What Is SEO?

A brief explanation of Search Engine Optimization and how it can affect your ability to get more business.

Search Engine Optimization is the process of helping a website rank in organic search engine results. The objective of SEO is to give search engine crawlers what they want. There are many factors involved with SEO, but the cornerstone of any successful SEO campaign is your content strategy.

There are markups in the website’s code that can indicate importance and relevance to the search engines. There are several other factors and techniques that can help a website rank better. Most of this cannot be done all at once, but as your website grows, it can be done incrementally.

At TheeDigital, we start with a search engine-friendly foundation when creating your site. If you already have an existing site that can be optimized, we will evaluate what can be done to improve its ranking. Our methods for gaining traffic and ranking follow best practices (White Hat) and we are very transparent in terms of our practices.

Many other SEO agencies do not want you to know which techniques they use. Sometimes this is because they run the risk of getting your site banned from search results, use questionable practices or even worse, get you involved in a legal matter (yes, we have seen that happen). In search marketing, reputation is everything, and we are not willing to risk ours or our clients’ for a limited reign of the top spot in search engine results.

How Does SEO Work?

Search engines have code called “crawlers” that are constantly following links on the internet from one site to another. As the crawlers browse the internet they gather data that can be used to form an imaginative map.

A website that has many other websites linking to it would be like a city with many roads leading into it from all over the world. A less popular website might be like a small town with just one or two roads leading in.

When both sites write about a topic, (if all things are equal except the number of links going to the website), then the web page written by the site that is like a city will have a better chance of ranking higher in the search results. The new article would be found by the search engine crawlers sooner.

So is SEO just about getting more links?

Nope! The above example was just a super simplified version of SEO. In reality, each search engine has their own criteria for what they look for when ranking a website in their search results.

There are a lot of factors that go into a search engine’s algorithm. When it comes to Google, these ranking systems are made up of not one, but a whole series of algorithms. The algorithms look at many factors, including the words of your query, relevance and usability of pages, the expertise of sources, and your location and settings.

Search engines are also constantly refining their algorithms to deliver users the best results. Staying on top of these updates is a full-time job – what worked in 2019 might not work as well in 2020.

When working on improving a site’s SEO, optimization will entail:

  • Title Tag and Meta Description optimization
  • Internal Link optimization
  • Earning external links (backlinks) to the website
  • Site Speed
  • Measuring user experience to improve the time they spend on your website
  • Producing content to fulfill a user’s search intent.

When you fulfill your audience’s search intent, you drive more traffic to your page.

Ranking well for terms that are seldomly searched for or that have nothing to do with your business would be a waste of time and server resources. So when working on improving the SEO of a page, we always want to keep the user’s intent in mind.

Why is SEO important?

We have two goals with SEO: to attract quality traffic, and to appear at the top of search engine results for terms our potential customers would search for. This is all in order to increase the organic traffic coming to our website – in contrast to paying for ad space to appear at the top of search results.

Generally speaking, organic search results can cover more user searches and generate more clicks than paid ads. With paid advertising, you can quickly get leads for a new website and it can complement the marketing efforts of an established business. But in the long run, appearing organically in search engines is a better return on your investment.

Features like rich results and knowledge panels can help enforce your company’s branding and image.

knowledge panel example

Trust, Authority, Expertise & Search Rankings

When working on a website’s SEO, trust, authority, and expertise are considered by the search engines as part of the ranking algorithm. Trust factors include the technical aspects – like the use of SSL certificates (especially for e-commerce websites) – and the content that actually appears on a website, like having a privacy policy page.

Is your website an authority in your field or business sector? Do reputable websites within the same field link to pages on your website? Does your business have reviews in Google My Business or Yelp? These are all signals that can help establish your website authority.

Google contracts over 10,000 people as Search Quality Evaluators. They follow a set of guidelines to help manually decide a page’s expertise, authority, and trust (or EAT). The guidelines are over 160 pages long and change from time to time. The feedback from the search quality evaluators does not affect a website directly. But it does help the search algorithm team refine the algorithm so that the best results appear higher in search results.

Here at TheeDigital our team keeps up with these guidelines to help stay on top of what Google looks for in a quality website.

Link Building & Ranking In Search Engines

The company your website keeps is important. Are lots of spammy, low-quality websites linking to you? Or are the links coming into your website from established well-regarded companies in your field?

When working on link building, we focus on three things:

  • Inbound Links (backlinks)
  • Producing Content
  • Internal Links

Inbound Links/Backlinks

Google’s algorithm is smart and ever-changing. When working on getting inbound links, Google specifically does not want you to pay for links from a website or try to spam its algorithm by artificially generating links to your website.

A safe and helpful technique when generating backlinks is to register your website in relevant trade organizations, or business directories. After all, we do want customers to find you. So appearing where your customers would search makes sense.

Does your business appear in Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, Yelp, your local business of commerce? These are all helpful backlinks that can be built without worrying about being penalized by the search algorithms.

Link Building things to avoid:

  • Don’t purchase links
  • Don’t engage in a link exchange
  • Don’t add yourself to low quality directories

Link Building Do’s

  • Links should be earned
  • Links should come from authoritative pages
  • Links should come from topically relevant sources

Producing Content

The best way to produce backlinks to your website is by producing content that people want to see. This includes blog posts, useful internal pages, and social media content.

If you produce the best post that answers a difficult question that comes up often in your industry, then over time – as people find your content – it will naturally attract backlinks from other websites. This is a natural, organic way to produce backlinks that offer people value.

Internal Links

The links you have within your website to other internal pages are also very important and help users find what they need. They also give search engines a better idea of the structure of your website, establish a hierarchy, and give an understanding of what a page is about.

Get Help Request a Free Website Audit

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of SEO

If you want to improve your website performance or want to fix all of your technical SEO issues, request a free website audit with us.