How SEO works: an introduction

By Sandra, 28 July 2023

Search Engine Optimisation

In our previous blog we explained how search engines work, now that you have this understanding we can go a step further. If you’ve ever heard of SEO, you probably know that it’s important for your online visibility. But what exactly is SEO and how does it work?

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a collection of strategies and techniques used to improve a website’s visibility in the organic (non-paid) search results of search engines. The ultimate goal of SEO is to attract more organic traffic to a website and increase its position in the search results.

Why is SEO important?

SEO is important because it makes your website more visible in search engines such as Google. People search for information, products and services through search engines every day, and if your website appears high in the search results, you increase the chances that users will visit your website. This can lead to more traffic, more leads and ultimately more sales. In addition, SEO contributes to an improved user experience and reliability of your website.

How does SEO work?

SEO works based on a combination of factors that search engines use to rate and rank websites. Although search engines use complex algorithms, there are four main pillars that form the basis of SEO:

  • Technical SEO
  • Content
  • User Experience (UX)
  • Authority (link building)

1. Technical SEO

By technical SEO, we mean everything you adjust on the backend of your website. This is often not visible to the user. With technical SEO, we provide, among other things:

  • A clear website structure
  • Fast loading time
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Correct use of structured data
  • As few error pages as possible
  • Use of sitemaps

Search engines want to give users the best experience, and a well-structured, fast and mobile-friendly website is an important factor contributing to higher rankings. By focusing on technical optimization, you help search engines better understand and index your website. It also contributes to a better user experience.

2. Content

Content is king, and creating valuable, relevant and informative content is essential to attract both users and search engines. Good content not only attracts more users, but also increases conversions. By conducting keyword research and strategically integrating it into your content, you increase the chances that your pages will be shown to users looking for information you provide. Here, it is important to use keywords in a natural and non-spammy way so that your content remains valuable to your target audience.

3. User Experience (UX)

User Experience (UX) is becoming increasingly important to SEO. This is due to Google’s focus on E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness). Search engines take into account how users behave on your website, such as the time they spend on pages, the number of pages they visit and the bounce rate (the percentage of people who view only one page and then leave the website).

A good UX means that your website is easy to navigate and understand, with a clear call-to-action. By providing visitors with a positive experience, you increase the chances that they will stay on your website longer and return, which in turn positively affects your positions in the search results.

4. Authority (link building)

Authority, also known as link building, is about how reliable your website is. Search engines consider backlinks – links from other websites to yours – as a sign of reliability and authority. The more quality and relevant websites link to your website, the more likely search engines will consider your content valuable and rank it higher in the search results. However, link building requires a careful strategy, as obtaining unnatural or spammy links can, in turn, be harmful to your positions in the search results.

Dive deeper into the pillars of SEO by reading a breakdown of the pillars!

SEO activities

Applying SEO consists of several activities that must be performed consistently. These include:

  • Conducting keyword research
  • On-page optimization
  • Creating valuable content
  • Optimizing technical aspects of the website
  • Actively working on link building

Conducting keyword research

One of the first and most crucial steps in SEO is keyword research. This involves identifying relevant keywords and phrases that people use when searching for products, services or information you offer. By researching keywords extensively, you can gain insight into user intent and determine which search terms can drive the most traffic and potential customers to your website.

On-page optimization

Next, on-page optimization is an important aspect. You adjust various elements on your website to help search engines understand what your pages are about. By this we mean optimizing page titles, meta descriptions, URL structures and using relevant keywords in the content. On-page optimization helps search engines better understand the context of your pages and increases the chances that your website will appear when people are looking for related information.

Creating valuable content

Creating high-quality, relevant and valuable content is also essential. Search engines value content that provides answers to users’ questions and needs. By regularly publishing new and informative content, you increase your chances of ranking higher in the search results and build authority within your industry.

Optimize technical aspects of the website

Besides content optimization, technical SEO is another important aspect that should not be forgotten. This is about improving the technical aspects of your website to increase its performance and visibility. This includes: optimizing the loading speed of your website, using structured data to help search engines understand your content, and ensuring a mobile-friendly experience.

Actively working on link building

Link building is another crucial part of SEO. Obtaining quality backlinks from other relevant and authoritative websites is a sign of credibility and reliability to search engines.

SEO is an ongoing process that requires constant optimization and adjustments to improve results and stay ahead of the competition.

Why should you invest in SEO?

By investing in SEO, you are investing in the growth and success of your online visibility. It is a long-term strategy that delivers sustainable results. Although it takes time and effort to achieve good positions in search results, SEO offers the opportunity to generate long-term organic traffic to your website without relying on paid advertising. By investing in SEO, you are investing in the growth and success of your online presence.

How can we help you with SEO?

Need help with your SEO? We are here for you! Together with you, we will develop a customized SEO strategy that fits your specific needs and goals. Contact us using the form below and we’ll get back to you soon.

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