Turning the Lights On: Is SEO Becoming a Utility?

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    You’ve probably heard it over a thousand times before that search engine optimization (SEO) is the most important digital marketing tool to use for your website. Which, yes, is the truth. If you aren’t having a team of professionals keep your website up-to-date with current SEO trends, your website is going to go underwater – as in, deep down in the depths of search results where nobody goes.

    Think you have a basic enough understanding of SEO and all it’s intricacies? Well, unfortunately, that’s not enough. Having anything less than a solid grasp could seriously hurt your website’s rankings.

    Several different elements go into ensuring that the content that you’re producing is not only useful to your readers, but that it ranks well on search engine results pages (SERPS). SEO is essential, as it makes sure that your website is more visible to more viewers. As a result, this means more people are going to be looking at your blog, leading to more opportunities to send your readers down the sales funnel.

    Is SEO a utility? If you’re not familiar with all of the benefits that SEO has to offer your business, it’s about time you get familiar with how to reap the rewards that SEO can bring to your brand. We’ve created a complete guide to help you understand how to start implementing a stronger SEO strategy on your website. Keep reading to learn more!

    Turning the Lights On: Is SEO Becoming a Utility? 1

    SEO? What?

    Search engine optimization (SEO for short), is a marketing technique that organizations use to optimize their content to engage and educate users, which ultimately, looks attractive to search engines. The people that arrive on your website by clicking a link below the ads on Google or Bing are referred to as organic traffic.

    While Google doesn’t release the exact algorithm that they use for SEO rankings, there have been numerous studies backed by significant amounts of data completed by SEO professionals that have been able to identify the factors which impact your site placement on organic search engine rankings.

    At a high-level view, there are two categories of factors which go into how your site is affect by search engine rankings. These factors are referred to as on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

    On-page SEO

    On-page SEO includes all the changes and adjustments you make to your website posts and pages.

    This type of SEO includes the creation of content that has high-value keywords incorporated in it. This content is optimized to make sure that the search engine spiders that are used to rank your content understand the content you’ve written about.

    When you’re using on-page SEO, you want to make sure that you’re including high-value keywords and meta descriptions, alt tags, title tags, URLs, and naturally sprinkling those keywords throughout your content.

    Off-page SEO

    Off-page SEO techniques involves utilizing sites other than your website to improve rankings, Digital PR and link building.

    To optimize for off page SEO, you need to develop strategies to attract backlinks to your website. Using backlinks will help to increase your authority score (measured by multiple factors – depending on which tools you use to measure them such as MOZ Domain Authority or AHREFS Domain Rating).

    Increasing your authority score helps increase your websites’ organic rankings on Google, ultimately driving new traffic to your website.

    You can gain more backlinks on your site via a large variety of methods such as Digital PR / outreach, promoting your content on places such as Quora, Reddit and other social media platforms. The most popular is by contributing content to other websites. Also referred to as guest posting.

    Turning the Lights On: Is SEO Becoming a Utility? 2

    Why SEO Is Critical to Your Brand

    Just as your body needs water to survive, your website needs SEO for your brand to survive.

    Did you know that only about 2.8% of people click on paid advertisements? 

    Yes, you can increase the number of people viewing your website by paying for advertising on search engines, other websites (display & native advertising), social media and any online platform that you can think of. However, the majority of the traffic that’s online originates from organic search engine results.

    Think about it- every time you have a question, what do you do?

    Chances are, you type your question into your search engine of choice (Google, Bing, etc) to find the answer to your question.

    Have you ever clicked on a website to find the answer to your question (i.e. how to jumpstart a car)?

    If so, your visit to that website was through an organic search engine result. 

    Having your website pages or blog posts show up in search results when someone types something into a search engine makes your content appear to be more credible to the people who are viewing your site. In other words, it’s brand growth.

    Plus, you’ll generate a lot more clicks with a search engine result than you will with a paid advertisement. 

    However, focusing on keywords is just half the battle when it comes to keeping your content relevant in the eyes users, of Google and other search engines.  

    Turning the Lights On: Is SEO Becoming a Utility? 3

    Is SEO a Utility?

    Okay, what exactly is a utility when we’re talking about SEO?

    Utility content is a form of content that your viewers can use, which is especially important for people who are visiting your website via mobile. 

    More often than not, utility content is situational content. It’s something that’s bringing your viewers to your website because they need answers to their questions right at that moment. 

    Yes, SEO is becoming a utility.


    While other technical practices are great for boosting rankings, creating utility content is what’s going to get your blog the most viewers. Developing long-form that answers your viewer’s questions or directs them to a solution to their problems encourages utility. 

    When thinking about creating utility content, think about the content that you could create that would make you a hero in the eyes of your viewer. Develop content that solves a problem for your viewers without expecting something back in return, like for your viewers to leave their email address.

    Developing utility content is what sets you apart from the rest of your competition, along with the filler content on the Internet. This type of content will help your content to become invaluable to the people who are reading your content, but it’ll also encourage your viewers to share your article with people that they know who are also experiencing a similar problem or have a similar question. 

    At the end of the day, utility content helps you to build trust with your audience. 

    Turning the Lights On: Is SEO Becoming a Utility? 4

    Maintaining Your SEO Ranking

    After you’ve spent all of your time building utility content and improving your SEO rankings, how do you go about making sure that you stay on top of the SERPs? 

    Staying on top of the most relevant keywords to use in your content is only half the battle. You also have to make sure that your website is constantly evolving to stay on top of any updates to SEO algorithms

    What ever you, under no circumstances should you think that you’re done with SEO once you achieve the rankings you set out to accomplish. Discounting an SEO campaign can have very negative consequences.

    Keep Your Site Updated

    One of the most overlooked mistakes you can make to hurt your SERPs is not keeping your site updated. Google just doesn’t keep an eye on the quality of the content you’re producing. It also looks at the freshness of the content that’s uploaded to your website. 

    For you to keep your SERPs high, you need to keep your website updated.

    Creating content that’s only focused around text articles to potentially hurt your search of the writings. If you want to make sure that your content stays fresh in the eyes of Google, consider adding a selection of images and videos that contain the keywords you’re trying to rank for.

    Not only will this help to increase the positive experience that it was having on your website, but it will also help people to easily link to your website and consume different forms of content.

    Don’t forget to do your best to reduce the bounce rates that viewers are receiving when they visit your website. By reducing the bounce rate, you’ll help to increase the chances of people being able to engage with the content that you’re producing.

    The Speed of Your Website

    Did you know that the speed at which your website operates at is a factor on how your site ranks? With more than one billion monthly searches done on mobile phones, the speed at which your website loads for mobile versions can have a drastic impact on your search engine ranking.

    Not to mention, with over 2 million blog posts that are uploaded every day, if your website isn’t loading fast enough, your viewers will click off of your page and onto one of your competitors.

    You can easily speed up your website by ensuring that the site that you’re using as a reliable hosting service, that all of the images on your website are compressed, and that you’re using a content delivery network to increase the speed of any downloads.

    Take a Look at Your URLs

    By creating well-crafted URLs on your website, you’re improving the user experience that both search engines and the human viewers have on your website. A well-structured URL will give the reader an idea of what the page is about.

    Even if the title tag of the page happens to be hidden, an accurate URL that’s readable by humans will provide a clear understanding but what’s the destination page contains, which will help to improve the overall user experience.

    Why? It’ll provide your viewers with an understanding of what they’re going to see if they click on that link.

    Don’t forget, you can include the keyword that you’re looking to rent for in the URL of your blog post. While they only play a minor factor in how about your blog ranks and search engines, including the keywords that you’re looking to rank for will help to increase the overall authority that your domain holds.

    Just keep in mind that URLs don’t have a huge impact on your website’s search engine ranking, so you shouldn’t create a URL just to stuff keywords in it.

    When creating a URL, do your best to keep it relevant, compelling, and is accurate to the key information on the page as you possibly can get it to. While it’s common for URLs to include coding in them, if you possibly can, replace the coding with words so that your content is comprehensible to people and not just search engines. 

    Turning the Lights On: Is SEO Becoming a Utility? 5

    Take a Look at Mobile Optimization

    This wouldn’t be a complete guide to understand SEO utility if we didn’t talk about optimizing your website for mobile searches. As we mentioned above, there are now more mobile searches completed than desktop searches. If you want your website to rank, you need to make sure that your site is optimized for mobile performance.

    Having your website optimized for mobile performance means that you have to choose between having a site that’s dedicated to being formatted for mobile. Or, the easier option, to use a responsive design that adjusts the size of any device that’s visiting your website. 

    For you to be able to ensure that your website ranks for mobile SEO, it’s important for you to create a website that’s easy for users to navigate with just the touch of their fingers. Additionally, you should make sure your site is easy to read on mobile, that there aren’t any pop-ups blocking your content, and that your site easily loads on mobile.

    Turning the Lights On: Is SEO Becoming a Utility? 6

    Understanding How to Survive Google Algorithm Updates

    At the end of the day, regularly practicing healthy SEO techniques will improve the presence of your website. The Google algorithm can be tricky to understand, as it’s always updating, but ensuring that you’re creating the best content you can that’s built for humans will help you to stay on top of the SEO game. 

    Are you interested in learning more about SEO utility and how to increase your search engine ranking? We’ve got everything you need to know here.

    About The Author:

    Chris Kirksey

    Chris Kirksey

    Chris Kirksey is the CEO of Direction, a digital marketing agency reflecting the culmination of a 15+ year obsession with digital marketing. It all started with an eBay business at 9 years old, then transitioning from domain investing and website building. After a 6-year US Army career leading intelligence collection teams both in the US and overseas, Chris now brings a sophisticated approach from cryptologic language and adversary data intelligence to digital marketing intelligence. His precision and planning of military campaigns, now reflected in digital marketing campaigns, have proven successful for clients in industries ranging from law firms to technology startups.