What is SEO and How does SEO work?
SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization. This term is a bit misleading because SEO refers to getting better rankings, increasing your traffic and eventually converting more site visitors to paying clients. Thus optimizing your website for people who search on search engines or who are likely to buy from you based on how relevant your website is to the search query you get at the top on Google.
It is the process of optimizing your website to show up higher in “natural” or “organic” search results when someone types a query in a search engine in hopes to get answers, information or ultimately buy a product or book a service. Appearing higher is important because it helps your site get more visits from people who are interested in what you have to offer. The higher your site appears in the results, the more likely they are to click on your listing to visit your site.
Table of Contents
What is a search engine?
A search engine is an online tool built for searching websites for certain words according to a given search query and then presents a list of these sites shown following an algorithm dependent on the user’s preference. This list is called a “Search Engine Results Page” (SERP).
|Search Engine||Worldwide Market Share|
Is SEO Dead?
Core Web Vitals and algorithmic updates are often tricky to navigate especially when the top Search Engine, Google, pushes out updates frequently all throughout the year. This just confirms how SEO is very much alive and it still is a thriving field today. Many consumers say that they have a better understanding of how a company operates based on the first page of search engine results.
With that said, SEO is super important for ensuring a consumer’s experience is met by optimizing your website and providing valuable content.
Why is SEO important?
In order to have a presence online, businesses need to have one that is optimized for the web. Search engine optimization strategies and keyword research is unique to the digital marketing world and will help you build better SEO campaigns. As a business owner, you will learn that when it comes to your website, search engine optimization is an essential component of being able to succeed online.
This will help customers find your business, and you can avoid bad customers. More customers equals more business opportunities. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and online promotion are vital to marketing your business and the products and/or services you offer.
What is a SERP?
Search engine result pages, or SERPs for short, are the pages that appear when a consumer types in their search query in a search engine, or when a person “googles” something. A SERP typically contains web pages from different sites that have been listed by the search engine, and the pages will appear in order, with the most relevant page, according to how optimized a website is for the search engine, appearing at the top of the list.
Page 1 of the SERP is where you want your website to show up when a consumer googles a keyword relevant to your business.
5 Core Elements of Technical SEO
Here are 5 Core Technical SEO Elements for ensuring that your website is well optimized for search engines, specifically Google:
Keywords are the most important part of SEO. This is something that you need to understand. Keywords are what search engines are trained to find. They are the words that are used by customers to find websites like yours.
When a search engine finds a keyword that is relevant to the type of content you are providing, it will send your site a high ranking. The best way to drive traffic to your website is to make sure that your content is relevant to the keywords that you select. The more relevant your content is, the more traffic your site will bring to your website. As long as you are producing content that people want to read, traffic is guaranteed to increase and you will see the results in the form of increased revenue within months.
On-Page SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank well in search engines. By creating high quality and relevant content, Google then determines the content’s relevancy and it’s usefulness to the user
- Meta Description
Content is the backbone of your website. Content is the life-blood of your website or blog. Without content, you have nothing.
Note — as Bill Gates once said it, “Content is King.” This means you need to have lots of great content to help you rank and be found. If Google sees your site as having great content, it will rank your site higher in search results.
Aside from ranking well on search engines, a well-constructed website will help you to achieve your marketing goals for your business. Your website is the first impression that potential customers will get of your business.
Content comes in a variety of forms, including:
- Web page content
- Whitepapers and e-books
- Social media posts
Off-Page SEO is the process of improving your website’s ranking in the search engines by getting other websites to link to it.
Off-Page SEO is split into two distinct sections:
- Internal Linking – the process of linking your content together. Internal linking is the bread and butter of SEO.
- External Linking – the process of getting other people to link to your content.
The main goal of link building is to get visitors click on your site and convert them into leads and sales. And the ultimate goal of link building is to rank high in search engine results.
Quality backlink to your site from external sites tells search engines that your site is valuable and high-quality, and this builds authority, and is the main technique used for off-page SEO.
Some of the best practices for backlink building include guest Blogging, creating lots of Infographics that will be highly shared, and mentioning certain influencers in your content.
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank in local search results. Google’s vision of the future of search involves using information about a user’s location to deliver more relevant search results.
While the main goal of SEO is to rank high for national searches, local SEO is about targeting specific areas, cities, or counties and ranking high for searches related to those areas. It’s a great way to get a lot of highly targeted traffic very quickly.
The focus of local SEO is to ensure that local businesses are visible to users within the local search results. Local SEO is not only about ranking your business within the maps, but also ranking your business within the local listings that the search engines show.
In a nutshell, local SEO is about getting highly ranked in Google for searches that are related to your business or service. Local SEO is a no-brainer for any business that wants to increase their local exposure.
Core Web Vitals
According to Google, Core Web Vitals is a report that shows how your pages perform, based on real world usage data.
Essentially, what this means is that Google now considers the actual experience of a consumer when they visit your website. And so, your website’s performance, interactivity and visual stability are all factors that Google considers when ranking your website.
What Is The Most Important SEO Factor?
All the 5 Core Elements of Technical SEO listed above are important in making sure your website is search engine optimized but if there is one that should be classed as the most important, I would say that prioritizing Keywords are a must.
Taking the time and doing research on what keywords consumers use to search in a search engine is key to making sure that your website is targeting the correct audience. By doing this, you are able to focus in all your effort in making sure your website’s content is meeting your audience’s search intent. After all, what’s the point of having your website ranked for a keyword that will not potentially convert your site visitors to your desired result.
How Long Does it Take for SEO to Work?
It’s hard to say how long it’ll take before any SEO efforts are noticeable in rankings, and this could vary depending on the site and intensity of the optimizations. In general, websites should see a ranking boost after 3-6 months, but that time can vary depending on how heavily the website is optimized. Ultimately, it all depends on the search engine and the updates they have made to their algorithm but as long as you make sure your website is search engine optimized, you should expect results.
What is an SEO Strategy?
An SEO Strategy is a strategic marketing plan that an SEO Agency or an SEO Expert creates for a business or a brand to succeed online.
It typically includes the following:
- Extensive Keyword Research noting the the volume each keyword gets searched monthly and whether the intent of consumers typing those keywords will lead to conversion or not
- Competitive Research which shows the competition in your niche and what are they doing better compared to your business or brand
- Content Marketing Plan: what content your business should be writing your blogs about to meet the search intent of site visitors
- Social Media Marketing: making use of available social media platforms and posting consistently to show consumers that your business is active as well as pointing social links to your website
- Local SEO: highlighting local ranking factors that your business or brand should be prioritizing like local citations, online reputation management and Google My Business Optimization
How long to implement an SEO Strategy?
Typically, a good SEO strategy takes about 6-12 months to get implemented. However, It is important to note that SEO is not something that you can set and forget. What was ranked in Page 1 of the SERP last year may get pushed out to Page 5 or even Page 10 this year. An SEO Strategy needs consistent tweaking and adjustments through time which also depends on the algorithm updates a search engine pushes online.
If you want your business to consistently appear on top of a search engine results page then you need to be on top of your SEO Strategy.
Which search results are “organic”?
Organic search results in a SERP are typically shown below an Ad listing and the Local Map pack depending on your search query. You can differentiate a paid Ad listing and an organic search listing since in Google it shows a result as an Ad while organic listings do not show Ad beside it.
Here’s a quick comparison between Paid and Organic search:
The first difference is that paid search results are shown on top of a search engine results pages, while organic results appear after them.
The key difference between paid and organic searches is the time frame. With paid search, you get near immediate results; whereas, with organic search, results take time – often weeks, months, or years. So, you have to expect the long-term game with organic search.
Pay-per-click (PPC) on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis means that you pay a fee every time someone clicks on your ad. With organic traffic being free, you buy traffic for your page by paying Google to show your ad when a visitor does a search for your keyword. As opposed to organic search, where traffic is free, paid search traffic comes with prices and other unforeseen requirements.
Organic search is definitely more complex as you have to measure ROI over a longer period of time. Paid search provides more consistent results, but organic search can provide better returns on investment in the long term.
Share of traffic
When it comes to the number of searchers, roughly 20% to 30% of click on paid results and 70% to 80% click on organic listings.
What are some ways to measure organic traffic for a website?
There are plenty of free and paid tools available to measure organic traffic to your website. However, the best tool you can utilize now to measure organic traffic to your website is the one that Google provides you free of charge.
It is important that you take advantage of Google Analytics and Google Search Console and integrate your website to these tools so you can start seeing information that is crucial so you can make adjustments to your SEO Strategy accordingly.
What does it mean if a website has good SEO?
A website with good SEO means that it will rank higher in SERPs. And if it ranks higher in the results page, this should then result in more consumers visiting your website. Assuming that you are providing excellent relevant content that meets your consumers needs, this should translate to your business earning more customers.
How is SEO important to your business?
Business owners typically do not think of SEO when they launch their business. First thing that comes into mind is building a beautiful website for the business. However, marketing your website should equally be important to building a new website. Or else, that website no matter how nice and modern it is will not be found by the customers you’re targeting. SEO allows your website to be found by potential customers that are looking for the products or the services that your business offers.
How does SEO impact your Business?
Increase Ranking in Search Engines:
By implementing a good SEO Strategy, you can expect to see your website’s ranking get better in time.
Increase Web Traffic
The higher up in the search engine results page your business is listed, the more your potential customers can see your business which in turn would result in more clicks and visits to your website.
Establish Authority and Trust
Having your website listed in the first page of a results page means that Google has vetted your business to be trustworthy and authoritative in the industry it’s listed in. It means that a lot of people has visited your website and that your website provided relevant content to meet the needs of your site visitors.
Why Does My Business Need SEO?
- Organic searches are visible, engaging, and bring in more traffic
- Organic search results drive 51% of all website traffic.
- A customer’s decision starts with search engines. It is found by Digital Influence that 89% of consumers use search engines to decide whether to buy a product or book a service.
- SEO is an efficient way to grow your business: it generates more inbound leads, produces up to eight times more conversions than other marketing routes, and delivers long-term ROI.
- SEO is the most cost-effective way for customer acquisition. While paying for Ads leads to faster results, SEO is focused in a long-term plan for your business to acquire customers.
SEO Strategies: Black Hat Vs. White Hat
Black Hat SEO Tactics
- Practicing link building schemes such as Private Blog Networks (commonly known as PBN’s) to impact rankings artificially
- Posting duped or stolen content from another source
- Using AI generated content that is targeted to use specific keywords but does not bring value to actual human readers
- Hiding links or hiding keyword stuffing in a page
White Hat SEO Tactics
- Providing quality content that is valuable to consumers
- Creating content to meet a user’s search intent and not just for search engines
- Developing a unique and engaging website with UI/UX in mind
Top SEO tools
- Google Analytics – Google Analytics is a free tool that Google provides so site webmasters can easily track the all the data and analytics with regards to a website. With GA, you can track pageviews, device types, user locations and traffic sources that is beneficial in implementing an SEO Strategy that works.
- Google Search Console – Google Search Console is another free tool provided by Google, and is a standard tool in the SEO’s toolkit. GSC provides rankings and traffic reports for top keywords and pages, and can help identify and fix on-site technical issues.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner – Keyword Planner is also another free tool provided by Google, as part of their Google Ads product. Although it is designed for pay-per-click campaigns, SEOs can use data from paid search ads as a way to perform keyword research in order to strengthen keyword clusters that are already working.
- Backlink analysis tools – There are a variety of tools for link analysis, and two of the primary ones are Ahrefs, Spyfu and Majestic. Backlink analysis tools allow users to analyze which websites are linking to their own site sites, or the sites of competitors, and can be used to find new links during link building.
- SEO platforms – There are many different search engine optics platforms that bring together many of the tools needed for SEO optimization. Some of the most prominent include Ahrefs, Semrush, Ubersuggest and Moz. These platforms track keyword rankings, identify on-page and off-page SEO opportunities and other related tasks.
- Social media – Social media sites are a good tool that can help with networking, building links, and reaching out to other social profiles for guest posts.
Do I need an SEO agency or an expert to make my website search engine optimized?
No. If you are technically capable and a do-it-yourself person then you can definitely start implementing an SEO Strategy for your own business.
Would I advise it? No. SEO takes time and a lot of effort to implement. If you are not well versed in how SEO works and what changes you need to make then you will be spending a lot of time learning what to do and what not to do. This does not even include yet the actual time it will take to do intensive SEO research and a strategy to implement it. I would rather advise you as a business owner to focus on what you do best which is running your business.
Partnering with an SEO agency or an SEO expert can ease the workload off of you as a business owner so you can focus more on perfecting the product or the service that you offer. You can see better ROI in paying monthly for SEO services rather than having to do it yourself.
How can I learn SEO?
While I do not advise you as a business owner to do SEO services on your website, I do encourage you to learn even just the basics of SEO. This way you are aware of the terminologies and also the methodology in making sure your website is optimized for search engines today. Plus, you are able to ensure that the agency or the freelancer that you are working with are actually implementing a good SEO Strategy for your website.
Here’s a couple of websites you can start learning SEO from:
How to get your website organic traffic in 2021?
A well optimized website does not happen overnight so search engines can list it at a higher rank. It is a long term strategy that takes time and effort. However, you can definitely start working on SEO now so your website can start ranking better in Google.
Hopefully this blog helped you make sense of what SEO is fundamentally and how you can implement a well performing SEO Strategy so your website can get organic traffic today!
And if you are looking for help in getting started, I’d love to take a look at your site and do an SEO audit. If you are interested, feel free to reach out!