SEO is all the strategies used to improve the visibility of a web page through its ranking on Google.
Did what we just told you to sound Chinese to you? Does the term sound familiar to you but you don’t quite understand how SEO works?
So this post comes in handy. And today we explain to you:
- What is SEO (in addition to the definition, we also tell you why it is so important for your business)
- The different types of web ranking exist.
- The key concepts you need to know to understand how Google works (and ranks)
Get ready, because not only are you going to find out what SEO is, but you are also going to discover what are the ways to rank your website.
In the following video you have a very brief summary of what SEO is:
What is SEO or Search Engine Optimization?
We start with a definition:
SEO (acronym for Search Engine Optimization, which means search engine optimization) are all the techniques or actions aimed at increasing the traffic of a website thanks to improving its ranking on the different search engines.
Although SEO is the best-known term, it can be called in different ways:
- Web optimization.
- Ranking in search engines.
- Ranking in Google.
- Organic or natural ranking.
- SEO ranking.
And so, different variants.
From the definition we must keep two ideas:
- Increased visibility: the goal of SEO is to get more visits to a page.
- Search engine optimization: although Google is the king of search engines (and whenever we talk about SEO we refer to Google), the meaning of SEO applies to all search engines (Bing, Yahoo, etc).
So far so clear, let’s now get to the heart of the matter.
Why organic ranking is important in your business strategy
If you are reading this post, it is because you have a physical or online business or, at least, you are thinking of creating it (for now, we are going to assume that you have already launched it).
Well, that means that you have a website where you offer or sell your products and services. Great. But, how do you get your potential customers to reach that website? This is where SEO comes into play. To attract traffic (or what is the same, visits) to your page, you can establish different strategies:
- Advertising ( Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram, etc).
- Social networks.
- Networking (guest posts, events, etc).
- SEO ( content marketing would also enter here ).
Imagine now that your company is a real estate agency in Madrid. Well, it turns out that, in Spain alone, there are 18,100 people a month who search Google for “real estate in the USA”.
That is 18,100 potential clients for your real estate.
Now, look at this other image.
This is what Google shows us (in incognito) if we search for that keyword. In the first place is aproperties.es, then jamesedition.com and in third place, realestate.com.au Of those 18,100 potential clients, these first 3 results, those that are ranked higher (hence the SEO ranking), are the ones with the most options to win clients. Why?
Easy. By appearing in the first positions, they are the first ones that people will click on.
In addition, users have already assimilated the idea that the search engine puts the most relevant first, so we understand that in the first results we have more options to find what we are looking for.
That’s why it’s so important:
If you rank your website well for the right keywords, you will have a stable and free flow of potential customers continually entering your website.
That is the magic of SEO on the Internet.
Note: We have given you an example from the real estate sector, but SEO is a valid strategy in any market.
Types of SEO that exist
Within what is SEO, different branches can be determined.
1. According to the aspect that SEO works
In this case, search engine optimization is divided into 2 main branches: On-Page and Off-Page SEO.
A. On-Page SEO
On-Page SEO covers all the techniques we use to optimize our own website. For example:
- The content of the web.
- The internal structure.
- The indexability (we will see it later).
- Site architecture.
- The images.
These factors are the most technical of SEO, but they are also responsible for 90% of the success of an SEO strategy. At The Wind Records, we are experts in On-Page SEO, which differentiates us from other companies that only focus on Off-Page SEO and leave web optimization aside.
B. SEO Off-Page
We talk about off-page SEO factors when we refer to parameters that do not depend on the website itself, that is, they are external factors. For example, links pointing from other websites to ours.
For many years, these links have been manipulated to fool Google, but as we will see later, the king of search engines can no longer be fooled so easily. Although backlinks (external links that point to our website) are still important within the algorithm, they are becoming less so. The search engine tends more to value other aspects such as the user experience. Hence, we are reluctant to use this type of strategy.
For us, it is much more effective to work on a good content marketing strategy backed by copywriting SEO, because that way we will get natural links (and not be penalized).
And we cannot forget the Off-Page ranking based on branding (your brand image), which is essential for us.
2. According to the strategies used
We enter a more controversial world, and it is that SEO can also be defined by talking about the 3 famous hats of SEO:
- White Hat SEO.
- Black Hat SEO.
- Grey Hat SEO.
Depending on the strategies that the SEO expert uses, one or another hat will be assigned to him. Let’s see it.
A. White Hat SEO
White hat SEOs comply with Google’s quality guidelines for websites. This means that we never use illegal tactics towards the search engine, or that we do not try to trick you to manipulate the positions in the Google search ranking.
The reason: is it worth risking all your current and future site ranking(there are websites that never recover from a penalty) for using illegal techniques?
They don’t make any sense to us.
B. Black Hat SEO
And as you can imagine, black hat SEOs are the ones trying to manipulate Google search rankings. Black hat SEO techniques look for loopholes that Google cannot detect in order to alter the rankings for their benefit, or for the benefit of their clients.
C. Grey Hat SEO
What are the gray or grey hats SEO? Those who stay a little in-line and risk more than the whites, but do not use the riskiest techniques of Black Hat SEO.
Terms related to ranking in Google that you should know
Now that you know why SEO is key in your business, it is important that you know some terms. For this reason, we are going to give you a small “SEO dictionary” with which to understand the basic concepts of how web ranking works.
1. Google Crawlers, robots, or spiders
We start with the first rare term. 😉
You put a keyword in the search engine, click on the button, and, all of a sudden, the search engine shows you a lot of results. But how does all this content reach Google’s databases? This process is divided into 2 phases:
- The scan (the “read”).
- Indexing (we talk about this in the next point).
That reading of all the content that exists, Google does it through:
- Robots or tracking bots.
There are 3 ways to call them, but they refer to the same thing. These Google mini-agents go into every page and crawl all the content. They read them first, so to speak, and then file them away.
2. Indexing or how Google puts your content in its databases
This even rarer word refers to the process Google performs to add content (and its subsequent updates) to its databases. This is very important because if your website has an indexing problem (usually due to a technical problem), Google will not be able to reach or store all the pages of your website, with a disastrous result for ranking.
Remember the example that we gave you before «real estate in the USA». Now imagine that you created a specific landing page to attack that keyword, but due to an indexing problem, Google cannot read it. That would mean losing the option of attracting 18,100 potential clients each month.
It is understood, right?
On the other hand, if a website has a good indexability factor and allows Google to browse it quickly, the search engine will index more internal pages of that page in its database.
That is why we always have to make things easy for robots or spiders, as this will result in a greater probability of appearing in the first positions when someone searches for related keywords.
3. The Google algorithm
Let’s go to the origin of everything.
The spiders have already crawled and indexed content, now the most important thing is missing… assigning it a position in relation to a keyword. Google always ensures that it ranks by looking at the quality of the content, but how does it determine which posts have the highest quality?
through the algorithm.
The algorithm is like an examination that the search engine performs on the content to determine in which position it should be.
But do not think that it is an easy test, Google evaluates more than 200 factors within the algorithm and as you can imagine, the search engine does not reveal how it works (it is not interested in SEOs trying to manipulate the results).
We explain some of the points that the algorithm takes into account so that you can get an idea of everything it values:
- User experience: it is increasingly important for the search engine since it understands that the better the user experience (UX), the better the quality of the content.
- Relevance: concordance of the content that the page offers in relation to the keywords that you want to rank. We put a silly example so that it is understood. Your website would be of little relevance if you’re going to rank yourself for “car keywords”, but all your content only talks about motorcycles. I would have to see, but it would not be entirely relevant.
- Authority: If you had to hire a professional to perform a service for you, who would you trust the most? A benchmark in the sector or someone who has just started? The first, logical, experience is a degree. Google determines with different criteria the authority of a page on a topic. The greater the authority, the easier it will be to position yourself.
- Loading speed – Yes, Google also has a lot of technical issues and this is one of them (and a very important one). Your page has to load fast if you want to earn extra points in order to improve your organic ranking.
- Navigation: is very important, as is the web architecture. In addition to helping the search engine better understand what your website is about (the keywords you target), it is decisive for a good user experience.
This is just a small sample, but remember that the algorithm handles more than 200 criteria to assess in which position a content should be.
4. What are keywords or search terms
Keywords are the heart of SEO. Whenever you try to rank a website, you must do it in relation to some keywords. But before we go any further, let’s clarify one thing:
A keyword is the text that a person enters in the search engine to get a search information.
As we saw at the beginning, “real estate in the USA” is a keyword, but it is also a very interesting keyword because it has a very high search volume (per month, 18,100 people search for that keyword on Google). That is why everything starts with good keyword research, if you do not know which are the keywords with the highest search volume, you will not be able to optimize your website correctly to attract more traffic.
5. What are penalties and why do you have to be very careful with them
The art of SEO is in telling Google how each web page should be classified, but without falling into spam, or bad practices penalized by Google.
“Ah!, does Google penalize?
“Yes, of course, and very harshly to those who fail to comply with their policies.”
Since 2011, Google took the problem of spam in its search results more seriously, so it implemented an algorithm to combat it. Do not forget that the success of Google is in offering its users quality results, so you must take care of this matter to the fullest.
Among all those algorithms to improve search results and try to eliminate spam, there are the 2 most famous known worldwide: Google Panda (2011) and Google Penguin (2012).
- Change of the Google Panda algorithm: with Panda, the aim is to eliminate all low-quality content from the results displayed. To do this, Google begins to look at the update frequency, whether the contents are duplicated (both within the website itself or if they are copied from other websites), the length of the texts, etc. In this way, Panda has managed to eliminate web pages with low-quality content from search results, which are of little use to the user.
- Change of the Google Penguin algorithm ( Penguin ): before Penguin, there was a technique used by some short-term SEOs (Black Hat SEO ), which consisted of launching thousands of links to their clients’ web pages. In this way, they managed to position them in the first positions with certain keywords in a very short time. Now, with “the Penguin” the effect of abusive links to web pages has been limited.
After the penguin, all the pages that applied these techniques were affected, and to this day, many of them have still not recovered. Therefore, all these series of “techniques” must be kept away from your business, since you could spoil the work of years in a very short time.
Panda and Penguin are the most famous updates, but that doesn’t mean they are the only ones. A posteriori came RankBrain (2016) or Fred (2017). He thinks that the algorithm is constantly being updated and that, normally, there is usually a profound change a year.
How to improve your search engine ranking to attract more traffic
You always have to see search engine optimization as a long-term strategy. Think that we are talking about one of the basic pillars for your online business to work.
Can you imagine being ranked by that keyword “real estate in the USA”, which brings you many clients every month and, suddenly, losing it due to an algorithm update?
Well, that happens, and a lot.
That is why we always follow the guidelines set by Google and we do not want to deceive you at any time. Our clients are more protected from changes in the algorithm since we are not looking for short-term success, but rather growth in a safe and stable way.
Do you want us to help you with your website ranking? Contact us here.