What is SEO and How Does It Work?
July 22, 2021
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an important part of marketing in today’s day and age. However, SEO is a relatively new form of marketing, and as a result, it is not the easiest thing for people to wrap their heads around, at least not right away, anyway. SEO is not the most complicated thing in the world, but that does not mean that there are not more subtle aspects of SEO that need to be understood before one can go all-in on it.
Understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is, to put it simply, a process of marketing your website — and by extension, your company — through search engines such as Google. This is done by making web pages on your website rank more highly on certain search terms than competing websites. Search engines work in a particular way, utilizing a complex algorithm to deliver to people searching for things the highest-quality results possible. Basically, SEO is a common tool for smaller companies to be able to compete with each other, as well as even bigger companies in the best-case scenario. Unlike traditional advertising, SEO is designed to be more organic in nature, relying on marketing growth occurring naturally instead of having to be shoved in everyone’s faces. This has the added benefit of people looking at the content that shows up in the search results as being more authentic, whereas they may look at a paid advertisement and think that it is not there because it is a good webpage, but it is there because someone paid to get it there. As such, they may well be inclined to ignore it entirely.
To utilize SEO properly and efficiently, a website owner should utilize articles with good keyword density. The goal of these articles is to basically attract people who may be interested in your brand and the services and/or products. However, it is not as simple as making pages that will show up on a search for, say, “lawyers in [state]” or something even more specific. Granted, this is a kind of keyword that would be valuable for your business, but you should not rely on these kinds of keywords excessively. Rather, it is useful to also have keywords as well that are not directly related to your website’s service, but also ones that may be relevant to the kinds of people who may want your services. For example, let’s say that your website is for a law firm with a specialty in personal injury cases. In this case, you could have articles that are designed to actually provide a service that would help them avoid suffering a personal injury or avoid contributing to the personal injury of another. Guides to help make your home relatively injury-proof, what to keep an eye out for so that you do not yourself suffer from an injury, how to treat a slip and fall injury, etc.
The important thing to know is that there are multiple ways to get people coming to your website through SEO tips, some of which being more effective than others. These are referred to as Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO. Black Hat SEO focuses on quick gains using tactics that are less than ideal. These may have short-term gains associated with them, but some major risks could hurt you in the long term. For example, if you pack your articles too densely with certain keywords, Google is going to notice that, particularly because it does not read as natural or quality text. In fact, Google has specific algorithms that look over this kind of thing, and if you get caught doing it, it is going to hurt your ability to rank highly on Google searches in the future. In fact, Google can outright make sure that your website cannot even rank in the first place, essentially making your website dead in the water. Other Black Hat SEO tactics are often utilized; for example, you can even make your text invisible to stuff even more keywords into the article without the readers actually noticing. The issue at play is that Google will notice. People also pepper irrelevant links throughout the page, which does not do you any favors either. Worse yet is the practice of duplicating content through your website, trying to take one article, and spreading that article as far as it can go.
This should not make you paranoid, however; so long as the content reads well, Google is not likely to flag it as problematic. Some things are harder to notice than others, though, so if you still feel skeptical about the quality of your articles and whether the keyword density is appropriate, you can always consult an SEO marketing agency expert. If you want to have a successful marketing campaign, this is absolutely the best option to take.
White Hat SEO absolutely requires a lot more effort, and inevitably, increased cost as well. After all, if you want to get a better-quality service, you better be ready to pay better-quality prices. As mentioned above, having content that is relevant to your readership is paramount to getting them interested in your website and, as a result, click through to the pages you want them to see in the end. You should also make sure that you use images to an appropriate degree; use too few images, and readers may become disengaged with the content. However, if you use too many, it can not only make the article seem messy but also actually make it take longer for the article to load. This discourages the readers from staying on the webpage, and if a lot of readers are clicking off your webpage too early, this will reflect poorly through the Google algorithm. You should also ensure that the links and references used within the article are valuable to your readers. Good grammar and spelling, as well as making sure the article is not too complex, go a long way to making readers actually enjoy reading the text. If the article reads too sloppy or too indecipherable, they are more than likely going to show their impatience. You should also ensure that you take care of your HyperText Markup Language, or HTML is up to snuff. A well-made website goes a very long way to keeping readers around, especially as far as getting them to navigate to other parts of your website. If it’s too much of a hassle to do that, then they will be off your website right quick.