Module 4 – Search Engine Optimization

What is SEO?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It’s the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as exposure to your club or district brand, through non-paid search (also known as “organic search”) search engine results.

Search engine basics

Search engines are answer machines. They scour billions of pieces of content on the Internet and evaluate thousands of factors to determine which content is most likely to answer your question.

Search engines do all of this by discovering and indexing all available content on the Internet (web pages, PDFs, images, videos, etc.) via a process known as “web crawling and web indexing,” and then ordering the search results by how well it matches the question in a process we will refer to as “search ranking.” Just know that this indexing and ranking happens automatically for all websites that allow it – Most do by default.

Which search results are “organic”?

Organic search results are the ones we want! They are earned solely through effective SEO practices, not paid for (i.e. not advertising). These used to be easy to spot – the ads were clearly labeled as such and the remaining results typically took the form of “10 blue links” listed below them. Generally people will avoid paid search results because the quality cannot be guaranteed.

Why SEO is important

While paid advertising, social media, and other online platforms can generate traffic to websites, the majority of online traffic is driven by search engines.

Organic search results cover more digital real estate, appear more credible to savvy searchers, and receive way more clicks than paid advertisements. For example, of all US searches, only ~2.8% of people click on paid advertisements.

In a nutshell: SEO has ~20X more traffic opportunity than PPC on both mobile and desktop.

SEO is also one of the only online marketing channels that, when set up correctly, can continue to pay dividends over time. If you provide a solid piece of content that deserves to rank for the right keywords, your traffic can snowball over time, whereas advertising needs continuous funding to send traffic to your site.

Search engines are getting smarter, but they still need our help.

Optimizing your site will help deliver better information to search engines so that your content can be properly indexed and displayed within search results.

Where do I start?

Here is a PDF of the Kiwanis SEO Bootcamp presentation. This has plenty of tips to get you started.

Here is a link to Google’s SEO Starter Guide