How SEO On The Web Works

SEO. If you’ve been reading about website development or marketing online in the last few years, you’ve probably seen this term thrown around all over the place. But what does it mean? We put our heads together to offer our two pence on how SEO on the web works.

SEO or search engine optimisation, is a form of marketing. Or to explain it more clearly, SEO is a form of marketing based around the ways a search engine (like Google) ranks content in its search listings.

And to some extent, the way this works is down to links and references from other pages. Each page that links to yours is another link, and the more high quality links you have leading to the page, the higher it’ll rank for relevant keywords.

Time for an example: If you’ve got two websites, one called Bob’s Widgets and one called Tom’s widgets and both are trying to rank higher for ‘best paid widgets’…

Bob’s Widgets has a few hundred links from good sites (like the BBC, New York Times and Wikipedia) and Tom’s Widgets has only three links from its sister websites.

Bob’s Widgets will obviously rank a lot higher on the search engines. Simple so far.

Important to note is that the links to Bob’s Widgets were from good sites. Link spamming, ie submitting your site to every service on the planet and pasting your link into every and any comment area that allows doesn’t help your site rank. Google and other search engines are wise to the trickery and may even penalise your site for ‘unnatural links’. So the first answer to wow SEO on the web works? is via the positive endorsement of good quality, honest links. Try and cheat and you may end up watching your site slide quickly into the abyss, that’s page 999 on Google.

Figure 1: SEO, what not to do!

How SEO on the web works - Figure 1
So, you need to be smart about your marketing. And this comes down to focusing on two important parts of the SEO equation;

  • on site SEO
  • and off site SEO

On site SEO is pretty simple, and is the kind of thing handled by a good web design agency who will produce good quality code and use the best SEO plugins for systems like WordPress. You make sure your site’s pages have relevant titles that describe their content and aren’t duplicated from anywhere else. You use the keywords you want to target the page for in a way that’s both consistent enough to be relevant and natural enough not to come across as a spammer. You might use image describing attributes, video subtitles, schema markups etc. All the stuff that makes your page come across as semantic and human readable at the same time.

Off site SEO involves marketing on resources you can’t directly control. And how that works is a whole different ball game. It’s very similar to traditional marketing (just on the internet). You come up with interesting content that gets people interested in your product or service, and you try and build authoritative links to that.

On a more proactive level, you can do this by sending out press releases to relevant news sites in an attempt to make them cover your product or service. Or by writing a high quality guest article that’s both related to your brand and interesting to read for your prospective customers. So if your company is a Widget company you’d send out press releases about why Widgets are so important to a business and how the latest Widgets can be used to make a company much more successful. You’d write tutorials about Widgets, comment on other Widget news and start discussions on Widget related subjects.

It is essential to be able to write content that people want to link to and share online. This could be an infographic about your area of business that distils a bunch of facts into a clear and easy to read format. It could be a joke article that applies your area of business to a fictional universe or scenario that people might like to discuss online (such as how much money the Death Star might have needed for its construction in the Star Wars universe). It might even be a short quiz or series of video tutorials about your industry.

Either way, the point is simple; you want to provide content that people will want to link to. Like perhaps on their personal blog, or on social media, or on an internet forum dedicated to whatever you’re trying to market. You’re not trying to trick people into clicking through to your site when it isn’t at all relevant to their query, you’re trying to provide content people want to link to and share of their own accord. That makes people remember your website further down the road, while simultaneously providing Google with the trust signals needed to rank your page high.

How does SEO on the web work? In short, SEO is the art of marketing websites for Google and other search engines by providing users with useful, well thought out information in a semantically structured way.

Need help with your SEO? Here at Xanda where The Web Works, we know how to handle every aspect of the process and boost your site up Google’s rankings in the process. Why not get in touch: 0208 44 44 757.

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