understanding SEO banner
So you need to start understanding SEO before you can fully learn SEO.

But why bother?

The cost per click of AdWords and Facebook ads are soaring. That sad fact of life is indisputable. As a result, you may be having a harder time earning the ROI you once did on your campaigns.

If you’re either starting out or not a “big” brand yet, you may find it too costly to pay for traffic.

So how can you reach your target audience without spending more than you can afford?

Search Engine Optimization or SEO.

Today, we thought we would take a little time and dive into what SEO is, how it works, and what to look out for when implementing it.

Understanding SEO, First Things First

First, let’s define advertising, online advertising, and SEO.

Advertising is how you bring your product or service into the public sphere. Without it, it would be impossible for you to grow or survive. Traditional advertising is throwing your brand at a wall and seeing what sticks.

Online advertising is different than that. It allows you to target potential customers based on their demographics and interests. Facebook ads and AdWords has the potential to reach more people who are likely to buy from you.

Sure, online advertising rocks if you can afford it.

Big brands tend to monopolize the paid traffic in places like Facebook ads. Raising the costs per click to the point that smaller brands can no longer afford to pay for it.

The saddest part is that there is ZERO GUARANTEE the customer will buy your product or service once they do click your ads.

If your brand doesn’t have thousands or even millions to spend, you should learn SEO and adopt our link building tips as they will come to your rescue.

So, what is SEO?

In the 1990s, with the growth of the Internet, there became a need to organize all the information online. From that need, came search engines.

Search engines were handy in assisting internet surfers in finding pages.

But, finding every page that matched a search was only helpful to a certain extent. It became vital to the Internet to have some way to categorize the results by relevance.

Thus, search engine optimization was born.

SEO is about maximizing the number of hot prospects your site receives free from Google. With it, you can attract customers who are already looking to fill a need that relates to your brand.

For example, if you opened a new yoga studio in your town. You might place a Facebook ad and target people who do yoga in your city. It would likely gain a few clicks, but not have a high potential for the users to buy a class pass.

But, if someone in the town searches “yoga studio in your town,” and your brand has optimized its SEO. You’ll attract a customer who is looking for what you offer, and you’re more likely to make the sale.

The best part?

SEO is free; it only requires a little effort on your part.

How do you learn SEO though?

Note: The best way to start learning SEO is to understand all the terms you come across. You can do that with a quick visit to our SEO Glossary.

Understanding SEO is the Best Alternative to Paid Online Advertising

As we’ve mentioned, there are two options when it comes to driving traffic to your website.

  • Paid advertising, monopolized by big brands.
  • SEO, which is a much more even playing field.

We’re going to dive into a few of the pros and cons for each.

Online Advertising: Pros

Online advertising can reach many people in a specific niche or target market. It can also be more effective than print advertising. Most everyone has a phone with Internet access. Whereas not everyone subscribes to magazines or the newspaper anymore.

You can target people who have a specific need for your product or service and are more likely to buy it.

Paid advertising also shows up at the top of a search (even if the page itself isn’t the highest optimized site).

Online Advertising: Cons

Online advertising can be costly. Big brands, like Starbucks, for example, spend a couple hundred million each year.

In September 2018, Starbucks had spent $260.3 million on paid advertising – and that’s only in the US. If your brand doesn’t have a large budget, more prominent brands will overshadow your efforts.

Care to try to compete against that budget?

We didn’t think so.

SEO: Pros

Search engine optimization can increase your brand’s visibility and awareness for free.

How?

Like our quality guest posts, it delivers customers to your website who are ready to do business with you. Also, it establishes quality and trust amongst your customers and prospects.

Many users skip the ads on search engines and scroll further down to the organic results.

As we mentioned, SEO is free.

It will cost you some research and effort to learn SEO, but in the end, it is more affordable than AdWords or Facebook ads.

SEO is also a much more long-term form of advertising. If you have customers who love you today, regardless of your ad budget, they will still love you in the future.

Additionally, your brand awareness and visibility don’t go away once you stop paying, and the ad ends.

SEO: Cons

While understanding SEO is the first step, it often requires patience.

Online advertising happens immediately. SEO, on the other hand, takes time.

It also requires a lot of networking and asking others to backlink to your site.

Regardless of the cons to SEO, the benefits far outweigh the cons.

Keep reading to find out why.

Understand SEO Infographic

What do the Search Engines Look for in SEO?

It’s important to know what Google and other search engines are looking for when it comes to backlinks.

Google and Bing are looking for backlinks from popular websites in your industry. The more of these types of links that your site has, the better.

Why Backlinks are Important for Understanding SEO

Imagine that you are going on a boat ride. You buy a boat, learn how to drive it, and are ready to go.

Now imagine that you go to take the boat out, but there’s no water to take the boat out on. That’s almost like having a website with no backlinks!

How do you get white hat links?

First, let’s define what link building is, why it matters for SEO, and how to build up your link empire.

By definition, link building is “the process of acquiring links from other sites to yours. A backlink is a way for users to navigate between pages on the Internet.”

Why is link building a crucial part of SEO?

Google and Bing use links within a website to discover new pages online. They also use them to determine where a page should rank in their search results.

The more quality and relevant backlinks you have, the more likely you are to rank in the search engines results. In this way, links are good reviews for websites.

Link building also helps you build relationships with other websites and brands in your industry. If your site is linking out to similar brands, they might link to you in the future as well even without you asking.

In a very big way, the backlinks are like a networking event for SEO.

Note: You can learn how to get backlinks by reading our link building book, and watching our link building training videos. You can also hit the easy button and have our team perform outreach to get them through our link building service.

Learn SEO 101: Why Build Links & What Qualifies as a Good One

It used to be true that any and every link helped rank a site. In 2012 Google rolled out its Penguin Algorithm which stopped that disturbing trend.

That changed SEO forever as a result.

Pre-Penguin, brands could spam Google’s search engine with junky links from even junkier websites that were unrelated to their business in any way. The black hat system never relied on facts or real users’ experiences or reviews.

That’s why it has gone the way of the Dodo bird.

Now, in a post-penguin cyber world, it’s imperative to have high-quality links to your site. These links need to be on real sites that are relevant to your business.

What makes some backlinks potent and others not?

A good backlink is one that comes from a popular, and already high-ranking site from your industry.

How to Inspire Backlinking from Other Relevant Sites

What about getting someone to backlink your website?

One of the best things about link building is that it can attract new people to your site. Sadly most marketers who learn SEO are clueless to this fact.

One of the most organic ways to do that is having your site linked by someone else in your industry.

The first step is to make sure that your site is fully prepared for backlinks.

Which means double-checking all technical issues like:

  • how fast does your site load?
  • Is your website mobile friendly?
  • Is your content up to date and linkable?

You’ll also want to double check all your current links to ensure that they are still high-quality.

The next step is to create a post that’s primary aim is informational.

Why?

Because it’s easier for people to backlink to your site if your content has some value to them.

If the info that you provide is of high quality, it can even continue to gain links over time for you on autopilot.

It will be more difficult for you at first, but you want to make sure that the websites linking out to you are:

  • Have high rankings themselves on Google
  • Are relevant to your business

Establishing a relationship between these types of brands is imperative.

To inspire other websites to link to yours, the best thing to do is to reach out to the site.

You don’t want to reach out and look like the only intention you have is to gain a link from them. If you do, that effort will fail and destroy your chances of ever scoring a link from them.

You can establish a relationship with them by engaging with them online.

How will this help you?

  1. You establish a relationship with a relevant source of referrals for your business.
  1. Readers see the link, then checks out your website.
  1. Your search rankings on Google improves, delivering you even more free customers.

Win-win-win.

Understanding SEO Takes Time, But it Works

Let’s recap.

SEO is an excellent alternative to paid advertising, especially for smaller brands. Because paid ads can be costly, larger brands tend to monopolize that side of the ad world.

If you are looking to grow your business, the best place to start is to learn SEO.

Its primary goal is to maximize the number of visitors hitting your site from Google and Bing. It does this by making sure that your website appears at the top of the results after a search.

In general, only about 15% of search engine users click on the paid advertising, which means they are leaving the other 85% for the organic search results.

Those numbers don’t lie.

Not only can your brand save money by focusing on its SEO, but it has a higher chance of gaining new customers.

Link building does take a lot of research and hard work to develop, though. Unlike paid advertisements, it won’t happen overnight. As we discussed in this article, backlinking is the biggest key when it comes to your site’s SEO.

Then, enjoy it because you deserve all the success in the world for understanding SEO and how it works.