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How does SEO work?

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), there is a wide range of strategies required to ultimately improve a website’s relevance in the eyes of search engines. Keyword-based content writing, on-page and off-page optimization, and backlink building are all essential, but understanding how SEO works can help business owners enhance their website’s visibility across all search engines, and bring in more organic traffic.

In addition to helpful information and tips on SEO, StatCounter gives its members all the necessary tools to track the effects of SEO on any given website. We also strive to provide any resources necessary so our members can thrive on competitive search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. This guide intends to define the fundamentals of SEO, as well as some of its basic methodology.

Suggested Reading

For those who are just getting into SEO, the articles below can help you learn more about basic strategies:

How SEO Works: The Fundamental Strategies

While SEO is a complex process in which strategies will change often, especially depending on the industry, there are a few fundamental pieces of SEO that can work for nearly every website, such as title tag, meta description, heading tag, and image alt text optimization. Some other common SEO strategies, both good and bad, are as follows:

Local SEO: Local SEO is especially effective for smaller, local businesses who thrive on local search result rankings. Local SEO disregards national or global rankings, and instead aims to compete for local keywords and search engine placements for a given city or region. While it’s intuitive for local businesses to pursue local SEO, national and global businesses can also benefit from localized SEO strategies—if done correctly, that is.

White Hat SEO: White hat SEO is the type of optimization designed to benefit users, rather than solely cater to improving search engine rankings. White hat SEO practices, however, are able to align with search engines as they strive to enhance user experience. This can be done in a variety of ways, including the creation of quality content and legitimate backlinking. In any case, white hat SEO should be the preferred method, especially when compared to black hat SEO.

Black Hat SEO: Speaking of which, black hat SEO is an outdated practice that sought to exploit search engines by giving a website inauthentic authority. As search engines continue to evolve their processes, black hat SEO has been rendered ineffective compared to more authentic, quality SEO practices designed to satisfy a user’s intent. Black hat SEO still exists, but it’s not recommended, as there are myriad associated penalties that can end up being counterproductive and even hurt your website's presence in search engine results pages.

Some strategies, however, will not work for certain businesses. For example, an e-commerce website will need a drastically different strategy to a brick and mortar storefront business. E-commerce SEO strategy will be geared toward driving as many visitors to their site to get them to purchase a product. Brick and mortar businesses, on the other hand, will have the end goal of getting customers to their physical location.

Do-it-Yourself Or Hire an SEO Company

It’s possible to do SEO all on your own, although it can be difficult especially when coupled with other business-oriented tasks. However, with enough knowledge of the multifaceted processes necessary to improve organic search rankings, there’s no need to hire an SEO company to perform these services for you. Yet, most website and business owners lack the technical knowledge of SEO necessary to improve organic rankings on their own. That’s where SEO services might come into play.

There are thousands of SEO companies today that can take the reigns and help you improve your organic search rankings. These companies range anywhere from solo SEO consultants to larger companies with dozens of writers and strategists to boost your website’s viability on search engines. Some of the best SEO companies can even provide additional services, like social media management. Of course, the costs and quality of the services provided can range widely, so it’s best to put in the research necessary to find the right company for your online presence. Or maybe it’s worth it just to take on the SEO efforts on your own!

By The Numbers

As you begin to consider SEO for your website, whether it’s to be performed on your own or by hiring an SEO company, the statistics provided below will give you great insight as to how effective SEO can be:

  • Over 70% of web users ignore paid advertisements in search results
  • 70% of the links clicked on by web users are organic results
  • Search and email have been deemed the as the top internet activities
  • The first organic search result for any given keyword typically gets over 30% of clicks

Track Your SEO Efforts with StatCounter Insights

Regardless of whether you choose to take the DIY route or hire an SEO company, you should always track your SEO efforts. With StatCounter, you can track the progress you have made on your website through our SEO training to ensure your website is competitive online.

If you have questions or comments, you can contact StatCounter support for help by filling out the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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