What Is SEO And How Does It Work?
If you own a website and are in the process of learning methods to generate more traffic, there is a good possibility you have come across the term “SEO”.
What does SEO Stand for?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization”.
It is a process of increasing your websites visibility on search engines for the purpose of generating organic traffic for high-value keywords.
To better understand that sentence I am going to break it down into three parts:
- Website visibility: Maintaining a high website ranking increases your websites visibility. Most search engine users will not go beyond the first page of Google results.
- Organic traffic: Advertisements such as Google Adwords, will take up a huge chunk of search engine result pages. Organic traffic is traffic that is not paid for.
- High-Value Keywords: High-value keywords are phrases or words that are commonly used among search engine users when searching for your website. If you owned a website that sold shoes, you would want to your website to appear for shoe related keywords like “Buy shoes online” or “Buy sketchers online”.
How Does SEO Work?
SEO works by telling search engines that it deserves to be indexed on Google and what keywords your pages should rank for.
Google then uses a mathematical algorithm that gives each website a score. The higher the score, the higher the ranking.
1.) Amount of websites that link to your website.
Links have been around since the beginning of search engines. Each link plays an important role in building domain authority.
When an authoritative website in your niche links out to your website, it sends a message to search engines that says “I am a credible source linking to this external website because it holds valuable information that is worthy of citation”.
2.) High Quality Content that is Optimized for Search Engines.
Insightful and optimized content are the perfect combination when increasing your search engine rankings. Quality content should be relevant and helpful to its readers.
It is important to mention that content is not limited to words. Quality content can be conveyed through video, audio, or pictures.
Optimization of quality content not only ensures that visitors LOVE your post, but search engines love it as-well.
It will tell search engines what keywords your pages should be ranked for.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when focusing on content optimization:
- Choose Specific Keywords: Find two specific keywords that you would like to rank for on search engines. When choosing your keyword, it is important to apply keyword research practices to ensure that ranking for the term is possible
- Include the keyword in parts of your posts: Naturally input the keywords into your blog post. Do not stuff your article with keywords as it could hurt your SEO efforts through Google penalty.
- Edit your tags and meta-description: Include one or both of the keywords in your title, meta-description, H1 tag, Image ALT attributes and URL.
- Read up on Googles suggestion for quality content
3.) User Experience (UX)
As of 2015, Google has said that user experience (UX) will be a contributing factor in determining the ranking of a website.User experience can be defined as “the ease in which a visitor interacts with your site and how visitors perceive your website”.
A poor website experience will lead to bad SEO while good experiences will lead to success in SERPs.
Since UX has many different factors (website layout, website structure, speed) it can be difficult to measure. Due to this reason, many SEO experts leave it on the back burner. Never the less UX is an up to date form of increasing your search engine rankings.
Here are some ways to increase the UX:
- Ensure that the length of time a visitor spends on your pages is long and the bounce rate is low: The longer visitors stay on your website signals that the visitor has consumed most of the content before returning to SERPS. If a visitor lands on your page and leaves 5 seconds after, this will increase your bounce rate.
- Speed optimization: Ensure all web pages load within Googles recommended page load time (2 seconds or less). A fast website host, image compression, and caching your website will increase its speed.
- Mobile Website: If a website is not properly configured for mobile visitors, it will lead to low dwell times and higher bounce rates which will affect your SEO.
Unfortunately Googles algorithm is always changing. Methods that were once commonly used bu SEO experts can face its end by a simple change in algorithm.
Therefore, it is important to be up to date with the latest changes in the world of search engines.
Bear in mind that applying basic SEO to your website is not a magic bullet. Results do not happen overnight.
In some circumstances it can require consistent trial and error. Your competitors are also applying SEO and building links every day.
Sometimes consulting with a specialist is the best way to get your feet wet.
Feel free to reach out to our Toronto SEO experts with any questions regarding SEO.