What is SEO and how does it works?
This article will teach you how to use Search Engine Optimization to improve your online presence (SEO). You’ll learn what SEO is, how it works, and what you need to do to get your site to the top of search engine results.
But first, I’d like to reassure you of something.
SEO is complicated because there are so many resources. They scare readers with technical jargon and advanced elements, and they rarely go beyond theory.
This guide, I assure you, is not like that.
I’m going to break SEO down into its most fundamental components and show you how to use all of them to build a successful SEO strategy.
What is SEO?
SEO is an abbreviation for search engine optimization. SEO’s goal is to increase a company’s visibility in organic search results. As a result, these efforts drive more visitors to the company’s website, increasing the likelihood of more conversions, which leads to more customers and revenue.
When asked to define SEO, I often refer to it as a strategy to ensure that when someone searches for your product or service category, they find your website.
However, this simplifies the discipline slightly.
There are numerous methods for improving the SEO of your site’s pages. Title tags, keywords, image tags, internal link structure, and inbound links are all elements that search engines look for (also known as backlinks). Search engines also consider site structure and design, visitor behaviour, and other external, off-site factors when determining how high your site should rank in its SERPs.
With all of these factors considered, SEO primarily influences two things: rankings and visibility.
How Does SEO Work?
SEO works by optimising a website’s content, conducting keyword research, and acquiring inbound links to raise the ranking and visibility of that content. While results are generally visible on the SERP after a webpage has been crawled and indexed by a search engine, SEO efforts can take months to materialise fully.
This is how search engines determine where to place a specific web page in the SERP. Rankings range from zero to the total number of search engine results for the query, and a web page can only rank for one position at a time. A web page’s ranking may change over time due to age, competition in the SERP, or algorithm changes made by the search engine itself.
This term refers to how visible a specific domain is in search engine results. Lower search visibility occurs when a domain is not visible for a large number of relevant search queries, whereas higher search visibility is the opposite.
Both are in charge of achieving the primary SEO goals of traffic and domain authority.
What’s the importance of SEO?
Another important reason to use SEO is that it virtually helps you position your brand throughout the entire purchasing journey.
As a result, SEO can ensure that your marketing strategies align with the new purchasing habits.
Because, as Google admitted, customer behaviour has permanently changed.
As of June 2021, Google properties accounted for 92% of all internet searches.
Furthermore, they prefer to complete the majority of the purchasing process on their own.
For example, Statista discovered that 60% of people conduct online research on a brand before making a purchase. Furthermore, this process has never been more difficult.
Finally, according to DemandGen’s 2022 B2B Buyer’s Survey, 67% of B2B buyers begin the buying process with a broad web search.
But how do they use search engines while doing so?
They use Google to research their problem early on in the process. Some people are also interested in potential solutions.
Then, before contacting a company, they evaluate available alternatives based on reviews or social media hype. However, this occurs after they have exhausted all available information sources.
As a result, the only way for customers to notice and consider you are to appear in their search results.
How does Google know how to rank a page?
- Search engines serve a single purpose. They strive to provide the most relevant answers or information to users.
- When you use them, their algorithms select the pages that are most relevant to your query. Then, sort them by authority or popularity, displaying the most authoritative or popular first.
- Search engines consider two factors when delivering relevant information to users:
- The relationship between a search query and the content on a page. Search engines evaluate it based on various factors such as topics or keywords.
- The popularity of a website on the Internet is used to determine authority. Google makes the assumption that the more popular a page or resource is, the more valuable its content is to readers.
And to analyse all of this data, they employ complex equations known as search algorithms.
The algorithms used by search engines are kept secret. However, SEOs have identified some of the factors they consider when ranking a page over time. They are referred to as ranking factors, and they are the focal point of an SEO strategy.
Following the E-A-T framework when determining relevance and authority can be extremely beneficial. In SEO, E-A-T stands for “expertise,” “authority,” and “trustworthiness,” and while these are not direct ranking factors, they can improve your SEO content, which can impact direct ranking factors.
As you’ll see in a moment, adding more content, optimising image filenames, and improving internal links can all have an impact on your rankings and search visibility because each of these actions improves a ranking factor.
How to Monitor & Track SEO Results
Technical setup, content, and links are critical to getting a website into the search results. Monitoring your efforts helps improve your strategy further.
Measuring SEO success means tracking data about traffic, engagement, and links. And though, most companies develop their own sets of SEO KPIs (key performance indicators), here are the most common ones:
- Organic traffic growth
- Keyword rankings (split into branded and non-branded terms)
- Conversions from organic traffic
- Average time on page and the bounce rate
- Top landing pages attracting organic traffic
- Number of indexed pages
- Links growth (including new and lost links)
Should you outsource SEO or keep it in-house?
Whether you work on SEO yourself, delegate it to another team member, or outsource it completely, you’ll want to make this decision with as much knowledge as possible.
Doing SEO Yourself
Be honest with yourself — are you interested in learning SEO? Do you have time to learn the basics? Do you have the resources to bring in help if you redesign your website and accidentally deindex several pages? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then you might not want to take on the responsibility of SEO yourself. SEO is a long term play, and just like a muscle, you have to work at it consistently to see results. That can take a substantial amount of commitment. If you have any doubts, try the next best thing — delegating the work.
Delegate SEO to a Team Member
If you’re not quite sure about taking on SEO yourself, consider delegating the work to a team member. If you have a person who’s interested in growth marketing, development, or even web design, this would be a valuable skill to help grow their career. You could also hire a full-time search engine optimization specialist if you have the budget.
The person in this role can report to the marketing team, development team, or even design team. Because SEO touches nearly every function of a business while maintaining a unique set of skill requirements, this position won’t be subject to frequent changes if departments need to be restructured later on. The person you delegate to this job will contribute cross-functionally more often than not, so you’ll have some liberty with managing them.
Outsource SEO to an Agency
You don’t have an interest in SEO, your team’s at full capacity, and you can’t spare the budget to fill a full-time SEO role. Now what? The best bang for your buck is to outsource SEO to a reputable consultant. Why? First, a well-respected SEO consultant is highly skilled in bringing organic traffic, leads, and conversions to businesses. They do this day in and day out, so they won’t need the ramp-up time that you or a member of your team would need in order to learn the basics.
Second, a consultant can be less expensive than hiring someone full-time for the role because they don’t require insurance benefits, payroll taxes, etc. But how much exactly would you be looking at for outsourcing your SEO?
SEO can cost between $100 and $500 per month if you do it yourself with a keyword research tool. It can cost between $75 and $150 per hour for a consultant, and up to $10,000 per month if you hire a full-service marketing agency. Small businesses generally spend less on SEO than big brands, so be sure to take that into account.
Incurring SEO costs can mean one of two things: the investment in your organic search strategy, or how much you pay for paid search engine marketing (SEM) services like Google Ads. If you’re paying for a tool, consultant, or marketing agency to help you optimize your web content, your bill can vary wildly with the depth of the services you’re receiving.
Over To You
Without actively positioning its content in search results, no business can survive long.
By increasing your search visibility, you can bring more visitors, and in turn, conversions and sales. And that’s well worth the time spent becoming an expert in SEO.