If you still don’t know what SEO is and how it works, this article is exactly what you need to read! Especially in the world of Digital Marketing, these three letters are increasingly in evidence. And with the growing growth of the internet, we will hear more and more about it. You may not master the subject, not even be an expert, but it is crucial to understand what SEO is and how it works. So our goal in this article is to provide material where you can understand the “magic” behind these three little letters that make a big difference in the digital world!
Therefore, we will look at the following topics:
- What is SEO?
- How Do Search Engines Work?
- How does SEO impact the ranking of a website?
- Basic SEO Techniques
- What is On-Page SEO and how it works?
- What is Off-Page SEO and how it works?
- SEO Conclusion
What is SEO?
The letters SEO are short for Search Engine Optimization. And that is exactly what SEO is, an optimization of your page focusing on getting the best results within search engines such as Google. It is through SEO tools and techniques that you can have a good digital presence.
To understand a little better, just compare the digital medium with some aspects of traditional advertising. To generate recognition, big brands had to invest to get their name on TV commercials, city banners, newspaper and magazine ads, and more.
In the digital world, we use digital marketing resources, including SEO strategies, to gain more visibility. The closer you get to the first results in a search engine, the more relevant it is. So you can probably get more organic traffic. Just watch how you act while looking for something in these mechanisms. You probably always choose at least one page from the first page of results. We often don’t even get to the second page of results.
How Do Search Engines Work?
Before we go any further, it is important to know that a search engine is like an index on the internet. Through it, you can search by subject and get various results. It’s up to you to choose which one you want to access. Over the years, these mechanisms have increasingly been refined for one purpose: quality information. That is, the reason for the success of engines like Google or Bing, is to deliver what you are looking for in the first results.
If you imagine a search where there will be thousands of results without any organization. You would probably waste a lot of time finding a page with quality content. Therefore, we can imagine that the ideal is to keep the results organized so that the user finds what he wants as quickly as possible. This is how search engines set out to do.
This is possible because these search engines use algorithms that can parse everything on a web page. This way they can store this information in their data center. With this, the algorithm identifies several characteristics, which can make them better classified or not. The more quality information on your page, the higher your rank will be. Of course, this also involves characteristics not only of the text but also of the code organization, title hierarchy, accessibility, speed, among others. Therefore, everything you do on a site can change your ranking for search engines, such as Google.
Through SEO techniques, we can customize our pages to achieve better results in these rankings. This way, we let Google or other search engines identify that your content is what the user is looking for.
How does SEO impact the ranking of a website?
Search engines are getting better and better. A while ago, even a site with no relevant content could be at the top of the ranking just by using backlinks. But the algorithms are getting better and better with criteria to really deliver the best. So by using tools like Google, Bing and other search engines, we get reliable results with quality content.
There are currently several factors that directly influence a page’s rank. Understanding how they work can greatly help your online business and is critical to gaining authority on the Internet. This is why SEO is one of the key features of digital marketing today.
At first, it is important to understand that SEO today is related to the whole of your page. Therefore, from its content, even its layout and coding can interfere with ranking. And not only that. The whole relationship of your page with other pages, as well as social networks, can also interfere with this ranking. That is, we can apply both internal and external techniques to the page. This is what we call on-page SEO or off-page SEO.
The BackLinko has made a list containing 210 ranking factors for search engines that impact your ranking in 2019. Through this list, we can summarize the main factors presented in:
- Referring domains;
- Organic click-through-rate;
- Domain authority;
- Mobile usability;
- Dwell time;
- Total number of backlinks;
- Content quality;
- On-page SEO.
Basic SEO Techniques
Now that you know what SEO is and how it works, you may be interested in applying the techniques on your site. You can usually find what search engines use for ranking in your own documentation. Google provides a Starter Guide within its general guidelines, which can be very helpful for beginners.
What is On-Page SEO and how it works?
There are some parts of a page that are most relevant to search engines. Therefore, these parts can be optimized for these search engines.
This way, we perform On-Page SEO, that is, SEO within the page. This type of optimization is performed both on the technical part of the page and on content parts. That is, everything that is within the site or page.
They are critical for search engines to realize that your content is related to what the user is looking for.
Here are some on-page SEO factors:
- Title and Description
- Friendly URLs
- Heading Tags
- Image Optimization
- Responsive Design
- Page Loading Speed
- Length of stay
- Internal and External Links
- HTML semantics
- HTTPS / SSL Certificate
When it comes to SEO, content is the most important part of a website. As important as all other techniques are, we should never put them above good content.
This is because search engine algorithms are increasingly being optimized to find quality content.
So a good SEO strategy has to go along with great content, otherwise, it won’t work.
Some tips for maintaining good content optimization:
- Always keep a keyword in mind and try to use it in at least 1% to 2.5% of the text, no more;
- Related words are taken into consideration, so try searching for terms within the area to maintain good semantics in the content;
- Have a scannable content that is easy to read and suitable for the internet;
- Avoid long paragraphs;
- Make proper use of Heading Tags;
- Use bullet points, bold, italic;
- Insert at least one image with alternative text;
- Enter at least one internal link and one external link related to your content;
- For publications, have at least 300 words in your content.
Title and Description
Both the title of a page and its description are very important HTML meta tags to search engines. Below is a result of the search for “CopaHost Blog” on Google:
The title of each page is not necessarily the same as the title of the main page. Usually, as in the title above, we find a title for the page along with the main title.
Note that the title must be occupied by the keyword. He should also describe well what it is about. Also note that word order is important: the former are more relevant than the latter. So always try to put your keyword on the left. Another tip is to keep a number of approximately 65 characters for the title. Do not exceed 75 characters or leave less than 50 characters.
As for the description, the tips are similar to those of the title. But the difference is that you can enjoy the larger space. Therefore, take the opportunity to try to explore the curiosity of the user. Try “call to action” techniques to get the user’s attention and invite them to your page.
Using friendly URLs is a great technique for ranking a page in search engines. This is because the algorithm can identify keywords also within the URL of your page. So the friendlier she is, the better. Avoid using any word other than your keyword in the URL.
SEO best practices for a friendly URL are:
- include the keyword;
- be short and easily interpretable;
- contain hyphens to separate words;
- be related to the post title.
The choice of keywords is the basis of an SEO strategy. Therefore, identifying which are the most common searches in your niche and thus getting keywords is one of the essential steps to achieve success while producing content.
Header or title tags are essential for identifying the priority of page content. In HTML, there are six header tags, <h1> being the most important and <h2> to <h6> used as secondary titles.
This way, the algorithm can identify the hierarchy of its content.
This makes search engines more easily identify the main themes covered on the page, as well as optimizing text reading.
Here are some tips for SEO in Heading tags that you can use:
- Try using H1, H2, and H3 in your content;
- always include the keyword in H1 and if possible in H2;
- have only one H1 per page;
- H4 forward are aesthetic, so it makes no difference to search engines whether to use an H4, H5, or H6.
Search engines do not see the image the same way as the user. It interprets the image through textual elements. Therefore, you need to pay attention to some elements when using an image on your page.
Try to keep the filename with the keyword, separated by hyphens, without using spaces.
Always use the alt attribute, that is, alternate text, in your images. It is one of the most important factors for image SEO. They serve for:
- Screen readers: Mainly used by the visually impaired. The reader reads and recites the alternate text to the user.
- broken image description: If the image link is broken, the alternate text will appear instead.
- textual description of the image for search engines.
You can make a literal description of the image in the alternate text. However, some argue that it is best to merge the literal description and the keyword into the alternative text.
It is important that you also pay attention to the size of the image. Very heavy images may unnecessarily overload your page. Therefore, always try to use the proper resolution and minimize image files.
Accessibility and user experience are now considered important for a good SEO strategy. Therefore, the responsive design could not be left out. The amount of traffic through smartphones and tablets is increasing every day, so having a page ready for these devices is essential.
A responsive website means that it fits any screen size. And its layout improves to bring a better experience. That is, it is as if we have two or more Layouts, one for each screen size. Nowadays, it is common practice to create mobile-first pages, that is, to create layouts thinking initially on mobile devices.
Page Loading Speed
Web page load time is a factor that directly affects your search engine rankings.
Therefore, the faster your page loads, the better your page speed score.
Length of stay
Length of stay is more important than the number of clicks your site receives.
It’s better to have a user who stays on your page for one minute than ten who closes in less than ten seconds.
Therefore, it is important to have a good layout, a good user experience, and great content.
Internal and External Links
The internet as we know it today is what it is thanks to the possibility of links between various documents. Therefore, using links on your page is a way of letting you know that it is related to more content.
Therefore, it is important to always keep a link to some internal content within your domain.
It’s also interesting that you have at least one link to external content, ie outside your domain.
Since version 5 of HTML, tags have semantic value.
Therefore, it is essential to understand how HTML5 works, as well as the main HTML tags, to make the code semantically appropriate.
HTTPS / SSL Certificate
For both Google and other major search engines, Security is a top priority.
Therefore, the HTTPS protocol is a ranking factor for sites.
With this protocol, the data sent is authenticated, encrypted and cannot be modified during transfer, ensuring user and server security.
In order to use the HTTPS protocol, you must obtain an SSL certificate. There are several models of SSL certificates.
What is Off-Page SEO and how it works?
Off-page SEO represents all activities performed outside the site’s domain, but that directly affects your ranking. That is, are the factors external to your site.
These factors are very important because through them we can identify the authority of your content and website. The better your content, the more people will talk about you, generating authority on that subject. Consequently, its content is more relevant to search engines.
Understanding how these off-page SEO factors works can help you reach your goals. Among the off-page SEO factors, we can highlight:
Link building is the most relevant off-page SEO technique. With it, you can ensure the authority of your domain and page. Therefore, your site stands out and can become a reference for search engines.
Basically, Link Building acts as indications. Every site that links to a page of yours indicates that its content is relevant. Therefore, the more references you have, the better your content and the more relevant it is.
These generated links are what we call backlinks.
However, it is not that simple. Search engines also take into account the authority of the generated backlinks. That is, it is better to get a backlink from a page that already has authority and relevance than one that has no prominence. Therefore, the higher the relevance of the link pointing to your site, the higher its relevance.
It is also important to get authoritative backlinks on the same topic you are addressing. If you get backlinks from topics that have nothing to do with yours, the relevance of those links won’t be that great.
To ensure authority on the internet, link building is one of the top strategies. However, there are other factors that interfere with your authority and are taken into consideration by search engines.
One of these factors is the authority of a domain. Generally, older domains have greater authority than newer domains. Just as authority is also related to the amount of content a domain has.
Another important thing is the presence of the brand. It does not influence your domain authority. However, brand presence directly influences researchers’ trust in your brand. The more reliable your brand, the greater your digital presence.
Some factors that may influence your brand presence:
- Mention of a brand name without a link on websites and portals;
- Consolidated YouTube Presence;
- Positive user rating on Google;
- A solid and engaged fan base on social networks.
Your relationship with social media also directly interferes with your Authority, especially in the presence of the brand and also in the generation of backlinks.
Social Signals are the number of mentions and shares of your brand on social networks.
So if your brand is involved in social media, it will have a greater presence and authority online.
This way, it will already be ranked high in the search engines.
In addition, social media greatly influence the results of organic search.
With all the content of this article, you are already well prepared to understand an SEO strategy. Now you know what SEO is and how it works.
Of course, to do something bigger, you need to dig deeper into the subject. Also, it’s important to be aware of search engines and understand what matters to your algorithms. The tendency is for SEO strategies to change over time. This article is just a base for you to understand the basics of SEO and how it works. But now you can delve into the subjects you want.
The world of SEO goes much further, and there are many tools on the market that can help you leverage your business in the digital world.
Not forgetting that, increasingly, the tendency is to prioritize the quality of content. So, as Matt Cutts himself (Google engineer) says, “Content is king.”
Good content will always be the best SEO strategy for any website!