What is Search Engine Optimization

2022 | What Is SEO?

In 2022, it’s safe to assume all (or at the very least ‘almost all’) business leaders, marketing professionals, and website owners have heard of the term “SEO”. However, even today, not everyone recognizes the importance of implementing a monthly SEO program in their marketing strategy.

In this article, we hope to clarify why we know SEO is the most important inbound marketing strategy available. We’ll outline what SEO ‘is’, it’s primary purpose, its primary objectives, what a monthly SEO program looks like, and most importantly the potential value of it.

SEO Acronyms

If you’re still a little shaky around digital marketing jargon, here’s a quick list of common SEO acronyms and their meanings.

  • SEA: Search Engine Advertising. Refers to paid search initiatives.

  • SEM: Search Engine Marketing. Refers to both paid & organic search initiatives.

  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization. Refers to organic search initiatives.

  • SERP: Search Engine Rankings Page. Refers to a Google, Bing, or other search engine results page.

SEO Definition (Search Engine Optimization)

Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing a web page, website or digital property to improve its organic rankings on SERPs. In the early days of SEO, this largely meant optimizing the content, technical performance, and site structure of a web page. However, in 2022, off-site elements such as backlinks from authoritative websites and customer reviews on third-party platforms play as big (if not a bigger) role in organic performance.

At Pedestal Search, we categorize SEO variables into three buckets:

On-Page: Any variable affecting a website’s organic performance that’s hosted on the website itself. For example, content and meta data.

Off-Page: Any variable affecting a website’s organic performance that’s hosted externally of the website. For example, backlinks and user reviews.

Technical: Any variable that affects the ability of search engines to crawl and/or index a website. Also, technical SEO usually encompasses user behavior metrics (now called Core Web Vitals) such as page speed.

 What Is the Purpose of SEO?

The purpose of SEO is to increase the quantity and quality of inbound traffic to your website. It is beneficial to both the consumer and business because it connects searchers with content that is most relevant to them. This means that consumers get the information they are looking for. Meanwhile, businesses get direct exposure to their desired target audience because they are providing useful information that helps the searcher make an informed decision during their consumer engagement cycle.

What Is the SEO Growth Cycle?

The SEO growth cycle (also called the organic growth cycle) is a means to demonstrate how effective organic growth should occur for the average website investing in SEO marketing. It is generally represented by four phases: Visibility, Traffic, Engagement, and Conversions.

organic growth cycle

Visibility: The first phase of the SEO growth cycle. During this stage, the website or webpage is beginning to rank on Google for desired keywords.

You can measure Visibility using Google Search Console’s ‘Impressions’ metric. The more impressions a site receives, the greater its visibility.

Traffic: The second phase of the SEO growth cycle. During this stage, the website or webpage is beginning to gain actual organic traffic from search engines.

You can measure Traffic using Google Search Console’s ‘Clicks’ metric. The more clicks a site receives, the greater its organic traffic.

Engagement: The third phase of the SEO growth cycle. During this stage, users who’ve organically entered the site are engaging with the content and not ‘Bouncing’.

You can measure engagement using Google Analytics’ various ‘Behavior Reports’. Our preferred KPIs include Bounce Rate, Avg Time on Site, Avg Pages/Session.

Conversions: The fourth and final phase of the SEO growth cycle. During this stage, users who’ve organically entered the site are performing the web owner’s desired conversion.

Conversions vary widely from site-to-site. For business websites, the most common conversions are purchases and lead form submissions. However, publications and multimedia sites might consider user behavior like watching a video or downloading a podcast as a successful conversion. You can measure conversions using Google Analytics’ various ‘Conversion Reports’.

Why Does My Business Need SEO?

SEO is arguably the most effective inbound marketing strategy available in 2022. To whet your SEO whistle, we just performed a—wait for it—organic search to find a few tantalizing SEO statistics in 2022.

  • 70% of digital marketing professionals believe SEO is more effective than PPC at generating sales.

  • 68% of online experiences BEGIN on a search engine.

  • 63% of all shopping experiences begin online, even if the transaction occurs offline.

  • 61% of B2B marketers stated organic traffic resulted in more leads than any other initiative.

  • Inbound organic leads have an average 14.6% close rate vs outbound leads which average 1.7%.

What Happens When a Business Implements an SEO Program?

SEO yields tangible, measurable KPIs. Clearly defined business objectives pave the way for KPI results that are quantifiable and qualifiable – so the benefits of specific SEO practices can be seen and adjusted appropriately.

What Does a Monthly SEO Program Look Like?

A good SEO program is often complex and multifaceted. It will contain program modules aimed at improving on-site, off-site, and technical SEO elements.

A good SEO program might look something like this:

  • Initial Strategy Proposal

  • Monthly Reporting

  • Ongoing Keyword Research

  • SEO-Driven Content Production (landing pages and blog content)

  • On-Page Optimizations (optimizing existing content for search engines)

  • Conversion Rate Optimization

  • Backlink Building

  • Customer Review Management

  • Technical SEO Assistance

Does My Website Need Professional SEO?

All websites stand to benefit from professional SEO services.

SEO is a complex, multifaceted digital marketing strategy. It requires cross-department buy-in and a long-term vision. Without specialized knowledge of the numerous components to SEO, it is often one of the most difficult strategies to execute well.

Specifically, SEO agencies can help you:

  • Develop a fully-realized, multifaceted strategy that converts;

  • Write SEO-driven content that targets each level of the organic growth cycle;

  • Execute SEO-driven PR tactics to build off-site authority;

  • Optimize web pages for both organic visibility and conversion rate; and,

  • Defensively prepare websites for algorithm updates and unexpected shifts in the digital marketing sphere.

There are many approaches a business can take to improve their discoverability online, however, a well planned digital SEO strategy will produce the best results.

To learn about how you can increase traffic to your site and improve the overall health and performance of your website’s rank contact us.

Aaron Levenstadt CEO & Founder at Pedestal Search

Aaron Levenstadt

CEO & Founder

Aaron Levenstadt completed his degree in Statistical & Data Science at Stanford University. That focus has given him an unparalleled data-driven approach to search engine digital marketing. Prior to founding Pedestal Search, Aaron worked at Google at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View California. At Google he worked on the Organic Search, Paid Search and Google Analytics products, which equipped him with extensive knowledge of the mechanisms driving Google’s algorithm and other internet search engines.