How SEO Works

SEO is the most effective way of marketing your business online. A proper SEO strategy helps you to improve your standing in Google’s “organic” search results.

SEO works two ways – by what is referred to as “off-page optimization”, and also by “on-page optimization”. Since both of these topics are quite extensive and technical in nature, we will attempt to only cover a summary of how SEO works.

Both types of optimization refer to anything that works to affect your position in the natural search results. On-page optimization consists of the things that you can control – the density and placement of your keywords, your Meta tags and your HTML code, your site architecture, the way you link pages together, the way you group pages together, the organization of the content on your page, your word choices, etc.

Off-page optimization refers to things which are not under your direct control – mainly your page rank, your reputation, your site popularity, your trust factor and your link popularity. Building high search engine rankings is achieved by carefully performing both activities expertly. Furthermore, achieving high rankings unfortunately is not going to happen overnight. Building strong search engine rankings is similar to how one would go about getting into top physical shape – it’s a longer term process that you’ll have to work at continually through a variety of approaches to enhance your rankings and develop your website in order to get lasting results. There are always short-cuts being sold but these tactics will lead your website to ill health in a short while and you will likely end up much worse than where you started. 

Why Bother With SEO? Isn’t It Enough to Have a Great Web Page?

In short “No”. You could have the most attractive website and still not get the traffic you need to grow your business. The design of the website is important but just as important is whether or not your website has traffic. Without traffic, nobody will see your website and if nobody sees it, there will be no leads, calls or inquiries.

Imagine building the most beautiful restaurant in your community. Now imagine that nobody knows about it. There’s no signage. No advertisements. No grand openings. How successful will your restaurant be? No very. The same is true on the web.

Most Misunderstand How SEO Really Works

SEO works by systematically and repeatedly carrying out activities month after month which will get your website noticed more in the search engines. Why search engines? Because more than 70% of the traffic to your website is directly coming from search engines and if they can’t find you and if they don’t rank you well, you’re missing out on the majority of the potential traffic to your website.

By ensuring a good search engine position this improves your chances that people will see you, click on your link, go to your page, and avail themselves of what you have to offer.

To start getting noticed, you have to start somewhere. Most companies aren’t ranked well for the dozens and dozens of potential keywords related to their businesses. When you’re starting out, it’s important that you set a target to get your website ranked for a selected group of highly relevant keywords and you will want to be ranked for those keywords within the first 10 results on the first page of search engine results. Depending on how much competition is out there this could take as few as a couple of months and as long as many months or more. If the terms are financially remunerative terms, there will be lots of competition usually and therefore it will take more work to achieve results.

After that is achieved, your next goal is to get your rankings moved up toward the top of the page (top 5) and then ultimate top 3 and if possible #1.

Research has shown that fewer and fewer people will navigate beyond the first page of search results and if they do, they rarely go beyond a page or two of search results, if that. So it’s important to be found as close to the top as possible.

Another area many new customers misunderstand is in the amount of effort it will take to achieve top search engine rankings. It’s usually not easy to get a top ranking, especially if your product or service is a commercial service, if there are lots of competitors already out there or if your phrase or search terms is fairly generic. Googling “designer jewelry,” for example, yields about 209,000,000 (million) results, and in the top positions you’re going to find names you’ll recognize. If you’re an artisan operating out of a small shop, you’re going to have to be creative in order to get yourself noticed. Realistically, you will need assistance of a web development & SEO company like ClearTech Interactive in order to achieve the visibility you need.

How SEO Used to Work

Back in 2002 or 2003, achieving high search engine rankings was much easier. Customers would routinely just stuff their pages with the keywords they wanted to be found for and often times this would work. Sometimes they’d create a lot of hidden text in their pages which was the same color as the background of the page. So imagine a white page with all this hidden text (also in white) that would be nothing more than hundreds of repetitions of their keywords. Within a short time Google figured this out and doing such things today can at the worst, get you actually banned in a search engine for spamming or at the least get you penalized so that you will never rank until you fix such blatant tactics.

These tactics became known as black-hat SEO tactics because they sought to artificially inflate your search engine rankings and Google now has strict rules in place in this regard to protect their own users from seeing low quality web pages and results. You have to think of it this way: Google wants their users of their products (Google search in this case) to constantly come back and use their search engine. This is how they make their money. If as a searcher, you start getting poor search results for your queries, you may consider trying or using another search engine to find better results. And this is exactly why they guard against artificial manipulation of results, to prevent poor results from rising to the top of search engine rankings. 2012, 2013 and now in 2014 saw aggressive changes in the way Google treats who they consider to be offenders. It became more common for sites to get banned for cheating tactics and heavily penalized for shady behavior. Things that seemingly went unnoticed a few years ago are suddenly forbidden. If a competitors sees you are using these tactics to unfairly gain an advantage they can report you and your website can be penalized by Google. Getting back into Google’s good graces can be a long, time consuming process (months or longer) so why risk it?

How to Get SEO to Work

Google uses approximately 200 different factors (each having a different weight) to evaluate your website and how it should rank. As mentioned above, one of these factors has to do with your content and how relevant it is to a particular search.

When you’re starting out, every piece of content that goes onto your website should be properly researched first to determine whether or not there’s a market for the content. You need to determine if people are looking for answers on the topic and you should know what they type into a search engine. Then you need to figure out how you can answer their questions better than everyone else.

Having great, information-rich content is what Google likes. Instead of focusing on stuffing your page with keywords, you should be focused on using your knowledge to create rich content for your website users. This is what Google has wanted all along since this is what your website visitors also want.

Google (and other search engines) use special programs called “spiders” that systematically “crawl” the Internet, looking for pages and analyzing the keywords in the site content. They use the results of this analysis along with the other 200 factors, to help determine how relevant your content is, what the topic is all about and ultimately how your website will rank within the search result hierarchy. Because this an area you can control and because this is one of the fundamentals of how SEO works, you’re going to have to start focusing on developing high quality content. This means you’re going to have to think carefully about the topics you write about, how you explain it, how you publish it, how it’s linked to, as well as the sort of words & phrases your potential customers are likely to enter into a search engines. Today more than ever, this is how SEO works. It’s all about quality content combined with a very technical approach as to how your website is structured, how your content is published, how it’s laid out, how it’s formatted, etc.

SEO Works Best When You Think of Your Organization as a Content Publisher

In order for the “spiders” to continue crawling your website regularly, you’re going to have to be vigilant about publishing new content regularly. This means new articles and posts, at least 3-4x’s times per month, ideally 5-12’x per month or even more frequently if you’re trying to establish yourself in a difficult to rank for niche.

One highly effective way of generating new content for your website is blogging – in fact, you’ve probably noticed that most websites now feature regular blogs. Keep the content interesting, unique, do it regularly, and the spiders will keep coming and as your reputation grows as a trusted publisher of great information, so will your rankings. But don’t forget, your website has to be carefully architected, crafted, linked and the content has to be expertly written, crafted and SEO optimized in order to get the expected results. Truth be told, most businesses simply don’t have this kind of time or talent in house, and will have to outsource this to a company like ClearTech Interactive to manage the entire process for them. The task is just too time consuming and too technical these days.

Don’t Keep Putting Off Your SEO Effort

Most small businesses know they need to do something in this area but when they find out how much is involved, they often get overwhelmed and fail to take action. For those that do take action, it’s quite common that they’ve tried a few companies and got next to no results. The vendor often promised them the moon and then failed to deliver the results. This is a story we hear over and over and over again.

The point of this is that, if you haven’t thought about how SEO works and how you can use it to improve your position, thereby increasing traffic to your website, you need to start and you need to start now. If you continue to wait, you’re just going to find it even more difficult and costly to catch up to your competitors, many of whom have already had an SEO strategy in place for years. Web development & SEO Companies like ClearTech Interactive are ideally positioned to help you with your SEO service but you really need to take action now or you could find yourself in a position whereby your company has become irrelevant on the Internet – a fate that can be crushing to a business operating in the age of the internet.

Learn How SEO Works with ClearTech Interactive

You shouldn’t settle for less than the best, and ClearTech Interactive is exactly that – since 2003, we have served hundreds of customers and have become a Florida favorite for web development & SEO Services. We’re very creative, so we can definitely make your website look fabulous, but we know that you need much more than that – you have to reach your target market, be properly positioned in the minds of your customers, promote your product or service effectively, and then affect an exchange of goods and services. Our SEO experts can help you do just that.

We offer custom web development services for new and established companies alike. We’ll help you improve your position, or work with you to create a start-up strategy that will deliver immediate results.

Contact Us Today

For assistance with SEO services, or any other website issues, contact ClearTech Interactive today. We’d be pleased to talk with you and help you develop a strategy that’s uniquely suited to your business.  You can reach us at 727-562-5161 Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm eastern standard time, or contact us online.

Scott D'Ambra
Author: Scott D'Ambra
Owner at ClearTech Interactive
Scott D'Ambra is a successful entrepreneur who's been working in the Tech industry since 1997. Since 2003 he's been running one of Florida's top web development & marketing firms. ClearTech Interactive specializes in building rich internet applications, authoritative websites and inbound marketing campaigns that increase demand & trust for your products & services.

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