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SEO 101: An Introduction to Search

Mar 22, 2019
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SEO 101 An Introduction to SearchAccording to, the number of searches performed each year is estimated to be around two trillion. As the high demand for search continues, so does the demand for search rankings. Having your business’s website content appear prominently in search, where people are looking for the service, product, or resource your business provides is crucial to its survival. But, obtaining such prime search result real estate is not a simple task. Instead, it requires a foundational understanding of SEO. So, let’s dive into some of the basics of search.

The Goal of Search Engines

The primary goal of all search engines is to present a relevant, fast, and fresh search experience. We use search engines to find answers to our questions as quickly as possible, so search engines invest a significant amount of time, energy, and capital improving their relevance. This involves “performing extensive studies of user responses to their search results, comparing their results against those of other search engines, conducting eye-tracking and click-through rate studies, and constructing PR and marketing campaigns” (The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization).

Because a search engine’s success relies heavily on the relevance of its results, black-hat SEO tactics that result in non-relevant search results are dealt with very seriously. Major search engines focus heavily on identifying and eliminating spam from their search results to ensure ranking positions are earned fairly and results remain as accurate and relevant as possible.

Determining Your Target

A key element to building an effective digital marketing strategy around search visibility is understanding who your audience is and how they think about, discuss, and search for your product, service, or brand. A great place to start is keyword research.

Keyword research will help you determine where you should concentrate your content. Getting informational content in front of users who are seeking information is vital. The moment you provide valuable information to a user, you are given the opportunity to build a relationship. From there, you can easily drive your prospect down the inbound marketing and sales funnel, earning yourself a paying customer.

How People Search

Think about your most recent Google search. You probably arrived at Google with a goal in mind. But, with the array of options your search results delivered, it’s likely you performed several additional searches to help you reach your end goal.

People use search engines for a variety of purposes, with some of the most popular being to research, locate, and buy products (The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization).  Like you, people typically spend several minutes, using several queries in a single search session. This indicates that people think about their search in stages. Searchers usually begin with a single term and gradually get more specific as they get closer to meeting their end goal. They may also experiment with different keywords or search queries.

How People View Search Results Pages: The Golden Triangle

You’re looking for recommendations for a nearby lunch restaurant. You search, “lunch restaurants near me” and, in under a second, Google presents over 300 billion results. Your main focus is at the top three to five organic results presented on the upper left area of the results page. This is what is referred to as the “Golden Triangle.”

Studies, such as the Enquiro eye-tracking test, prove how little attention is traditionally paid to results lower on the results page, versus higher up. Users eyes are drawn to bold keywords, titles, and descriptions in the organic results, versus the paid search listings, which receive little attention.

Within the last few years, Google introduced what is called blended search which presents results that are grouped into forms of media such as video, images, news, etc. With this addition, sites that rank organically are positioned lower on the results page, making this real estate even more valuable than ever before.

The Importance of SEO

Today’s consumers rely on search engines to help them find everything from restaurant recommendations to ancient history research. As searchers, it is interesting to note how search engines operate, but as a business owner, having a foundational understanding of search is imperative to the growth of your business.

No matter your industry, the success of today’s businesses relies on their ability to be found online. Implementing a strong, quality SEO strategy is not only beneficial to a brand and its marketing efforts, but it is critical to its web presence, especially within competitive markets. If you’re looking to grow your business, contact SMA Marketing today. As SEO industry experts, we have the skills and knowledge to drive the right organic traffic to your website.

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Amanda Marra

By Amanda Marra

Amanda is an Inbound Strategist working from her home office in Port Orange, FL who is passionate about SEO and the Inbound Methodology. As a Florida native, she enjoys spending her spare time at the beach with her beloved dogs, Bentley and Kona.

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