How SEO Works for Websites

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is an umbrella term for several long and short-term digital marketing strategies. These strategic actions are aimed at optimizing your website for a higher search engine ranking.

Good SEO practices are tremendously important for businesses as it ensures consistent organic traffic and promising lead conversion rates.

Several marketers have the misconception that in the light of social media domination, SEO does not matter or does not work anymore. That is far from the truth.

Strategically developed and executed SEO tactics are relevant even in 2020 and will continue to be so in the future.

For clarification, here’s a look into how search engines work.


How Search Engines Rank Pages

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing have their own set of algorithms that determine the pages that will rank higher. Google keeps updating its algorithm from time to time, which, as a marketer, can be frustrating.

But this practice is put in place by Google to make sure that only the best websites get the first-page ranking on their search engine.

Search engines use a three-fold method to provide the users with the top-ranked sites.



Google’s web crawlers scour the internet when a search is run and goes over the codes, content, URLs, meta tags, and alt texts of every website. The ones that match with the subject matter of the search get passed on to the next step.



Google indexes the results found in the crawling process one after another to be compared as per their SEO rules. Once a website gets into the index, they are now eligible to be displayed in the SERPs.



The websites which follow the SEO guidelines by Google closely get a higher ranking on the SERPs that is finally displayed. Users are far more likely to click on the links of the first page of Google.

Even an amateur marketer knows that no one really goes to the second page of a Google search.


How SEO Works

SEO mainly works for the websites in a two-pronged manner –

  • On-Page SEO
  • Off-Page SEO

 For a better understanding of how exactly SEO helps your business to thrive, keep reading.


On-Page SEO

Also known as on-site SEO, these are changes and improvements you make to your website for Google to find your site the most relevant to your niche.

The factors which determine good on-page SEO are:



High-quality content is the backbone of this framework. Original, unique, informative, and non-plagiarized content in the form of blogs, articles, e-books, whitepapers, press releases, and more help your website rank higher.

Compelling and catchy headlines stand out on the SERPs and spark interest in the users for the website content.


Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Title tags heading the web pages and head sections provide an initial cue to the subject matter of the content and should be well written.

Meta descriptions and Meta tags are displayed under the Title tags and often displayed in the SERPs.

Optimizing these can help improve CTR (click-through rate).


Keyword Research and Optimization

Relevant keywords and LSI placement are crucial. But multiple usages need to be done carefully to avoid internal competition among the web pages of your website.


Images and Alt Text

A very valuable on-page SEO asset is the quality of images displayed on the website. Since crawlers cannot detect images, make sure to put relevant information in the alt text of the images.


Responsiveness and Navigation of Website

A fast, linear, and organized site structure makes it easy for search engines to do a 100% crawl of your website.

A ‘site audit’ should regularly be conducted to link all ‘orphan pages’ on the website. A consistent and logical URL structure should also be followed.

An SEO strategy that directly impacts your website rankings in search engines is your page speed. A fast-loading site helps you be on top of the SERPs.



Off-Page SEO

Also known as "off-site SEO," these are the aspects of SEO outside the website, and they are just as important.



High-quality backlinks form the backbone of off-page SEO.

Links are created naturally when a third party links back to your website, or you can create them by collaborating with guest posts and other forms of content.

‘Breadcrumbs navigation’ automatically adds internal links and helps solidify the site structure. Search engine spiders will have trouble crawling your website in case of indexing issues. Additionally, internal links should be created to deep pages.

The popularity and freshness of the linking site to which the backlinks are created is the equity of this SEO. The trustworthiness and number of already existing links to the host site also contribute greatly.

However, make sure to get rid of broken and outdated links. They can cause harm than do good in the long run.



Technical SEO consists of tactics to secure pages, mobile optimization, negating duplicate content, fast loading, and a whole lot more.

Other non-link related off-page SEO factors are –

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Website Domain Name
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Directory Listing
  • Public Forum Posting
  • Blog Commenting
  • Video Content Marketing
  • Guest Posting

Like most things, excellent SEO does not always guarantee the best of results. Even though the first page results capture more than 70% of all Google search traffic clicks and the second page gets a mere 6-8%, top-ranked marketers can still miss out on traffic for a couple of reasons.

One of them is the presence of 'snippet' on Google, which is the box at the top of the page with the most direct and relevant answer to the query. Google makes an exception to its SEO rules for their snippet and often displays the most descriptive result they find.

The presence of snippets on a page brings down click-through-rate (CTR) of the ranked listings down by 5.3%. Nevertheless, the average CTR for the top result is 28.5%, while the second and third places have 15% and 11%, respectively.

That alone is a big enough reason to invest in SEO.

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