SEO 101: How Does Search Engine Optimization Work?

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is all about getting more viewers on your website through search engines. It’s a hot term, and many businesses want to get in on it. However, not everyone knows what it is.

Wondering how SEO works? Here, we’re giving you a basic rundown of SEO 101. We’ll share everything you need to know about ranking on search engines and how you can benefit from these strategies.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization is the process of getting more interested viewers to your website using keywords from common search engine queries. SEO uses search engine algorithms to include your website, blog, or article on results pages when an individual searches for something related to the same topic.

A search engine optimized webpage will have these keywords naturally worked into the page and organized well. Search engines will find your web page easier and rank it higher in the search result list.

How Does Search Engine Optimization Work?

SEO 101 boosts your webpages with high-quality content. You’ll increase the value of your site’s information by making written content more descriptive and keyword-rich. Pair this with a better web design layout, and you’ll have a website that’s more likely to convert.

SEO is different from simple advertising because it does not require paying to have your company’s webpage pop up in Google search results, like sponsored ads. Instead, SEO works to get your website into the search results page naturally by making Google see your page as relevant, trustworthy, and useable.

Using SEO may take a long time to accomplish because it requires updating website information, articles, the layout, etc. However, the results are more impactful and last as long as your website is active.

What Does This Mean for Your Business?

Now, how does search engine optimization work for you? Having basic SEO 101 in place is especially beneficial for local or small businesses. Increasing the number of viewers interested in your company or content will boost publicity and business.

Search engine optimization also becomes important for the quality of website visitors you have. Simply getting more visitors on your page won’t necessarily improve business. Search engine optimization attracts visitors that are most likely to be interested in your products. You can use these strategies to target local customers or go nationwide — it all depends on your business and reach goals.

What Role Does the Search Engine Algorithm Play in SEO?

Ok, so now you know what SEO is and what it does.

But how does search engine optimization work, really? It’s unrealistic for a team of people to spend time ranking websites based on their relevancy, quality of information, etc. That’s why Google uses an algorithm to organize its search engine results.

Here’s how this algorithm works in a few steps.

1) Crawling

The nature of search engines is to scour the internet and discover as many websites as possible. Google enlists bots called “crawlers” to search the web and find every website on the internet. Crawlers must follow links and identify new webpages that might be useful to Google users in the future.

These bots can read and compile text but are not equipped to identify and understand images and graphics accurately. In this case, having high-quality and straightforward text is crucial for Google to understand the content.

Many websites will have multiple pages listed in different tabs, but this layout makes it more difficult for crawlers to process your site and rank it appropriately.

2) Indexing

The next phase of Google’s operations is to use indexing or categorization. Once the crawlers discover a website and scan it for basic content understanding, Google will use that information to find a label and storage location for that website in its database. A common misconception is that Google itself is the internet- this is not the case! You can think of Google like a massive library, with many different sections of novels available. For example, this is why Bing’s index differs from Google’s.

At this point, graphics and images on your website will be indexed as well. Keeping your titles and information brief and clear makes the next step, called serving, more effective and beneficial for your site.

3) Serving

When an individual searches a query in the search box, Google will draw upon its database compiled by crawlers to find matches. The websites and pages found to be a match (or at least related to the search) are presented to the individual as relevant results.

Google does this by first trying to determine the meaning of your query- for example, if you are searching for the phrase “Apple”, do you mean the company or the fruit? Semantics or related keywords found within your content help give Google an impression of what the topic of a page is all about.

Finding quality, relevant search results is Google’s goal, so when Google easily indexes your website, more customers will see your website and services. Much of this relevance happens through the use of keywords. Keywords that match search queries are the most basic form of keyword SEO. Back in the day, this led to a practice widely called ‘Black-Hat SEO,’ which involved keyword spamming and attempting to manipulate search engine algorithms by exploiting their search parameters.

Sites known as ‘content farms’ sprung up, producing spam content that ranked highly against the relatively unsophisticated search system.

All this changed when Google introduced its Panda algorithm. Through a series of updates between 2011 and 2015, Panda gradually outmoded content farms specializing in keyword stuffing and other nebulous techniques.

Post-Panda, the name of the search game changed to promoting high-quality content on accessible, well-designed websites. This is why at least basic SEO 101 is crucial in the era of the world wide web: issues such as broken links, or not having an appropriate piece of content to match popular user queries will have a negative impact and hurt your bottom line.

How Can I Apply SEO 101 For My Website?

The main goal of SEO is to take advantage of crawlers and the indexing process used by Google, so that the search engine returns your site in results when someone uses keywords related to your business. You can increase your organic traffic in a few basic ways through SEO:

Research Keywords

Perhaps the best-known service that SEO experts provide is keyword research. But aren’t keywords obvious? They’re just words to do with what your business sells.

Yes and no. First, you must predict what a potential customer might search for to find companies like yours. From there, these keywords will be worked into your website content. This gets the search engine’s attention and puts your site high on the search engine results list. Keyword research involves a mix of technical know-how as well critical thinking and can be challenging at times, but it is well worth the effort to ensure that potential customers can discover what you have to offer.

Diagnosing the Problem: Bounce Rate

A website’s bounce rate calculates the percentage of sessions users spent on your site but only viewed one page. A high bounce rate indicates that most users didn’t click any other pages on your website during their visit.

It isn’t necessarily a problem. For some blogs that don’t expect users to engage with more content than the blog post they found online, a high bounce rate isn’t so relevant.

However, for websites belonging to businesses that offer online shopping or rely on users exploring the site, a high bounce rate signifies that something isn’t working.

First Impressions Matter

Frequently the website’s landing page will be the page users see before deciding to go back. Is your landing page inviting users to explore other areas of your website or marketing your services clearly? Or is it uninformative and bland?

A slow-loading page will also increase your bounce rate, which can impact sales. Almost 70% of consumers said that slow loading times affected their purchasing decision.

SEO services can help businesses find servers that improve loading speed and further reduce bounce rates with attractive landing pages, relevant content, and clear calls to action. Page speed has become an important ranking factor as it relates to mobile devices, as more and more consumers use their phones for Google searches as opposed to desktop computers.

Time on Page

Similarly, Google Analytics measures web sessions by how long each user session is on your website — as long as there is a frame of reference. This is another problem with a high bounce rate: a single-view visit measures 0 seconds, as there are no further clicks on your website to measure session length.

Engaging content such as blog posts can increase session length, but they need to be visible, intriguing, and provide a good user experience. For example, internal linking from entry pages on your site can make it easier for customers to continue browsing and purchase related products during the session. Longer sessions with more clicks = better rankings and higher sales.

Content Writing

Content can boost your ranking — if it’s high-quality and relevant to your niche. This can be as much as you make of it — a rule of thumb is not to order content if you have no idea what you want. Speak to the agency beforehand about your business and how you might build your online presence, indicating that you’re interested in a lasting partnership if results are promising.

SEO content usually costs more if it includes keyword research. However, this is likely to be more effective in attracting customers than simply requesting X pretty words about Y subject for the lowest price. Content marketing is all about having the right strategy in place from the start, which can save time and money down the line.

Building Authority

Google is a big fan of sites that other sites like. Thus, it rates your page authority based on how trustworthy it seems, its structure, and the language used.

It also considers the relevance and authority of pages you link to and the relevance and authority of pages that link to you. Any SEO expert worth their salt will know that it is important to build links leading to their client’s website, in order to boost its standing on the web. Link building is a long game, which can affect how much do companies spend on SEO.

Some companies might see it worthwhile to invest for the long haul, while others think it’s a one-and-done. However, it’s worth pursuing long-term because the boost that authority gives your page ranking is solid.

In the end, the best way to apply SEO strategies is by hiring an experienced team. Professional SEO specialists know how to get a website ranked much faster than someone with no experience. You’ll save time and get better results when you contact a professional agency who know exactly how search engine optimization works.

Looking For SEO Services?

Using SEO best practices has many benefits, but it can be difficult and very time-consuming to do alone. In addition, Google is continually releasing algorithm updates which require ongoing adjustment in order to maintain and increase one’s search engine rankings. We can help you grow your business by creating SEO content that is customized to your company, customers, and services.

Optimizing your site with us will guarantee that more individuals will find for your services and see your website. Contact us today to learn more about search engine optimization and how we can help you rank!

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