Semalt Explains What SEO Is And How It Works
For those who want to improve or know more about SEO, this guide has been prepared! Here, we will describe what SEO is and the most common questions (FAQs) about it.
Have you recently come across any of the concepts of SEO or search engine optimization and want to know more about what they mean? Perfect, then you have come to the right place. Semalt, a leading SEO agency in Ukraine, has compiled a complete guide to help you understand what search engine optimization is and how it can help your business. We will also touch on some common mistakes that people make when trying to optimize their sites for search engines. Once you have gone through the guide, you should have a good understanding of what is needed to rank higher on the search engine results pages. So let's get started!
1. What is it and how does SEO work?
SEO is an abbreviation of the term Search Engine Optimization.
Just to give you an idea, every month more than 100 billion searches are made on Google alone. In other words: a good search engine ranking can make the difference between success and failure for your digital strategies. The purpose of optimizing a website for search engines is to create the conditions to rank as high as possible on Google and other search engines like Bing. SEO helps to improve the brand in the company's digital investments.
But how do you rank well in search results? Do not panic! In this article, you will understand the most important basics and learn what SEO is and how it works!
SEO is not an area that you can work on once and then leave. Google is constantly updating its algorithms and competitors are working on their websites. Therefore, you must constantly follow developments and work to implement updates that follow the best practices guidelines from Google.
Search engine optimization is not about manipulating the search engine
In everyday life, as soon as a question arises, it is quite common for our first activity to be a Google search. The same goes for millions of people around the world, who use the search engine to even find products and services - making Google a goldmine for companies that know how to take advantage of this opportunity.
A common misconception is that SEO is about manipulating the search engines so that a certain page is displayed as high as possible. This is not the case. To understand what the purpose of search engines is, it is best to imagine the companies that drive the search engine situation. They want to present the best possible search result for each search intention.
If they fail to do so, they will get dissatisfied customers who change search engines. Therefore, the best SEO is about creating the best possible experience for both the human visitor as well as for the search engine robots.
The purpose of search engine optimization is thus to:
- Create good content on the website that contains the information that the user is looking for (depending on the intention or the purpose)
- Use technical aids - HTML code, CSS, and more - to create opportunities for Google and other search engines to index the site.
2. What is keyword analysis? This is how keyword analysis works in SEO
An important part of SEO is to understand what the intentions of the users are when they do searches. The results displayed must definitely be relevant to each search.
By conducting a keyword analysis with one of the best SEO tools like the DSD, also called keyword research, you can create insights into what the people who perform the searches are looking for. It helps to determine which keywords are most important for your business.
A common approach is to explore which keywords a business's competitors rank high for. Based on them, you can then find longer search phrases, so-called long-tail keywords, and related questions that can be answered on the website. These keywords are usually business-critical. The reason for this is that they help your business to appear in the search results for the search terms that potential customers are looking for.
3. Why is SEO used?
There are several reasons to use search engine optimization to increase online visibility and enhance your digital life. In short, it can be said that there are two ways to drive traffic to a website.
- Paid traffic via advertising
- Organic traffic from search engines
Unlike paid traffic, organic traffic is free. That is, you do not pay Google to appear in the search results, but it is in its interest to show the best results.
Therefore, it is very important to invest in SEO to drive organic traffic to the website and thereby strengthen customers' awareness of the brand and increase sales. It is a very large part of digital marketing because most of the traffic today comes through search engines.
Some common techniques used in search engine optimization to improve online visibility are:
- Design and improvement of the website so that it looks and is user-friendly, both for the user and for the search engine robots
- Identifying the right keywords using keyword analysis to increase the relevant traffic to the website
- To work with digital PR to strengthen the website's reputation and contribute to brand exposure
4. What are the components of search engine optimization?
We usually divide search engine optimization into four different parts which we call the four pillars of SEO.
- Technical SEO and getting a website indexed
- On-Page SEO - Search engine optimization of website content and content marketing
- Off-Page SEO - To build a link profile from other websites
- Digital marketing and campaigns
What is technical SEO?
The first of the four areas is called Technical SEO. The search engines rank websites based on several different factors and the website's technical structure is part of these so that the site is indexed optimally.
In technical SEO, we work actively to optimize the website's structure. It helps to increase the loading speed, which is an important signal to Google while improving the user experience, especially on mobile.
Other things that are included in technical search engine optimization are to ensure that links on the website work and that there are no errors and that you use structured data. In addition, security is an important technical aspect, something that an SEO agency works a lot with. For example, by ensuring that data transfer is encrypted using Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, HTTPS.
What is on-page optimization? When you want to search-engine-optimize the content of the page
For a business, it is important that the website gives a serious impression and contains relevant information that helps customers. But when designing posts, you need to think about more than just the information.
This is called On-page SEO. That's why on-page SEO specialists work:
- With Title optimization
- Using relevant images that are optimized in terms of data usage and alt texts
- Writing good meta descriptions that help the reader understand what the page is about
- With Internal links so that both the user and the robots can find relevant content
- Creating good texts and other material that makes the user experience good.
On-Page SEO is a big field and not all aspects have a direct impact on the rankings. But there are indirect effects that help to rank better. Not least the meta description, which in itself is not a ranking factor. But a well-worded description can increase the percentage of people who click on the page, which in the long run improves the ranking.
Nor do the optimized alt texts in the images contribute to any great extent to ranking the page higher. With that said, it is important because the images can rank in image searches, which in itself can drive traffic to the website.
No matter how good the material is on the website and how well-functioning it is from a technical perspective, there is the third leg of SEO that must be in place. Otherwise, it's difficult to rank on the first page of Google for business-critical keywords.
What is off-page SEO? To build a link profile
The third leg in SEO is referred to as off-page optimization, which takes place outside the website. Here we work with digital PR to build a robust link profile.
To create links in a way that follows Google's guidelines, you must create good and exciting material that other sites want to link to and associate with. As the number of links increases from relevant and highly authoritative websites, the link profile of your website improves.
This is a critical element in getting a spot on the first page of Google for keywords that are critical to the business. If the competition is low, the importance of links decreases, but as a general rule, they are essential for the material to be ranked in the top 10.
5. Different reasons why websites are not visible on Google?
There can be several different reasons why a website does not appear in the search results of Google or other search engines. Unfortunately, this can have a huge negative impact on your business.
Two common reasons why Google does not show a website in search results are:
- It has not yet been indexed
- There is some kind of technical error with the website
To see if your website is on Google, you can use the following command in the search box.
If you get search results with the help of that search, you know that your website is indexed. You can also see how many of your pages are on Google.
If you do not find your website with this search, you must run a troubleshooter to identify the reason for that. Some common causes are listed below:
- Technical problems
- The website is incorrectly built
- Lack of links
- Google does not know about the site
- The Robots.txt file blocks the search engine from doing its job
- In WordPress, it is common to forget to uncheck the box saying that you do not want to be seen in search engines
Only after the error has been identified you can proceed with the work with SEO to get the website to rank high in the search results.
6. Why is SEO business-critical?
We live in a world that is constantly changing and digitalization is one of the driving factors. Nine out of ten use the internet every year and rely on the web daily.
For your business to be able to grow and scale up its business, a strong digital presence is required and SEO is a vital part of such an investment. By actively working with search engine optimization, you make more potential customers find you in the digital world. Not least if your visibility is strong for business-critical keywords, you strengthen the company's brand which comes early in the customers' buying journey.
7. Why is SEO important?
The statistics underline the importance of being visible in Google's search results. Therefore, good and sustainable search engine optimization can be a significant competitive advantage for your business.
Search behavior and visibility play an important role in customers' decision-making process. Because millions of potential customers rely on search engines daily to find information, companies simply cannot afford not to be seen in the digital marketplace represented by Google.
According to a study by Hubspot, 75% of Google's search engine users do not go further than the first page of search results.
Therefore, it is important to invest in SEO as part of the strategy to increase the company's online visibility, get involved early in the customers' buying journey, and strengthen the brand.
SEO process and optimization: What are the best techniques, and how to do SEO?
SEO is based on designing a website that is easy for search engines to work with. It's about making the pages easy to read so that they can be indexed and displayed in the search results.
Given that three-quarters of search engine users do not leave the front page, the goal of SEO is to make each page be found in the top 10 for the relevant search terms or search queries.
SEO or search engine optimization is based on designing a website so that search engines can easily find the pages and index them. The goal of SEO is to make a page be in the top ten results in relevant searches.
Different Factors in SEO
There is no single reason why a website ranks high in search results. You have to work with several different areas so that the whole is optimal to drive more traffic - it is called, after all, search engine optimization.
Some different elements that are covered in SEO are:
- Content marketing - copywriting and content
- Continuous website analysis
- Links from other websites
- Keyword analysis: that you choose the right keywords to rank on and understand the users' intentions behind the search. Do it with proven SEO tools like The Dedicated SEO Dashboard
- The authority of the domain
- The user experience (UX design and performance) - this also includes concepts such as Page Experience
- Technical SEO
8. What are the best SEO tools in 2022
Working with SEO primarily requires experience in web development, but there are a plethora of tools, and what is best depends largely on what bid you have and what kind of organization you work in.
If you have many content writers or if you outsource your SEO, it is also possible to use different solutions for different functions.
Among the most common SEO tools that are often used by beginners when starting with SEO are often mentioned the Dedicated SEO Dashboard, SEMrush, Ahref, and Ubbersuggest.
9. How should I buy SEO services and how much does SEO cost?
Affordable SEO services are offered to target markets and sales of SEO companies. The work needs to be adapted to many specific cases depending on the customer's digital maturity, organization, and the platforms used. Most SEO services and Internet marketing solutions are flexible and can respond to different solutions and range from simple on-page optimization to more technical SEO audits and link building.
The price but also the methods and the result often differ between different SEO agencies. Make sure you choose a company that works closely with customers and develops tailor-made solutions to promote your online business and that you have confidence in the services they provide. Usually, SEO is labor-intensive and requires skills transfer between consultant and company.
Also, make sure that the SEO agency does not use bad link networks, as it means you could be penalized by Google.
10. How can I measure the impact of SEO?
Google has several tools for measuring how your website is doing organically, such as Google Analytics and the Google Search Console. Measuring and ranking online visibility includes SEO specialists following up on Google updates, key keyword positions, and link power. By following the keywords on a daily basis, it is possible to fine-tune and constantly improve the website with others Analytics SEO tools such as the DSD.
11. Why do I need an SEO agency?
Yes, your business should obviously invest in SEO. Search engine optimization allows you to increase traffic to your site without paying for every click. When you run ads like Google Ads, you are charged for every single click that comes to your site through that channel. But if your site ranks organically on the search engines, this traffic is free. It takes time and requires skills and resources to rank a website on the organic search.
12. Who will handle my SEO?
Either you have the expertise in how search engines work in-house or you hire an SEO agency. Since it is common for search engine traffic to account for 60% - 70% of all visitors, we believe that you need to have in-house expertise - but not everyone can be the best at SEO.
Be sure to choose an SEO agency that can focus on measurements such as lead conversion to bring your business more customers. Choosing an SEO agency is a strategic decision and ultimately it is about making sure to choose the best ones like Semalt that will give you the best return on your marketing investment.