Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or webpage on a search engine results page (SERP) so as to make a company’s website more discoverable (i.e., on the first page/s), thereby driving traffic and sales. Tedious, involving technical and business decisions, and not guaranteeing results—it nonetheless provides lasting benefits.
SEO often involves the concerted effort of multiple departments within an organization, including the design, marketing, and content production teams. While some SEO work entails business analysis (e.g., comparing one’s content with competitors’), a sizeable part depends on the ranking algorithms of various search engines, which may change with time. Nevertheless, a rule of thumb is that websites and webpages with higher-quality content, more external referral links, and more user engagement will rank higher on an SERP.
The SEO process includes six general phases:
Research, including business research, competitor analysis, current state assessment, and keyword searching.
Planning and strategy, including decisions on how to handle content, build links to the website, manage social media presence and technical implementation strategies.
Implementation, where optimization decisions on a site’s webpages and the website as a whole are executed.
Monitoring, where the activity of web spiders, traffic, search engine rankings, and other metrics are observed for producing reports on which assessment will be performed.
Assessment, involving checking the summarized effects of the strategy (and its implementation) against the SEO process’s stated targets.
Maintenance, where both minor or major problems with the website’s operation are handled as they arise (e.g., new content that needs optimization according to the strategy).
The SEO process targets mostly organic links and search engine result placement; still, it is often complemented by more aggressive measures (e.g., paid search ads) and is often part of traditional marketing campaigns.
Why is SEO important?
Let's break our definition into three parts:
Organic search results: the unpaid listings on a search engine results page (SERP) that the search engine has determined are most relevant to the user’s query. Ads make up a significant portion of many SERPs. Organic search results are distinct from these ads in that they are positioned based on the search engine’s organic ranking algorithms rather than advertiser bids. You can’t pay for your page to rank higher in organic search results.
Quality of organic traffic: how relevant the user and their search query are to the content that exists on your website. You can attract all the visitors in the world, but if they're coming to your site because Google tells them you're a resource for Apple computers when really you're a farmer selling apples, those visitors are likely to leave your site without completing any conversions. High-quality traffic includes only visitors who are genuinely interested in the products, information, or other resources your site offers. High-quality SEO capitalizes on the search engine’s effort to match a user’s search intent to the web pages listed in the SERP.
Quantity of organic traffic: the number of users who reach your site via organic search results. Users are far more likely to click on search results that appear near the top of the SERP, which is why it’s important to use your SEO strategy to rank relevant pages as highly as you can. The more high-quality visitors you attract to your site, the more likely you are to see an increase in valuable conversions.
Insurtek research tools and SEO analytics help you take your site to the next level.