What Is SEO? How Does It Work?


If you’re here, you’re probably trying to increase your knowledge about SEO and how it works.

And why not? SEO is the key force behind the success of everything on the internet nowadays.

Whether it’s ranking articles, website pages or anything else, you will need SEO to succeed.

So if you are a newbie, this is the right place for you. Our SEO guide is all you will need to become an SEO pro in no time. It’s jam-packed with useful information that only experts know.

So, are you all set to take a deep dive into SEO and learn all there is to know about it?

Keep reading, then.

What Is SEO?

Before we can teach you more about the way SEO works, you first need to know what it is. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a series of steps to increase a website’s ranking when searched on Google.

This differs from advertisements because SEO involves a more organic rate of growth, meaning your website rises in the ranking without paying to be on top. To make it simple, SEO can optimize a website so that when related keywords are searched on search engines like Google, the website is shown at the top of the page.

SEO ensures that your website or blog gets seen. So that your time and effort does not go to waste.

If someone searches “What is a Vespa?” and you have written an article describing Vespa scooters and all that one needs to know about them, SEO marketing makes sure it shows up on the top of the search list. It’s as simple as that.

Now, although there are plenty of search engines out there, Google is perhaps the most used out of all of them. SEO marketing focuses mainly on Google searches.

Let’s break down how search engines work.

SEO Elements

There are two main core elements of SEO, i.e., on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

On-page SEO is used for the actual content needed to increase your website’s ranking. It works using keywords. These keywords are incorporated into the page’s content and generate high-quality written content, regularly updated with engaging titles full of rich keywords and metatags.

Off-page SEO is based on the sharing of the website. It involves a lot of effort into the page’s content to make it engaging and shareable. Even though off-page SEO requires a lot of work, it is essential for the success of SEO marketing.

SEO Strategies

Whenever a person launches a website, be it business or personal, they have one of two kinds of mindsets. One is the long-term goals mindset, and the other is more of an overnight success mindset.

The latter type would use a strategy known as the black hat SEO. This optimization method includes incorporating as many keywords and links as possible into the page’s contents.

However, this has its downside since it works for only a short period, after which Google penalizes the website and blocks it from showing up in the ranking.

We then see another SEO marketing strategy known as the white hat SEO. This is a strategy used by businesses looking for sustainable growth. It focuses on quality content and attracting a more organic audience. Since white hat SEO plays by Google’s search engine rules, it is acceptable and safe to use.

An in-between would be the gray hat SEO. This is not as clean and organic as the white hat SEO but also steers clear of the aggressive manipulations seen in black hat SEO. Gray hat SEO is the perfect combination of tricks that give the website an advantage in the rankings without intentionally trying to rig the system.

How to do SEO Marketing?

Before we teach you how exactly to go about doing SEO Marketing, you need to know that learning and implementing SEO are two very different things. It requires quality attention and time to execute successfully. Sometimes SEO needs to be acted upon daily to see any results.

SEO marketing is based on three fundamental aspects, the content and its quality, the intent of the search, and the relevance of the content with respect to time.

Search engine users stay happy when they find the results they are searching for without much effort. That is the entire concept of the internet: finding content without putting in too much hard work.

So instead of the user, the search engine puts in the effort to find sorted, related content that is updated and relevant to the keywords entered during the search.

SEO is essentially the effort put into filtering harmful content from quality content. It will give you precisely what you’re looking for. If you search for something related to cars, SEO will only put forward the best content it can find about vehicles.

Similarly, SEO is of practically no use if the content being produced is of no value. Both SEO and content go hand in hand to create the best user experience possible.

Another consideration Google makes while sifting through content for searches is the intention of the search. Keywords like why what, how, and where are usually the indicators of what the user is looking for. These keywords let Google know the following:

  •         Whether the person running the search is looking for something
  •         Trying to find places to buy something 
  •         If they are just trying to discover more about a particular subject.

This is also a crucial step for content creators. Understanding the psyche of the searcher is vital when using keywords in titles.

The final factor that optimizes the search results is how up-to-date your website is. This is not only based on how frequently you upload new content but also on the freshness of your old content.

Going back and fixing things can help you secure your spot on the first page of the search results. Updating content with new information is also a great way to stay in the spotlight.

Keywords and how to select them?

Keywords are the recurring words or phrases that make your article likely to be selected whenever someone runs a search using those words. For example, if you search “Best nail art for Christmas.” Google will show you the best articles online with the words nail art and Christmas, thus making them the keywords.

Selecting keywords for an article or website is based on keyword research. This ensures the site ranks high on Google and that the content is relevant to the intended search. This research is a look into what people are searching for related to the content you want to create.

Keyword Selection

Selecting keywords is more than just copying a list of words from a research tool. IT is based on the human experience and the needs of the users. There are a bunch of content creators out there, and keywords are used to set you apart from them.

The most essential elements of selecting keywords are:

  1. Type of business or website – If your website includes paid services, advertising it as free could bring in an audience. Still, it wouldn’t be the right kind of people, and so you will be attracting the wrong crowd. Keep in mind the type of business or website you are designing when selecting keywords.
  2. Analyze the competition – Make sure you run searches for your keywords and analyze the top contenders using the same keyword. These players have probably been the front runners for a while now, and they aren’t going to just step down for a new website like yours. Use keywords smartly.
  3. The need of the users – Instead of just focusing all your energy on stuffing your website with keywords, take a moment to study what people are searching for. Once you’ve identified what people are searching for, you can optimize your website to answer their questions as efficiently as possible.

Tips and Tricks for Selecting the Best Keywords

Following are some easy ways to find the best keywords for your site:

  1. Use research tools to help narrow down your search. Tools like Ahrefs and Ubersuggest are some of the most popular keyword research tools you can use.
  2. Use Google to your advantage. Google does not base search results on how many times you have used the keyword in different permutations but instead picks sites based on the relevance and quality of the content.
  3. Use keywords that make your intent clear. If you are an E-commerce site, you are looking for buyers, so your keywords will cater to potential buyers rather than students researching for a paper.
  4. Learn from the competition. The internet has made everything so accessible, and it is easy to take a peek into your competitor’s website to see what they are doing right. Use the top-ranking websites to find their keywords and then follow their lead.

HTML

Keywords were only one small part of the entire SEO marketing maze. HTML also plays a vital role in your site’s rankings. The website’s formatting will allow Google to know your content and why it should be ranked high on the search results.

Sounds hard right? Don’t worry it’s not as hard as it looks. However, for this process, you do not need to know how to code. For relevant tags, titles, and descriptions, changing the HTML is simply just copy-pasting.

HTML includes:

  1. Title tags- these are the tabs’ names that appear at the very top of the Google interface. When switching between tabs, the title tags help identify which website is open on which page.
  2. Meta Description – This is a small body of text displayed below the main H1 title telling the searcher what the page’s contents are about. This is often kept between 150 to 160 characters, so it displays correctly on all devices.
  3. Subheadings are a string of coherent words that tell Google what your article is about. The main title is also a type of subheading since it describes the article or website as a whole.

Tips and Tricks for HTML Improvements

HTML improvements can easily be made even after your website is up and running. Here are a few tips to make sure your website’s HTML is the best out there:

  1. Use SEO marketing tools – There are plenty of tools out there that you can invest in to analyze your website and identify the issues in its formatting.
  2. Competition is your best friend. Once again, you can use your competitors to your advantage by studying their websites and following their patterns to figure out what you can do better on your website.
  3. Stop overstuffing keywords – Filling your Meta descriptions with keywords will only lead to your website being penalized by Google. Instead, focus on the intent of the page and important keywords.
  4. Ensure you have proper heading divisions. H1 is a no-brainer since you can’t miss the title, but correctly categorizing other headings and subheadings is also very important. Make use of H2, H3, and H4 wisely. These are also important places to add keywords.

Website Architecture

Just like architecture in buildings leads to a good user experience, website architecture ensures the user has a fantastic time and knowledge while using the site. SEO marketing focuses on loading times, connections, security, and finally, experience on both computers and mobile screens.

The website’s architecture is usually done before the domain is purchased, so the creators can mold it to perfection and create the ultimate user experience. Still you need to be clear on what site architecture is and how it works?

Here are a few details ironed out for you.

  1. Google crawls your website to identify keywords and issues in running the site. The architecture of the site determines how easily Google can analyze your site. This ease depends on the thickness of the links between each page of your site.

The thicker the web of links, the easy it is for the search engine to better understand your website. This is where site architecture comes in. Generating a sitemap using plug-ins like WordPress can make site crawling easier for Google. The easier the site crawls, the more likely it is to rank higher on the search page.

  1. A popular belief is that duplicating content affects your SEO ranking. However, that is far from the truth. You can repost content from one website to another and re-share your guest posts without harming your SEO ranking. The site needs to be maintained so that the duplicate content does not clash with your website.

  2. User experience across all digital devices should remain the same. All websites must be designed while considering mobile phone users since Google indexes websites on cell phones first. Suppose a website works properly on mobile phones. In that case, Google determines how easy it is to crawl and thus increases its ranking on the search page.

Page Speed

Suppose your site takes time or the images load slowly. In that case, Google will rank you lower as it greatly emphasizes usability and site speed.

To examine your page speed, you can use the Google Search Console. It will provide you with all the information you need. So you do not have to use a complex tool to know your page speed.

HTTPS and SSL

Cyber security is an essential ranking factor. If your website seems sketchy, Google will not give you a higher rank. Your website will not show on the first page.

Google uses SSL certificates and HTTPS to filter out spam and sketchy websites. If you get these certificates, a small lock appears next to your HTTPS and URL right before the URL string. This is a signal for trust.

It does not increase your SEO ranks, but it has many long-term benefits.

How to Improve Site Architecture?

Three simple yet essential ways in which you can improve the architecture of your site are:

Sitemap

If your website is enormous, you should get a sitemap. You can use the WordPress sitemap plug-in. It is pretty easy to install and use. An extensive site with a thousand pages is hard to navigate. It is difficult to find information from huge websites.

A site map will also increase your website’s keywords, traffic, domain authority, and rank.

Core Web Vitals

Learn about the Core Web Vitals and make sure you understand them well. What are these? How do they have an effect on your rankings? And how can you manipulate these to get a higher ranking?

Learning this will ensure that you take all the proper steps for your website.

Canonicalization issues

Fix canonicalization issues that cause duplicate content on the site. The solution depends on what precisely the issue is, as there can be a lot of issues that are causing such problems.

It could be solved by simply changing or removing a line from the code. It could also be very complicated and require you to rebuild and design your entire site from scratch. Thus there are  no issues with duplicate content.

The root of the duplicate content error is mostly the same, even though the Google Console Error will tell you that there are many different errors. Fix the root cause, and your problem is solved.

The canonical tag will help you determine which of the multiple versions of the same content the authentic one is. You will have to enter only one line of code that refers to the main page URL.

Alternatively, you can use Yoast SEO and other such plug-ins. These are pretty simple. You will have to set a default page that will be considered the original one. It will automatically add the code line.

Another way is to define it manually on each and every page. For this, you will have to open the page’s advanced settings.

Trust

Google hits lesser-known and spam websites using TrustRank. If you use authentic website links such as .edu or .org domains, it is possible that Google will trust you more.

The three elements to establishing trust in your website are bounce rate, authority, and domain age.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate measures how many views a page on your site got before people immediately left again. This can be impacted by the loading times, usability, and content. Users will stay on an attractive website long enough with quality content that loads fast.

When the bounce rate is higher, that is when people spend more time on your website, it tells Google that your site is legit.

Authority

There are two kinds of authorities that you can build on:

  •     Domain authority: this has to do with how widespread your domain is. For example, Nestle.com is authoritative as it is widely known.
  •     Page authority: this can be built through your content. There are various tools, such as Moz, where you can review your authority on a scale of 1-100.

Domain Age

Domain age refers to the period of a website. A website that has existed for a long while has already created its presence by creating consistent and relevant content. It will have an advantage over the newer websites and rank higher on TrustRank.

How to Establish Trust?

Here are our best tips to help you build more trust on your site:

Understand the User

Understand the user and their needs. Give them exactly what they want immediately as they open your site. If they do not find the solution, they will just bounce. No one is going to read the entire article.

Give it Time

Establishing trust in your site will take some time. You can apply for indexing in Google Search Console. However, that is all you can do. After this, you will have to just wait patiently.

Links

Some experts might have a different opinion on this, but Google does rank your website based on the link.

The core thing is that you should get it right from the start and decide to take a long-term route. It will take you more time, but it will be worth it when done right.

Below are the most essential elements that will help you build backlinks for your website:

Link Quality

Quality over quantity. The number of links doesn’t matter if half of them are irrelevant. The right way to do it is to reach out to legit sources and offer them some value in return. If you are doing this right, your hard work will get paid.

Giving quantity importance over quality is a big no-no because the search engine will block most of the backlinks as spam. If you are repeating the same old links, it is not beneficial. It is better if you use different backlinks every time.

Another point of consideration is that it is wiser to link to other websites rather than your own website.

What is a Good Link?

The link should be relevant to your niche. Backlinks to Twitter or Pinterest are inappropriate and will be considered spam by Google. It will not matter if you have a thousand of these useless links.

If you are using a site that charges for its link, Google will not accept that. For instance, some websites will ask you to write a guest blog for them in return for the backlink. These will be considered spam by Google because this is not fair.

Google will reward you when it sees that you are contributing and creating content of some solid value. Quality content will also get you more links because authentic matter resonates with readers. And the readers can sense when the content is fake or authentic.

Anchor Text

It is the text used after the link to explain the placement. It should be as natural as possible. Having the exact repetitive anchor text will not create an audience. So have different styles of anchor texts.

One thing to keep in mind about the anchor text: do not add a “click here” text linking to your website. Instead, if you are talking about saunas, write “saunas” and link it to your blog. This helps inform Google about your content material.

Number of Links

While the quality and placement of the link matter more, the total number of links also makes a difference if they are high quality.

A link to an irrelevant page is also something you should not be doing. For example, linking the careers page of amazon while you are talking about an item that is a must-have. Or, while talking about your own product, you connect to the privacy policy page. These are irrelevant backlinks, and you also miss a perfect opportunity to bring people to the right stop. 

Improve Your Link Profile

If you are contemplating how to improve your backlinks, here are some tips to ensure you get the most benefit from the links.

Internal links

Internal linking is beneficial because if you can provide articles on everyone’s problems under one website, Google will appreciate that and reward you. So while external links are necessary, smartly placed internal links are also beneficial. They can make your blog comprehensive and detailed.

Harmful links

You can remove any link that is no longer relevant, is spam, or is harming your site. The disavow tool helps you remove links affecting your website’s rank. However, use this tool wisely because if too many links are removed, this too can harm your site.

Give it time

You cannot find a shortcut for this. You will have to create a network of link building, and that is going to take some sweet time.

Find websites that are relevant and consistent with your niche and values. Reach out to people, let them know the discount you are offering in exchange, and pitch for yourself. Nowadays, you can even pitch via social media sites, which has opened many more avenues for link building.

Personal SEO

This is another type of off-page SEO that you should consider looking at. Personal factors include your location and demographics. SEO operates differently in different parts of the world. Your location will also affect the way it is received and appreciated.

To increase your audience, there are some steps that you can take. However, it is primarily out of your control. The most important aspects that have an impact on the personal SEO are:

Country

Users will see search results according to their location and time zone. Another factor is the difference in vocabulary. Suppose you search for chips in the U.S. and the U.K. In that case, you will receive different results because each region uses words differently. 

So you can use keywords to specify which country you are targeting. However, you might want to ponder over it a bit. Because each country is going to have its own ranking competition. If you are targeting a bunch of countries, you will have to enter into even more competition.

You can go multilingual, and that will guarantee outstanding results. It will help many people reach out to you in their native language. It would also help your website in ranking.

If you do decide to create multilingual content, do not go for automatic translators or plug-ins. They are not very accurate or natural. A better solution is to pay a native speaker to translate your content so that the quality of your work is maintained throughout any language.

City

Geo-targeting works even at a city level. You can use city names in the keywords, and that will help. However, it can also be disadvantageous if not done wisely. It could look like you are only relevant to a city, and that will reduce your reach and audience.

Suppose you deal primarily from one locality and are an authority in that area. In that case, you can monetize that using an intelligent local SEO.

How to Improve the Personal SEO Factors?

There are three ways in which you can improve the personal elements of your SEO:

Personalizing your SEO

The first step to personalizing your SEO is understanding the user and knowing who your customer is and what they want. Why are those visitors on your website, and what do they expect? Understand these points so that you can deliver according to their expectations.

When you give them what they need, they spend more time on your site, and Google will award you for that.

Use Relevant Keywords

If you are targeting readers from other countries, research the relevant keywords in their region and use them. Most of the keyword research devices will let you research different areas. This will help you reach the right audience.

Produce Multilingual Content

Creating content in more than one language will widen your reach and audience. It will globalize your site, which is not as hard as it might seem. People will engage even more if the content is in their native language and may even appreciate and absorb it better.

Social

The last of the SEO factors is the social aspect of it. A good engagement on social media can help you rank higher in the search results.

You can do that directly through backlinks or a more designed PR boost methodology. There are two main elements to create a social influence:

Quality of Shares

If people are sharing your content and it is reaching a wider audience, this tells Google that people like your product. And that you are providing value to your customers. This goes hand in hand with SEO marketing.

Number of Shares

Another way for Google to figure out how much value you contribute is through the number of shares. However, a viral hit has now become overrated, and the trick is to just create authentic, high-quality content.

One thing to remember is that long-form content will perform a lot better than short-form. The gossip sites, for example, lure people in with clickbait headlines, videos, and images. And that is what the people want. They want juicy yet brief details.

A lot of people just click share without even going through the article. And that is what the goal is.

How to Improve Social Sharing?

Here are 3 simple ways to get more shares on your social media post:

High-Quality Content

If your content is valuable, Google will reward you. It is a simple business. What benefits them is the exchange of value. So keep making relevant, great-quality content.

Consistency

The world of social media is fast. If you are not consistent, you will not remain relevant for long. The algorithm also loves consistency. If you make a post after months, no one will share it because the algorithm will not be on your side.

Make Sharing Easy

Use simple and easy plug-ins to encourage social sharing. If someone cannot figure out how to share your blog post, they will most likely carry on with other more manageable tasks.

Google’s EAT Guidelines

Although you are evaluating your own SEO marketing techniques, you should also know how Google analysis your SEO practices. This will help you get a step ahead.

Google requires a page with expertise, authority, and trustworthiness to be categorized as high level. In short, it is commonly known as EAT.

These guidelines will help you know that you are in the right direction.

How to Improve Your EAT Score?

Research

In order to share accurate and comprehensive information, you must do your research. This could look like taking expert advice or interviews. Suppose the content is relevant to the audience, accurate, and relatable to the readers. In that case, it will exhibit expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. It is the easiest way to score high.

Be Thorough

The reader will bounce to other sites if your post does not answer all questions. To ensure they stay long enough, you must be thorough and comprehensive without boring them with hard facts and figures. They should feel satisfied.

For that you will have to write as an expert on the topic; otherwise, no one will trust your content.

Create a Niche

Figure out your area of expertise and stick to it. Create a brand around your niche rather than following every trend. This will help you develop your presence and identity in the shiny world of SEO.

You will also be able to talk about your area of knowledge in great detail. With time the readers will know they can reach out to you for this area of expertise, and it will increase your reach.

Speak to Your Audience’s Need

You do not have to just think about yourself and your area of expertise. But also what the readers want and need. What are their problems, and how can you solve them? Why should they be coming to you to find these solutions?

You need to maintain a balance between talking about a topic in detail and talking about a topic so that the reader finds it relevant to themselves. The latter creates a relationship of trust and makes you more approachable.

Conclusion

This guide was very comprehensive; hopefully, you learned a lot from here. Since it is such a massive influx of information, you can always refer back to the article at any point of your SEO marketing voyage.

If you remember only one thing from this blog post, keep in mind that there is no easy way out of SEO. Do things in the right way from the start, and it will pay you off in the end. Your site will stand out if you invest a lot of effort and time into it.

However, you should be ready to at least give it six months before you can see any results. You will have to be consistent and on top of your game throughout this time period. This is not the strategy you set once and then forget about. You will have to consistently and creatively share fresh, engaging content so that Google knows you are active and relevant.