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What Is SEO – And How Does it Work?
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What is SEO in a nutshell and what does it do?
In short, SEO can be defined as a marketing technique that helps increase the quantity and quality of the traffic to your site.
SEO (or search engine optimization) describes a series of steps that you can take to rank higher on Google and thus get free organic traffic from various search queries. Notice that I said steps, meaning that as long as you follow each of the steps (and are patient) you will notice great results.
The best way to understand SEO nowadays is to break down its meaning. In that manner, SEO is:
A marketing discipline – understanding SEO is crucial to all your marketing efforts because this way you will be able to drive traffic to your website and generate leads and conversions. You not only need to write content that Google likes but also content that will resonate with your audience.
A technical task – knowing the best practices to optimize your content and site is important if you are planning to compete for traffic. People that know the ins and outs of search engine optimization are highly sought after because the ROI they bring is high.
An exciting field – I don’t know about you but to me, creating dope content and generating leads for free is quite amazing. Also, I love the ever evolving nature of SEO and the fact that it requires marketers like me to constantly read up on new algorithm changes and more.
How does SEO actually work?
When a user searches for a term on a search engine like Google, the results that he or she is presented with is a series of websites that are relevant to the query and websites that have a solid domain authority (among other factors described below).
For example when you search for ‘chocolate cake ideas’, the top results are the ones that are adopting the best SEO practices.
This is mainly because the search engines use advanced crawlers that gather the information on every website, gathering every bit of content it can find on the Internet. That creates an index for every website that is compared to the algorithm that Google has built for the best SEO practice.
Which factors affect a website’s SEO?
Whether you are trying to learn more about SEO or want actual ranking techniques on how to improve your website’s SEO, there is a set of factors that Google and other search engines favor when ranking every site.Even though there are more than 200 factors that affect your site rank, the good news is that anyone can improve their website by simply working on a handful of them.
Here are the most important factors that affect a website’s SEO:
Domain Authority (DA) is a metric that shows how much trust your domain has built over time by a matter of backlinks and age. The more sites that talk about yours, the higher your authority. Similarly, the older your domain, the higher its domain authority. Another important factor that I’ve found is the relevancy of the domain name in respect to the main keywords you are targeting. For instance, seoexpert.com will be more likely to rank better than lucysblog.com for “seo” related queries. Lastly, a few of my SEO expert friends have reported that shorter domains will generally outperform longer domains.Keywords
SEO begins with picking the right keywords (which you can very well find using Google’s Keyword Planner or Ahrefs). My strategy there is to start by picking medium to low competition keywords and then slowly build up my post to target more competitive terms. If you are looking to rank then you should definitely include LSI keywords (keywords that are synonyms to your target terms). For instance, a site that talks about “portable chargers” can also include terms such as “power banks”, “portable batteries for phones” and so forth. Make sure to include the keywords that you want to rank for in the title and in the sub-headings.
Search engines are smarter than ever before. They do know the difference between a relevant page and a copied one. They can also distinguish whether just site is about oranges or protein bars. I recommend sticking to a niche when building out a site and catering content specific to that particular niche. For me, my niche is online marketing and SEO.
The more relevant links your website is pointing to, the greater your SEO score. Same goes for inbound links which are actually more favored, especially if they are coming from prestigious, relevant and popular sources. You can get backlinks by getting yourself featured on big news sites for example.
Google really cares about how quickly your site loads. To speed up your site you can use caching plugins such as W3 Total Cache or use a CDN to deliver your content in a faster way.
Clean and responsive design
Nowadays, the best optimized websites are the ones that are clean, functional and responsive to devices of all types and sizes. In fact, Google even favors websites that have mobile-friendly design than ones that don’t have. If you are using WordPress, you can install the AMP plugin to have your site load blazingly fast. If your site is not using WordPress, you should learn how to make use of the accelerated mobile pages project by Google.
A final word
In the end, the best way to learn SEO is by doing it. The more organic, natural and unique content you write on your responsive website, the better results you should expect. However, just like every other practice, SEO requires time (at least a couple of months to kick-off) so be a bit patient and don’t get discouraged. It took me at least a year to start seeing some consistent traffic on my site.
The bottom line is that SEO is not a one-time job. It is a recurring strategy that every website should focus on. It can take time, but if you’re willing to learn then it will definitely pay off in the long-run. Getting organic traffic is just the first step in building a successful business, don’t forget that you can also get traffic by getting featured on major sites, driving a lot of traffic from social media, and building a loyal fan base that will continuously buy from you and refer their friends.
If you would like me to take the cumbersome task of SEO off your hands, I’m more than happy to do so. I enjoy doing this and have worked on multiple successful projects for clients in unrelated industries, because the principles apply to any type of content. Send me a message and we can chat about how to grow your business.
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