SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
What goes into SEO?
To understand the true meaning of SEO, let’s break that definition down and look at the parts:
- Quality of traffic. You can attract all the visitors in the world, but if they’re coming to your site because Google tells them you’re a resource for Apple computers when really you’re a farmer selling apples, that is not quality traffic. Instead you want to attract visitors who are genuinely interested in products that you offer.
- Quantity of traffic. Once you have the right people clicking through from those search engine results pages (SERPs), more traffic is better.
- Organic results. Ads make up a significant portion of many SERPs. Organic traffic is any traffic that you don’t have to pay for.
How SEO works?
You might think of a search engine as a website you visit to type (or speak) a question into a box and Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or whatever search engine you’re using magically replies with a long list of links to webpages that could potentially answer your question.
That’s true. But have you ever stopped to consider what’s behind those magical lists of links?
Here’s how it works: Google (or any search engine you’re using) has a crawler that goes out and gathers information about all the content they can find on the Internet. The crawlers bring all those 1s and 0s back to the search engine to build an index. That index is then fed through an algorithm that tries to match all that data with your query.
The Basics of Search Engine Optimization
Ever heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? It’s a theory of psychology that prioritizes the most fundamental human needs (like air, water, and physical safety) over more advanced needs (like esteem and social belonging). The theory is that you can’t achieve the needs at the top without ensuring the more fundamental needs are met first. Love doesn’t matter if you don’t have food.
Our founder, Rand Fishkin, made a similar pyramid to explain the way folks should go about SEO, and we’ve affectionately dubbed it “Mozlow’s hierarchy of SEO needs.”
Here’s what it looks like:
As you can see, the foundation of good SEO begins with ensuring crawl accessibility, and moves up from there.
We can follow these seven steps to successful SEO:
- Crawl accessibility so engines can read your website
- Compelling content that answers the searcher’s query
- Keyword optimized to attract searchers & engines
- Great user experience including a fast load speed and compelling UX
- Share-worthy content that earns links, citations, and amplification
- Title, URL, & description to draw high CTR in the rankings
Snippet/schema markup to stand out in SERPs
The 3 Types of SEO
On-page SEO relates to the content on your website.
It includes strategies to optimize an individual page on a website. These factors (all of which are outlined in this on-page SEO checklist) help search engines understand the topic of the content and see that the website is a valuable source that people would want to find.
This type of SEO includes:
- Keyword research: Finding the best keywords to target on a page of content
- Content creation: Publishing high-quality content focused on target keywords
- Keyword optimization: Using the target keyword in all the right places and using good meta tag SEO.
Technical SEO relates to non-content elements of your website.
It includes strategies to improve a site’s backend structure and foundation. Technical SEO improves a site’s readability (which makes it easy for search engines to crawl and understand the site) and provides a good user experience, which helps search engines see that the site is high quality. A good user experience is also important for readers, and can affect overall traffic and engagement rates.
The types of SEO included in this category relate to:
- Site speed
- Site architecture
- Structured data
Off-page SEO techniques help strengthen the influence and relationship your website has with other websites.
It includes strategies to build a website’s reputation and authority. These factors help search engines see that a website is an ideal search result because it is from a reputable, reliable, trusted source.
Most off-site SEO relates to high–quality backlinks. You can gain these trust signals through a variety of link building and guest posting tactics.
What are the Benefits of SEO to Your Business
- SEO Leads to Better User Experience
- SEO Is a Primary Source of Leads (people who show interest in your brand’s products or services)
- SEO Ensures Mobile-Friendliness of Your Website
- SEO Results to Higher Conversion Rate
- SEO Promotes Better Cost Management
- SEO Encourages Local Users to Visit the Physical Store After the Search
- SEO Builds Brand Credibility
- SEO Helps Establish Brand Awareness
- SEO Can Be a Long-Term Marketing Strategy
- SEO Increases Your Followers on Social Media
- SEO Improves Website Speed
- SEO Takes You Ahead of the Competition