September 23, 2021

We at Boston SEO love what we are doing and take great pride in our work. Yet there is a statement circulating in the industry: SEO is being curbed by Google. You can't rank as high as you used to. We've all heard it before. But is it really true?

We've created this simple guide to teach you more about the role and meaning of SEO.

With this resource, you will be able to define your SEO and generate long term results and refute others that SEO is "going out of style."

SEO Definition

What is SEO and how does it work? Here we will start with the basics about SEO definition and SEO meaning. The companies with the best search engine rankings all understand how important it is to know SEO optimization inside and out. But of course, they had to master the basics first.

SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization. This is the process of optimizing your website to get organic, or unpaid, traffic from the search engine results page.

In other words, SEO involves making certain changes to the design and content of your website that will make your site more attractive to a search engine. You do this in hopes that the search engine will display your website as a top result on the search engine results page.

How SEO Marketing Works

Search engines want to provide the best service to their users. This means delivering results on the search engine pages that are not only high quality, but also relevant to what the searcher is looking for.

To do this, search engines will scan, or crawl, different websites to better understand what the site is about. This helps them deliver more relevant results to those searching for certain topics or keywords.

Similarly, search engines will scan the site to determine how easy it is to navigate and read, rewarding user-friendly sites with higher rankings on SERPs. 

SEO is the process that organizations go through to ensure that their site ranks high in the search engines for relevant keywords and phrases. For example, let's say you have an article on how to wash a toilet. To get your content in front of the right people, you would probably do this: you will try to optimize this blog post so that it will appear as a top result for anyone searching on the phrase "how to wash a toilet."

There are many benefits of SEO for your business. By improving your SEO, you can work to expand your visibility on the search engines. This helps you reach and engage more potential customers. By creating more engaging and effective SEO-focused content, you can increase your chances of bringing in more targeted organic traffic. By customizing your website and content for better visibility and readability, you help make your SEO meaningful.

You shouldn't settle for low SERP rankings when you could be at the top.

Factors that influence SEO

Now that you know SEO and how it works, you may be asking yourself "how do I do SEO marketing?" The truth of the matter is that SEO marketing actually works, and the right execution can help anyone generate great results.

Let's look at some of the factors that can affect your search engine optimization ranking.

Search engine giant, Google will never give away the exact algorithm they use to rank sites. However, we have a pretty good understanding of some of the factors that affect search engine results page (SERP) rankings. We sincerely recommend Search Engine Journal for latest updates in ranking factors, they do a fantastic job, and our team have been following them for ages.  The ranking factors include both on-page and off-page factors, which we will discuss below.

Factors Affecting On-page and Off-page SEO Optimization

  • Content Marketing
  • On-page SEO Optimization
  • Off-page SEO Optimization

1. Content Marketing.

Before we dive into some of the factors of on-and off-page SEO, let's talk about content.

Content is effective in both attracting the search engines and helping your organization make connections with site visitors. SEO significance can be further emphasized by your visual and written content. The more quality, relevant content you have on your site, the more likely search engines will rank your pages higher on the search engine results page.

Similarly, the more engaging and effective content you have on your site, the more likely your visitors will spend some time on your website. Maybe they will even make a purchase.

The secret to creating content that is optimized for both the search engines and your human site visitors is to create a variety of different types of content pieces. They should be well-written and about topics that are most relevant to your audience.

Here are just a few types of content you can focus on to improve your content offerings.

And with it, your search engine rankings:

  • Blog posts and articles
  • Social media content
  • Ebooks and white papers
  • How-to guides and tutorials
  • Videos and audio recordings
  • Infographics or other visual content

Another important thing to consider when creating content for your site is SEO keywords and phrases. These are relevant words and phrases that a search engine user might type when looking for answers to their questions or relevant products and services. When you create content around these keywords, you improve your chances of ranking higher for these keywords on the search engine results page.

Yet another factor that can affect your content, and therefore your search engine ranking, is how fresh your content is. Freshness basically refers to how often your organization posts new content to your site. However, creating brand new content is not the only way to keep your content fresh. You can also refresh your content by updating posts, rewriting them to make them more effective, or adding new information and statistics over time. Although content creation takes time and resources, it will more than pay off in the end.

Search engines love good content and consumers need quality content to better understand the value your organization can provide. Start by creating a few blog posts and work on building a following on social media. Once you have a group of loyal fans and followers, your organization can work on creating different types of media to attract and engage new leads.

2. On-Page SEO Optimization.

The on-page SEO factors are those elements that happen on your website. These are the things you have complete control over, which means you can work on improving these factors over time by following best practices for SEO. This goes beyond just your content marketing to the deeper levels of your site's HTML.

Here are just a few of the on-page SEO factors that can help you improve ranking in Google's search results:

  • Title tag
    The title tag on each page tells the search engines what your page is about. This should be 70 characters or less, including both the keyword your content focuses on and your company name.
  • Meta description
    The meta description on your website tells search engines a little more about what each page is about. This is also used by your human visitors to better understand what the page is about and if it is relevant. It should contain your keyword and also enough details to tell the reader what the content is about. 
  • Subheaders
    Subheaders not only make your content easier to read for visitors, but they can also help improve your SEO. You can use H1, H2, and H3 tags to help search engines better understand what your content is about.
  • Internal links
    Building internal links or hyperlinks to other content on your site can help search engines learn more about your site. For example, if you are writing a post about the value of a specific product or service, you can link to the product or service page in your blog post.
  • Image name and ALT tags (or texts)
    If you are using images on your website or in your blog content, you will also want to include your keyword or phrase in the image name and alt tag. By including this information, you are also helping to give your SEO definition. This will help search engines better index your images, which may appear when users conduct a search for a particular keyword or phrase. When strategically placing your SEO keywords and phrases on your pages, it is important to avoid over-optimizing. Google and other search engines will penalize your page if it tries to use keywords too often in its content.

In addition, you want to make sure that each piece of content focuses on only one or two keywords. This helps ensure that your content is specific and relevant. Trying to tackle too many keywords at once can have a negative impact on your search engine optimization because it often creates unfocused and thin content.

While the content of your site plays a vital role in your search engine rankings, it is also important to consider the architecture of your site. Part of the optimization process is to ensure SEO definition on all parts of your web pages. You want to use a website design that makes it easy for search engines to scan or crawl your pages and content.

Building internal links between your pages, creating a sitemap, and submitting your sitemap to search engines can both help improve your site crawl capabilities. And it can also give search engines a better understanding of your content. Yet another concern when it comes to your site's architecture is whether or not your website is mobile-friendly. Many consumers search for information and brands on their mobile devices. You need to ensure that these users can view, read and navigate your website from their mobile devices. Not only does this affect the user experience, but it can also affect your SEO optimization.

3. Off-page SEO Optimization.

In addition to the on-page SEO elements that your organization has control over, there are also off-page SEO factors that can affect your ranking. While you don't have direct control over these off-page factors, there are ways for you to improve your chances of having these factors work out in your favor.  Here are a few of the different off-page SEO factors that can affect your search engine rankings:

  • Trust
    Trust is becoming an increasingly important factor in a site's Google ranking. This is how Google determines if you have a legitimate site that visitors can trust. One of the best ways to improve trust is by building quality backlinks from sites that have authority
  • Links
    One of the most popular ways to build off-page SEO is through backlinks. You should be careful with this because spamming sites with your links is a quick and easy way to get your site banned from the search engines. Instead, take the time to build relationships with influencers and fans who create quality content and will link to your site in their own content. Here is a good article from our comrades at Ahrefs on how to build backlinks.
  • Social
    Another important off-page SEO factor are social signals, such as "like" and "share. When it comes to boosting SEO, you want to look for quality shares from influencers. The more quality content you publish, the more likely people are to share your content with others. However, you have no direct control over what happens outside your organization. But, you can increase your chances of improving off-page SEO simply by creating quality content that others will find valuable. By making your SEO meaningful, you can attract the attention of more search engine users. The more relevant and interesting your content is, the more likely others will link to your content and share it on social media. The more people trust your content, the more the search engines will too. 

Black Hat Vs White Hat SEO

We've discussed SEO and how it works, so let's break it down even further. When it comes to SEO, there are two different approaches that organizations take to optimize their sites for the search engines - black hat vs white hat SEO. 

Some organizations are only interested in SEO so they can rank their content quickly and make some money in the short term. Black hat SEO includes tactics that focus on optimizing content only for the search engines. This means that organizations do not consider the human visitors who will read and navigate their site's content. These organizations will bend or break the rules to improve their site rankings in order to make quick money. In the end, this approach to SEO produces pages that are often difficult for humans to read and very much like spam. While the sites may rank faster than sites that are properly optimized, these sites are often penalized or banned by search engines quite quickly.

Overall, this "get-rich-quick" approach to SEO ruins the organization's chance to build a site. A site that is sustainable and able to bring in new leads for years to come.

On the other hand, white hat SEO is an effective approach to optimizing your website for search engines and building a sustainable business online. This approach to search engine optimization involves targeting the human audience that will click on and read the site's content. By giving your website SEO definition, you ensure that your digital content is easy to find and view.  The goal of this form of search engine optimization is to produce the best possible content on a site that is easy to read and navigate. While also following the search engine rules for optimization.

It is important to note that while black hat SEO tactics can help you rank quickly, it is inevitable that the search engines will eventually figure out what you are doing and penalize your site. Depending on the severity of the violation, your site may not be able to bounce back from the penalties.

The only way to build a sustainable online business that will bring in more organic traffic over time is to follow best SEO marketing practices. And, create effective content that your visitors will find valuable.

Last few words

Now you can get to work making changes to your site to improve SEO. And also improve your rankings on the search engine results page. Remember that your SEO significance and effectiveness are affected by many factors. A small advice: try to read as much as you can on SEO, keep your cool, filter all the white noise and most importantly try to practise yourself, whether it's making and optimising your own simple website or working for a company.

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