Now more than ever, your presence on the web determines the amount of business you get. 71% of consumers start all their purchase decisions by using a search engine. Another 18% use a search engine to narrow down their choices. That leaves you with a whopping 11% of customers who do not use a search engine, which means it’s a good idea to learn exactly how does SEO work.
How it All Began
With so many people using search engines to make buying decisions, it is important to learn how to get your website at the top of any Google search. Since 70% of consumers ignore paid advertisements on search engine results, you need to be able to rise to the top without buying your way to the top. The concept of search engine optimization piqued the interest of website developers and small business owners alike. It all began in the mid 90’s, when two Stanford students began wondering “How does SEO work?” In the 10 years since then, SEO has changed and developed dramatically.
SEO began as a fairly straightforward process. An algorithm was created to rank websites based on how many times a key phrase was used in the website. With this logic, however, less reputable websites began to fill up their websites with many keywords, but very little actual content. Fortunately, how SEO works has developed since then and is now based on many factors. For the sake of ease, we will delve into the four primary components of search engine optimization: page authority, social media and online reviews, anchor texts, and of course, keywords.
1. Page Authority
The first and most influential aspect of knowing how does SEO work is page authority. Simply put, how popular is the page? The more views a website has, the more authority it is deemed to have.
Unfortunately, that does not mean you can just click on your own website all day. Page authority is also based on the variety of sources those views come from.
Lastly the number of people that link to your website helps increase your page authority, as well as the authority of the websites doing the linking.
These three components make the perfect combination, which is why it is at the top of any website developer’s SEO to do list.
2. Social Media
In recent years, social media and online reviews have had more say in a website’s search engine ranking. As of September 26th this is still entirely true if you search for anything on Bing. In order to keep in competition with Facebook’s new Open Graph search; however, a few things have changed in regards to social media and have left many people wondering, “How does SEO work now?”
Google’s +1’s actually help determine a website’s SEO ranking while Facebook likes and Pinterest pins are now used more for word of mouth marketing. They still are a great source of backlinks, and one might even argue more valuable in the long run. For now though, Google Plus is the way to go for SEO.
3. Anchor Text
Anchor text is one of the greatest secrets of how SEO works. It refers to the text you see in any link. Blogs and other articles are often a great example of strong anchor texts. For example in the link: http://www.develare.com/blog/website-design/responsive-web-design-what-is-it/, the anchor text would be “Responsive Web Design: What is it?”
These links are even customizable if you have the right tools. What is so neat about anchor text is that even if your website does not have any SEO keywords, search engines can still consider your content relevant with the right anchor text. Don’t get too excited quite yet - word for word anchor texts can trigger spam filters for Google, so make sure to use them wisely.
Lastly, the most fundamental building block of knowing exactly how does SEO work is the right keyword. As mentioned before, technically you do not need keywords if you have solid anchor text, great page authority, and lots of +1’s. However it is unlikely that your website will ever be at the top of any search engine without all four components. For example, in this article I used the keyword “SEO” 16-times. This is a pretty good indication to any search engine that this blog article is about SEO. Often times writers spend a good amount of time researching keywords before they begin to write any content.
Finding the right keywords is done one of two ways. First, you can type in your keywords to Google and see what websites appear. From there, you can take note of the keywords they use and apply them to your own website, just making sure not to plagiarize.
The next way is not only more efficient, but it is also easier to use. Google AdWords is a service that allows you to place your website of the side of search engine results as an advertisement. While the number of clicks you get may not blow you away, the analytical tools certainly will. You will find statistics on search histories, phrase match keywords, and even broad keywords.
Still wondering how does SEO work? Want to learn more? Here are some additional resources to check out: