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SEO Explained: What Is SEO and How Does SEO Works?

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What is SEO?

You've probably heard of the term "SEO" from many places, especially when you're looking for web designers and web developers to build your new business website. SEO is a crucial part of your website and must not be neglected. As competition grows fiercer each day, so does the importance of SEO. Now, what exactly is SEO? 

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a digital marketing strategy that makes your website more visible to search engines such as Google when people search for products or services related to your business. The higher your SEO rankings, the higher your page will appear on the search engine results page(SERP), and more people will visit your website.

There are two types of SEO strategies that you can use to boost your website's rankings, which are on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the optimization work done on the website to improve rankings on search engines. By optimizing and changing certain elements of your website, you can improve your SERP rankings. Some of the website elements you need to optimize for better on-page SEO are:

  • URL
  • Meta description
  • Heading tags (H1, H2...)
  • Keywords
  • Speed
  • Images
  • Mobile-friendliness

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO involves strategies outside of the website to improve rankings on search engines. By actively promoting your website and engaging with people outside of your website, you can improve its SERP rankings. Below are some strategies for better off-page SEO results:

  • Link building
  • Blogging
  • Social media marketing
  • Content marketing

How SEO works?

Now that we know there are two SEO strategies, let's take a closer look at how they will affect SEO and improve a website's rankings on search engines. 

Let's use a simple example. Imagine website A and website B, both of which are in the dental business in Kuala Lumpur. 

Website A targets keywords such as "best dental clinic in KL", loads faster, and is mobile responsive. Website A also blogs about topics related to dental care regularly and actively engaging on social media.

Website B does not target any business keywords, loads slower, and is not optimized for mobile screens. Website B is a simple website without blogs and is rarely active on social media.

Which website do you think will rank higher on Google? 

The obvious answer is website A.

This is because search engines such as Google uses robots to crawl through websites, looking at each line of code and text. It detects website A is a dental business in Kuala Lumpur because it emphasizes the keyword "best dental clinic in KL". At the same time, it's still trying to figure out what website B is about due to the lack of keyword targeting.

When a person types in "best dental clinic in KL" on Google, website A will appear first compared to website B. Therefore, website A will gain a new visitor, and if the visitor likes what he sees, he will visit the dental clinic from website A. 

Search engines such as Google takes website speed and mobile responsiveness into consideration when ranking a website. Google uses complex algorithms to determine a website's ranking by measuring the speed and mobile responsiveness of a website. 

  • Test your website's speed here
  • Test your website's mobile responsiveness here

If website B decides to target the same keywords as website A, it will all comes down to website speed and mobile responsiveness. Website A will still rank higher than website B because it is faster and optimized for mobile devices.

Next, website A blogs about dental-related topics and shares them on social media. Website A also creates valuable and engaging posts on social media. Meanwhile, website B does not have a blog and is not active on social media.

By blogging and sharing them on social media, website A gets more visitors via organic searches and social media. When people search for a topic such as "how to take care of braces" and Website A has a blog about that topic, people will click into website A's blog to read about it. People on social media may also find the blog topic interesting and click on the website.

You might be wondering, how do people clicking on a website to read a blog will improve SEO? 

Well, the simple answer is the time spent on a website. A blog post helps to keep visitors longer on the website since it contains valuable content for them to read compared to a site with less content. Besides website speed and mobile responsiveness, Google also takes the time spent by visitors on your website as one of the rankings factors. This is why normally the blog post you clicked on the first page of search results is typically very long and packed with valuable info, all of these to keep visitors staying longer, thus making it rank higher.

I hope you now have a better understanding of what SEO is, and how SEO helps to improve a website's ranking on search results. All of these are just the tip of the iceberg as Google's ranking algorithms are complex and everchanging, which is why we must always keep our website up to date and tweak it over time according to the latest SEO practice.

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