Breaking Down SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and How it Works

SEO spelled out with tiles

If you have a blog or a website, you have probably heard this term thrown around a lot: search engine optimization. Although we all might have a general understanding of what it means, many of us probably have questions surrounding how it all works, and how we can leverage it to achieve greater success with our sites. Search engine optimization, if done right, can gain you a ton of organic traffic, which can be a huge building block for your monthly reader count. So without further ado, let’s dive in to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding SEO.

(Disclaimer- I am financially compensated for affiliate links in this post.)

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Search Engine Optimization, in the most simple terms, is the process of ranking your posts and pages in the top spots of search results, or at least on the first page. This is one of the main ways that bloggers go about gaining organic, unpaid readers to their page. By ranking at the top of the search results for certain keywords pertaining to your content, you establish yourself as a highly credible source, meaning more click, and more readers.

How Does Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Work?

Search engine optimization works by analyzing the contents on your website, to see not only how credible of a source you are, but whether or not your content actually answers the question or solved the problem that that person may be searching for. Search engines have algorithms that they use to determine which results to show people for certain terms, so by optimizing your website to fit into these algorithms, you can ensure that people see your content.

Why is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) So Important?

Imagine that you had a band, and your band was really good, but you never made phone calls to try and set up a show. Or maybe you never even mentioned you had a band, so nobody knew you existed. This is basically what your website is doing if you are not trying to engage in search engine optimization. One of the key ways to drive sustainable, reliable, and long-term traffic to your blog is my making sure that you do everything that you can to get your site to rank on search engines. People are searching millions of terms every day, and I promise you that the topics that you are writing about are being searched for. So if you have information on a topic that you know can help someone solve a problem, find an answer, etc., and they see you pop up as a result, they are likely to click on it. The more clicks you get, the more opportunities you have to sell your product, or get paid by advertisers. This is fundamental if you are planning or aspiring to make your site your full time income.

What Factors Affect Search Engine Optimization?

Obviously Google will never just flat out publish their algorithms, however that doesn’t mean that people haven’t cracked at least part of the code. So what factors affect your rankings on search engines?

  • Page Speed
    • How quickly your site loads is important, because it shows that results for searches can be found quickly.
  • Bounce Rate
    • If people come on to your page and immediately leave, this lets the search engines know that the content is not what people are looking for, which can negatively affect your rankings.
  • Mobile Friendly
    • A large majority of people use their phones to make searches now, so if your site is mobile friendly, this can help you rank better.
  • Internal Links
    • Internal links are links on your website that link to your other content. This helps search engines crawl your site and can help them to know what your site is all about.
  • Backlinks
    • Getting a link from a well respected website, back to your site, shows that you are credible, and positively affects how your site ranks.
  • Content Length
    • The ideal length is widely debated however longer content seems to rank better on search engines.
  • Keyword Usage
    • It should be pretty obvious that using keywords frequently, and in the right places, helps you to rank higher for those keywords.

These are obviously not the only factors that influence your ranking, however they are some of the most important things. Consider using these as the ground work to building up your search engine optimization efforts.

Can I Really Rank for Search Results?

Yes, that is not to say that it will be easy. You need to target keywords with relatively low difficulty scores if you are just beginning. Once you have more authority you can try to rank for higher difficulty key words. For some keywords you may be able to rank in a couple weeks, and for others it might take years, but it is quite possible for anyone to rank with the right amount of effort and research.

What Keywords Should I Try to Rank For?

Using keyword research tools, you can find commonly searched keywords based around your niche, or topics that you write about. The main ones will be harder to rank for, but you should be able to find some related keywords that you can rank for pretty easily. “Coffee mugs” might be hard to rank for, but something like “personalized coffee mugs for gifts” could be a pretty easy term to rank for. Do the research and find the ones that you feel comfortable trying for and then work up as you learn.

Thanks for Reading!

Hopefully this post has helped you at least a little bit with understanding the crazy world of search engine optimization. It is definitely not something you are going to get good at overnight, so expect to put some real time in to it. Just do your research and trust the process, and with time you could be getting thousands of organic traffic from your search engine ranking.

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If you enjoyed this post, or you want more content about money, blogging, or business, leave a like and follow the blog so you can get updated when I post more content. Thank you for reading and good luck with your SEO efforts!

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