What is SEO and how does it work?Sophia Walker
Chances are you’ve heard of SEO and the magic it can work for a business. But, like a lot of business owners, you’re possibly wondering how it works. Don’t worry – the vast majority of people aren’t 100% sure. This blog post will give an overview of how SEO works and how to use it to increase the traffic to your site.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It basically refers to the ways in which you can optimise your site to rank higher than your business’ competition in the search engine results pages. If done properly, over time you’ll start to notice your site is creeping higher in Google’s rankings.
How does it work?
There are a lot of things that Google will take into consideration when it comes to ranking its pages. However, the most important categories can be narrowed down to content generation, links and backlinks and technical optimisations.
This one is the easiest to explain but potentially the hardest to implement. You need to be creating consistent, high-quality content. This refers to the topics you write about but also the keywords that you use. If you’re running a security company but you’re using keywords like “farm fertiliser” to try to bring some extra traffic your way, this won’t cut it. Your keywords need to be relevant.
Additionally, you can’t just stuff a blog post full of keywords with no cohesive structure and expect to make any real headway. Rather than spammy posts, you need to be creating content that people want to read. This leads us to our next point:
Links and Backlinks
Now, things are going to get a little bit more complicated. For Google’s algorithm (basically the ways that it chooses what is ranked up to the top) your posts require credibility. The way that Google measures this is through links and backlinks.
Linking to prominent sites that are considered credible (think big sites like Financial Times or Forbes) gives your post a touch more credibility. Backlinks, on the other hand, refer to posts that link back to your posts. For Google, if people are backlinking to your post, that implies that your content is credible.
Now, there are some more sinister ways to do this, i.e. buying backlinks, but these methods can set you back a lot of money and if you’re caught doing it then you could be taken off of Google’s rankings altogether. Worth it? Not so much.
This is the most complicated part of SEO. Technical optimisations refer to the ways in which a webmaster might optimise a site to ensure that it meets Google’s guidelines. Technical optimisations are the most… well, technical aspect of SEO but they are not the most difficult or time-consuming (that honour goes to content creation, hands down). When undertaking technical optimisations, a webmaster will consider the URL system (i.e. navigation), product filters and the application of the ‘robots’ meta tag and the robots.txt file (these basically tell Google what parts of the site not to index).
There are a lot of other things to consider when it comes to technical optimisations but they’re all a bit more complicated.
How can I measure my SEO’s success?
This is the fun part. You can monitor your positions in Google’s search engine results pages by using custom software. The most well-known of these is Google Analytics. Google Analytics will allow you to measure your organic search (Google, other search engines) data, as well as other methods through which people landed on your site.
Know Your Enemy
However, Google Analytics won’t let you monitor your competitors’ data. Tools such as Alexa and other 3rd party tools will let you monitor this, however. If you’re consistently monitoring your competitors’ SEO, it will allow you to practice more effective methods of SEO to get the edge over them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Creating high-quality SEO content and optimising your site for Google’s algorithm are easy to describe but they’re not easy to do. SEO is time-consuming and surprisingly technical. If you think you could use some help with optimising your site, get in touch with our SEO team at Sites For Business; they’ve been doing this stuff for a while now and we like to think they’re pretty good at it.