How Does SEO Work? The Basics Explained


Are you new to trying to market your business and you’ve been hearing the term “SEO” thrown around? Not quite sure what it means?

SEO seems like a buzzword with how popular it is in digital marketing, but if you’re behind the times then this term is totally new to you. What is SEO anyway? How does SEO work, and how can you apply it to your marketing strategy?

We want to offer you some information to get you started. Once you know the basics it will be much easier to grasp onto!

Keep reading to learn all about SEO and how you can utilize it to boost your business.

What Is SEO?

SEO is shorthand for search engine optimization. It’s a part of search engine marketing, and it means that your website is optimized to move up the ranks of your search engine of choice (primarily Google) so that more people are able to see it when they’re looking for your industry.

There are different kinds of SEO, such as local SEO and mobile SEO, but the primary function is always the same: to get more potential customers and conversions onto your website.

Why Do I Need SEO?

A good SEO strategy is key for any business with an online presence (so, all businesses at this point).

Think of it this way: When you want to find a product or service in your area, what do you do?

If you’re like most people, you type the product or service as a query into your favorite search engine and click one of the first few links that pop up, right? Those first few links (aside from the paid “ad” links) have good SEO.

How many businesses have you missed because they aren’t on that first page? The first page is often the only thing that people look at. The first page is where 70% to 90% of clicks come from, so if you’re not there you’re losing a major chance at viewership and conversion.

If, for example, you’re in a large city and you own a bar, how many bars do you think are in your area? A lot, right? It’s possible to slip below the first page even within your own city, especially if you’re competing with large places or chain franchises that have years of experience in gaining customers.

Having good SEO means that you have a competitive edge in the digital marketing realm. You’ll have less of a struggle drawing new customers to you.

How Does SEO Work?

SEO works with various algorithms to determine how “valuable” your website is and how relevant it would be to a user’s queries. Think of it from the customer side: if you’re searching for something on Google, what are you hoping to find?

Google is pretending, for all intents and purposes, to be a user. It scans your website to determine how much of what you have is of value.

If your website is almost blank, unresponsive, overcrowded, or too “loud”, the “scanner” might consider it low-quality, meaning that no one is going to want to use it. If they have another option for the same query that’s neat, well laid-out, responsive, and seems to have useful content, that one is going to be boosted above your website.

There are hundreds of ranking factors that Google uses in order to make its decisions about your website. On-page factors include things like content and keywords, optimized videos, page speed, and optimized photos (among other things). Off-page SEO factors in things that are largely out of your control, like how your page is linked from other sources.

These things combine together to help Google understand how useful you’ll be to someone using their service.

What Goes Into Good SEO?

There are plenty of things that factor into good SEO. It’s best to have an expert, Like Cube Interactive, work with you when you’re first getting started to help boost you up.

There are a few things that you can do on your own, and ways that you can make your website more SEO-friendly.

As we mentioned, video and photo optimization contribute to good SEO. Similarly, if you want good local SEO, you’re going to be localizing your business and utilizing local keywords to attract audiences in your area.

Mobile SEO is going to include anything that helps to make your website more mobile-friendly. When your website is up on a cell phone, what does it look like? Is it easy to navigate?

A website doesn’t only have to be easy to traverse, it also has to be valuable to a searcher.

This is why content is so important in the SEO world. When you see a blog on someone’s website that’s full of industry-related information, that blog serves multiple purposes.

On one end, it’s utilizing keywords to bring itself up on the Google ranks. It’s also providing value to anyone searching for those keywords by providing informative or entertaining content.

An SEO-optimized site is going to be as user-friendly as possible.

What Is Bad SEO?

SEO can be done wrong. Black hat SEO is something that’s penalized by Google. It goes against Google’s TOS despite being “effective” on paper.

This includes things like keyword stuffing, link schemes, reporting competitors, duplicating content, or including pages with any kind of hacking or phishing material.

While some of these things seem as though they would help your SEO scores, in reality, they’re providing no value to the people submitting the search queries.

In other words, attempts to “trick” the system are going to be ineffective.

How’s Your On-Page SEO?

Do you think that your website’s SEO is up to snuff? Having good SEO practices brings new customers your way. So how does SEO work? It works for you!

If you’re looking for help getting your SEO started, contact an SEO expert to get started and watch your website rise up the rankings.

To learn more about tech, marketing, and SEO, check out the other articles on our site!

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