SEO increases the quantity and quality of website traffic from organic search engine results. This kind of optimization is about understanding how the people you are trying to connect with are using search engines, and increasing the relevancy of your content to match their specific queries. The better you understand which keywords are most appropriate and tailor your content to fit, the higher your relevancy score and potential ranking.
Google’s continuously crawls and indexes the internet, and stores their findings in a database. Google does not publish the size of their database, but estimates are that it is in excess of 10 exabytes (10,000,000 terabytes).
When a user initiates a search, Google’s proprietary algorithms query this database and return the most relevant results in a fraction of seconds. How relevant your content is considered to be, depends on how well your website seems to match the search intent. This involves an exact or approximate match with the search terms, how many times those keywords are used, on what level of importance they appear on your page, and on how well your content is interlinked on your site and linked to from other sites. Google’s algorithms have become incredibly smart about analyzing search intent. The more relevant Google considers the content of a page, the higher it ranks on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
Here are some of the factors Google evaluates for relevancy and rank:
- “Freshness” of content
- Frequency and position a search term in a content cluster
- User experience
- Links to related content
- Trustworthiness and authority on a subject matter
- Quantity of search traffic for similar queries
- Inbound links from other high-quality sites on the same topic
Google’s algorithms are updated several times per year, making ongoing SEO a significant part of any content marketing effort. While all of this may sound quite complicated, a systematic approach breaks it up into manageable steps:
- Analyze appropriate keywords, search phrases, and their level of competition
- Develop an overall keyword strategy
- Optimize all pages of the website
- Monitor your site’s ranking performance against your competitors
- Continue to develop “fresh,” keyword-optimized content
- Solicit and increase the number of inbound links
Unlike Google Ads, SEO doesn’t return immediate results. It takes 4-6 months to see your ranking improve. The good news is that the SEO is cumulative and builds momentum over time. High-quality content that’s optimized to rank for the right keywords continues to deliver long-term ROI.