How does SEO work? Why is SEO needed? Have you ever asked yourself these questions? Why is SEO such a big deal that you get an SEO Career created just from it?
If it’s the first time you’ve heard of the terms Search Engine Optimization or SEO, then it can be quite intimidating. You might be asking how does it work? What does SEO do? More importantly, what can SEO do for your business?
On the other hand, for those who’ve heard about SEO and even employed it once. You might be asking is there really an SEO that works? You know, SEO that actually delivers what it promised to give, more traffic, more sales, all that.
In order to help you learn how SEO works, this concise and straightforward article is created to give you a better grasp of SEO. And maybe you’ll end up finding out why your previous SEO didn’t work for you. And how you can prevent your SEO efforts from crashing mid-air.
Ask anything related to SEO through White Hat SEO Network by Chase Reiner!
Understanding the Workings of a Search Engine
What are search engines? How do search engines work? Search engines are basically software that answers a user’s query. An excellent example of a search engine is Google. When you type the words “Business strategies” into Google’s search bar, you are entering a query, and Google(search engine) will answer that query. After you hit that enter bar, Google will give you the results. And these results are segregated into hundreds of pages.
You can say that search engines are like one big rail transport system similar to Japan’s bullet trains. They get you from your starting point (your query) to your destination (the answer to your question). Though this looks like a simple situation, you just get on the train and off you go. That is not the case with the World Wide Web.
You see unlike the real world rail system, which only has thousands of stations, the web contains billions of them! Can you imagine the confusion of having to memorize and know each station exactly? Your destination is a web page that contains the answer to the word you input, and the internet has billions of web pages. It’s a search engine’s job to get you to that specific web page that has the answer.
So how do search engines do this?
How do they seek for answers in an ocean of pages?
Search engines have automated bots called “spiders”, Matt Cutt refers to it as the spider program. These spiders have two jobs:
- crawl/search these web pages and index or mark each web page depending on what it talks about.
- retrieve those web pages when they’re needed, for example when you search for information they contain.
Let’s go back to that example of you typing in the words “business strategies” on the search bar. As soon as you hit that enter button, Google’s spiders will rummage through all the indexed web pages it has. Until it finds web pages that give information about “business strategies”. Google will then rank these results using it’s ranking mechanics. The results you see on the first page are what Google deems as most relevant and best out of the 1,470,000,000 results it got.
With all the data that search bots have indexed and stored, how does Google keep all of it?
Google has massive storehouses located all over the world that keep all the data that its spiders have indexed. Here’s a glimpse of one of its data center located in Lenoir, NC.
To get a better look at how Google’s spider bots work, take a look at the video below explaining how search works.
Google’s search bots a.k.a spiders retrieved the data you need in less than a second, for the words “business strategies” it took only 0.65 seconds to analyze through billions of pages to give 1,470,000,000 results.
How does Google know which pages answer your query?
Google determines a web page’s relevance to a inquiry through 200 plus or more questions. These questions form Google’s algorithm, and it dictates what a web page should have in order to be included in the results page. You can say it’s similar to your school grades. If you pass all your assignments, get high scores in your quizzes, participate in class then you’ll get an A. If you laze around and fail on all your school work then expect that you’ll get an F.
It’s a search engine’s way of separating the wheat/crop from the weeds. It separates your legit website from spam and scam filled sites that used to be visible on the search results before.
Sounds simple right? Give and take the mathematical equations and codes that go with it.
Here’s an example of a few of Google’s criteria
- Does the page title answer the query?
- How many times did the keyword appear on the page?
- Is the keyword used relevantly in the content?
- What is the site’s Page Rank?
As cited by Matt Cutts in the video above that talks about how search bots work.
Becoming Visible to the Search Engines
Existing in the web and getting noticed by search engines like Google and Bing may sound hard, impossible even. But, it doesn’t have to be so. Yes, Google doesn’t share to the whole world its exact formula for ranking sites. But, it does give tips and more importantly guidelines on how to get your site to rank.
And this guideline forms the very foundation of SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization. You can’t peek into Google’s tightly guarded algorithms but what you can do is follow the guidelines they gave for ranking.
Let’s list down the things you need to optimize in order for search engines to rank your site well. And mind you, this isn’t just a simple edit, it can go as far as a whole website overhaul if you don’t pass in any of the criteria given.
How To Do SEO Step by Step
- Establish a clear sitemap
- Make it user centric
- Don’t deceive your visitors
- Utilize your keywords properly
- Revolutionize your Content
- Hog the Backlinks
Establish a clear sitemap
Sitemaps are like the roads that lead to your house. If you don’t have a road that connects to your driveway, then your house will be isolated. The same can be said of your website. If your entire site doesn’t have a clear path to each other and the internet, then spiders won’t be able to get to it. If the spiders/crawlers can’t get to it, then it won’t be indexed. If it’s not indexed, then it’s not stored in the search engine’s database!
I would be like you saying you’re American, but it turns out you’re not registered in the Office of Vital Records. Think about it, how can search engines include you in their SERPs if your site doesn’t exist, to them that is. In the same way that people can’t drive to your house because no road connects to it and it’s at the center of a forest called “Unindexed”.
Make it User Centric.
By that, it means that your website must be built with the user in mind. Don’t create your website from your point of view. Put it into perspective that the people who would visit your site know nothing about you or what you’re offering. If your website looks confusing and has so many complicated buttons that you’re visitors would get lost in it then, they’ll leave your site.
Even the images you chose. If it’s not in the user’s perspective, then they won’t be encouraged to stay and read what you have to offer. Search engines measure this in the form of Bounce rate. When users find your site unappealing, they’ll naturally click out of your sight. Blogs for example that have high bounce rate means that your readers aren’t reading at all. In fact, they’re clicking out of your site without even bothering to read through your blog.
Don’t Deceive Your Visitors
You know that drill of spammy websites, they present you with a piece of information like free download and when you click they direct you to another site. It would be fine if these sites are relevant and worth going to. But, most of the time these spammy websites redirect to anomalous sites like porn, gambling and sites that sell you stuff.
Search engines hate deceptive websites, and you’ll get penalized for setting up your site like this. So the rule of the thumb is, avoid having a spammy and misleading website. Also, this term deceptive isn’t limited to questionable redirects. When you write scammy and false content that’s aimed at getting money from people (a.k.a deceive them), then your site is also considered deceptive.
For example, you set up a site that sells aircon. You then promise to give a buy one take one promo if they buy a particular unit. And when they buy that unit, you don’t give them another one as promised in your buy one take one promo.
Utilize Your Keywords Properly
Ever heard of the saying too much will kill you? Well, stuffing your website with keywords even if they don’t make sense anymore will get you penalized. Gone are the days when you can just repeatedly mention your keywords in one sentence, and you’ll immediately rank for the SERPs. Now if you do that expect to never rank for the top results.
Search engines have set it a rule to use keywords like you mean it. So when you use the words “funnel marketing”, you have to make sure that you use it in a sentence. Don’t just randomly include it in your content if it doesn’t make sense.
Aside from including keywords in your content, you also have to incorporate it into your titles, descriptions, images and even the URL. That way you tell Google that your site talks about that keyword.
Revolutionize Your Content
Don’t settle for the average content. Create quality ones that people would actually want to read. Not content that’s only for pulling in traffic. Invest in informative and relevant content like blogs, adverts, even meta titles and meta descriptions. When you put quality over quantity, you’ll find that people would actually go to your site and read what you have to say.
Create meta titles and meta descriptions that encourage people to click and visit your site. The same should also be done with your adverts. It doesn’t matter if it’s for Google or FB or any other platforms. And the only way you can encourage people to be interested in your site is if you wrote compelling, high quality, and user-directed content.
Stick with crappy content, and you get crappy results. Think beyond what others are offering. When the whole content department is all about meeting the word count, start a revolution and publish copies that are informative and worth reading. Would you spend five minutes reading a blog that’s:
- not relatable
- stuffed to the core with keywords
- written as if its a thesis
- feels bogus
If your answer is no to those four description, then imagine what your readers and visitors would think. If you don’t want a keyword-stuffed-not-worth-my-time blog, then why are you making your site visitors read them?
Hog The Backlinks
But don’t settle for useless ones. Hog the backlinks that actually bring value to your site. Like links from sites that are in the same niche as you. If you sell computers, then your blogs should be about computers. And the links to these blogs should come from websites that also talk about computers.
What does faulty SEO do for a business?
Using links that are not relevant to you becomes faulty SEO. And faulty SEO gets you penalized. Go back to the example of your business selling computers. If you use links that point to clothing, food, cars and other things that have nothing to do with computers, you get no value. Links not useful or related to your niche earn you no points in Domain Authority. So, stick with external links that are significant to your product, and avoid anomalous links.
Backlinks don’t just end with external links; internal linking is also important for your site. Link articles that talk about similar things with each other. For example, if one of your articles talk about how to repair a CPU, and another talks about monitor repair. Linking your CPU article to your monitor repair article is imperative because it increases your trust flow. Majestic defines trust flow as the trustworthiness of a site in terms of how many sites and pages link to it.
So what does SEO do for a business with high trust flow?
Business with high trust flow increases their ranking, because search engines see these sites as having high domain authority. Spiders would crawl sites with high Domain authority often since it considers these sites as excellent sources of information.
SEO Reputation Management
It’s all about managing your SEO reputation. And reputation in the world wide web counts just as much as it counts in the real world. Building a strong Domain Authority is crucial to helping you rank on the first page of the SERPs. Things that help you raise your DA include creating backlinks, making citations, produce above average content and having a user-centric website (site mapping and all included).
What does SEO mean in marketing?
In the eyes of marketing, SEO is a way for you to gain more buyers. How? By appearing on the first page of the SERPS, you get more traffic. Traffic in SEO terms refer to people coming into your website, people who can be converted to buyers. So, the more traffic you have, the more people you can convince to become buyers of whatever it is you sell.
Some Search Engine Facts
- Google processes 3.5 billion searches every day, that’s approximately 40,000 queries every second. Total that up, and you’ll get 1.2 trillion searches every year.
- Bing, on the other hand, processes 122.8 million searches every day.
- Page Rank is a system created by Google’s founders Larry Page, and Sergey Brin plays a vital role in the Search Results Page ranking.
So how does SEO work? Search Engine Optimization works by making your website more user-friendly. You revamp it to incorporate quality content, on-site optimization from creating high relevance links to making a clear sitemap. All the revisions you make follow the standards set out by search engines like Google. And what it all boils down to is creating a website that offers quality workmanship and relevance to the people searching them. Its Google’s way of saying your site and your content is worth showing to the masses.