Understanding SEO marketing, how it works, and its benefits to online businesses remains one of the biggest challenges facing business owners and newbie digital marketers. 

If you’re among those constantly asking the question “what is SEO and how does it work?” then you are in the right place as this guide explains the basics of SEO marketing and how it works. Don’t worry if this is your first time learning about SEO, it would be a smooth ride!

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What is SEO? 

SEO is an initialism for Search Engine Optimization. The term describes the process of making a website visible on search results whenever people search for keywords on search engines like Google, Bing, and many others. 

As of January 2019, there were more than 1.51 billion websites existing, and the number is constantly growing every minute. This tells us that companies of all sizes are taking their business online, which ultimately means that there is massive competition on the internet today. And everyone trying to remain relevant in the game of getting free and organic traffic from the first pages of search engines. 

Search engines are the gatekeepers of the internet because they assist people to access online content. They decide which information or pages are worth showing whenever someone searches for a keyword. 

Since it’s impossible to include all websites on top search results at the same time, search engines use secret and complex algorithms to determine which page should appear first on search results for a particular keyword without cheating other pages that have the same keyword. 

Although the algorithms are regularly updated, they are built around some components. Any website that meets the requirements of the algorithms has a higher chance of ranking on Google and other search engines. This is where SEO comes in. SEO marketing helps your business to become visible on search results by focusing on the known components of a search engine’s algorithm. 

Once your products get more visibility, you’ll begin to notice increased conversions and ultimately earn more revenue. 

How SEO Marketing Works 

First of all, it’s essential to note at this point that SEO is not an easy task. It requires persistence and a lot of work, but in the end, it would be worth it. So how does SEO works?

When you use a search engine, let’s say Google, to search for a term like “SEO Marketing how it works,” Google bots will check their database for pages with the most relevant content that matches the keywords. The websites that appear on the first pages of the search results are those that have implemented the best SEO practices according to Google’s algorithm, coupled with a high Domain authority (DA) – a metric that indicates a site’s trust level and relevance in a specific niche or industry. 

That’s basically how SEO works!

Top Factors that Affect SEO in 2020

The first step to getting your website to rank on Google’s first page is understanding on-page and off-page SEO techniques and factors surrounding Google’s algorithm. Although there are many factors that affect your site’s ranking on search engines, you can easily improve your website’s visibility by working on some of the most important factors that search engines, including Google and Bing, consider when ranking web pages. 

Below is a list of the top 8 SEO factors that can help your site rank well on Google in 2020. 

Long and Valuable Content 

Writing and publishing long and useful content is an effective way to improve the visibility of your website. Search engines love sites that provide valuable content, and lengthy articles usually give room for more details and value. 

Long-form content isn’t necessarily about writing articles to reach a particular number of words. It is about exploring a topic and providing as much information as possible while trying to surpass a particular amount of words. For example, articles with at least 1000 words will increase your SEO. 

Content Formatting 

Writing long-form articles is not enough to improve your SEO. You need to learn how to format your content the right way to increase your ranking opportunities. Learn to use title tag, meta description, image name and alt tags, subheadings, etc.; as all of this is important in SEO marketing. 

Keywords

Keywords are a core part of any SEO marketing campaign since people search for information on the internet using keywords. The competition level of each keyword varies from high, medium to low. 

A new site can easily rank for low or medium competition keywords than highly competitive ones. This is why it is vital to know how to pick the right keywords for your business. You can use SEO marketing tools like Google Keywords Planner to research the relevant keywords being searched by your audience. 

Domain Authority (DA)

A website with a solid Domain Authority (DA) has more chances of ranking on Google’s first page than a site with a low DA score. Your website’s DA score will increase as the site gets older, and as you build more backlinks. 

Backlinks 

Just like keywords, backlinks are one of the building blocks of any effective SEO strategy as they increase your DA, showing how relevant your website is. However, it is vital to note that there are two types of SEO backlinks – inbound links and outbound links.  

Inbound links are links that come to your website from another site while outbound links are links that flow from your website to another site. Although inbound links are generally considered the best, especially when they are from high ranking sites, outbound links have their importance as well. 

URL Structure

You can improve on your SEO juice if you use shorter URLs that contain your main keyword. For instance, descriptive URLs like “bluewavesdigital.com/seo-marketing-how-it-works” rank better on Google.  

Website Speed

How fast does your website load? Search engines are concerned about the speed of your website. Fortunately, you can increase your website speed with some SEO best practices like optimizing your images and leveraging cache, all of this you can do with plugins. 

Responsive Web Design

How clean and responsive is your website on different devices? Does your site have a mobile-friendly design? One of the reasons why your site might have a low SEO is because it has a poor and unresponsive web design. WordPress plugins like AMP will greatly improve the load speed of your website. 

Best Free SEO Tools in 2020

While there are many great SEO tools available on the internet today, some of the best ones you can use for free include: 

  1. Google Search Console: It lets you track the performance of your website as you continue to grow your online business. 
  2. Ahrefs: This is a very popular SEO tool that you can use to check your backlinks and other SEO data. 
  3. Google Keyword Planner: This gives you access to a massive amount of all types of keywords that come directly from Google.
  4. Yoast SEO: This is one of the best and most widely used WordPress SEO plugin for on-page SEO setup. You can use it to enhance your meta tags, keyword density, subheading, and other on-page SEO factors. 

Conclusion 

Any business that wants to survive on the internet today must be ready to invest time, effort, and resources in SEO marketing to fully take advantage of the free and organic traffic from search engines. If you’re persistent and diligently implement the SEO best practices like providing valuable content, building backlinks, using the right keywords, etc, then your website will appear on the first page on Google’s search result in no time. 

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