What is SEO? A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding SEO
October 13, 2023
If you've ever wondered why some websites rank higher on search engine results than others, you've already encountered the mysterious world of SEO.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is a crucial component of any successful digital marketing strategy. But what is SEO? How does it work? And why should you care?
To fully appreciate its importance, we need to start from the beginning. Let's dive in.
What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the art and science of making your website attractive to search engines. The more attractive your website is, the higher it appears in search results.
A big part of it is about understanding what people are searching for online, the answers they seek, the words they're using, and the type of content they wish to consume. Knowing the answers to these questions allows you to connect with the people searching online for the solutions you offer.
The next part is taking what you know about how people search and aligning your website’s content to capture it. But SEO isn't just about attracting any traffic—it's about attracting the right traffic. By optimising your site for specific keywords, you can attract people who are likely to be interested in your products or services. And the more relevant traffic you get, the more likely you are to convert those visitors into customers.
Why SEO Matters
Think about the last time you searched for something on Google or your search engine of choice. How many pages of results did you click through?
Data shows that 99.56% of users don’t make it past the first page. In many cases, people don’t go further than the first three or four results. This is why SEO is so important: if your website isn’t displaying in the first handful of results, there’s a good chance nobody will ever find it.
Billions of searches are made every single day. SEO lets us take advantage of the way these engines operate to place our websites higher in results, in turn driving more traffic and, ultimately, conversions.
Compared to other methods of advertising, SEO can also be extremely cost-effective. If you run your strategy right, you can be attracting thousands of page views with very little outlay. If you’ve targeted your keywords correctly, these will be people searching for the very thing you’re offering. There’s nothing better than a lead that searches you out, and not the other way around.
How SEO Works
Search engines like Google and Bing use bots to look at pages on the web, going from site to site, collecting information about those pages, and putting them in an index. Algorithms analyse pages in the index, taking into account hundreds of ranking factors, to determine the order pages should appear in the search results for a given query.
These algorithms are designed to provide users with the most relevant and high-quality results for their search queries. They consider factors like the relevance of your site's content to the search query, the other sites that link to your page, and the user experience on your site. By optimising your site for these factors, you can improve your rankings in the search results and attract more traffic to your site.
Who can do SEO?
You don’t need to be an SEO expert to practice good SEO, although in many cases it can be worth getting some outside help. As we’ll discover, SEO optimisation takes a little bit of technical knowledge and combines it with blog and content writing, before mixing it in with a heavy dollop of marketing outreach. So, to do it yourself, you’ll need a few things:
Access to free or paid keyword research tools
The knack for writing good quality blog posts and content
Access to your website’s backend, and enough basic knowledge to tinker around a bit without breaking anything
Time to spend on your SEO project
There are lots of professional services that can help fill your skill or time gap on your SEO journey. At twodoor marketing, for example, we offer tailored SEO solutions that will help you rank no matter what your budget.
The Different Parts of SEO
The art of SEO can be divided into smaller disciplines that each address an important part of the search equation. Each of these is a part of the same puzzle and should all be considered in your SEO strategy.
On-page SEO focuses on optimising parts of your website that are within your control. This includes things like keyword presence on your pages, header text in your website’s code, and internal links on your site. It's about making sure your website's content is written in a way that both search engines and users can understand.
For example, using your target keywords in your content and your page titles helps search engines understand what your page is about. But it's not just about stuffing as many keywords in as you can—search engines also consider the quality of your content, so it's important to write content that is useful and engaging for users.
Off-page SEO involves improving your site's reputation and authority by having other websites link to it—known as ‘backlinks’ in SEO lingo. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the more reputable your site appears to search engines.
Here it’s really about quality over quantity. A few high-quality backlinks from authoritative sites can be more beneficial than a large number of low-quality backlinks. For example, a link to your page posted on the New York Times website will count a lot more than five links from Dodgy Bob’s Blog Emporium.
Common off-page SEO strategies include things like guest blogging, social media marketing, and influencer marketing.
Technical SEO is all about making your website easier for search engines to find, search and index. The easier you make the robot’s job, the higher it’ll rank you. This can involve things like improving site speed, creating something called an XML sitemap and optimising your website for mobile.
Why do these things matter? A faster site provides a better user experience, which is one of the criteria our search engine bots look at. Similarly, creating an XML sitemap makes it easier for search engines to find and index your pages, making the results more accurate. And with more and more people using mobile devices to access the web, having a mobile-friendly site is more important than ever.
SEO is a complex, ever-changing field, but understanding the basics can make a big difference. Effective SEO can help your website get found, drive traffic, and even boost your online reputation. It's not just about getting more visitors to your site, but about getting the right kind of visitors. And with the right SEO strategy, you can improve your site's visibility and rankings, attract more targeted traffic, and increase your chances of converting visitors into customers.
Ready to dive into the world of SEO? twodoor marketing is here to help. Our SEO experts can help your website rank higher, attract more traffic, and reach your business goals.