How Does SEO Work?

Active Business Growth SEO

Now that we understand what exactly SEO is and how it can be one of your business’s most profitable marketing channels, it is time to learn how SEO works.

It is important to understand that SEO works in many different ways.

This is because there are many different strategies and tactics you can employ to ensure your site shows up for a particular keyword search.

In fact, there are over 200+ different deciding factors that Google looks for in order to determine if your site will be placed on the first page of any given search.

In another article, we discuss what we believe to be 13 of the most important signals that you MUST take advantage of and focus on if you want to have a fighting chance of appearing on the prized first page.

You can read this in-depth, 3200+ word article here.

Gears grinding together to show how SEO works.

In order to illustrate how SEO works, we will choose 3 of these 13 discussed signals to show you how each of them can improve your website’s SEO presence in very different ways.

These 3 factors should be the pillars of any SEO campaign; if we were to drill down the list of 13 signals even further, these would be the 3 factors that we would deem most important in terms of their ability to rank your website on Google.

This is why they will be used as an example to demonstrate how SEO works.

Let’s dive in.

1) Relevant Quality Content

This one is a no-brainer.

The more relevant quality content you put on your website, the higher chance you’ll have of ranking in Google for the keywords that you want.

We actually have this conversation fairly often with local business owners.

They ask us something along the lines of: “Hey, can you show us why our website isn’t showing up when you type _____ into Google?”

Let’s say this phrase is from a dentist that wants their site to rank for “teeth whitening Toronto”.

Usually what happens is we analyze their website and see that they don’t have any content around teeth whitening at all!

They may have mentioned the term “teeth whitening” once or twice throughout their website, but this is far from enough when trying to rank on the first page of Google.

User searching keywords on Google.

This is because Google cares about the end user.

They want to be the most trusted search engine and provide the most quality results for every search query so that people will find helpful information that will entice them to continue to come back and use their service.

And so they only want to show the most relevant content per each search query in order to satisfy each searcher.

So, in this case, if you wanted your site to rank on the first page of Google for “teeth whitening Toronto”, the first – and arguably most important step – would be to create a page on your website dedicated to teeth whitening in Toronto.

You would want to include everything there is to know about teeth whitening, answer any questions people may have about teeth whitening, and aim to create the most thorough, comprehensive teeth whitening page that goes more in-depth than any of your competitors’ websites currently ranking for “teeth whitening Toronto”.

Once this is done, then you can start optimizing your site for more of Google’s signals.

2) Authority Link Building

This is a HUGE one that is often overlooked.

And it works much differently to rank your website in Google than the previous factor of relevant quality content.

Usually when we’re analyzing a client’s website, more often than not, their link building is extremely weak.

And that’s because most business owners simply don’t know about it or have even heard of link building before.

But it’s one of the most important factors in terms of ranking your site for your desired keywords.

So let’s discuss link building in very simple terms.

A “backlink” or just a “link” as we’ll refer to it as, is very similar to a “works cited” or “references” list at the end of an essay.

If you write an essay and don’t have any references to cite your facts and statistics with, then your essay doesn’t seem very reputable.

But if you wrote an essay and had 20+ different references that you cited all your facts and statistics with, then your essay is viewed as much more authoritative and trustworthy.

The same goes with websites.

The more websites that “link” to your own site, the more reputable your website looks in the eyes of Google.

So if your dental website has only 5 links from other sites linking to it, and your competitors have 75+ links from other sites linking to them, then Google is going to think that your competitor’s site is MUCH more trustworthy than your site, thus allowing them to rank higher in the search results for relevant keyword phrases.

A picture of search engine optimization link building.

Although link building goes much deeper than this, this is the gist of it.

And there are many different strategies that you can employ to go out there and get other websites to link to you.

Here at Active Business Growth, we ALWAYS make link building a priority for any client that comes on board.

Together, we have implemented dozens upon dozens of successful link building campaigns.

And for good reasons: it may be the thing you need that ranks your website above your competitors.

3) Website Code Structure

The third example we’d like to show you to illustrate yet another way SEO works is through your website’s code structure.

The structure of your code actually hits upon many different Google signals, which is why it’s so important.

There are many different signals to look for when optimizing your code such as: the structure of your heading tags (H1, H2, H3’s), the use of canonical linking for duplicate content, your page loading speed via HTML, etc.

But, in terms of ranking locally in and around your business’s location, there is a certain type of advanced meta information we’d like to discuss.

One quick side note: we understand that this information may sound foreign to most business owners. But this is not meant to overwhelm you; rather, it is meant to explain how deep some of these ranking factors really go.

For local businesses, it is crucial to include JSON-LD schema in your website’s code.

The benefits of JSON-LD in terms of SEO is that it makes the information on your website very easy for Google to parse, crawl, and learn about your business.

Ultimately, this type of code specifies details about your business to Google in a way that it can easily understand.

For example: you can tell Google about your business’s geo-coordinates, phone number, email address, opening hours, number of employees, areas your business serves, etc.

By doing this, you’re speaking to Google in a language it prefers, which makes it so that it now KNOWS everything about your business.

You can even go as far as telling it exactly the types of food you serve, the products you sell, and so on.

Here is an example of what this code looks like for a dentist:

Structured data schema for a dentist.

You can really go to town with this and include everything you think is relevant for Google to know in order to rank you above your competitors.

And the beautiful thing about including this type of information is:

Websites using schema receive 30% more clickthrough rates on Google than those without; and yet, only 20% of websites have schema in their code (Similar Web, 2017).

So, not only are you telling Google exactly where your business is located and what your business is all about so that you show up much higher in local searches, but this code also gives you a massive advantage over your competitors – because most of them don’t even use it!

Therefore, your website code structure is the third pillar we implement in order to boost your website’s Google rankings.

Bringing It All Together

SEO works in many different ways.

With over 200+ different ranking factors to look out for, you need to constantly be optimizing your website in order to continually rank above your competitors.

From relevant quality content to authority link building and website code structure, SEO should be the main pillar of your online marketing efforts.

And we’re here to help.

For a free complimentary SEO audit and custom growth action plan, click here to contact us and discover what SEO can do for your business.

We look forward to helping you grow your business.

PS – please visit our SEO Edmonton page if you are from Alberta.