How SEO works
How SEO works: Imagine a search engine like being a big marketplace, and the internet user who uses the search engine is like the guy walking into the marketplace and looking for what he wants. However, display ads are like door-to-door salespeople knocking at different doors to try to sell something. The buyers are not interested, and they did not welcome the salesman.
Buyer intent is clearly expressed in search engines compared to any other digital medium. That’s why SEO and SEM are one of the most essential components of digital marketing.
Marketer’s Approach: You want high rankings but getting to the top in Search Engines is not about trying to trick the search engines. You get good rankings by building a quality site and good user experience, not by using tricks. Focus on quality and the rankings will follow. It works the same way in business: If you focus on the money you’ll probably make less money. But if you focus on creating a great customer experience then the money will follow.
Your motivation – you want high rankings.
You want high rankings so that visitors will come to your site, subscribe to your newsletter, buy your products, and hire you as their coach. But search engines control your rankings! So, in order to get high rankings, you need to do the things that search engines consider important. You need to appeal to the search engine motivation.
Search engine motivation – to have lots of people use the search engine.
Search engines such as Google and Yahoo want a lot of people to utilize their services so search engines can make money. So, they need searchers. But, in order to attract searchers, they need to appeal to the searchers’ motivation.
Searchers’ motivation – relevant results, fast.
Searchers are on a quest for something when they go to a search engine – information, product, fun, whatever. They want answers fast too. Waiting even five extra seconds for a page to load will result in people giving up, and moving on.
So what does this tell us?
That in order for you to get high rankings, you need to create a website that appeals to the motivation of searchers. That is, a website that provides highly relevant, and quality results, and can do it quickly.
And that’s the rule of thumb: In order to get high rankings, you need to do things that help people get relevant and quality results fast.
Search Engines Approach: Google has the lion’s share of the search engine market. Google wants to list the best sites first, because if Google returns bad sites then people will start using Yahoo or Bing instead. Ideally, Google would want to review each and every page on the internet manually and rank them on the search engine result pages, for every keyword, based on the quality and relevancy.
But the internet is too large, and there are hundreds of millions of pages. So they have built an algorithm that automates this process. The algorithm checks each page for quality and relevancy and then ranks it accordingly. The algorithm is the core of the search engine. For Google’s algorithm to decide which pages are useful and which pages are not, they need signals. What signals? Quality and Relevancy signals!
Quality: If you are searching for “top 10 laptops” and if there are 50 websites who have written articles about top laptops in the market, you would want the highest quality result to appear on the top. You might not want to read lower quality articles.
Relevancy: If you are searching for “top 10 laptops” and if the search engine shows results for “top 10 mobile phones”, the result will not be useful for you even if the page about the top 10 mobile phones is of superb quality. It is not relevant to you and hence not useful to you.
Who sends those signals? Your website users and you, the website owner
Website User Signals – Search engines track user behavior on a site to try to find out the quality and the relevance of the website and the pages inside it.
- Off-Page SEO- The page is considered an authority about its topic/ Getting links to your pages from other sites, especially from pages similar in content / If a user finds an article useful and relevant, he will share it on social media.(Social Signals) / He may link to the article from his blog or a discussion forum. (Backlinks) / Giving Reviews or writing something about your websites.
- Visit your website through links- Click on your Ads/links as SEM, Display ads, SMO, SMM, Blogs etc.
- Good CTR- Ratio between Impression and Clicks
- Low bounce rate- Visitor doesn’t hit the back button on the browser after clicking on your link in SERP
- Page loading speed- Visitor doesn’t close the tab as the site load fast.
- UXD- Visitor spends a lot of time on your website as it provides a good user experience
- Pageviews- Visitor spends lot of time visiting several pages of the website as there is good & useful content.
- Time spent on-site- Visitor spends a lot of time on the page reading the article.
- Navigational Search- It happens when there is good physical branding of your website/product.
Webmaster Signals (On-Page SEO and using Webmaster tools)
Google also wants signals from webmasters (website owners) about the type of content that is available on our websites. These signals are predominantly relevant signals than quality signals. Because every webmaster would claim that their content is of the best quality!
Webmaster Signals: (See On-Page SEO Notes)
Notes- Search Engine checks itself
- The page is relevant to the terms being searched for
- The page has been around for a while
- The page is part of a site with lots of information
- The page isn’t filled with a cheap list of keywords
So, What Search Engines Are Looking For
- Content: Websites with good content, easy-to-access content, and large amounts of content get higher search rankings than websites with less, poor or hard-to-find content.
- Popularity: Websites with lots of links to it are more valuable than a similar website with fewer links to it. And links from relevant websites that also have high rankings results in more popularity.
- Accessibility: Websites that are easy for people to get to, load up fast, and are easy-to-use are better than ones that are inaccessible, slow, and confusing.
- Authority: Does your site have good enough content to link to or do other authoritative sites use your website as a reference or cite the information that’s available?
- User Experience: How does the site look? Is it easy to navigate around? Does it look safe? Does it have a low bounce rate?
What Search Engines Are NOT Looking For
- Keyword Stuffing: Overuse of keywords on your pages.
- Purchased Links: Buying links will get you nowhere when it comes to SEO, so be warned.
- Poor User Experience: Make it easy for the user to get around. Too many ads and making it too difficult for people to find the content they’re looking for will only increase your bounce rate. If you know your bounce rate it will help determine other information about your site. For example, if it’s 80 percent or higher and you have content on your website, something is wrong.
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