If you are looking for information on what is SEO and how it works, we are glad you are reading this. You didn’t land here by coincidence. At the end of this article, you will understand the irony of your search question and how the search engines brought you here. Let’s get to it, shall we?
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The process in which you optimize a website to get organic/unpaid traffic from search engines.
It involves changing your website’s design and content to make it more ‘appealing’ to a search engine. The point is to make your website rank on top of a search engine’s results page.
A search engine (e.g. Google) seeks to provide the best possible browsing experience to their users in simple terms. Subsequently, they have to deliver the most high-quality pages and those with the most relevant information to what a user is after.
On a lighter note, that’s how you ended up here.
The search engine crawls millions of websites to understand them better and deliver results relevant to the search queries, keywords, and topics to provide relevant search results. The scanning also involves checking the site’s user-friendliness. If, for instance, the site is easy to navigate and the content is well arranged and easy to read, it gets a high ranking.
For a better demonstration of SEO and how it works, let’s assume you have an article about ‘how to make sweet cookies.’ You want to optimize the blog to be on top of the search results for anyone searching for ‘how to make sweet cookies.’ In other words, your blog is the first thing they will see after conducting their search.
SEO allows you to adjust your content to make it more readable and improve your website’s profile on search engines. This way, you reach out to more readers and provide content relevant to their searches.
How does SEO work?
Businesses with the best ranking pages on search engines correctly understand SEO and how it works, but they also had to learn the basics first.
For businesses that optimize their websites, SEO can be quite an intimidating territory, but it doesn’t need to be. It ultimately comes down to locking down the following factors:
- Accessibility; ensuring your website’s content is easily legible.
- Good content; the content on your website should be compelling enough and answer the user’s question (results rank from most relevant to least relevant.)
- Keyword optimization; the content should contain the required keywords to appeal to searchers and search engines.
- User-friendly; optimizing your website involves providing a great user experience with fast load speeds and seamless navigation.
- Shareworthy content: the content on your website should answer the searcher’s query and earn links and citations.
- Get a good title, URL, and a fitting description to get high click-through-rates (CTR) in rankings.
How search engines work
To better understand how SEO works, it is essential to know how search engines work.
A search engine works in three ways: crawl, index, and rank.
Crawling is how search engine bots scan the internet for codes/content on every URL they come across. The content found after the crawling process is then indexed (stored and organized) and ready to be displayed according to its relevance. The last step is ranking the content on different websites to suit the searcher’s question, with pages ranked by how relevant they are to the question.
Search engines use over 200 factors to determine when to display your page to searchers. These include on-page and off-page factors. On-page factors revolve around your website, including the content, site speed, title tags, and URLs, among others. The off-page factors refer to strategies out of your website, for instance, links to your site from other websites. All these determine how well optimized your website is and subsequently affect your site’s ranking.
Why care about SEO and how it works?
Because the only people benefiting from your website’s lack of optimization are your competitors. They probably love the fact that you are not up for the fight. Why? Because people are never likely to know about your website and the things you can do for them.
Now that you have a basic knowledge of how SEO works, it is time to make it work for you!