Last Updated on May 17, 2019
SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, is a familiar term. Many still wonder, however, “How does SEO work?” Put simply, it works by creating content on your webpage specifically designed to demonstrate to search engine’s crawlers, also known as “spiders” or “bots,” that your website is worth indexing and showing to web-users searching for your content.
Search Engine Optimization is achieved based on six fundamental principles:
• Identifying the Right Keywords
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• Optimizing the Website
• Formatting the Website
• Structuring the Website
• Content Creation
• Measuring Results & Repeating
You can learn more about how Google’s site crawlers index your site here – https://www.google.com/search/howsearchworks/crawling-indexing/
How Does SEO Work Identifying the Right Keywords?
The process of identifying the right keywords is probably the most important aspect of search engine optimization and is essential to understanding how SEO works. From a practical point of view, there is no point to entering into a search optimization campaign unless you know the following:
- Which Keywords Are Being Searched?
- How Competitive Are the Keywords?
- Which Keywords Drive Conversions?
- Which Keywords Drive Traffic but Not Conversions?
More information about keyword research can be found in this article from MOZ, https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/keyword-research
We have a tested and true mathematical approach to keyword identification. Factors we consider are:
- Search Volume
- Search Engine Result Counts
- The Keyword Phrase Used in Title Tags
- Alexa Rankings
- Google Page Rank of Competitors
These factors are then mathematically combined into the Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI), Keyword Performance Index (KPI), BLKEI (TM), and a BWKPI (TM) – Download a sample Keyword Report.
SEO Works to Optimize the Webpage
When a search engine uses its “bots” or “spiders” to visit and index a website, it cannot “see” the images posted on the webpage. What the “bots” do is read the text that appears on the page to try to determine what the subject matter of the page is. What the text says and how that text is formatted is exceptionally important. Text on the page includes:
- Title Tags
- The HTML element displaying the title of a webpage
- Meta Tag
- A snippet of text describing a webpage’s content
- Description Tag
- HTML code in a webpage’s header summarizing the content on a webpage
- Image Alt Text
- When an image cannot be seen, this text help search engines know what the image is about
- Link Alt Text
- When you hover over a “clickable” image, this displays where the link goes
- Link Anchor Text
- Clickable text, often blue that is a link to another webpage
- Body Text
- The text that forms the main content on your webpage
How SEO Works in Formatting the Webpage
Formatting factors are also taken into consideration including the usage of bold text, italics, H1, and other H# tags. The density of keyword phrases on the webpage is also critical. If a particular keyword phrase is not used often enough in the text of a webpage, the search engine will most likely determine that the webpage is not about that subject. However, if the keyword density is too high – in other words, the keyword is used too often or “stuffed”, then the search engine may mark the page as “spam.” Our best practices and on-page optimization reports are based heavily on the aforementioned mathematical factors. – Download a sample On-Page Optimization Report.
Does SEO Work in Determining Site Structure?
The overall performance of the webpage from an SEO perspective is influenced by the many ways a website is formatted and structured. We will deliver the results you want without running afoul of Google or other search engines if they are implemented as recommended. One of the most common problems found on webpages is duplicate content. While Google and other search engines are becoming smarter about recognizing and handling duplicate content issues by not ranking your webpage as highly, it is much better to solve the problem from the website construction side than to allow the search engines to “decide” for you. Examples of duplicate content problems that can be corrected by URL rewriting techniques are:
- Dynamic sites that return the same webpage under different URLS
- URL tracking codes that “follows” a visitor as they navigate throughout the site
- Link structure that bounce from http:/ to https:/ pages featuring the same content
- Additional site structure problems are internal links that “link everything to everything”
- Excessive links per page
- Excessive outbound links
Other issues can be self-inflicted. Some SEO “experts” may recommend so-called, unethical “Black Hat” techniques – designed to increase results through violating a search engine’s guidelines and terms of agreement. While these practices – keyword stuffing, small text, same color text on near color backgrounds, spam comments, and many other “tricks” may deliver results in the short-term, they are risky and can lead to being penalized or in worse cases, banned altogether by the search engines.
We do not believe in utilizing “Black Hat” techniques to gain an edge over your competitors. Our best practices deliver the results you want without running afoul of Google or other search engines. They are mathematically proven and tried-and-true. An in-depth discussion posted by the very reputable Search Engine Journal entitled, “Why Some People Think “Black Hat” SEO Tactics Work” can be found here, 6 Reasons Why Some People Think Black Hat SEO Tactics Work
How May SEO Work in Helping Content Creation?
Content has and always will be a vital part of any website in addition to a primary ranking factor. As explained, content throughout the text and tags on your webpage explains what your site is about to search engines and provides answers to a searcher’s query.
SEO helps to make sure that you’re not missing the forest for the trees by making sure what you’re talking about in your content reflects the keywords/phrases that you want to be associated with. We have a large pool of writers that write content according to your specifications, and that also take into account the preferences and “voice” of our clients. It is important for us to work closely with our clients and find the best writer(s) for them. With that said, it is not uncommon for us to work closely with our clients on content that they themselves produce and give to us to edit and apply our best practices in order to optimize the content.
How Might SEO Work in Measuring Results?
Traffic is useless unless that traffic converts into leads and sales. We believe it isn’t our job to just drive traffic to our client’s websites. We want to help your customers find exactly what they are looking for and take them through that experience – from a search “trigger” through to completed action.
When customers find our clients, our clients see results. Our intensely focused approach to analytics review and performance tracking accomplishes these results consistently. Once we begin working with a client, we begin measuring traffic on their website. We want to know “why” the visitor visited the site, where they went, and ultimately, what pathing best creates the desired outcome. We then manipulate and adapt our efforts to that end. Successful SEO measuring requires regular reporting of SEO campaign performance, link performance, and changes in competitors. We use this practice as yet another tried-and-true method to deliver results for our clients.