Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – How it works

New customers find your business when your website appears in search results.

Reading time: 6 minutes

There are two ways to make your brand appear in search results on Google and other search engines: through paid advertising, commonly referred to as Search Engine Marketing (SEM), or by helping a page appear among unpaid – or organic – search results. When it comes to work related to achieving better organic positions, the term Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is used.

Table of contents

What is SEO?

There are several techniques you can use to help your site rank among the top search results. The purpose of such techniques is to get a search engine (in most cases Google) to like your site so much that it decides to show it among the first results when someone searches for products or services that your business sells. These techniques are usually grouped under the term SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.

SEO is a broad concept that includes many different components. This is because search engines consider a number of different things when deciding how your site should rank, including:

  • how well it works technically,
  • how well its content is categorized,
  • how relevant and qualitative the content of the page is and
  • how much the website has been linked to from other quality sites.

Simply put, Search Engine Optimization can be divided into three main parts: technical SEO, on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

Technical SEO

Google and other search engines prefer websites that load quickly and have a logical and clear structure. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your site is hosted on a well-functioning and fast enough server, that security updates are performed whenever needed, that text, images, and other media do not have an unnecessarily long loading time and that the different parts of the page are properly structured.

It is common for a new website to be delivered at least reasonably technically optimized. Over time, however, things will affect the technical performance; parts of the page may be replaced, something stops working, new articles and pages are added and deleted, extensions are updated and so on. If the page is not monitored, all of this will gradually begin to affect the quality of the page and eventually its ranking in search results will deteriorate, which in turn will lead to fewer potential customers finding their way to your business.

To ensure that your website stays in good technical condition, you should have a technical SEO plan in place. The best solution is to keep the page under constant control. This means regularly reviewing the content of the website and identifying what can be done better to promote better placements.

On-page SEO

The goal of search engines is to present the best possible search results to the user. Therefore, it is important that the content on your site is related to the products or services you sell and that the content provides real added value to the reader. This kind of optimization, which concerns the content of a website, is commonly referred to as on-page SEO or content optimization.

The better you know your target audience, the easier it will be for you to provide them with the right kind of content. By performing a so-called keyword analysis you are able to get an overview of people’s search behavior. Such analysis can be performed with Google’s Keyword Planner or with various optimization tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush. When you type words and search terms into any of the aforementioned tools, you’ll see statistics such as how many times your keywords have been used and what other related search terms might be relevant. This information will help you understand what your potential buyers need and what questions they want answered, which in turn can give you ideas on what kind of content you should be offering on your website.

The content should not only be relevant, but also structured correctly. This means, among other things, that the headings, subheadings and texts are categorized correctly and have the correct HTML tags, that the pages have well-functioning meta descriptions (short texts that describe the content of the pages in search engines) and that the whole website has a well-functioning internal link structure. All of this improves the visitor experience and helps search engines identify which pages are what.

Off-page SEO

In addition to all the work you do on your own website, search engines also take other external factors into account when determining your site’s ranking in search results. This includes reviews, mentions elsewhere on the web, and especially links from other sites. For optimization performed outside your own website, the term off-page SEO or external optimization is used.

External optimization involves many different tactics. All in all, it’s about how your brand appears online.

Linking is a key factor in off-page search engine optimization. Something that search engines pay close attention to is whether, and to what extent, your website is linked to, and from how relevant and qualitative pages. One single really good link (from a popular blog, for example) can be very important for the number of visitors and thus also for ranking in search results. At the same time, you should avoid low-quality links, i.e. links from sites that search engines don’t like.

With the growth of online sales, the importance of reliable reviews is also growing. By encouraging your customers to write reviews and testimonials on Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Tripadvisor or Trustpilot, for example, you have the opportunity to build genuine trust capital for your brand, which you will find will gradually affect your rankings as well.

Summary

Search engine optimization is a logical part of an active online environment where most of marketing takes place today. The best thing you can do is make sure what you’re selling is high quality, that you provide relevant insights and answers to your potential customers’ questions, and that you use the techniques mentioned in this article to make sure Google and other search engines have the information they need to make your business website appear the next time someone is looking for the products or services you sell.

The extent of the optimization work depends, among other things, on how big a website you have and how much competition there is in the market. Small websites can go a long way in ensuring that the technical basics are in order. Lindebarn’s Marketer Pro-package includes such support. Remember that Search Engine Optimization is not a sprint, but a marathon, where continuous development is the key to successful results.

We also offer opportunities for broader SEO collaboration. Book an appointment to discuss more.

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