Put simply, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process of improving your website position in organic (not paid) search results in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Etc.
SEO is all about finding out what people are searching for and creating good, engaging content that answers whatever they are searching for. This is also known as “search intent”.
Paid Ads vs SEO
So let’s say we do a search for the term “painter” on Google.com. In the image below, we see the first 4 results are paid ads, which aren’t considered part of SEO.
The Organic results in this case start on the “map pack”, which are the 3 listings under the map.
Sometimes you will see a paid ad in the “map pack”, but in this case, there isn’t one. If there is one it will have an “Ad” icon next to it.
In this other example, you’ll see that we have 4 paid ads first again, but you’ll also see 9 “shopping ads” to the right of the results. Sometimes these will be at the top as well.
The first organic SEO result is Amazon.com, followed by questions that people ask (which is also something you can work to rank for).
Is SEO Difficult?
There are a lot of moving parts and things to concern yourself with when it comes to ranking in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPS). In fact, Google uses over 200 different ranking factors.
That doesn’t mean that you have to try to perfect each and every one of those, but there are some that are much more important than others.
What Should You Focus on for SEO?
While you don’t need to necessarily make sure all of these things are in place, doing these 8 things will give you the best shot of out ranking your competitors.
- Conduct keyword research (long-tail keywords & questions)
- Conduct competitor research so you know what is/isn’t working for them
- Make high-quality content that answers people’s search intent
- Make sure your website loads quickly (more important now than ever)
- Make sure your website is responsive (mobile friendly)
- Make sure your website is secure (has an https:// in front of the URL)
- Make sure your website is optimized “on-page”
- Focus on getting good links to your website