How Does Search Engine Optimization Work?

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If you’re a business owner, you know how important it is to have a strong online presence these days–it may even be the most important part of successfully growing your business. And one of the main ways to increase your online visibility is by using organic search engine optimization methods.

SEO strategies are critical to the growth of your online business, and while it can take a long time to reap the rewards of your hard work, the end results are worth the effort, as long as you’re doing it correctly!

But how exactly does SEO work? We know the technical explanations can be a little difficult to follow, especially if you’re just getting started. That’s why below, we’ll explain SEO in simple terms, and even share some tips for improving your website’s rankings. 

The power of recommendations

It may be easier to understand SEO if you take a step back from the technical jargon and look at it this way:

Let’s say a friend comes to you and is looking for advice you can’t necessarily give them–they need help with something you don’t know much about, so you point them in the right direction, towards someone who’s well-versed in the subject.

Because you care about your friend and want them to get the best help possible, you’ll only recommend that they speak to people you know well and trust, yourself; people who you’ve taken time to get to know and with which you’ve established a sense of comfort. Of course, they’ll also have a lot of knowledge in the specific subject about which your friend is seeking help.

If, for example, your friend needs help perfecting a particular recipe, you’d likely sooner tell them to speak to a chef you’ve known for five years than to a cook you only met a week ago–even if they do make great food! Additionally, if they’re looking for a great wine pairing and you have a sommelier friend who’s perfect for the job, you may suggest that your friend seeks advice from that person, too, rather than just the chef. 

Believe it or not, this is the type of process search engines’ algorithms are running behind the scenes every time you search for something. They’re looking to gather as much information as possible so that they can make better recommendations to users who are searching for help; in order for websites to reach the top of search result rankings, they’ll have to first establish trust and prove themselves knowledgeable to the algorithms. 

Make search engine algorithms love your website 

So, the key to getting your website to the top of search results is to get on the good side of search engine algorithms–in other words, to make the search engines like your content and trust you enough to recommend you to all of the people who seek advice from them every day. 

Keep in mind that search engine algorithms are dealing with a lot of websites that cover every subject under the sun–so you’re up against a good amount of competition as you fight to become the most trusted “friend” in your area of expertise. 

That’s where search engine optimization comes in. It’s all about optimizing your website through organic methods so that search engines favor your content and place your website at the top of search results. That’s why it’s vital to understand the best methods for creating higher-ranking content. 

Here are a few SEO best practices to keep in mind as you build your online presence: 

Add content to your website

This is perhaps the most important factor of search engine optimization: your content! Your content is where you can prove to the search engine algorithms (and your audience) that you know what you’re talking about. 

Regularly posting new content–such as blog posts, new web pages, podcasts, and more–to your website is not only one of the best ways to build trust with consumers but also to be more highly favored by search engine algorithms. 

Just like you should continually demonstrate your knowledge on a certain topic in order to garner a spot as a highly recommended individual among friends–like regularly showing up to events as the best-dressed person in the room in order to become the friend everyone turns to for style advice–you’ll have to prove you know your stuff by posting informative content in order to rank higher in search results. 

Algorithms favor content that is informative, unique, new, and filled with the right keywords. This is the magic formula. 

Some people think that all they need to do is stuff keywords into posts. While including keywords (commonly searched terms that are used by your target audience) is definitely important, you should also be delivering quality content on a regular basis. 

Include helpful facts and research in your blog posts, for example, and stay on a regular posting schedule to ensure you’re always providing fresh content. You should also always include a call to action at the end of your blog posts in order to drive traffic and conversions. 

Improve site performance

It’s a terrible feeling to give a friend bad advice by leading them to the wrong person for a job; not only is your friend disappointed and unsatisfied, but it reflects poorly on you. If you continue to give bad advice, eventually none of your friends are going to trust you or your recommendations ever again!

Which is why once you hear that one of your recommendations was a dud, you’re probably not likely to make that same recommendation again. 

Search engine algorithms work in a similar way. That’s why you should always make sure your website performance is top-notch. If a search engine realizes that your site isn’t delivering the results users are looking for, you’re not going to continue to rank high in search results. 

Your website’s performance, for the most part, comes down to the speed at which it’s able to load. This plays a big role in the length of time for which a visitor will stay on the site, and, in turn, the frequency of conversions and sales.

There are a few ways you can improve your website’s performance. Overall, your website’s performance comes down to the “weight” and size of your website.

The size of the images on your website are one major factor: the larger the images, the larger the site takes to load, so you’ll want to make sure you’re using optimal image sizes

Another method you can use to improve the performance of your website is to reduce redirects and HTTP requests.  You can do this by optimizing image sizes, optimizing JavaScript and CSS files, and regularly checking for broken links.

If this all sounds a bit confusing, don’t worry! W.D. Strategies can help you ensure your website is performing better than ever–and that the search engine algorithms love it! 

Build a strong backlink profile

Recommendations, referrals, and reviews are extremely powerful tools. You’re more likely to recommend a particular person for advice if you know that your friends have been recommending that same person. 

Think of it this way: If you trust someone, and they trust someone else, there’s a sort of transitive property of trust, which means you’re more likely to trust that person, as well! Within relationships, these recommendations that build trust are likely made through word of mouth. In the world of websites and SEO, they’re made through backlinks.

To improve your website’s SEO ranking, you’ll want to build a strong backlink profile. This refers to all of your backlinks from external websites. In other words, every time another website links to a web page of yours within their own content, that’s essentially another recommendation from them, which strengthens your backlink profile and helps your website rank higher!

Backlinks indicate to search engine algorithms that you’re a trusted, reliable source, especially when they come from another high-ranking, trusted website–just like your personal recommendations between friends.

In order to add more backlinks to your profile, you can reach out to other business owners, brands, or blog writers to form a relationship and build a partnership that you can both benefit from by linking to each other’s web pages. 

W.D. Strategies can help

Search engine optimization can be a difficult skill to master, but we have your back at W.D. Strategies. If you’re looking to grow your business, build your online presence, and improve your website’s search engine rankings, we’re here to help!

When you work with W.D. Strategies, our experienced, knowledgeable team will help you to build your online visibility and enhance your search engine ranking through a range of services tailored to your business needs. 

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