First day in class Mark told us that as Marketers, our education doesn’t stop once we’ve completed all our university class requirements and have that diploma in our hands. We live in a world where Marketing is constantly evolving, and if we want to be able to keep in the Marketing field, we need to be continually educating ourselves on whatever the next big thing is for Marketing. Right now, that big thing that you can’t avoid just so happens to be Search Engine Marketing.
What exactly is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engines have two main functions, the first of which is crawling & indexing. Search engines have automated robots often called “crawlers” or “spiders” which travel through links from web page to web page. Every time a spider reaches a web page, it will record the web page’s code and store it in ginormous datacenters. These datacenters consist of processing machines all over the world, which make it possible for a person running a search on a search engine to have their results delivered immediately.
The second main function is to provide answers. When a person runs a search, the search engine needs to be able to sort through massive amounts of information and deliver results that would be considered relevant to what the person is asking for. On top of figuring out what is relevant (and by relevant, information that is actually meaningful and not just a page containing those specific words) the search engine needs to be able to sort and list these relevant results in an order with the most important results showing up first. The more popular a particular website is, the search engine will interpret the information contained on that website as being more important. Which in turn results in that website being ranked higher up in the list of results.
So why is Search Engine Optimization so important?
We now live in an age where consumers are no longer passive and marketers are the only ones deciding what messages will be delivered. The Internet has not only empowered customers to make reviews and express their opinion on products and services, but search engines have made it even easier for consumers to do their own research and easily access relevant information. Consumers are now actively searching for online information and by October 2011, Americans had made 20.3 billion searches in one month. With such staggering numbers, Marketers would be crazy to not invest their time and resources in making sure that their content successfully gets delivered to searching customers.
Looking at click-through rates, where your content ranks plays an important role in how much traffic your site will receive. According to the assigned article, research has shown that the number one result in a Google search receives 18.2% of all traffic with the second position receiving 10.1%, the third 7.2%, the fourth 4.8%, and anything ranked lower than fourth will receive less than 2% of all click-through traffic. If your website isn’t constructed in an easy for search engines to access, than that website will receive a lower ranking, preventing viewers from seeing your content.
Where is SEO going?
With search growing at a rate of 20% a year and it affecting almost every American, I don’t think SEO is going to go away anytime soon. Business’ are now aware of the powerful effects of simply having their website being listed at the top of the list of search results and they are going to continue to invest their resources in this area.
However, over time evolution happens, and I think that Search Engine Marketers shouldn’t get too comfortable with where SEO is at now and should be ready to adjust to changes in the structure of SEO. This can be seen in how Google has recently made some big changes in determining ranking. In the past, one could rely on doing a lot of link building to other quality websites to help increase ranking. Now, Google is saying that the focus should shift away from link building and instead towards “Creating unique and compelling content on your site and across the web in general.”