What is SEO and How does it work?
What is SEO?
SEO is a term in reference of “search engine optimization.” It is the process undertaken to fine tune your site to increase its visibility for relevance in SERP (Search Engine Results Pages e.g. on Bing and Google). The higher the rank of the pages from your site have in search results (i.e. Organic Rankings), the higher the chance that you will attract the attention of the user and entice them to visit your online business.
Is SEO Worth it and why is it important?
There is a quite simple answer to this - yes! SEO is now more vital to site owners than it has ever been!
Just imagine having a brand-new car with fuel on near empty. That is right, you will not get far, nor could you show it off to as many persons as you’d like to. The same applies for a site. You can have something pretty to showcase, however without the application of best SEO practices, the sites lack visibility via SERP would make it hard for visitors to identify your site and be aware of its existence.
An effective SEO campaign can bring home positive long-term results, enhancing organic traffic to your site. Organic and paid search had dominated web traffic throughout the years, so we cannot stress enough the value of SEO. With significant emphasis directed towards on site optimisation, SEO will have a considerable role to play in a sites success as organic search continues to rise above other search traffic.
How Does SEO Work?
Search engines focus on the users search query, and aims to rank results in order relevance, trustworthiness, pages with high authority and an efficient user experience.
To reach these results, search engines like Google and Yahoo use bots to crawl pages and collect information to derive an index. Following this an algorithm (this varies by search engine) is used to analyse pages in the index. They take into consideration hundreds of ranking signals whereby the results to these are accumulated to determine the order pages should appear in the search results.
Do note, that ranking signals vary from Search Engines, and these are assumed indicators that may make your website more visible in SERP. Nobody can say with 100% certainty what these signals are, however these can only be assumed as down the years major Search Engines have given webmasters mere hints of what factors may impact their websites.
Owners of sites should optimise accordingly to these ranking factors with the aim of their site climbing in the search results.
How Many Types of Seo Are There?
On-page SEO is the enhancement of web pages with the aim to make them rank higher and increase relevant organic traffic from search engines. On-page SEO can be influenced by a site owner and include the optimisation of content on the front end of the site and HTML source code in the back end of the site.
Content is an integral part of a website and is the strongest indicator to search engine bots to discover and identify what the subject matter of a website is. The ranking for certain keywords of a website is directly linked to the quality of the content, its uniqueness, freshness (remember search engines are always on the lookout for up to date and useful information for its users), but also how well the content can answer commonly asked questions from users browsing for information. Key factors affecting the quality of content include how well a site owner has researched his own keywords within their business model, but also the avoidance of keyword stuffing with the intentional aim of manipulating site rankings in search results.
2. HTML Source Code
Title Tags (H1 Tags)
A title tag (or page title) is a HTML element that specifies a title to a given web page. As it is a Title to a page, there can be only 1 Title Tag for any given page. It is visible in search results as the main headline to a web page that is used to describe the content within the page with the intention of grabbing the attention of potential users within a certain limit of characters (can be up to 60 characters long).
Title tags are especially important for usability, SEO, and social sharing, hence keywords related to the page should be utilised within the H1 attribute.
Subheaders (H2 to H6 Tags)
Subheading tags i.e., H tags from H2 to H6, are used to separate subheadings within a page, emphasising the importance of the sub header within a page, H2 being the most significant with more weight allocated to it, and H6 being of least significance. The use of relevant keywords where applicable is not to be overlooked within the use of subheaders.
A Meta Description is a HTML element used to describe/summarise the contents of a page and is visible in search results below the Title Tag (page title). It is recommended to be up to 160 characters long and is a benefit to users and search engines.
A schema is a structured framework that allows website administrators to enter structured data to their HTML for the benefit of SEO but also enables search engines in the way they read your page and how it is presented on search results.
Off Page SEO are any actions taken external to a site wich may impact the search engine results and where the website may rank. The following are prime examples of what may impact this:
A prime example of off-page seo is creating Trust within your community via active engagement. This can be achieved with consistency in the provision of information and relevant updates related to your business. Show that you are an expert and express your opinion in matters within your field that may be of interest to people
2. Authority (Domain v Page)
Domain Authority refers to the SEO concept of how strong one’s domain is. This is calculated taking into consideration various factors inclusive of linking root domains and the number of total links
3. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is the % of all visitations to a website whereby users had only viewed a single page.
4. Domain Age
Domain Age refers to the amount of time a domain is in existence and hence plays a role in the trustworthiness of a site as older websites are believed to be more stable than newer ones
Branding can assist in building recognition amongst users but also an element of trustworthiness. Building a successful brand is a vital strategy for inbound marketing
Link building is the practice of creating hyperlinks (also known as hyperlinks) to a website with the intention of improving a sites visibility with Search Engines. The greater the quality and quantity of the links, the higher the possibility a site will reach its goals.
In this instance a particular emphasis should be placed to Editorial links (i.e., links that have been achieved organically and added by other sites that want to link to your website). This is a strong indicator that the content that they are linking to is of relevance to their audience and well-constructed.
Social Media has an indirect effect on SEO, hence does not directly assist your Search Engine rankings. However, the more links shared across the social media platforms contribute to the branding of your website
Technical SEO involves the fine tuning of elements within the backend of your site for it to function properly and provide an efficient user experience, thus improving Search Engine ranking.
1. Mobile Friendliness
Major search engines like Google rank ‘Mobile first’, meaning the assessment and ranking of your website in SERP is impacted on how responsive and optimised your website is for user experience across all devices and especially on Mobile. During the third quarter of 2020, mobile devices generated approximately 51% percent of global website traffic, hence there is sufficient reasoning as to why websites should be optimised accordingly.
2. Page Speed
Page Speed is a key attribute for effective technical SEO. Keeping a user at bay when they visit your website only encourages a higher bounce rate as they do not want to wait forever for it to load. Research by Google finds that 53% of users will leave a website if it does not load within 3 seconds. Just imagine the online advertisement saving a fast-loading website could have.
How long does it take seo to work?
During the early days of the internet, ranking a website on Search Engines was easy. It was as simple as selecting the right domain name, creating content after conducting a keyword analysis, and there it was – ranking on the first page of Google. Somewhat two decades later, with algorithms much improved and more complex, taking into consideration a far higher number of factors, seeing results of your work takes some time. The duration of course can vary, with some site owners claiming it to be around 6 months, whilst others may wait a full year to see the result of their work. Patience is key, not seeing immediate results does not mean that you have done something wrong and that you should go making constant adjustments to content, URL’s and Titles. Waiting it out and waiting for Search Engine Core Updates to see any results (even if minimal) should be the strategy.