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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a term that’s regularly mentioned in the world of digital marketing but is still widely misunderstood by business owners. Although SEO is now essential to any growing business, many developers and company heads aren’t sure how to incorporate it into their company’s marketing strategy. To help those of you who are still scratching your heads over the topic of SEO, here are four basic questions with clear and concise answers to clear up any confusion.

1. What is SEO?

In short, a well-executed SEO strategy enables a business to rank higher in online search results. For example, if you own a bakery in St. Louis, many potential customers looking for a local bakeshop would go to Google or another search engine and search terms like “St. Louis bakery” or “cakes St. Louis”. Most searchers stop their search on page 1 of results, which typically lists 7-10 local businesses. According to Austin SEO company Moonraker Marketing (http://www.moonrakermarketing.com), the majority of people will not even look at page 2 of search results, which means it’s critical for businesses to show up on page 1 results. Search engine optimization techniques optimize a business’ website to help it rank higher in search engine page results for a list of relevant, targeted keywords.

2. How Does SEO Work?

Because Google zealously guards the specifics of its search algorithm, one can’t point to a single factor and say that it’s the single most important part of an SEO gameplan. Instead, it’s better to stop and look at what on-page and off-page factors influence results. On-page factors are the factors on your website that influence your rankings. These include things like relevant site content, blog posts, site URL structure, and making proper use of tags, titles, and meta descriptions. Off-page tactics include link building and social media marketing. When on-page and off-page techniques are properly employed, the end goal is to boost natural, organic traffic and to create a website that users will want to visit again and again.

A good SEO campaign will increase your ranking on Google's search results.
A good SEO campaign will increase your ranking on Google’s search results.

3. What is White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO?

White Hat and Black Hat are terms that are used to differentiate between friendly (white) and predatory (black) forms of SEO. White Hat SEO seeks to improve a site’s search ranking while still providing a useful experience for a user and abiding by search engine terms of service. Black Hat SEO, on the other hand, employs tactics that are against Google’s rulebook to get results. Black hat techniques include spam comments, paid links, and keyword stuffing.

4. What is Local or Social SEO?

SEO has splintered in recent years as more platforms have become available to be leveraged. Today, local SEO seeks to dominate search listings in its area and is usually aided by products such as Google My Business or other location-specific searches. Social SEO aims to leverage social media to boost a site’s numbers and allow for a greater degree of interactivity with potential customers. Both types of SEO are vital in the world of business, and neither can be ignored for larger-scope issues.

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