What is SEO and how does it work

Ever wondered why some organic search engine listings with seemingly inferior content outrank others that host more refined, higher quality content?  If yes then you’ve had a first-hand experience of the powers of SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO short for Search Engine Optimization is the contextual methods and processes involved in attaining higher organic or natural listings on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). The main aim of doing this as you would have already guessed is to drive website traffic. And given that users search the web approx. 6.5 billion times every day, suffice it to say that it is indeed a potent way of driving web traffic.

How does it work?

The main aim of any search engine be it Google, Bing or DuckDuckGO is to provide its users with the best possible results as is related to their search query. To do this most of these search engines have developed a complex set of programmed rules and instructions, algorithms if you like, that guide web crawlers to list sites in decreasing order of relevance and perceived quality on the search page. In the early days of the internet, most of this algorithms were designed to list websites with more backlinks (a website’s link on another site) higher than others.

Not long after many webmasters realized this and began spamming links on whichever website they could lay their hands on. Then there was the keywords rave, and it wasn’t infrequent to stumble upon a site on the SERP saturated with keywords associated with your search query but with little or no value whatsoever as regards the answers you were looking for. The idea this time was that the more a site mentions your keyword, the higher the chances of it housing the needed info. As with the first scenario, this was radically exploited by savvy webmasters and SEO specialists.

The good news, however, was that Search Engines were all the while on top of the situation, with Google releasing its Penguin and Panda updates to combat illegitimate link building and keyword spamming respectively. But if not by this savvy ‘black hat’ techniques as they are called, how then do I conduct my SEO audit?

SEO fundamentals

In very plain terms, there’s no shortcut to SEO. If you want your site to consistently rank topmost of Google’s page listing, emphasis on consistently, then you must dedicate time and effort towards delivering premium content. Granted there’s bound to be one or two black hat techniques in the rave now, but over time as we have come to discover, these will be detected and patched by search engine administrators. That said there are some ‘whitehat’ tips you should consider provided you already have quality content.

  • Top of the list is your page speed. Is your page riddled with ads and plugins that make it difficult to load?
  • Is your site mobile friendly, given that up to 50% of web users access sites from their phones, search engines want to present to them something that’s easily accessible on mobile
  • How effective is your contextual keyword placement?
  • Age of website. Yup, Google respects age.
  • Your social signal. Are you driving in user engagement?
  • Website structure. Is your website a mashed up conglomerate of otherwise reasonable info?
  • And finally backlinks, yeah, not spammy backlinks like in the past, but contextual backlinks from niche related websites. But go easy on this, anything out of the regular and Google unleashes its fiery wrath.

If you fall short in any of the aforementioned, it’s time to get your put on SEO hats on and get on with the SEO game. Trust us it’s a game that produces the best winners if it is played diligently and by the rules.

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