SEO role in digital marketing is vital, because it gives your website a strong identity and ranking on the internet. Imagine having a showroom with a generic name and no images of what you’re selling. What kind of customers will you get? Scattered? Confused? Looking for information? Enquiring about a product that you’re not even offering?
On the contrary, if you have a store with a proper name, signboard and some description or image of what you’re selling. What kind of customers will you get then? Specific? Those looking for your product? Greater in number?
Now that’s also the difference between having a website that is not optimized, and a website that has SEO done on it. Search Engine Optimization helps a search engine make a website easy to find. SEO activities revolve around making a website easily find-able when a person searches for a particular product, service, or keyword online.
Standing out among hundreds of thousands of potential competitors is not easy. And always emerging at the top is not possible. However, offering quality information that is quickly available with an easy search is very much doable. And that’s SEO role in digital marketing.
Evolution Over the Ages
SEO has evolved and revolutionized greatly over time, and has become a more refined concept. SEO started gaining popularity in the mid-90s, but it had a very basic application then – keywords. Companies and businesses started hunting for ranking keywords and then stuffing them into their website and blog content. The concept was simple. The more number of high ranking keywords in your content, stronger are your chances of featuring in the topmost search results.
Identifying this problem, Google has since introduced a series of rules and regulations through its updates for the end user’s sake. Now, SEO can be used for ranking and increasing organic traffic, but the information on your website needs to be quality, original, and not stuffed with keywords. If it doesn’t add value for your visitors, then your website has no business being in the top search rankings. That’s basically how it goes.
SEO is an integral part of digital marketing. Let’s see how.
SEO Role in Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is a very vast activity, and SEO is one of the key components of it. It does not encompass the whole of digital marketing, but is an inseparable part of it nonetheless. Let’s look at what the SEO process includes.
This is the most important role of SEO in the digital marketing world. Website content is the first and foremost place that search engines will crawl for ranking your website. Hence, content should always be original (not plagiarized), high-quality, well-researched, and factually and grammatically correct. Bad quality content is always going to affect your site rankings.
This is probably the most well-known SEO activity – keywords! Keyword density and placement have had a rocky past, but they are a much better refined activity now. SEO experts find keywords that are moderately competitive, less expensive, and have a higher chance of ranking. They then place these keywords into the website content, metadata, page descriptions, headings, etc. The key is to add them in all possible places where they look natural. There is a Google-approved keyword density for actual website content, which is 1-3%. So SEO’s need to be careful not to stuff keywords unnaturally, which can affect site rankings.
Adding meta tags to a web page is an important SEO activity. Meta tags provide metadata about the HTML version of the web page that we see, which is information about the contents of the page. This includes keywords, headings, page descriptions and other data that the web page wants to rank for. Metadata is the information that we don’t see on the page, but for which it ranks.
Inbound and Outbound Links
Inbound links are hyperlinks on web pages of other websites that send a user to a page on your website. Outbound links are those that you add to your web pages, which direct users to other websites. It is important to check external websites that have linked to yours or that you are linking too. If the inbound linking website is spammy, unethical, or doesn’t have much traffic, it can affect your ranking. Similarly, linking out to such a website can also affect your search engine rank. Links should always be given to and accepted from websites with high traffic and quality content.
How the Search Engine Works
The search engine has a software called the Crawler or Spider that crawls through new or updated web pages to copy them into the search engine database. The catch here is that crawling can take up to months because of the sheer number of websites. It can take longer for updated web pages to get crawled.
Once crawling is done, the Spider copies and stores the web pages in the search engine database. This process is also known as indexing. This database contains information on all web pages that have been crawled so far. The search engine can find a particular page using keywords or metadata.
The search engine then uses its unique algorithm to assess whether a web page is genuine or spam. It checks the information that has been uploaded onto the web page, including links, images and sources. This decides the ranking of a web page.
The final stage is retrieving, which is the part where we get a string of search results when we type something into the search bar. The search engine retrieves most relevant information based on keywords that the user types, using various servers and indexes to do so.
SEO is Important
Search engine optimization is an important part of digital marketing because it gets your website noticed on the search engine. And that’s the most basic requirement for the success of any business online. If no one can see your website, then it is as good as non-existent. The significance of SEO must not be undermined. If you aren’t adept at it, consider hiring an expert to do it for you. Good SEO will ensure that you get more organic traffic and good search rankings.
Atul is Founder & CEO at Xenia Consulting. He has over 22 years of experience in marketing, across corporates as well as SME,start-ups. Over the last 5 years, he has gained significant expertise and has helped several companies drive growth leveraging digital marketing