What is SEO? What is the importance of SEO in digital marketing strategy? Now those are very weird but important questions to ask in a digitally-led age like this. I’d explain. It’s weird because the acronym/phrase has become a cliche in the world of “everything” and as such, you’d expect that everyone – tech or non-tech enthusiast – would have some form of understanding of the term.
On the other hand, it’s important because so much is dependent on the efficient use of it and several million dollar companies owe their fortune to its advent and that’s probably why you’re reading this article today. Gotcha!
If you’re reading this article on “The importance of SEO in digital marketing strategy” then two things are very likely. Firstly, you’re a little late for the party.
But not to worry, we’ve reserved a few shots to get you into that party spirit. By the end of this read, you too would be at the center of the SEO party, rocking this lit SEO jam and you’d hopefully be singing its praises out loud in a few weeks or months from now.
Secondly, you most likely got pulled into this article as a result of the influence of SEO. So, yeah! It really does work like magic and you’re about to wield some compulsive power after this read. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
The very beginning of the SEO journey
Understanding the core idea behind SEO puts you at an advantage over folks who are only acquainted with the scholarly definition of the phrase as it gives you more context into why and how it really works.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) became a prevalent marketing technique as a result of the growth of search engines and an understanding of user behaviour as users began to respond to this growth.
As search engines developed, they became the biggest libraries in the world. Containing answers to an infinite range of questions and hosting solutions to innumerable problems; all answers being sourced from the myriad of existing websites and blogs. This made search -engines the first stop for every user in search of information of any sort. They largely replaced dictionaries, cookbooks, textbooks, product manuals, and everything in between.
Remember the last time you were actively looking to enrol at a gym and didn’t know anyone around or the last time your system needed an upgrade and you wanted to DIY. You most likely went to a search engine like Google and entered a query like “where can I find a gym near me?” or better, “gym near me”, or “how to upgrade Window OS”. This led you to a number of results from which you clicked and found the information you required.
By understanding the user journey/ behaviour of searching, scheming results, clicking and engaging, experts have been able to drive traffic to websites. This, they do by ensuring that they create contents that provide answers to popular search queries. Subsequently, search engines like Google can show these contents at the top of the list of results presented to users when they are actively searching for such information.
This way, users’ natural engagement with search engines brings them directly to your doorstep. Now, that’s the story behind the great SEO.
What is SEO
Now that you have some background understanding, let’s serve you up with that scholarly definition that everyone has echoed over the years but with a bit more simplicity.
Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving both the content of a website and the website itself. Notably, SEO help search engines recognize the content as resourceful and recommend its content to users when they search for information on search engines.
Three types of SEO
Search Engine Optimization can be broken down into three parts. All three parts are important to your overall digital strategy and they include;
- On-page SEO
- Technical SEO, and
- Off-page SEO.
As the name implies, this relates to optimization that takes place on a website page. This optimization helps search engines understand content uploaded to the website and see them as valuable resources that users would want to find.
The requirements for on-page SEO are;
- Keyword research; This involves understanding what your intended audience are searching for online and the keywords they use during these searches.
- Content reation; Creating and publishing resourceful contents based on relevant keywords discovered during keyword research.
- Keyword optimization; This involves the intelligent placement of relevant keywords within the created contents. Ideally, keywords should be used in headings, introductions, sub headings and for a defined amount of time within the body of contents.
This zooms out of content optimization and focuses more on the optimization of the website itself.
This optimization helps increase the website’s readability and improves the user experience.
During this optimization, experts focus on improving the following
- Site speed or load time
- Mobile frindliness
- User friendliness
Off-site SEO helps with building relationships with other websites. This is important because it helps search engines perceive websites as reliable when they establish connections with other reputable sites.
At the core of off-site SEO is backlinking. This refers to a third-party website pointing visitors to your site using integrated links. You can do this by having featured stories on other websites that point back to your website. You can also achieve this by having part of your content quoted on another website with the provision that the link to the original article on your website from which the quote was taken is embedded in the third-party publication.
Role of SEO in Digital Marketing Strategy
In answering the question of ‘what is the importance of SEO in digital marketing strategy?’ it is important to start by saying SEO plays the invaluable role of placing brands in front of users. These users are actively in search of the products and services that such brands offer and thus, they are very likely to make a purchase decision.
Benefits of SEO
There are many benefits of search engine optimization, however, a few of them include;
- Increasing brand visibility
- Increasing TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness) for brands
- Influencing customers’ purchase decision
- Improving engagement (web visits, email sign-ups, downloads, etc.)
Top 3 SEO tools
Below is a list of SEO tools that you will find helpful in your SEO adventure;
- Google Keyword Planner
Remember when we talked about keyword research earlier? Now here’s a tool that can help with that. With Google Keyword Planner, you can get insight into industry or product-specific keywords that can influence your overall SEO content strategy.
- Google Analytics
Google Analytics gives you insight into your website data so that you can better understand your user behaviour and optimize web performance to create a better experience for all visitors. With Google Analytics, you can get information on traffic source, user device, web load time and more.
Semrush is an all-in-one tool suite for improving online visibility and discovering marketing insights. A free version of the tool is available online with limited functionality. Users can unluck more of the tool’s functions, following a subscription.
SEO presents brands with a great opportunity to increase their awareness and revenue channel. But, what’s better than that is the possibility of having all of these optimization processes fully managed while you focus on other high-priority business demands.