What Does SEO Stand for and How Does it Work?
Are you looking to learn more about SEO and how it works? Wondering what SEO stands for?
You’re in the right place. Let’s begin.
What Does SEO Stand For?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a process of optimizing your website to receive more organic, unpaid traffic by ranking higher in search engine results for keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business.
In layman’s terms, SEO focuses on getting you more website visitors who are interested in your products and services, without paying for advertising. Typically, most people focus on improving their search engine rank in Google but optimizing your website to rank better in Bing is important too.
Why Does SEO Matter?
According to statistics, 93% of all website traffic is driven by search engines. That is a lot of potential free traffic and website visitors you could be missing out on if you don’t optimize your website for SEO.
Another reason why SEO matters, is that organic traffic is usually of higher quality than leads coming from paid ads. People who see your ad may or may not be interested in your particular product or service when they see the ad.
But visitors coming to your website because they clicked on a search result that led them to a page on your site are highly interested in what you have to offer. They are actively searching for it and have better chances of converting than traffic coming from ads.
How SEO Works?
So now that we’ve covered what SEO stands for and why it’s important, let’s go over how SEO works and what it involves.
When people want information on a particular topic, they often turn to the internet and start searching for relevant information. Search engines, like Google, want to deliver the best possible results to their users (and the best user experience at the same time).
In order to deliver the most relevant results, search engines will crawl website pages to understand what each website is about. They will also scan each website to determine how easy it is to use, read, and navigate as well as how fast each website loads.
Search engines will then use their algorithm to process and organize the information they’ve gathered. Pages that have highly relevant information to the term that a user searched for and that provide the best user experience will rank higher in search engine result pages (SERPs).
As you might imagine, there are a lot of factors that play a role in search rankings. They include on-page and off-page ranking signals so let’s go over them below.
On-Page SEO Factors
On-page SEO factors are elements on your website that you have complete control over. You can implement various tweaks to improve those factors and improve your SEO rank over time. They include:
- Title Tag – the title tag tells the search engine what each page on your website is about. It should be between 60 -70 characters and you should include your primary keyword as well as your business name.
- Meta Description – The meta description tells the search engines what your website as a whole is about. This also appears in the description below your website’s result on SERPs. The meta description should be between 150–160 characters and should include your keyword along with a meaningful description of what your website is about.
- Headings and subheadings — headings and subheadings make your content easier to read and provide further context for your content to both search engines and your visitors.
- Internal Links – links that point to other pages on your website help search engines learn more about your website. For example, a blog post on your site could link to a product in your shop or your about page could link to your services page.
- Image names and ALT tags — images get indexed by search engines too which is why you have to include an image title and an ALT tag. The title and the ALT tag should accurately describe the image as this provides context not only for the search engines but also for screen readers which makes your website more accessible.
While these factors should include keywords that are relevant to your business, keep in mind that you shouldn’t cram as many keywords as you can. This is seen as keyword stuffing and will lead to your site being penalized by Google and other search engines.
Off-Page SEO Factors
Off-page SEO factors are elements that you don’t have direct control over but there are a few ways to make sure these factors don’t have a negative impact on your SEO rank. They include:
- Trust – trust is an important factor in how Google ranks your site. You can improve your site’s trust by getting other reputable sites to link back to your website. Another way to improve your site’s trust is to use the HTTPS protocol and have an active SSL certificate.
- Links – as mentioned earlier, links are a good way to build trust in your site. However, it’s not just other sites linking to you. Search engines will also pay attention to what website’s you’re linking to.
- Social – social signals such as likes and shares are another important factor when it comes to off-page SEO. Focus on getting quality shares from influencers and reputable sites in your industry.
Use Content Marketing To Improve Your SEO Rank
A great way to improve your SEO is to use content marketing to your advantage. Content such as blog posts, articles, case studies, video, and podcast episodes are effective means of attracting search engines and showing them that your website is regularly updated.
The more quality content you have on your site, the more chances search engines get to index your site as each piece of content is a new page to crawl and organize with their algorithm.
Quality content will also help your website visitors engage with your website through comments and shares. It will also encourage them to spend more time on your site and they will be more inclined to make a purchase.
Another benefit of using content marketing to improve your SEO rank is that each new piece of content gives you an opportunity to incorporate your keywords and phrases in a natural way.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you have to create content daily. Start off with a few quality, in-depth blog posts, articles, or tutorials on a topic relevant to what you have to offer. Figure out how much time you can devote to content creation and stick to a regular schedule. Even publishing one quality blog post every week is better than posting sporadically or not at all.
Start Optimizing Your Website For SEO
The most important takeaway from this article is that SEO is a long-term strategy that has many benefits for your business. When implemented correctly, your website will not only get more traffic but you will also see an increase in your leads and sales.
The next step is to take the tips we shared here and use them to start optimizing your website for SEO.