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SEO Crash Course For Small Businesses Owners

 If you’re a small or medium-sized business owner, you’ve probably heard the term “SEO” a million times, along with related tech-slang like “SERP”, “Keyword Ranking”, “Meta Data” and “Search Volume”.

SEO Crash Course

Even if you don’t fully understand what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is and what it does, you probably understand that SEO is crucially important to making your business successful in today’s hyper-competitive digitalized marketplace. Just consider the latest stats:

● 68% of online experiences start with a search engine

● 75% of people don’t scroll past Page 1 of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

Although you may know that SEO is super important, all the terms and geeky details are leaving you feeling out of your depth, right?

Well, here’s a little secret: SEO is not as complex as the high-charging agencies make it seem. Anyone can understand what SEO is and its importance in the digital marketing landscape!

So, without further ado, here’s my crash course to understanding the basics of SEO and why your business needs it in order to compete effectively online.

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, SEO is any action one takes to improve a website’s (or certain pages within a website) visibility. In other words, SEO improves the chances of a website being found by people searching for specific products, services or topics via a search engine (most commonly Google, which dominates the search engine space). 

The better the visibility of a website, the more likely you are to have interested users visiting that website. And, if they like what they see, the more likely they are to buy or enquire about the website’s products/services. Conversely, the lower the visibility of the website, the less likely it is to have interested users visiting. 

How does SEO work?

On the back-end, search engines use bots (also known as ‘spiders’) to crawl pages on the web, going from site to site at super speed and collecting specific information about these websites. The bots then categorize the information they collect in an index, kind of like a giant library index that helps librarians find one book amongst thousands. This is a continuous process that happens 24/7, 365-days a year, because the bots never sleep.

Meanwhile, on the front-end (the user side of things) a person will search a topic or for a product or service via keywords, either typed in or spoken via voice search. Keywords can be short tail (i.e. one or two word searches, such as “Hotel Berlin”) or long tail keywords (i.e. search phrases, such as “Best hotels in Berlin”). 

The bots will then go to the index to find the most relevant websites that match the user’s search. Then the algorithm kick-into high gear, analyzing millions of pages in the index at supersonic speed and taking into account hundreds of factors that determine which websites out of the thousands of websites in the index are the most relevant to the user’s search. 

The search engine will then spit out suggestions in that order, ranking the websites from the highest ranking/best matches (Page 1 of SERP) to the lowest ranking/worst matches (Page 2, 3, 4 of SERP and beyond).

This entire process is called organic search ranking. And although it all happens in split seconds every time you search for anything on the web, the process behind getting a website high organic search ranking (on Page 1 of Google search) takes a lot of time, effort and SEO savvy. 

What Are SEO Ranking Factors?

SEO Ranking Factors are the hundreds of different indexing factors the search engine’s algorithm uses to drill down and determine whether a website matches a user’s specific search, such as keywords, meta data, SERP snippets, internal links and backlinks.

No SEO tool, expert or service provider on Earth can claim to know the exact factors that make up a search engine’s algorithms, because these are secrets more closely guarded than the crown jewels! Plus, the algorithm’s search engine ranking factors are ever changing...

What we do know, however, is that the SEO factors that contribute towards a good user experience will always be important. 

Think of it this way: the search engine’s business is to ensure its users are matched with the websites best related to their search. If the user types in “Hotel Berlin” into Google and it spits out a list of hotels in Bucharest, the user may not use that search engine again. Therefore a search engine’s success is dependent on whether its algorithm can provide the best possible matches for the user’s search as inhumanely (i.e. via advanced artificial intelligence!) as possible. 

As such, the most important ranking factors will always be the ones that determine whether a website is well-indexed (i.e. it is clear what the user will find when he/she lands on the site); has good, relevant and credible content; is secure and legitimate; works well and delivers a good user experience.

Why is SEO important for Business?

People conduct trillions of searches each year to research and/or purchase a product or service online.

In this context it’s easy to explain why SEO is important to a business: if your website is not visible (i.e. on Page 1 of Google search) to people searching for your specific product/services, your business is literally losing potential customers every single day.

But what if your business does not sell products/services directly online? The same applies, because statistically most people will research a product/service online or look for the nearest local provider before making a decision to purchase, whether in-person (at the store/restaurant/practice) or online. 

Bottom line: from doctors to lawyers, handymen and restaurant owners, no business can survive and thrive in today’s digitized marketplace without SEO.

AI-Driven SEO Versus Human SEO

In the “good old days” there were only hundreds of thousands instead of millions of websites vying for users’ attention. You could plug in a few keywords and meta tags, ensure the website loaded quick enough and that was pretty much all it took to rank decently on a search engine. Not any more...

Today there are more than 200 factors that Google’s search algorithm takes into account when indexing and ranking a website. And the search engine’s artificial intelligence (AI)-driven algorithm is on the job round-the-clock, constantly finding ways to adapt and outsmart any human being that tries to hack the system to get their website onto Page 1.

The harsh reality is that even if a business has one or more people dedicated to its website’s SEO full-time, they cannot possibly monitor and keep up with all the SEO changes, notifications and upgrades that happen 24/7, 365, because they’re only human... That’s where AI-driven SEO solutions like aiNANSI come in, because only an AI can beat (or at least keep up with) another AI!

AI software for SEO doesn’t crack the code for Google or any other search engine’s algorithm. Its job is to stay hot on the search engines’ tails, constantly monitoring a website’s SEO performance and sending alerts whenever there is anything to improve. This level of efficiency and speed is simply something humans cannot do because humans need to sleep, have lunch breaks, sick days, vacations, etc. 

That’s not to say humans are redundant – far from it. While a good AI software for SEO can monitor, send alerts and suggestions and make basic auto-adaptations, it cannot implement the majority of the optimization required to keep a website up to date with SEO – human beings are still needed for this.

This is why a solution like aiNANSI is driven by AI, but backed by human expertise, to provide the best of both world’s for businesses like yours trying to gain a foothold online.

To book an online appointment to see how aiNANSI can provide a 100% hassle-free SEO solution for your business at budget-friendly rates, simply contact us here. 

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