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Understanding SEO For Beginners

Understanding SEO and how Google works is tricky for a lot of business owners. You’ve spent your career focusing on becoming an industry leader in your field and have never had to worry too much about your marketing.

Between word-of-mouth referrals, being an active member of industry associations, and placing a few ads in relevant publications or directories, you’ve managed to gain a consistent flow of clients and customers, which has enabled you to grow your business.

But the Brisbane digital marketing landscape has changed significantly in the past ten years.

The way that audiences find and engage with businesses has shifted significantly and competition has increased. And while word-of-mouth can still be a great way to get a foot in the door with a prospective new client, it often is not enough to close the deal.

These days, business owners need to have a dynamic website with lots of content, active social media channels, regular email newsletters, and something called ‘SEO’, or ‘Search Engine Optimisation’.

In simple terms, SEO is the process of optimising (tweaking/editing) your website and its content so that it performs better in Google. Millions of people use Google (and other search engines) every day to find new products, research brands, and make purchasing decisions.

If your business is not on Google – or is not being ‘indexed’ – by Google, then you will be missing out on getting your business in front of prospective new customers when they are ready to buy.

I have noticed in the past year that a lot of the established business owners I speak to understand the importance of SEO and being found on Google – but they don’t really understand how SEO works. And more importantly, they don’t really understand what they are paying for when they engage an SEO service.

This means that a lot of business owners are getting ripped off. They are getting targeted by dodgy overseas SEO companies that overcharge and under deliver. I’ve previously written about SEO Red Flags – or warning signs that your SEO service provider lacks integrity.

In today’s article, I’m breaking down the concept of SEO, using a metaphor to help you better understand how SEO works. I’ll use this metaphor to help explain some of the different terminology you will hear when it comes to SEO, and to also help you understand the importance of some of the different activities or deliverables that you should be seeing in your monthly SEO packages.

I believe that this article, when paired with my SEO Red Flags article, will give you a solid understanding of what SEO is, how it works, and how to choose a reliable (and honest, and transparent, and ethical) Brisbane SEO provider.

Understanding SEO Metaphor

How SEO Works: A Metaphor

Think of Google as being a modern-day encyclopedia.

If you wanted to use an encyclopedia to learn about the subject ‘Japan’, you would flip to the back of the book and locate ‘Japan’ in the index. In the index, under the heading ‘Japan’, you would find a list of all the pages in your encyclopedia that contain information regarding Japan.

In this metaphor, Google is the encyclopedia, Japan is the keyword (or search term), and Google’s SERP (search engine results page) is the index.

When your SEO specialist says something like “your website isn’t being indexed for that search phrase”, they mean that your website does not show up in the index of the encyclopedia for that subject or keyword.

How do you get your website to be indexed in Google for the subjects you want it to be?

The first step is to make sure you have relevant content on your website. If you want to be indexed for search terms or keywords relating to the subject matter of ‘Japan’, you must have content on your website about the subject ‘Japan’.

Google indexes the websites whose information is most relevant to the keywords higher – this means that if you have an entire website dedicated to the subject of Japan, with 20 pages detailing different sub-topics like ‘Japanese Food’, ‘Japanese Culture’, and ‘Cities of Japan’, then you will likely be ranked higher than a competing website that just has one page about Japan on it.

This is why BeKonstructive Marketing’s approach to SEO always starts with keyword research and a content audit. This is where we identify the keywords / subjects that you should be targeting in your SEO campaign, and then we audit your website’s existing content (text, images, information) to make sure that it is relevant to the keywords in your campaign.

This is also why content creation should be a significant part of your monthly Brisbane SEO service or package. Using SEO focused Brisbane copywriters to add new content to your website on a regular basis – in the form of blogs or articles, videos, case studies, portfolio items, testimonials, whitepapers, or e-books and more – enables you to continuously build out the body of information you have related to your subject matter or keywords.

If you have 20 pages on your website about Japan, and your competitor only has one page, it will be easy to out-rank them in Google for any search terms relating to the subject of ‘Japan’.

Metaphor Summary:

  1. Google is an index for all the content, information, and websites on the internet.
  2. Google ranks websites in order of relevance to the search term or phrase – the websites with the most amount of relevant content will generally rank the highest.
  3. Your SEO provider should be assessing, updating, and editing the content on your website as part of your monthly SEO service.

What About Backlinks?

Did you know that there are over 100 different encyclopedia brands in the world?

If I asked you to name more than a couple, I’m guessing you’d struggle. If I asked you to name just one brand of encyclopedia, I’m guessing it would be Encyclopedia Britannica.  Why? Because it is the most well-known and most credible encyclopedia in the world.

What makes it the most well-known? The number of times that it is referenced or cited by authoritative sources. When a scholar writes a research paper on Japanese Culture and cites the Encyclopedia Britannica as a source, they are lending the Encyclopedia Britannica some of their credibility. They are vouching for Britannica as a reliable, credible source of information.

Backlinks are another important SEO factor that you will often hear your SEO specialist talking about. Backlinks are hyperlinks from external websites that link back to a page of your website.

The best way to think of backlinks is as references or citations to your content. If you write a detailed article about your experiences in Japan, and a travel blogger links to your article in a new piece of content that they create for their own website – then they have referenced your content.

The more websites that link to your content – or the more citations/references your content receives – the more credible or authoritative Google views your content as being. If your content is being cited by hundreds of other websites throughout the internet, then that will have a positive impact on what is termed your ‘Domain Authority’.

Your Domain Authority Score is a measure of your influence – your website’s trustworthiness, credibility, and authority. And one of the best ways to improve your Domain Authority Score is to gain more quality backlinks to your website.

How do I get more backlinks?

There are several ways to increase your backlink profile, but the best and most organic way is to create great content that is worthy of backlinks. If you are creating valuable resources and information about your industry and subject, then other websites will naturally link to and cite your work.

That’s why BeKonstructive Marketing takes a content-first approach to SEO – there are some other activities that we do that help speed up the process of gaining backlinks (such as Digital PR), but the first step is always to create content that is worthy of backlinks. A key part of our backlink strategy utilises our Brisbane copywriting experts to research and create engaging copy to add to your backlink profile.

Any SEO provider who is creating backlinks to your website without first auditing and optimising your content, or who is not creating insightful resources like e-books or blog articles for your SEO backlink campaign, is not going to be able to produce long-lasting results.

What’s Next?

This article was a basic overview of how Google works and why content is so important for your SEO campaigns. It is just the tip of the iceberg though. There are over 200 different ‘signals’ or criteria that contribute to how your website performs in Google.

Some of the things I didn’t touch on in this article include your website’s health, how your content is formatted, your website navigation, and more. If you would like to continue your learning, then I recommend reading my article about a simplified approach to understanding Google’s SEO signals.

If you would like to learn more about BeKonstructive Marketing’s Brisbane SEO services, then please get in touch. We help everyday businesses perform better in Google with our content-first SEO services.