Traditionally, the process of optimising websites and their content for search engine results pages (SERPs) is known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Due to the fact that most online encounters start with a search engine, it is an essential component of digital marketing.
It’s a shame, then, to see a lot of hazy confusion lingering on the topic. Is it overly technical? Is it less accessible than social media? How does SEO work? Crikey! What does SEO even stand for?
Knowing how SEO works can assist business owners in creating successful organic marketing strategies that boost not only the visibility of their website but their visibility across the entire web.
Let’s take a deeper dive to uncover the true nature, and value of SEO for your business.
What Does SEO Stand For?
The answer is Search Engine Optimisation. But what does that even mean? To start understanding it, let’s break it down. There are two words to get comfortable with.
1. The “SE” is Search Engine
You may ask, “What’s a Search Engine?” It’s a website such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo! I’m sure you’re familiar with using them to search for and find information and answers you want to resolve.
Traditionally, the results of SEO activity are seen by search engines in the form of appearing higher up in their results. This is where the majority of online experiences begin.
However, we all know the web is so much more accessible now. This means online experiences also happen beyond Google.
For instance, you can search on the following online platforms:
- YouTube for video content
- Facebook for a community group
- Instagram for an expert
- Buzzsprout for a podcast
- Spotify for a playlist
- Apple’s App Store for a productivity app
This means the principles of SEO activity are needed on many platforms. Why? Well, the answer is simple. To help you get found when your clients search on any of the aforementioned platforms for someone like you.
The “O” in SEO means Optimisation
You may ask: “Optimisation of what?” “Of search engines?” Not quite. To me, the “O” now means optimisation of your organic marketing activity. The scope of SEO is wide. Naturally, with this, SEO has evolved into organic marketing optimisation. So it’s now more OMO than SEO!
But what does “optimisation” mean? Well, it’s the intention to make something as good as it possibly can be. Which in itself is a heartfelt, positive intention for anyone to strive towards.
Now we’ve peeled back the layers of SEO to reveal it’s true meaning! Let’s stitch what we’ve learned together so far.
SEO is all about making your website and organic marketing activity as good as they possibly can be so you can rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) and build a digital audience across the web.
This means creating high-quality content, both on-site and social, that is relevant to your ideal client, using the right keywords, and earning backlinks to your website from other high-quality sites.
How Search Engines Rank Websites
Algorithms are used by search engines like Google to evaluate websites, and rank them according to numerous criteria.
In order to understand how SEO works, we need to understand how search engine algorithms work and what they are looking for from us. To start, these algorithms consider hundreds of ranking factors, including user experience, content quality, backlinks from one site to another, and keywords.
The following are some essential website SEO elements and how they can help you:
The words and phrases people use to search for information online are known as keywords. SEO specialists find pertinent keywords for their websites and thoughtfully map them to individual webpages before incorporating them naturally into their content.
Because it enables marketers to comprehend the terminology and interests of their target audience, keyword research is a crucial component, not only for SEO but for all of your marketing activity. Think of it as market research for the 21st century!
Off-Page optimisation is the process of improving a website’s ranking through measures conducted off-page. This covers content marketing in general as well as link development, PR, and social media marketing.
Creating backlinks to the website being optimised is known as link building. But, as Google’s algorithm evolved, link building had to evolve.
The term link earning is more appropriate as it’s more aligned with modern-day SEO practices: earning backlinks through the quality of the content you create.
On-page optimisation is the process of improving the text and HTML code on the individual web pages that make up a website. Meta page titles, meta descriptions, header tags, and content can all be optimised for your target keywords.
Making sure that the website’s pages load quickly and optimising the website’s pictures and videos are also part of on-page optimisation. So there is a technical element to it as well as using your creativity for the page design and copywriting.
SEO must take into account the website user’s experience. For one, when ranking a website, search engines take user interaction into account.
This covers elements like website speed, navigational simplicity, and responsiveness to mobile devices.
The logic is really simple.
Better user experiences on websites lead to higher rankings in search results.
That’s because Google wants to give its users the best web pages. At the end of the day, it reflects well on our experience of using Google, i.e., we find great web pages that answer our questions.
To Sum Up
In conclusion, SEO can appear to be complex, but with clarity, it reveals itself to be a very worthwhile investment for businesses of all sizes.
By optimising your website and organic marketing activity, you can increase your website traffic, improve social media engagement, generate leads, and boost your sales.