What is SEO and how does it work?
You’ve heard the term SEO or Search Engine Optimization thrown around and have probably wondered what is SEO and how does it work. In short, SEO is the process of increasing your websites’ visibility in organic search engine results. Hold on! That’s a mouthful, let’s break it down a bit.
When you type a query (a keyword or question) into the search bar in your browser, the search engine spits out a bunch of results. These are known as search engine results and you get two types. Organic and paid.
So what’s the difference?
Organic search results are the natural, unpaid results you see in a search listing. And paid results are the adverts you see due to paid for campaigns. Below is an example:
Now that you know what SEO is, let’s take a look at the factors which affect your search listing.
Factors which affect SEO
Search engine’s look at the quality of the content provided to users when displaying search results. Users value high quality content and since SEO is largely based on user experience, this is an important ranking factor. So instead of writing many short articles of little value to a user, rather take the time to structure articles which users value. In short, quality over quantity.
User experience is probably the most important ranking factor in SEO. If a user leaves your website without scrolling or looking at any of the information, it will have a negative impact on your rank. You want to ensure that users enjoy their time on your website by making it easy for them to find the information they want.
To do this you need to have:
- an easy to navigate menu
- well written and useful content
- relevant images and more.
If your site takes too long to load, you can kiss your user goodbye. So test your site speed using PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom or GTmetrix and optimize it further. You can increase the speed of your site by reducing the size of images and choosing a good host. Site speed is also affected by the use of sliders, videos and a lot of scripting. So be mindful of these when building your site.
Cross Device Compatibility
There are more mobile users than there are desktop users. And this makes it very important to have a responsive or adaptive website. Users will quickly leave a website if it doesn’t load properly for them.
Internal links make it a lot easier for the user to navigate through your website to find what they’re looking for. And if things are easy for the user, they’re going to stay longer. Not only does internal linking help users find the content they’re looking for, but it also helps web crawlers’ index your site.
Proper use of HTML
HTML is the abbreviation for HyperText Markup Language. It is the code used to create structure in a web page. Just think how difficult it would be to understand an article without proper structure such as headings and paragraphs. Now think how difficult it would be for a crawler to understand your content without proper use of HTML. It goes both ways and the proper use of semantic HTML makes it easier for crawlers and people alike.
SEO Doesn’t Happen Overnight
There’s a big misconception that if you do SEO, you’re going to see results immediately. It doesn’t work that way. SEO is an ongoing process and it takes time to see results. Web crawlers won’t find your website, page or article immediately. Nor will you rank first for your keywords just yet. Because the internet is massive, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of articles and pages competing for the same keyword. The trick is to find keywords with low competition and rank for those instead.
While there are many factors which affect your ranking in search engines, the most important one is user experience. With this in mind, you need to optimize your page for your site visitor and you will naturally gain in rank. Speak to us about writing content and optimizing your website.