As a Director of Client Services at an SEO agency, I am often asked how SEO does work. In order to answer this, I often have to explain the nature of the internet. The world wide web contains an unfathomable amount of data and information. This is most likely the reason why over 3.7 billion humans turn to this precious resource when they have a question or need. But how is this information organized and how is this content searchable? Well, that is where search engines come in! Without them, users would not be able to accurately and efficiently sort through the millions of pages relevant to their search query.
In order to ensure that your content is in the best position to rank on the first page of search engines (we’re talking about you Google!), you need to optimize your content to the fullest extent. This practice is known as Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short. SEO encompasses three main pillars: content, technical optimization, and backlinking. But how do they all work together to get you on the first page? I’m so glad you asked
How Does SEO Work? The Three Main Pillars
Content is first and foremost one of the most essential aspects of your SEO strategy. It is the engine that makes SEO run! In order for your SEO to work, you need to ensure that you are creating high-value content that genuinely answers a user’s search query. By creating purpose-driven content, you can organically introduce users to your company and inform them of how you can better their life.
The first step is keyword research. Our company relies on Ahrefs to guide our content strategies and ensure we are going after the most profitable keywords. A few important variables we look at are search volume, keyword difficulty, and PPC cost. By looking at these metrics, we can determine if ranking on the first page for a certain keyword will bring us high-value traffic that is likely to convert.
The next step is writing said content. While doing so, keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to answer the query at hand. Your goal should not be to sell your product or service. By keeping this goal in mind, you can ensure that your content doesn’t come across spammy or salesy. If users won’t like it, neither will Google!
After your content is drafted, the last step is to optimize your content. There are several aspects to this process like repeating your keyword two to three times, varying sentence length, and etc. To ensure that you are hitting every item on this checklist, consider using a tool like Yoast! There is both a free and premium version, but both can greatly help you optimize your blogs and landing pages
Technical SEO ensures that all the great content you are creating is being crawled and indexed. Crawling is the process in which Google discovers new pages that have been posted on the internet. This is an incredibly important step because Google cannot serve pages that it is unaware of. Simple steps like submitting your sitemap to Google can improve your site’s Technical SEO.
After a page has been crawled, Google’s next step is to index that page. In other words, this means that Google has to understand what the page is about. At the end of the day, bots are analyzing these pages. That is why it is important that we take every opportunity to make their job easier. According to Google, you can do so by:
- Creating short, meaningful page titles.
- Using page headings that convey the subject of the page.
- Using text rather than images to convey content. (Google can understand some image and video, but not as well as it can understand text. At minimum, annotate your video and images with alt text and other attributes as appropriate.
Other aspects of Technical SEO that are important to note are fast site speed, making sure pages are mobile-friendly, and addressing any broken pages and/or links.
You are almost to the end of cracking the SEO code! The last element of every great SEO strategy is backlinking. Often times this activity is seen as spammy or disingenuous, but it is anything but. Backlinking is simply the process of generating quality links from other sites to your own. This helps your overall ranking by improving your site’s domain authority. In other words, generating more links to your site will make it more credible in Google’s eyes. This is because when a site links to you, it essentially “shares” it’s authority with you.
It is important that you generate a diverse backlink portfolio. That means varying the sites that link to you, their respective domain authorities, and the anchor text you are using. Doing so will help support all your on-page SEO, and improve your chances of ranking well for your desired keywords.
There it is! That’s how SEO works. By ensuring you have a strong content, technical SEO, and backlinking strategy, you can start ranking for your desired terms. If you are still feeling unsure about the process, we recommend partnering with a digital marketing agency that can take the pressure off your shoulders. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!