What is SEO? Learn About SEO – CBK Digital Marketing Agency

What is SEO?

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process of optimizing your sites and pages to rank higher in search engines for certain keywords. It includes improving site speed, adding valuable content, link building, and other technical aspects that allow search engine bots to crawl your site more easily. Search engines frequently update their algorithms, so it’s important to keep up with the latest SEO practices. However, it’s important to note that while these “best practices” are often very successful, nothing is ever guaranteed in SEO and no one knows the specific algorithms that search engines use. Be wary of companies that guarantee first-page rankings or say they build SEO-friendly websites (it requires more than adding a sitemap and installing a plug-in). SEO isn’t an overnight solution, but a process that, with time, will prove to be one of the best investments for your business.

Local Map Search

What is Local SEO?

While all the standard practices are still used, local SEO is more focused on local business. It is useful when customers are searching for businesses like yours. For example, when a customer searches “coffee shops near me” either on a search engine or in their navigation apps. Local SEO is also used when trying to show up in the Local Pack, or the few highlighted results shown in Google Search under a map. 

Google's Local Pack
"Local Pack" Search Results
Search Engine Crawls
Search engines use "crawlers" to find and rank sites

How does SEO work?

Search engines use “bots” or “crawlers” to crawl the internet and index sites. This helps search engines decide which sites to rank higher in search results for certain keywords. These algorithms are looking for three things in a site or page: authority, relevancy, and trust. These three pillars show you have the authority of your industry on the subject matter searched, your content is relevant to the search, and users can trust your site. See what establishes the 3 pillars of SEO.

Amazon Backlinks
Amazon's Backlinks Profile

How can I establish authority?

Google, the world’s leading search engine, was originally created by two PhD students at Stanford University. The first algorithm was completely based on the number of quality backlinks a page had. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why authority is so important to Google. The algorithms want to see that you are an expert on the subject matter searched. By providing informative content, that is shared and referenced to from other sites, your website can prove its authority to search engines.

How can I establish relevancy?

Relevancy is extremely important to search engines. They want to provide results that are directly connected to users’ search intent. Understanding intent is essential and establishes what type of information the user is searching for. For example, “dog groomer near me” probably means the searcher wants to find a local business. “Which dog breeds require grooming” probably means the search is looking for information. Do you have pages on your site that satisfy both users’ search intent?

searchintent
Informational search vs. Transactional search
HTTPS means sensitive information is encrypted

How can I establish trust?

With so much personal information being spread across the internet, search engines want to see that your site is secure. Offering a secure checkout process, using HTTPS, including reviews, and making sure your site is well-designed will help to put your customers (and search engines) at ease. 

Common SEO Terms

Keywords
Definition: The words or phrases that searchers type into search engines

Optimizing for keywords or keyword phrases is an on-page SEO tactic. It includes adding the keywords you'd like your page to show up for in search engines. They can be added to URL slugs (cbkmarketing.com/what-is-seo), titles, headings, links, and content.
Keyword Research
Definition: The process of analyzing which keywords to target before optimizing your pages

Keyword research involves the discovery of new keywords to target, which search terms you're already being ranked for, and analyzing which keywords your competitors are targeting.
Indexing
Definition: The process of adding your site, pages, and content into a search engine index

Contrary to popular belief, it's rare that you'll need to manually submit your site to a search engine's index. By adding links and a valid sitemap, search engine crawlers will index themselves. If you're unsure, try typing in your site URL into a search engine. If it's in the results, it's indexed.
Meta Title & Description
Definition: The title & description that search engines often show when your web page is on a SERP

The meta title & description are purely for SEO purposes and do not display on your webpage. It's a good practice to have these, since they are what searchers see when deciding which link to click on the SERP.
SERP
Definition: The page displayed when a searcher types in a search query into a search engine

The SERP displays 7-10 organic results and a number of paid ads on each page. Web pages, products, maps, videos, images, and news can all be displayed. Here is where you can check your current ranking for your target keywords.
Sitemaps
Definition: A list of URLs on your site that can be crawled by search engines

Your sitemap is usually located at yoursite.com/sitemap.xml or yoursite.com/sitemap_index.html. It's a very simply document of all your links that's made specifically for search engines since they use links to crawl the internet.
Backlinks
Definition: The page displayed when a searcher types in a search query into a search engine

Backlinks are also known as inbound links, incoming links, or citations. A high number of quality backlinks establishes your website as reputable and authoritative to search engines. Examples: being listed in a well-known directory (citation) or having a high-ranking website linking to yours
Local Pack
Definition: The page displayed when a searcher types in a search query into a search engine

This is displayed when you search for a local term such as "gas stations." Search engines have evolved to predict you're looking for something local without having to add "near me" to your search term. These 3 results are the most sought after when implementing local SEO.
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