Does SEO Matter? A Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Last month we told you why it’s important to include content marketing in your overall marketing strategy. In that post, we mentioned that search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical consideration when creating website content for your brand, but we wanted to circle back and do a deeper dive into the often-confusing world of SEO. Let’s dig in…

First thing’s first: WTF is SEO? 

Search engine optimization is an umbrella term for organic (not paid) tactics that improve your website’s ranking in search engine results by:

  • Increasing the quality and quantity of your website traffic, and 
  • Increasing brand awareness. 

Put simply, the goal of SEO is to improve your site’s rankings on search engines like Google and Bing. The higher up you are in search results, the more visibility and traffic you’ll get. Confused yet? Don’t worry—we’ve got you. Here are a few helpful definitions to make sure we’re all on the same page:

SEO Keywords – Words and phrases used within website content that make it possible for people to find your website through a search engine. 

Website Traffic – The number of clicks your website receives. In the context of SEO, we’re not just measuring the number of website visitors, but also the quality of these visitors (how likely they are to take action or engage with your brand).

Organic Search (SEO) vs. Paid Search (SEM) Results Organic search engine results are a product of specific tactics used to rank higher on a search engine results page that cater to the program’s algorithms. Alternatively, paid search is a type of digital marketing that allows brands to purchase ads on the search platform to force their website into a more prominent placement based on keywords and phrases. Paid search (also known as search engine marketing or SEM) is typically pay-per-click, which means advertisers only pay when a user clicks on their ad.

See? You’re practically an expert now! Let’s forge on… 

Do I need SEO?

We’re so glad you asked, and we created a nifty flowchart to help you make that determination yourself.


Essentially, if your company has a website—and it absolutely should—you probably want people to be able to find your website. You know, so they can learn more about the business and eventually offer you money in exchange for goods or services. Right? Right. And that’s precisely what good SEO can do for you. It helps the right people find your business at the exact moment they have a need for whatever it is you do or sell! 

How do I get started with SEO?

The easiest way to start implementing SEO strategies on your website is to partner with an SEO expert or trusted agency that can determine the best tactics for your unique needs and guide you through the process (or better yet—take care of the whole process for you). 

Most SEO professionals utilize powerful tools that help them determine the most effective strategy based on many factors including your business model, product/service offerings, competitors, target audience, business goals and more. These tools, combined with experience and expertise are the biggest reasons to work with an agency like Propel to improve your SEO. 

Propel’s SEO approach

Here’s how our expert team of crazy talented SEO nerds approaches the process:

Phase 1:  Keyword Research & Determination

We work with you to set clear goals and figure out what the heck people are typing into the Google machine to find you (and your competition). From there, we come up with a list of top keywords and phrases to research, then we plug the information into our commercial-grade software and dig deep into the data. This gives us the information we need to identify opportunities and understand what approaches will be the most effective for you. The research also helps us narrow down our keyword list so we know which ones should be used—and avoided—on each page of your website. For example, if you own a commercial cleaning company, you probably don’t want your website ranking high for someone searching “residential cleaning service.” In this instance, we would consider “residential” a negative keyword, and avoid using it in your website content. 

Phase 2: Recommendation 

Our team will present our findings and recommendations to you. Here are some examples of recommendations that can come out of this phase: 

  • Simple website content updates (adding or removing content/images)
  • Technical upgrades like updating meta descriptions, alt text, title tags and H-tags, image optimization, link-building, improved page naming, and organization, etc. 
  • Website restructuring and/or the creation of specific landing pages
  • Total website overhaul featuring a more strategic approach to your website structure and content
  • Targeted paid search campaign 
  • Creating or updating your Google My Business listing

And we’ve got great news for you—as a full-service marketing agency, Propel can take care of all of this stuff for you!

Phase 3: Execution & Performance Tracking

Once we’ve determined next steps based on the recommendation, we’ll discuss the specifics and answer any questions you have. Then we get to work improving your website’s SEO by implementing the recommended tactics, taking advantage of keywords trends, and considering a range of services that leverage SEO in different ways. When everything is done, we can begin measuring the website’s performance and tracking improvements. 

And like most marketing tactics, SEO isn’t just a one-time thing—it’s critical to stay on top of paid search campaigns, search trends and industry news in order to rework content accordingly. By measuring the results of each initiative, we’ll know what’s working, what’s not, and how to improve our efforts. 

Now that you’re armed with all this SEO know-how, let’s talk about how our SEO team can set your website up for success and help you attract new customers! Propel is just a few clicks away, so reach out and we’ll get started! We promise to make it as painless as possible.