the search results have been evolving over the past few years to give users more direct answers and information that is more likely to keep users on the results page instead of driving them to other websites.
Also note, features like rich results and Knowledge Panels in the search results can increase visibility and provide users more information about your company directly in the results.
Because most people tend to click one of the first few search results, ranking higher usually drives more traffic to your website.
Ranking in search engines usually leads to both consistent and passive traffic. That’s rarely the case for mediums like social media and email marketing that often result in traffic spikes that quickly fade to nothing.
This happens because social media networks are designed to surface fresh content. Emails often get marked as read, forgotten, or land in the spam box. However, because the number of searches performed on search engines is typically consistent from month to month, the traffic tends to be both consistent and passive once you rank.
Unlike paying for ads, search traffic is ‘free.’
That’s a big deal because ads on search engines can be expensive.
So here are two things Google needs to match. On one side, user intent: when someone searches on Google, they are expressing a problem they need a solution to. But they often express that problem incompletely or ambiguously. Google tries to understand what they mean. What is their intent? What is the specific problem they are trying to solve? Google needs to understand the question or the intent. We will look at that in more detail a little bit later.
On the other side, what is the best content to satisfy the user, given their intent — the most accurate and most helpful and useful content on the world wide web that reliably solves that problem? Google needs to understand the available solutions, their relative merits, and their appropriateness. And this is what SEO is practically about. SEO is your means to present your content to Google in such a way that it is confident that your solution is the most helpful, the most trustworthy, and the most appropriate for their user. In short, convince Google to recommend your answer or solution.