When you’re busy running a business, you probably don’t have a whole lot of time to ponder the inner workings of SEO.
You just know that it’s some magical formula for getting your website to rank higher in Google for certain words or phrases. Right?
SEOs are mystical creatures who follow the rules of the Great Google:
Well, actually it’s not magical at all.
In fact, SEO is more mathematical than anything!
The Bare-Bone Basics of SEO
Moz’s definition of SEO is:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
Okay well, that’s great, but it doesn’t really say anything. It covers the what, but not the how, which is obviously the most important part!
Yes, thanks Boromir! You’re right – one paragraph doesn’t really do the job. Here are a couple, though, that should explain it pretty well.
My favorite way to explain SEO is with a wagon wheel (think spokes). All of those spokes work together to create the wheel, which supports our wagon. Each of those spokes represents a different tactic that we use in SEO to get your site found for the right keywords, and the wagon represents your business.
Each unique business will have spokes that do more of the work or are stronger than the others, depending on industry and where your audience is online. However, each SEO wagon wheel has the same basic structure, made of the same tactics.
Google’s algorithm determines which sites rank for which keywords based on a bunch of different factors (“ranking factors”). So, the tactics that SEOs use are all about making those factors stronger on your website.
Some of those ranking factors are:
- How relevant the content on your site is to the searcher’s keyword phrase
- How many other sites around the web are linking to yours
- How trustworthy the other sites are that link to yours
- Is your website fast and easy to browse?
- Do your headlines and title tags have keywords that support the content on the rest of your site?
- How recently your site was updated
- If the searcher is on a mobile phone, is your website mobile friendly?
- How good your content is (it’s not “thin” or short and unnecessary)
- If you’re a local business, do you have great ratings? Is your address the same across the web?
- How many social media shares your site has
SEOs work on all of these things, and a good deal more.
What is SEO?
In a nutshell, an SEO company will take all of those “ranking factors” that we know are true, and the specialists will work to make your site totally awesome at all of them. It takes time to get our changes to take effect, but once they do, seeing the improvements in your traffic is a great, great thing.