Four Things to Know About How SEO Really Works
by Robert McNicholas on June, 28 2017
You know that SEO is important, but you’re not really sure how it works? You’re not alone. We’ve got your answers right here.
If you’ve read our previous post, What Is Search Engine Optimization, you already know that SEO is what ranks your website at the top of the list – or somewhere in the middle. And you may know that choosing and placing keywords that describe your business is important.
But that seems too simple for something that fuels entire companies and countless websites. So what else is going on with SEO?
SEO: What Else Should You Know?
Upfront, I’m going to tell you that unless you have a wildly specific niche – like being Jacksonville’s top local importer of Darjeeling tea – you should consult an SEO professional to guide you through the maze of competition, keywords (i.e. search terms), and rules that surround search engine optimization.
But as I have said before, an informed consumer is always a good thing. So for those of you who want to know a little bit more about the mysterious force that is SEO, know that:
- It’s about more than just content. Yes, having good quality content is and always will be king. But your SEO ranking is about more than the quality and quantity of content on your site. It’s about more than putting keywords in page titles, headings, subheadings, and tags. The age of your site, how many trusted sites link back to it, and even how your site is structured all influence your ranking. The older the site and the more high-quality sites link back to it, the better its reputation. The better a site’s reputation, the higher it will appear in the search results.
- SEO is a little different for each search engine. The basics will always be the same: keywords, reputation, etc. However, Bing may want things just slightly different than Google does. Facebook has some extra areas that an SEO practitioner needs to address. While it’s tempting to stick with Google for all your search results, you’d be losing out on quite a piece of the pie by doing so.
- Rules and rankings change, but the basics don’t. Google, in particular, is well-known for occasionally shaking up SEO factors. Actually, they adjust their SEO algorithms frequently; only rarely do they really change the rules in a way that impacts more than a handful of sites. However, when major SEO rules do change, it can cause a previously high-ranking site to drop considerably. (This is rare, but it does happen.) These tweaks and changes aren’t down to Google being mean; they underscore the effort made to get the best quality search results for human audiences. Search engines, as it turns out, can be gamed. And that leads us to the next point.
- There are right and wrong ways to SEO. For almost as long as there have been search engines, there have been unethical people trying to claw their way to the top of the list – any list, even one that has nothing to do with their actual site. These gave birth to “black-hat” (i.e. evil villain) SEO techniques like having a huge number of purchased backlinks and artificially pumping up the keywords in site content. Stay far away from these techniques; they’ll get your site penalized or dropped altogether. The “white-hat” (i.e. good guy) techniques mentioned in this post are acceptable.
As you can see, SEO is anything but an easy, one-and-done activity. That’s why many people choose to hire it out. We’ll explain more about this process in an upcoming article on the Techsperts blog. Subscribe so you don’t miss it!