Here’s an inconvenient truth about business – it doesn’t matter how good your products and services are if no one knows about you. There are millions of companies across the U.S. and way too many people for an “if you build it, they will come” model. In the age of the internet, financial success is tied to online presence and reputation, and it just so happens that SEO is the key to unlocking the full potential of your online presence. This critical aspect of the modern enterprise is not well-understood by many, so today, we will explore how SEO works. But first, what is SEO?
The More You Know…
Search engine optimization (SEO) is equal parts strategy and art. This is the process of increasing organic online traffic to a website while enhancing that traffic quality. Quantity of traffic simply refers to the gross number of visitors that go to a website. On the other hand, quality has to do with the type of visitors, how long they stay, and how likely they are to return to the site or convert to paying customers. SEO works to maximize these two vectors.
Note: The term ‘organic’ traffic refers to visits that are not the result of paid traffic. That is, users that did not find your website on an ad, but rather as a result of searching for a keyword or other related term.
Why is SEO so Important?
Think about your own life for a second. When you look up something on Google, do you usually scroll down the first page of results to the 7th or maybe 8th link? How often do you go to the second or third page of results before finding what you want? Chances are you don’t do it very often, if at all.
It turns out that over 90% of all website traffic related to searches comes from the first page of results. That means that if you want to draw more interest to your business, SEO is essential. This practice helps boost websites up those search engine rankings, making them more likely to be seen by potential customers.
Understanding How SEO Works
To understand SEO, you must first understand what search engines are trying to achieve. For a company like Google, their primary goal is to enhance the user’s experience. They want to make it as easy as possible to find what you are researching. To do this, they develop unique algorithms designed to help rank websites based on how likely they are to give users the information they want. This is done through a three-step process that involves crawling, indexing, and rankings.
This is the discovery stage of optimizing search engine results. Google sends out an army of digital robots called spiders (or crawlers) to find as much new and updated content as they can. They navigate websites, jumping from link to link until they find new content they then add to a massive database.
The database in which crawlers store all new content is called an index. From here, search engines can process all new information and sort that which is helpful and demote websites that do not serve their users. When someone is searching for information, the URLs are pulled from this accumulation of data.
To respond to a query, search engines comb through their entire index for whatever content is most relevant to that specific query. This is done through an extremely complex algorithm. The result is an ordering (or ranking) of URLs from the most relevant to the least pertinent query.
How Do Search Engines Determine What is Most Relevant for a Search?
As we mentioned, search engines have algorithms that help them organize search results. For example, Google’s algorithm may be a secret, but we know that it uses over 200 ranking factors.
We also know that some of these factors include:
- Domain history
- Organic click-through-rate
- Domain authority
- Mobile responsiveness
- Dwell time
- On-page SEO
- Content Quality
Where Does SEO Come into Play?
In essence, SEO involves using what we know about how search engines rank their results to make a website more appealing or more likely to be ranked higher by the algorithms. So, if a search engine algorithm values dwell time, for instance, one of the goals of SEO would be to make a page more captivating with colorful language or visual components to keep people on for longer. Therefore, making websites SEO friendly is a win-win: you make it simpler for users to find the information they are looking for and are rewarded by ranking higher on search result pages.
Let the Website Traffic Flow
SEO is how you get the search engines to work in your favor. Understanding how it works is the first step in optimizing your own website, increasing traffic, and getting more customers through the door.
Author | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!