Search Engine

SEO - How It Actually Works For Your Website

houseZoltan B. Mar 5, 2024

Hey there! You've probably heard a zillion things about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and how it's the magic potion for your online visibility. Well, it's time to cut through the noise and have a heart-to-heart about how SEO really works. No jargon, no fluff -- just the straight goods. Ready? Let's dive in.

The Real Deal on SEO: How It Actually Works

First things first, SEO isn't just about cramming keywords into your content like it's a Thanksgiving turkey. It's about making your website more visible to people who are searching for solutions that you provide. Think of Google as the matchmaker trying to set you up with folks looking for what you offer. The better your SEO, the better your chances of making a memorable first impression.

Why Should You Care?

So, why should you care about SEO? Because the internet is a vast ocean, and your website is just one of billions. Without SEO, your site is like a message in a bottle floating aimlessly. With SEO, you've got a motorboat. You're not just waiting around to be found; you're actively seeking out your audience, showing up where they are, and making waves.

A well-optimized website doesn't just attract more traffic; it attracts quality traffic. We're talking about visitors genuinely interested in what you have to offer. This means better engagement, higher conversion rates, and, ultimately, your goals being met. SEO is like the gift that keeps on giving. Invest in it now, and it'll pay dividends for years to come, outlasting any paid ad campaign.

Diving Deep into The Dynamic Duo of SEO: On-Page and Off-Page

Alright, let's get down to the nitty-gritty of SEO, which is a tag team of on-page and off-page strategies. Imagine SEO as a two-sided coin. On one side, you've got on-page SEO, which is everything you can control directly on your website to make it more attractive to search engines and users. On the flip side, off-page SEO involves all the behind-the-scenes actions taken outside your website to boost its reputation in search engines and build faster trust with your site.

On-Page SEO: Your Website Quality

It's absurd how many get this part wrong, many think its just the quality of keywords and content, but that's really just half of the equation. In reality On-Page SEO is EVERY optimization you can do ON the page. Not only its content, but design, page speed, code organization and accessibility, meta tags, semantic tags, etc.

This is why you need a good developer who knows where the important keywords go by writing proper semantic HTML and also knows how to make the site as fast as it can be by optimizing its assets and writing purposeful code that uses only what it needs to.

Here's an on-page SEO checklist that a website should follow to be best optmized for search engines:

  • High-quality content that is Keyword researched for search engines
  • Optimized website structure and navigation for better usability and user experience
  • Lightning-Fast Load Times: Google and users love websites that load faster than you can say "SEO." If you can get your website to score in the upper 90's on Google's page speed score, it's like having a superpower in the online world. Google Studies show that 53% of visits are likely to be abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load
  • Using descriptive and keyword-rich meta titles and descriptions
  • Optimizing header tags (H1, H2, H3) for better readability and organization
  • Using alt tags for images and other media to improve accessibility and searchability.
  • Design & User Experience: Just like you'd want a house to have a clear layout and be a pleasure to walk through, your website needs to be visually appealing and user-friendly. Accessibility, especially for screen readers, is a huge plus. It's about ensuring everyone, regardless of ability, can enjoy your site.

Here at Northwest Web Designs we handcode our client's websites with all of this in mind and maximize your On-Page SEO to be the best in can be. If you want us to take a look at your web project, feel free to contact us to book a meeting.

Off-Page SEO: The Reputation Builder

This is traditional SEO work that is done OFF the page, like link and citation building, guest posting on other sites to link back to you, social media and content creation, etc. Off-page SEO is akin to how your website builds its reputation in the wider online community. It's about making connections and ensuring your site is talked about in the right circles.

This is what SEO agencies specialize in, and it can be expensive (minimum $2.5k+ a month) because it's active work and using connections with reputable entities in the target niche. As a veteran in the web development field, I can tell this is the least understood topic among the general public as its often misunderstood that web developers are in charge of all aspects of SEO. In short, if you're a big business in a competitive market you may need an SEO team to break in the search results, it's worth it to get if it pays off in the larger market share.

Here's the two common methods of Off-Page SEO:

  • Backlinks: These are the digital equivalent of good word-of-mouth. When reputable sites link back to yours, it's a thumbs-up to search engines that your site is a credible source of information.

  • Social Media & Guest Posting: Optimizing social media profiles, sharing content and contributing guest posts to other blogs are fantastic ways to spread the word about your site.

Search Engine Optimization For 2024+

Investing in a good website for SEO isn't a quick fix; it's a long-haul flight to top rankings. It takes about 6-12 months for Google to properly rank your site and for you to start seeing some results. A good website is not a turnkey product, it’s something that takes time to build up to start returning on your investment but its worth it for the sustainable growth it brings to your online presence. Every day you delay investing in a good website is another day you are behind to where you could have been if you just pulled the trigger faster.

Now there are still ways to get immediate visibility if you have a budget by running google ads to show up in relevant searches at the top and get seen by your clients. If you're in a competitive market in a competitive area, you can also hire reputable SEO agencies that do the content, backlinks, curations, blogging, ads, etc.for you.

At the end of the day if you are a smaller business, a well made website is a great starting point to get clients online and a prerequisite before employing Off-Page SEO and advertisements. And actually if you pair a fast, hand-coded and SEO optimized website with a google business profile with 20-30+ reviews, it is more than enough to reel in new clients every month and bring in more revenue for your business.