SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 08 October 2018How to Determine If You Should Start a Side Hustle
Search Engine Optimization. SEO. We hear about this a lot in the realm of business, but what it is exactly? What is it’s importance?
This is how Google defines SEO - a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP). If you want more details, read this article and learn in depth with how SEO works.
In layman’s terms, your site has to be visited pretty frequently to rank on the top of a search engine’s list, and the information that is presented to you based on your search depends on how frequently those sites have been visited. If you type “car insurance” into Google, you will see Allstate, Progressive and Geico show up (in that order). You might think it is to be expected to see those names pop up, since they are the big dogs in that industry, in reality; what makes them “big dogs” has a lot to do with their advertising efforts and marketing campaigns (all of which require good SEO to make sure their company’s rank high on the list).
My experience with learning about SEO through ProSky is one that stays with me on a daily basis. When I stop to think about everything that I do as a content writer - SEO is in the back of my mind when completing each and every task. Writing this article for instance, is being optimized for SEO by carefully selecting keywords that will illustrate “the benefits of SEO.” If someone wants to learn about what SEO is or how it is beneficial to their business, they may type “What are the benefits of SEO?” into google, and this article may rank high on their search. That’s the whole idea behind it.
Who needs SEO?
In a nutshell, all businesses require effective SEO to succeed and when you stop to think about how it affects the overall success of a business, you will see that everyone from entrepreneurs to coders can benefit from learning about how to use SEO.
Among the most relevant careers for SEO, is Growth marketing, which basically entails going from nothing to something. Companies that need to scale quickly will effectively A/B test through various marketing channels to see what is the best way to grow a business. Through this process you can see all the different professionals that need to learn about SEO.
Coders, building platforms, need to optimize for SEO as many images and content written on the company website will tell search engine’s what the site is all about. Someone looking at taking SEO courses may stumble upon ProSky’s website and learn about the various courses they offer, one of which is SEO. Other things, like, the URL should be optimized to match the keywords on the website. If your website is www.website.com/information. You should be on a page that gives you information. If you click a tab to learn about the company, the URL should read www.website.com/aboutcompany, or simply about works as well. Meta descriptions should describe the content of a webpage. They are commonly used on search engine result pages (SERPs) to display preview snippets for a given page. Listing out the appropriate keywords that tell readers what content they should expect to find will help search engines rank your page higher.
Entrepreneurs can benefit from learning about SEO if they want decreased competition. If you are based out of St. Louis, MO, let’s say, and have your own carpet cleaning company, it would be a lot easier to rank for “carpet cleaning service in st louis” knowing there isn’t as much competition in your city, versus if you were trying to rank for the same keyword, but in the entire U.S. Optimizing your site for local searches will increase your value to local researchers. This is also a great example at why SEO is so effective because there is so much noise, or information, on the internet, that being specific with searches helps get you what you are looking for. If I am looking for pizza in Orange County, I will probably try to be more specific with my search and select a specific city like “Irvine”, or style like “New York style pizza.” This will localize my search and more likely give me exactly what I am looking for.
Social Media Marketers need to learn about SEO since social media profiles rank in search engine results. Social shares might or might not affect in which order a web page shows up on searches, but social profiles affect the content of search results. In many cases, actually, social media profiles are part of the top selected listings for many different brands. If you search your own name, your profiles will probably be among the first that show up. Likewise, when I typed “Apple” into Google’s search engine, Yelp was among the first sites that popped up.
If you want to be a content marketer, it’s especially important to not just learn about SEO, but effectively use it. All blogs, whitepapers and even emails you send out should be optimized for the piece of content that they are. For example, if I am writing a blog titled, “Top 5 reasons to learn SEO as a content marketer” I might include an image of someone working on a computer to help grab the reader’s attention. If I want people to find my blog post, I will make sure that my image has a tag or alt text matched to it, so if people search for google images of SEO, my image will show up at the top of their list linking to my blog post.
According to this article on Forbes, quality links and content are what have meshed Public Relations and SEO together. PR and SEO are blending responsibilities more and more. Blogging, content calendars, PR stunts and events are some of the areas where you will see overlap. Since SEO and public relations are one and the same now, utilize that knowledge to locate better links to your site. Social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc are great examples of ways to gain visits to your site based on organic search.
You now know why SEO is important and who uses it, but you may not be convinced still, so here are a few reasons why you may want to consider taking a class or even learning about SEO:
“I enjoy writing”
You may have always wanted to consider a career in writing, but were either afraid to try or told it’s not worth it to pursue. SEO can help you put those writing skills to good use and earn you money in the process. SEO was listed as one of the most in demand skills in digital marketing as of 2015. Good SEO requires a good balance of convincing search engines that your content is relevant and connecting with humans to ensure it gets read. It’s all about the words.
“I like to be challenged and learn new things”
SEO is a field that is constantly changing and in need of fresh minds that want to take it to the next level. So, being curious to learn is a good habit to have. As previously mentioned, many fields in the realm of business and digital jobs in general require a thorough understanding of SEO as it is becoming integrated with many other disciplines.
“I’m both right and left brained”
While words are a huge part of it, there is a huge emphasis on data and being able to analyze results, so if you are more analytical, you can find enjoyment in learning SEO. Web developers are great candidates for SEO since optimizing a webpage is not just about the content, but the overall web presence. It is important that people stay on the website and are able to navigate easily from one page to another, so SEO is also about the overall user experience as well.
I wouldn’t know as much as I know now if it weren’t for the SEO course that I took through ProSky. What made the course stand out most to me was the thorough knowledge on the topic of SEO from the perspective of those working in the field itself, so I knew that the information I was getting was coming from a place of experience and not just theoretical. I highly recommend the SEO course through ProSky, check it out here!