SEO might sound scary. But chances are, you’re already practising it every day.
And if you’re still not sure what the meaning of SEO is, your business is losing out on a lot.
Want to know what SEO is, what types of SEO there are and how to do SEO? Read on to find out more.
What is SEO and how it works?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. SEO’s meaning has 3 key parts:
- It’s about increasing the quality of website traffic,
- increasing the quantity of website traffic,
- through organic, or non-paid, search engine results.
Let’s say you run a business that deals with Microsoft Windows software. Your website is getting a lot of visitors, but most of them are here because Google thinks you’re selling window fixtures instead. What you want are visitors who are actually interested in what you have to offer.
Essentially, SEO is about getting as many of the right visitors to your site as possible, without paying to rank highly on the search engines results page.
Now, you may have heard about SEM (search engine marketing) and also been wondering what its meaning is. You can think of it as the opposite of SEO. Search engine marketing relies on paid search results.
How does SEO work?
To understand how SEO works, you need to first understand how search engines work:
- All search engines use crawlers to gather information about particular content on the internet.
- They then index it, like what a dictionary does for human languages.
- When you perform a search on a search engine, an algorithm will match all relevant data with your query. Words in your query are also known as keywords.
SEO is therefore about making sure that content on your website is crawled and indexed for the right keywords.
What types of SEO are there?
We’ve listed five in our Part 1 of this series. But generally speaking, search engine optimization techniques are divided into on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO is about optimizing web pages one by one to rank higher and bring more genuine visitors from search engines. Slotting in the right keywords on pages and posts and optimizing your site structure for easier crawling are examples of on-page SEO.
Off-page SEO, on the other hand, refers to everything else that doesn’t occur on your website. This includes link-building, social media and local SEO.
Doing on-page SEO alone is enough to rank highly on search engine result pages, but off-page SEO helps build credibility and attracts more visitors to your site.
On a broader level, SEO approaches can be categorized as white-hat SEO or black-hat SEO. It’s not important to know the difference right from the start, but do check out Search Engine Journal’s breakdown If you want to know more.
What is SEO in digital marketing?
Digital marketing often emphasizes an omnichannel approach to building awareness or acquiring new customers, and SEO forms an important block in your overall digital marketing strategy.
This is because SEO can help you determine customer intent at every stage of a customer journey. Google lets you understand your customer without having to invest too much time or energy.
By using Google AutoSuggest and Google Keyword Planner, you can easily see what your prospective customers are looking for, and what exactly do they need. These are free tools that let you look at what people are searching for free.
More importantly, SEO also provides long-term “stability” to a digital marketing strategy. While marketing channels like social or display may reap immediate returns, SEO only produces results after 3 to 6 months, but those results tend to be more durable.
What goes into SEO?
Lots of factors go into a search engine’s algorithm, and these factors, as well as their weightage, are changed constantly. What worked for SEO 5 years ago may no longer work today.
Back in 2013, Moz consulted 128 SEO experts and came up with this breakdown:
From the pie chart, the two largest segments are:
- “Domain-level, Link Authority Features”
- “Page-level Link Features”
Domain refers to an entire website, while Page refers to a specific webpage on a website. While links account for almost 40% of overall weightage, notice that keyword usage and other non-link page-level features make up a cool 25 to 30%.
How to do SEO for Beginners
Before you do SEO, you should first decide on what SEO techniques you want to use.
Naturally, you’ll want a combination of on-page and off-page SEO for an optimal SEO strategy. If you’re just beginning with SEO however, it’s highly recommended to stick to on-page SEO first.
That’s because off-page SEO is not only more time-consuming but can potentially hurt your chances of ranking highly – sometimes permanently.
Here are some on-page SEO tips you can try your hand at:
- Know how to perform keyword research with free tools with Google Keyword Planner, and Google AutoSuggest. Ideally, you should be looking for long-tail keywords with high search volume, high relevance and low competition.
- Insert keywords in the title, meta description and H1 tags in your posts
- Make sure your page loads as fast as possible. You can test how fast your website loads with Google’s PageSpeed Insights
- Use short descriptive URLs that include the keyword you’re targeting
- Provide descriptive alt tags for images and optimize image file names by naming them using the target keyword.
If you need help with on-page SEO, you can find search engine optimization tutorials in:
- Moz Academy. These courses are not free, however, and often use Moz-related tools for demonstrations.
- YouTube. Simply search “SEO tutorial” and you’ll have a whole selection of videos to reference.
It’s not advisable to learn search engine optimization with any particular tool in mind. Regardless of which SEO tool your company is planning to stick with, always remember that SEO is a set of approaches and techniques rather than a fixed suite of functionalities.
Ranking with SEO: next steps
So now you know what SEO is and how it works. To take your SEO strategy further, it’s likely you’ll need to invest more time and resources. Beyond the low-hanging fruit that is on-page SEO, off-page SEO techniques like backlinking will take considerable effort.
That’s why you should leave it to experts like CXVibrancy.
With our expertise, your SEO strategy can grow sustainably without risks. Leave the off-page heavy lifting to us so you can focus on business objectives that matter most. Get in touch with us and arrange for a consultation today!