OK, so this one’s kind of complicated… just kidding. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. You engage in SEO when you attempt to get a page to rank higher in a search engine’s SERPs (search engine results pages), with the ultimate goal being to increase organic (unpaid) traffic to that page.

This question is a little like asking: Who’s more important to the Patriots, Bill Belichik or Tom Brady? You can probably come up with an argument for either; but the reality is, both are vital to the team’s success. The same goes for SEO and PPC (pay-per-click). You couldn’t establish domain authority, organic brand affinity, and really, a wholly formed online presence without SEO. By the same token, you couldn’t granularly target prospects by demographic, behaviors, or keywords without PPC.

SEO is just one discipline encompassed by SEM (Search Engine Marketing). SEM includes PPC and SEO.

There are a ton of great resources out there if you’re trying to learn SEO. If you’re short on cash, check out blogs like Search Engine Journal, Moz, Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, SEMPost, and the blog of all blogs, Digital247. We also put together a great guide on SEO basics. If not, splurge on a book like The Art of Seo, or on classes.

Again, you could come up with a good argument for a few different answers here. Ahrefs is great for competitor content and backlink research; Moz Pro’s content explorer is great for finding unlinked mentions; and SEMrush is great for rank and visibility tracking. The three share many overlapping features. It’s more a matter of preference than anything. Spyfu, AWR Cloud, and DeepCrawl are also worth checking out.

On-page SEO refers to tactics utilized on or within a page to assist it in ranking higher in the search engine. On-page SEO includes both content and the HTML source code of a page (image optimization, keyword optimization, Schema markup, and more), but not external links and other external signals.

Say it with us: Plan for voice search! ComScore predicts that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches. Take a look at the number of articles published in the past year about “how to optimize for featured snippets”:

Up 178% from 2016. People have figured out that systems like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Google Assistant pull from featured snippets to give their answers. Look for SEOs to continue to turn their attention to voice search—this year, and into the future.

As we discussed earlier, SEO is always changing. But the biggest change continues to be the shift toward mobile. Mobile digital media time in the US is now significantly higher (51%) than desktop digital media time (42%), and that number is set to continue to grow. Google recently made mobile page speed a ranking factor. Going forward, if you haven’t already done so, you should look into Accelerated Mobile Pages. It’s becoming more and more paramount to make sure you have no mobile usability issues on your site.

What have you done thus far? If the answer is nothing, you’re going to want to use one of the SEO tools I mentioned above to run a site audit. This will allow you to find and rectify any broken links, make sure all your meta tags are in order, and check page load speeds. Search Console also has a great “Crawl Errors” tool, in addition to other tools that help you diagnose your site’s speed and usability. Once your current pages are in order, get cracking on keyword research, and start putting out some content!

Great question! Keyword research helps you determine the keywords for which you should optimize the current and future pages of your site. For example: if your new small business sells employee scheduling software, but you discover that “employee scheduling tool” has higher search volume and lower competition than “employee scheduling software,” you might want to change the copy on your website to reflect that. Keyword research is a way of determining which queries people are entering into search engines so you can publish pages that will show up as results for those queries.

Yes! If you’re not familiar with HTTPS, it is essentially a more secure form of HTTP. Look up at the URL of this page. See the “https” at the beginning, and the word “Secure” to the left of it? Google looks on pages like these favorably. Not only does it index HTTPS pages first, but it also recognizes HTTPS as a ranking signal. HTTPS is also faster than HTTP, which can affect click-through rate. So yes, changing to HTTPS should positively impact your rankings!

Redirects are a natural part of linking between content on your site. That said, 301 redirects pass anywhere between 90-99% of link equity (read: ranking power) to the redirected page. So, if you’ve moved a piece of content between several different pages, and all those redirects are still in place, you might be sacrificing some load speed/link equity. It’s a good idea to eliminate those superfluous intermediaries.

Still, not all redirects are created equal. 301 redirects, in which a page is moved permanently, are the most SEO-friendly redirects. They pass between 90-99% of link equity. 302 redirects, which indicate a temporarily redirected page, pass less link equity (though some Google employees have disputed this). Meta refreshes are redirects that take place on the page level, rather than the server level. These are most commonly associated with the text, “If you are not redirected in five seconds, click here.” Meta refreshes pass some link equity, but are not a recommended SEO tactic.

If online marketing is an important part of your business (and, to be frank, it should be!) then SEO can be a serious asset. It costs nothing to do a little keyword research, come up with a content strategy, and regularly practice external and internal link building. And while SEO may not return immediate, tangible conversions, it is a pivotal part of driving organic traffic; and driving organic traffic is a pivotal part of building brand awareness and familiarity. If your audience can rely on you to deliver relevant, high-quality resources at the top of the SERP, they’ll be that much closer to purchasing your product!

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