By now most businesses are aware of search engine optimization but many still ask: how does SEO work? The answers seem to vary from blog to blog, but that’s partly because Google uses over 200 factors to determine search results. At the same time, the search leader’s Matt Cutts has stated in videos that it’s not necessary to follow every guideline in order to achieve high rankings. The most important thing to remember is to stay away from fluff or trying to fool search bots and concentrate on creating unique useful content.
White Hat vs. Black Hat Practices
SEO has never been an exact science, but one consistent aspect of Google’s algorithm updates has been to punish black hat sites. Black hat refers to deceptive schemes designed to trick search engines into awarding high rankings for useless web pages. Search engines penalize sites that waste people’s time because they want to provide the most useless links for search queries. Black hat practices include swapping links with irrelevant sites, spamming keywords, duplication of competing websites and posing as authoritative despite lack of valuable content.
The best way to prove to search engines that your site has a useful purpose is to publish comprehensive information and perspectives that cannot be found elsewhere online. White hat practices are your best chance for ranking high for your most important keywords. So focus on writing for your users and not for robots. Study your competition’s sites and make sure you’re not restating their content. Any use of black hat schemes can get your site penalized or banned from search results.
How Does SEO Work?
The reason SEO is vital if you want to attract organic traffic is that it can save you plenty of money in marketing expenses. Begin by defining your web pages with keywords and then develop relevant content that matches those phrases. An effective strategy is to first check the keywords in search engines before writing articles about them so that you have an understanding about how much competition you face. If thousands of websites already use keyword phrases such as “Los Angeles clothing stores,” then your chances of high rankings are slim.
The most basic SEO guideline is to include keywords in your web page titles, headings and subheadings. Your blogs or articles must then stay consistent with those headings. The best way to get high search rankings is to craft a unique website with unique keywords. But keep in mind you must also use phrases that users are likely to type in search boxes.
Blogs can be goldmines to search engines if they are written well with authoritative information. Search engines like to emphasize thought leaders and not so much copycats. There are endless ways to create original content just by thinking outside the box. Naturally, you will have you your own ideas about how to make your industry better. Concentrate on providing useful solutions to common problems in your business. You can further maximize your SEO efforts by paying attention to the following tips:
- make your site mobile-friendly by using responsive web design
- update your content frequently with fresh ideas
- include images, videos or audio with your blogs
- only link to sites that are relevant to your business
- use call to action statements or buttons to direct traffic
The secrets to solving the riddle how does SEO work are not so mysterious. As long as you demonstrate that you can share some type of expertise with your followers, you have a chance of getting high search rankings. Take the time to create or outsource useful and unique content.