SEO: What is Search Engine Optimization and how does it work?

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SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and identifies all the activities aimed at increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to a website coming from search engine results, improving organic positioning.

The websites that appear at the top of the first page of results tend to receive a higher click-through rate (CTR) and consequently more traffic.

Unlike paid results, a good SEO strategy allows you to attract a steady flow of potential customers to your website for free. This is why SEO can be defined as the most effective search engine marketing tool aimed at consolidated and stable results over time.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

How does SEO work?

Search engine algorithms, Google in the first place, are secret, extremely sophisticated, weigh hundreds of variables and are updated regularly. However, there are two basic concepts: relevance and authority.

The relevance of a web page can be defined as its correspondence to a particular search, or how well it fits the question or the request made by the user.

The authority refers to the popularity of a site and a web page, measured in terms of citations and links it receives from other sites. Comparable to a kind of online “vote”, if many relevant and reliable sites link to a particular website, it is very likely that search engines will rate its content as equally reliable and interesting.

What we need to keep in mind is that Google’s and the other engines’ goal is to provide the best possible service to people, offering relevant content that can respond quickly and best to their search intent.

SEO, therefore, implies making sure that a website is accessible, technically valid, uses words that people type in search engines, and provides an excellent user experience, with useful and high quality content, which helps to respond in a concrete and effective way to user’s requests.

SEO also includes useful activities for improving the number and the quality of incoming links to a website, for example through digital PR activities, in order to improve authority.

How to do SEO

SEO activities are traditionally divided into two macrophiles: on-site SEO and off-site SEO.

On-site SEO focuses on the optimization of the website, at a technical and content level. The goal is to make the search engines understand what our contents are and how they relate to user searches, improving accessibility, relevance and user experience.

Typically, it starts with a keyword analysis, intentions research and the competitive context. On a technical level, it must be ensured that the website can be crawled and indexed, free of errors or barriers, corresponding to the guidelines and optimization principles indicated by Google and by search engines in general.

It is essential to have a good structure and to optimize the internal navigation of the site. Content must be relevant, easy to read, and optimized for relevant search words and phrases.

We must ensure that the content is centered on the topic, authoritative and trustworthy, the site must be simple to use, fast and provide the best possible user experience compared to the competition.

Off-site SEO instead focuses on external factors to the site itself, with the aim of improving the authority of the website. Some of the typical activities include content marketing, digital PR, outreach and Promotion. The best approach, however, is to create interesting content, original research or studies, interviews with experts, which can attract mentions and quality natural links from other websites, in full compliance with Google’s guidelines.

Why is SEO important?

SEO is a key part of digital marketing: people do trillions of searches every year, often with transactional intentions to find information and then purchase products and services. Organic search is often the main source of digital traffic for a brand, and greater visibility in search results than the competition can have a major impact in terms of conversions.

The goal of search engines is to provide the best answers to their users and to do so, they increasingly try to emulate a real user who visits our site.
Searches, including vocal ones, are expressed in an increasingly natural way and algorithms exploit artificial intelligence to detect the real search intent.
Consequently, attention is increasingly placed on the user and on the presence of quality content. Optimizing a site for SEO is not just about improving it in the eyes of search engines, but optimizing the site for the users themselves.

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18 January 2021 Lorena Piai

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