Demystifying Search Engine Optimization
Published on October 29, 2019
by Anthony Tisara
For some reason, SEO is still a mystery to many, even after more than two decades of revolutionizing the way we do business over the Internet. And that’s only referring to Internet users who have actually heard of SEO.
Ask your everyday online surfer about SEO solutions, and chances are, he or she has no idea what they are, much less what they have done and will continue to do for countless businesses, organizations, and individuals all over the world.
SEO is Not as Mysterious as You Think
In all honesty, SEO could seem like a mystery at times, even to those who are already considered experts in the subject. After all, SEO is far from being an exact science, and it’s an ever-evolving field where what works today may no longer be that effective tomorrow.
The premise of SEO, however, is simple enough. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it does exactly what it says: optimize your website for Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines.
SEO specialists do what they do by implementing a variety of processes and strategies, all to make a website rank high in search engine results. A high ranking gives your pages better visibility and a better chance of getting clicked and explored by users. With the organic traffic coming in, your website gets leads and eventually, conversions like newsletter subscriptions, e-book downloads, or sales of the product or service you’re offering.
How Search Engines Work
Search engines send out bots—automated software agents—to crawl websites and pick up signals like title tags, backlinks, keywords, and meta descriptions, among other things. Once it reports the information back to the search engines, Google et al. will process it to determine which pages deserve to rank for which queries or specific keywords or phrases.
At present, it is said that Google, the largest search engine in the world, uses more than 200 ranking factors in its algorithm. It hasn’t confirmed that all 200 are actual ranking factors that they use though. Still, SEOs make sure anyway that their website complies with such factors, which include title tags, anchor text, site speed, backlinks, content quality, and mobile-friendliness.
SEO, indeed, is a huge undertaking, and that makes it such a challenging—and sometimes a bit overwhelming—field.
SEO is For The Long Term
One of the likely reasons some people think of SEO as some sort of “sorcery” is the fact that some companies and individuals offer SEO services to businesses with a promise that they will be able to deliver results in a few weeks’ time.
You can’t really blame people for thinking of SEO as a voodoo-type thing, because any business strategy that yields significant results in just a couple of weeks is simply incredible. Not even email marketing delivers results that fast, and it’s one of the most highly-used and effective marketing channels ever!
The truth, however, is more grounded in reality. SEO work results only come after four to six months, and the results won’t even be something to write home about, to be honest. To achieve encouraging and positive results, SEO campaigns have to run longer, because SEO results get better over time.
And when you finally get the results you wanted, you have to work even harder to maintain it. After all, your competitors will always be nipping at your heels, and it’s likely that they are running intense and sustained SEO campaigns as well, and they will be gunning for the top spot in the search results just like you.
Quality Content is Truly King Today
Ever since Google made major updates to its algorithm in the form of Panda and Penguin, content—quality content, that is—has indeed claimed its throne as king, is one of Google’s top-ranking factors.
With quality content, your website stands to gain more credibility with Google and the other search engines, especially after years of putting up with sites that somehow ranked high even with garbage for content. And that, of course, would mean elevated rankings, more traffic, and more potential conversions, which are what businesses are mostly after in the first place.
Quality content is good for your SEO, and here are some of the best types of content for your optimization efforts.
- Authoritative blog posts— Deliver news of developments in your industry, or share your opinion on those developments and other issues to establish your website as an authority within your niche.
- How-to articles—People are always looking for guides for just about anything, so write about relevant topics that give people tips on how to do things that fall within your scope of expertise.
- List posts – Readers, online or otherwise, would never run out of love for superbly-written list posts that are also fun and engaging, to boot.
- Infographics—Easy to digest and share, infographics are becoming more popular because they provide a concise and engaging snapshot of any given topic which would otherwise run a few thousand words if it was in standard article form.
- Videos – Videos account for more than half of web traffic these days. That figure is predicted to balloon to 80% by 2020.
Anyone can take up SEO and become “sorcerers” themselves. Sure, it’s going to take a lot of study, practice, and patience, but with time, you should be able to get a firm grasp on the subject, and eventually use it to help your website rank high in the SERPs.