SEO is one of the most important things to know for anyone that has a website, which is essentially any business owner looking to grow their business in the 21st century. This is because SEO is one of the leading forms of inbound marketing which has become a much more cost effective form of marketing over the past decade.  According to Hubspot, outbound marketing leads cost on average over 340 dollars per month, whereas inbound marketing leads were only 140 dollars on average.  Although this study is not perfect, and does not tell the whole story for every type of business, it is indicative of how much cheaper it is to rely on someone finding you online versus cold calling and actively approaching new customers to get new businesses.

An anology is that inbound marketing is the new referral.  People can now go and research companies online to find what they want, rather than asking a friend for a recommendation, and if they have a strong reputation online they will get more referrals.  Referrrals are known for being the least expensive way to get new business because you do not pay a customer or Companies are realazing this, which is why many companies are shifting their marketing budgets and resources heavily towards SEO, social media, and blogging, the three major inbound marketing channels.

seo-leads

Why SEO Matters

Search Engine optimization is a necessity for any business trying to establish a presence online because the majority of web traffic is driven by the major search engines – Google , Bing and Yahoo!. Some research estimates that over 90 percent of actions on the Internet start with a search engine. Additionally, over 90 percent of searchers do not go past the first page of search results for all major search engines, and approximately 70 percent of searchers click on the organic results versus only about 30 percent on paid ads on a search engine. Having good or bad SEO can be the difference between keeping the doors open or closed for your business, and is something almost every company should consider a major priority.

Most Traffic Goes through the Three Major Search Engines

Google: Over 65 percent of searches are through Google’s search engine; therefore Google should be a number one priority for any SEO campaigns. Google gets an estimated 100 billion plus searches per month and the amount of searches worldwide is only increasing as the Internet grows globally.

Bing: Approximately 16 percent of searchers use Bing and Microsoft ‘s search network, and Bing can be an effective alternative for searchers that are sick of Google’s dominance in the search engine world. Bing is working furiously to make ground on Google’s stranglehold on the search engine industry so keep an eye on them when you continue your SEO campaign.

Yahoo: Yahoo is not far behind Bing, bringing in roughly 13 percent of the search engine traffic and establishing its position as a top three premier search engine. With the recent hiring of ex Googler Marrissa Mayer, do not be surprised if Yahoo makes big moves to land a stronger percentage of search traffic.

How do you improve your SEO? The answer to this keeps changing because Google continues to change its algorithm and Bing and Yahoo have to do everything in their power to follow suit or potentially risk falling behind the search leader.  Originally making sure you had the proper keywords on your website and had a lot of inbound links from other sites pointing to your site would be enough to boost you in the organic rankings.  However, with major changes to the Google algorithm such as the Panda, Pengiun, and Hummingbird updates/changes, it is now a more complicated, social, and content driven process.

Hummingbird has it made it so that Google is looking for the context of peoples searches, and trying to deliver more personalized situational based results.  This means that having a strong presence on social media as well as answering a lot of questions on your blog or other parts of your site have made your online presence more personable and useful to different types of people searching.  This graphic from Search Engine Land is a great illustration of how there are many elements to SEO, but I would argue that the weight on social and personal is now expanded as well as weighted higher.

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of Contents

There are definitely more variables than this, and the algorithm keeps on changing, but this is definitely a great visual of all the different factors playing together. The best way to learn more about the different things you can do to improve your SEO rankings is to read trusted sources that have good information about how to properly improve your organic rankings.  There are many sources out there, but here are a few reputable sources that can help you to learn more about ranking higher on the major search engines.

Some Trusted SEO Learning Resources:

Moz

Moz Has a great beginners guide for SEO that even experienced SEO”s can utilize and learn from. They have been one of the leaders of the SEO community for a long time now.

Search Engine Land

One of the best resources available for learning SEO. Their site has many top Internet marketing gurus contributing to the site weekly and is considered one of the most trusted sites for getting great search engine information.

Google Webmasters

A great resource for understanding Google”s guidelines for websites and what you can do to make sure Google crawls your website properly.

Search Engine Watch

A place for learning SEO, with hundreds of SEO experts contributing to the learning materials they have available.

 Trusted SEO Software

Advanced Web Rankings

The best desktop SEO ranking software available. It is not too expensive and extremely useful for any agency or business trying to improve their SEO because you can check your rankings anytime you want by simply running the software.  They now have a cloud based version that you can access on any browser.

Moz

Definitely the best SEO software for developing more back links to your website. If you feel that backlinks are a major priority for your business and that you need a better resource for acquiring better backlinks then, Moz is essential for your backlinking success.

Traffic Travis

A low cost alternative to AWR that is desktop based as well. It is not as comprehensive as MOZ and AWR but has some great tools and can be very beneficial to a new company or website that needs better SEO for a low price.

SEO PowerSuite

A comprehensive desktop SEO software package geared towards SEO professionals. It Has four different applications: link assistant (helps obtain links), rank checker, website auditor, and SEO SpyGlass (competition research).

Raven

A great tool for a small or mid size SEO agency because it has a wide range of tools and resources from Social media management to SEO competitor analysis. Most definitely worth testing out if you are new comer to the SEO industry.

Web CEO

Another cloud based SEO solution for in house SEO”s and mid sized agencies. They have rank checking, website auditor tools and research and analysis capabilities for improving your sites SEO rankings.

 

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