What is SEO and how does it work? Are you looking to learn what SEO is? Then you have found the perfect blog. Let’s not mess about and jump right into what SEO actually is, and how it works!
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation, known as SEO, is the process of completing tasks in order to help a website or piece of content rank higher on the Google search results. It’s not easy, but it’s also the best type of traffic you could hope for when building a website, or writing a blog.
To understand SEO, it’s best if we explain a real-life use case. Let’s start with a local bakery based in Hertfordshire. First of all, you will need a website. When you first create a website, unless you tell someone the exact URL, no one will be able to find it. This is where SEO comes in. In order for someone to find your website on Google, they will be looking to search for a keyword.
In this use case, it will most likely be ‘Bakery in Hertfordshire’. In order for you to have a chance at coming up on Google, you will need to have this keyword or a variation of this keyword on your website somewhere. For example, on the home page, you might have a title called ‘Bakery in Hertfordshire’. Normal text won’t do, you will need to make this an H1 tag. We will go into this later.
That’s the absolute basics. But why do you need to rank on the first page of Google? Well, the #1 result in Google will get 32% of all clicks, and when users are looking for a local service or product, 92% of Google users pick a business on the first page.
If you have a variety of competitors in your local area, them receiving 32% of all clicks is a big deal and if you’re on the second page, and all of your competitors are on the first page, then you’re most likely only going to receive 6% of all clicks for the keywords you’re targeting. That’s a massive disadvantage.
There are 2 core types of SEO: On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.
Both require different tasks and solutions to implement, but here’s the basics:
On-Page SEO is all about creating content to boost your search engine rankings. This entails, among other things, inserting keywords into your pages and content, generating high-quality material on a regular basis, and ensuring that your metatags and titles are keyword-rich and well-written.
Off-Page SEO refers to optimisation that takes place outside of your website, such as obtaining backlinks. Building relationships and providing information that people want to share are both part of this equation. Though it takes a significant amount of effort, it is critical to SEO performance.
There’s more than one SEO strategy: Black Hat SEO Vs. White Hat SEO
While white hat SEO focuses on improving the user experience, black hat SEO focuses on manipulating Google’s algorithm to boost ranks. Simply said, it’s dishonest — and it’s black hat SEO — if a practise is meant to make Google believe that a site gives more value to consumers than it actually does.
The image above by Mangools is a great visual representation of the two.
Let’s take a look at each in a bit more detail:
White Hat SEO
- Keyword Resarch – Have keywords and phrases ready so you can do a research on other effective short and longtail keywords you can use on your website.
- Keyword Placement – Now that you have your keywords and phrases, the next thing to do is use them effectively, which means placing it naturally on your content.
- Quality Content – Add relevant and fresh content regularly. Updated content gives users a reason to return to your website from time to time.
- Relevant Links – Link building is still an effective SEO practice, but only when done right. Make sure that any inbound links to your website is relevant to your content or service.
- Sitemap Inclusion – A sitemap’s purpose is to navigate both search engine spiders and your visitors through your website’s conetnt themes, so no information gets lost in transalation.
Blakc Hat SEO
- Keyword Stuffing – Loading your website with keywords will only lead you to being penalized by search engines. It results in a negative user experience and can harm your ranking.
- Invisible Text – A sneaky form of Keyword Stuffing, Invisible Text is putting keywords in white text on a white background, making it visible only to search engine spiders.
- Doorway Pages – Doorway Pages is a blackhat technique that uses “fake” pages specifically for search engine spiders as an attempt to trick them into indexing sites higher.
- Cloaking – Cloaking is a technique where content as viewed by the users is different from that of search engines. This is another attempt to trick search engines for higher ranking.
- Link Farms – A sitemap’s purpose is to navigate both search engine spiders and your visitors through your website’s conetnt themes, so no information gets lost in transalation.
Once your website starts to rank higher, you will get a lot of emails from ‘SEO Pros’ who offer 1000s of ‘high-quality backlinks’ for free. Don’t ever accept these! These will most likely be a scam, and Google will penalise you badly for this.
How Do Search Engines works?
What better way to learn SEO than actually learning how the search engine itself actually works.
Search engines are programs that locate and rank web information that matches a user’s query. There are two main parts to a search engine, search index, and search algorithms.
The aim of the search engine is to provide the user with the best, most accurate, and most relevant result for the user. The higher the quality of results, the more of the market share they own in theory.
What do search engines benefit from this?
You might be thinking, surely Google isn’t doing all of this for free and you’re correct. Google doesn’t just display results, they also display paid results.
The result they don’t earn money from is called an organic result, this is SEO.
The result they do earn money from is called a Paid Ad. This is called PPC.
PPC is the process of paying for your website’s result to come above everyone else’s. The more you pay, the more people see your result. Sounds pretty simple right? Well, it’s not that easy, and this is why SEO can be the best method if you’re willing to put some effort in.
PPC is extremely difficult, and companies bid for the top spot. If you have a small budget, it’s very likely going to run out quickly! Competition is the main reason why you’re going to struggle with Google Ads.
What is the most popular search engine? Google. It has a 92% market share, followed by Bing with 2.5% then DuckDuckGo with 0.6%.
Why Does Your Business Need SEO?
In a summary, SEO is important for your business since organic traffic is unquestionably the most important source of traffic for a website, and a search engine optimised website has a far better chance of converting all of that traffic than a website that isn’t. Implementing SEO strategies will enhance your user experience and brand reputation while also increasing your exposure in search engines, both in the long and short term.