What is SEO? Definition, Types, Benefits, and How SEO Works

What is SEO? Definition, Types, Benefits, and How SEO Works

Many people think that SEO is a way to get a top ranking on Google. However, that concept is merely superficial.

If you delve deeper, it turns out that search engine optimization is not just about rankings. In fact, SEO can improve the quality and quantity of traffic entering your website and blog.

This means that visitors are not just casually visiting your website. Instead, they also contribute to helping you achieve your website's goals, whether it's enhancing branding or boosting transaction numbers.

Surely, you must be even more interested in learning about what SEO is, right? Without further ado, let's satisfy your curiosity in this article!

What is SEO?

SEO stands for "search engine optimization." This technique involves optimizing a website to achieve a higher ranking in Google search results.

Through search engine optimization, a website becomes more easily discoverable by others, leading to the potential of attracting more traffic.

Now, among numerous search engines (Yahoo!, Bing, Amazon, etc.), why prioritize Google SEO?

The answer is simple: Google is the preferred search engine for the majority of internet users.

As evidence, there are approximately 3.5 billion searches conducted on Google every day. It's no wonder that Google dominates 90% of the search engine market share (Statista).

What is SEO?

Thus, the success of a website significantly relies on Google SEO. With proper search engine optimization, a website can capture more potential traffic.

In fact, 53% of website traffic comes from organic searches, which are activities involving users searching for information by entering specific keywords into Google.

Moreover, it's not just about traffic; your audience's reach is also targeted and aligned with the website's goals, such as increasing branding, transactions, serving as an information source, and more. Curious about why it works this way?

Before delving into the benefits of SEO, it's essential to understand the difference between SEO and SEM.

The Difference between SEO and SEM

Although they may sound similar, search engine optimization is different from SEM (Search Engine Marketing). The difference between SEM and SEO lies in their focus.

Google SEO focuses on improving website performance, while SEM aims to capture instant results (traffic to conversions). For a comprehensive understanding, let's explore the following comparison between SEM and SEO.

Definition: Efforts to optimize a website to occupy the top positions on the search engine page Definition: Marketing strategy to rank a website on top search engine results page
The expenses incurred: Free to paid, adjusting the tools used The expenses incurred: Paid
Search Engine Display: No advertising frills Search Engine Display: Displaying the label 'advertisement' or 'advertising'
Tools Used: Not mandatory, but you can also use keyword research tools, Google Search Console for backlink analysis, Google Analytics for checking website performance, and so on Tools Used: Need Google AdWords, Google Keyword Planner, etc
Result: Websites need time to achieve top rankings Result: Websites can instantly occupy the top rankings on Google
Types of Traffic: Organic traffic refers to the traffic obtained from websites that appear in search engine results naturally Types of Traffic: Organic traffic and paid search. Paid search refers to audience visits that are caused by paid advertising
Performance: Long term. Website rankings don't easily decline, depending on its optimization Performance: Short-term. After the ad duration ends, the website ranking will return to its original position

*Due to the table getting distorted when made into 3 columns, I changed it to 2 columns only to prevent any display issues.

Although SEM is capable of delivering instant results, it does not mean that SEO is ineffective for websites.

The evidence is that 70-80% of people ignore paid search results and prefer organic content. This is because many individuals are reluctant to click on content with attached advertisements.

5+ Benefits of SEO for Websites and Businesses

You might wonder, why should you still implement website SEO? After all, there are other marketing channels to promote a site, such as placing website links in Instagram bios, using the swipe-up feature, and so on.

Well, it's essential to know that a significant portion of traffic, especially for business websites, comes from search engines. Regardless of the industry, whether it's technology, fashion, health, or others.

5+ Benefits of SEO for Websites and Businesses

Certainly, the amount of traffic significantly influences the website's success in achieving its goals. Without further ado, here are the SEO benefits that you wouldn't want to miss.

1. Making it Easier for the Audience to Find Your Website

SEO strategy is an effective way to facilitate your target audience in finding your website.

The reason is that search engine optimization allows your site to appear on the first page of Google. This position significantly impacts traffic, considering that 75% of people are reluctant to scroll to the second page and beyond.

Making it Easier for the Audience to Find Your Website

It's like opening a refrigerator full of canned drinks. Surely, you'd prefer grabbing a can from the front row rather than reaching all the way to the back, right?

2. Attracting the Right Target Audience

SEO on Google not only helps the audience find your website but also enables you to attract the right target audience.

The reason is that you can target keywords based on the search intent or the audience's purpose when searching for specific keywords.

For instance, if your website's search intent is to educate the audience about certain information, as a skincare business owner who has conducted research, you know that the target audience is curious about Niacinamide.

As a result, you create blog content about the benefits of Niacinamide, while informing that your brand includes this ingredient. By implementing SEO techniques, this content has the potential to be discovered by your target audience through Google.

Attracting the Right Target Audience

Moreover, Google's algorithm prioritizes unique search experiences.

This means that the Google algorithm will determine recommended content that appears on the search page, taking into account audience characteristics such as location, search history, and more.

Thus, by applying search engine optimization, your website's content will have a greater chance of reaching your targeted audience. Consequently, opportunities for traffic and conversions will increase.

3. Building Brand Awareness

The simplest way people can find the products they desire is by searching for information on Google.

Building Brand Awareness

According to ReviewTrackers, 63% of people prefer searching for products on Google compared to other review sites.

This means that Google is indeed a strategic place to introduce a product and build brand awareness.

"Hey, my website content already appears on the first page of Google, but why is my brand still not very popular?"

Well, the benefits of SEO don't come instantly. It takes around 3-5 encounters with your created content for potential new customers to trust and become interested in your brand.

So, the more frequently your website appears on the first page of Google for relevant keywords, the greater brand awareness you'll gain.

4. Long-Term Investment

Search engine optimization is a long-term investment. Optimizing for Google search engines can expand business opportunities, especially since relevant search results can influence 39% of potential buyers' decisions.

Long-Term Investment

By building organic traffic, your website's position on Google becomes stronger and can endure for a long time.

On the other hand, with PPC or Pay per Click, if you stop paying, the traffic immediately drops to zero. Your website will quickly be pushed down from the top rankings.

That's why even though both SEO and SEM have the potential to incur costs, we still recommend maximizing your website optimization efforts.

5. Increasing Sales and Conversions

In addition to the four aspects mentioned earlier, the benefits of SEO also encompass enhancing online sales and conversions.

In fact, 75% of business owners agree that search engine optimization generates more customers compared to other marketing techniques. Furthermore, its conversion rate reaches 14.6%.

The reason behind this lies in the ability of search engine optimization to reach a broader target audience more effectively than other marketing tricks. Unlike other methods, such as social media marketing, which only targets users of specific apps (Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and others), or email marketing, which is limited to subscribers of newsletters.

Moreover, Google users far outnumber those on other platforms, totaling around 4.39 billion internet users.

Increasing Sales and Conversions

This implies that the easier it is for your website content to be found on Google, the greater the chances of attracting traffic. Especially when your content appears repeatedly as the audience enters various keywords.

And it's not just any audience; the incoming traffic can be converted into various valuable outcomes. What were once potential customers can turn into genuine, loyal clients.

6. Building Top-of-Mind Brand

Top-of-mind brand is the brand that customers remember first when thinking about a product category. Now, one of the benefits of SEO is building a top-of-mind brand.

As you know, search engine optimization is a long-term investment. Once your website successfully dominates the first page of Google, it will have stronger roots and will be less likely to be displaced easily.

As the credibility of your website has been established, other content on your website will also gain more trust from Google.

Building Top-of-Mind Brand

Moreover, with existing traffic and Google's tendency to recommend sites previously visited by audiences, your audience won't easily forget about you. Your content keeps appearing in their search results even with different keywords.

And if you manage to dominate the first page of Google, potential customers become less likely to check out competitors. In their minds, the good ones are the ones ranked at the top of Google.

Furthermore, businesses with top rankings usually provide comprehensive information. No wonder audiences perceive your business as always offering the information and products they need. As a result, top-of-mind awareness among the audience is further established.

Now, you must be even more interested in learning SEO. Before delving further, it's best to understand the different types of SEO and decide which one you want to focus on first.

Types of SEO

There are three types of website optimization for search engines: on-page, off-page, and technical. Although they all aim to boost website rankings, their focuses are different. Here is a complete explanation of the types of SEO:

1. On-Page SEO

Objective: To optimize website content for easy discovery by the target audience.

On-page SEO involves efforts to optimize the visible aspects of a website. The maximized aspects include:

  • Permalink
  • Content titles
  • Content structure
  • Content images
  • Keyword distribution
  • Content quality
  • Internal links
  • Elements (meta description, tags, and others)

With on-page SEO, your content will be more likely to appear on Google. The more relevant your content is to the targeted keywords, the better it addresses the audience's needs, and Google will boost your website's ranking.

As a note, this type of SEO is the easiest to implement and essential to master. So, if you are just starting to learn search engine optimization, please first focus on understanding on-page SEO.

2. Off-Page SEO

Objective: to assist Google in understanding the extent of content's benefits and relevance to others.

Off-page SEO refers to the efforts made to optimize a website from external sources. Here are the aspects that you can improve:

  • Link building (activities to acquire links from other websites, also known as backlinks)
  • Increasing DA (Domain Authority: a score predicting a website's ranking potential on Google)
  • Increasing PA (Page Authority: a score indicating the likelihood of a website's page ranking highly on Google)
  • Promotion of content through social media and other marketing channels
  • Guest blogging (the act of publishing quality articles on other websites that include backlinks to your site).

With a strong off-page SEO strategy, Google becomes more confident in recognizing the usefulness of your website to others. As a result, the site's credibility and potential for higher rankings are enhanced.

3. Technical SEO

Objective: to optimize the website's structure for maximum performance and acceptance by Google.

Technical SEO is the effort to optimize search engine optimization within the website (technical aspects). In broad terms, these are the technical areas involved:

  • Website speed
  • Website structure
  • XML Sitemap
  • Site security (SSL)
  • SEO-friendly theme
  • Website layout
  • Navigation

By implementing technical SEO, your website will have a well-organized structure that is easily readable by search engines. As a result, the chances of Google indexing your site are significantly increased.

"Hey, what does it mean for Google to index a site?"

Don't worry, we have prepared an explanation for it in the section on How SEO and SERP Work below.

How SEO and SERP Work

Certainly, the way SEO works is not just about selecting a website to occupy the top page of the SERP (search engine results page). There are specific techniques that Google uses to filter sites.

By knowing these techniques, you will understand why there are many types of search engine optimization and why it is important to optimize on-page, as well as Off-Page SEO aspects of a website. Let's explore the following explanation.

1. How SEO Works

Google has a tool called the web crawler. This web crawler assists Google in collecting various content on the internet, storing it in the database or search engine's storage cabinet, and processing it.

How SEO Works

In short, here's how SEO works after you release a website or post new content on a blog.

  • Crawling: The process of gathering and storing newly released or recently updated website pages.
  • Indexing: Google has implemented the Google Mobile First Index algorithm, which helps Google understand the website's structure, the quality and relevance of content for audience needs, and the credibility of each page stored in its database.
  • Pulling result (ranking): Google compiles a list of the best website pages to fill the highest rankings in search results (SERP).

So, that was the way SEO works in sorting website pages to be displayed to internet users. But, how does the journey of a piece of content unfold to become discoverable by the audience?

2. How SERP (Search Engine Result Page) Works

Now, you will see how the Google search engine brings specific website pages forward to the audience.

Here's how SERP works to present content recommendations to the audience:

  • The audience enters specific keywords into the Google search query box.
  • Google analyzes these keywords (including spelling variations and synonyms) to provide the best search results.
  • From all the website pages stored in its database, Google looks for content that includes the audience's entered keywords.
  • Using Google's algorithm, the search engine analyzes the content and website to ensure its relevance and credibility for the audience.
  • Google takes into consideration various audience characteristics, such as location, browsing history, and post-search activities (SafeSearch Filters: filtering to provide safe content for the audience).
  • Google SERP displays a list of the best content for the audience.

It's essential to know that SERP adheres to the latest Google algorithm. The Google algorithm serves as a guideline for evaluating and displaying website pages based on the keywords entered by users.

Moving on to the next section, you will learn about the main SEO indicators.

12+ Key SEO Indicators

SEO indicators are the factors that Google evaluates to determine whether a website page deserves a top-ranking position in the SERP.

This means that SEO indicators are aspects that you need to focus on when optimizing a website. Without further ado, here are the key SEO indicators:

1. Domain Factor

The domain is the address of a website, for example: www.shopinie.com. Domain factors are elements related to the domain that impact your search engine optimization performance.

So, what are the domain factors that serve as SEO indicators? Here are the answers:

  • Clear and easy-to-spell spelling: With simple spelling, the domain name will be easier for the audience to type and reduces the likelihood of typos.
  • Domain size: A lengthy domain will be too complicated for Google and the audience to understand. For example, www.veryuniqueandbeautifulshop.com.
  • Domain age: The age of a domain does not significantly influence its optimization in search engines. However, the longer you optimize a website, the better its SEO will become.
  • Domain history: If you purchase a domain that was previously used and had a negative history (e.g., involved in spam activities), it can significantly affect its performance in the SERP.

In conclusion, domain factor is a crucial SEO indicator that you should pay attention to.

2. Website Design and Structure

In the discussion of Technical SEO, you already know the importance of website structure, which is to maximize site performance and facilitate Google's understanding of the site's context.

As a reminder, the website structure is the arrangement of important pages on the website, including its elements, such as content layout, navigation, links, and content layout, among others.

However, the website structure must be SEO-friendly. This means that your website should:

  • Be easily accessible
  • Load quickly
  • Have a neat website structure
  • Have clear navigation menus
  • Have easily recognizable links
  • Have unique content titles and URLs
  • Have high-quality content
  • Have a suitable color combination
  • Maintain a consistent appearance across different browsers
  • Have clear Call to Action (CTA) elements
  • Have simple forms
  • Be responsive and mobile-friendly

By meeting all these criteria for a SEO-friendly website, Google will consider your site to have good user experience and deem it worthy of being presented to the audience.

3. Website Security (SSL/TLS)

Since 2014, Google has prioritized secure websites for its audience. Google recognizes website security by checking whether a website has installed SSL/TLS or not.

For your information, SSL/TLS is a security protocol that protects all data streams on a website. Websites that have SSL/TLS installed will display a padlock symbol in the URL address bar.

4. Website Speed

Since 2018, Google has stated that one of the main indicators for its search engine optimization is to improve website loading speed (on desktop, mobile, tablet).

At the very least, Google considers the best website speed to be around two seconds. To give you a clearer idea, the range of website speed is approximately as follows:

  • Very fast: 1 second
  • Fast: 2 seconds
  • Average: 2 to 3 seconds
  • Slow: 3 to 4 seconds
  • Very slow: above 4 seconds

"So, what happens if the website speed is too slow?"

The truth is, the audience is not patient when it comes to waiting. They won't hesitate to find another website if a page takes too long to load.

Website Security (SSL/TLS)

Looking at the graph, you can conclude that the faster the website's page load, the smaller the bounce rate, and the higher the page views.

Note: Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave the site without opening another page on the same website. Conversely, page views refer to the number of pages opened by visitors on the same website.

Now, one of the ways to skyrocket website speed is by choosing a hosting service that uses the best servers, such as LiteSpeed Web Server. This web server's performance is 50% faster compared to other servers.

5. The Use of Keywords

Certainly, you already know that keywords are fundamental SEO indicators. Inserting keywords into Google is how your audience finds your website.

Usually, both beginners and experts opt for high-volume keywords, as a large volume reflects the number of audiences searching for information using those keywords.

However, competing for high-volume keywords can be quite challenging, especially for newly released websites that lag behind established sites with existing traffic.

Therefore, the strategy for keyword usage has shifted. You can target multiple keywords at once: LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) and Long-tail keywords.

LSI keywords are not synonyms but terms or phrases considered semantically relevant by search engines. By incorporating LSI, your content becomes more informative.

Next, let's talk about long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are specific keywords with typically low competition. Even though their volume is low, it doesn't mean there is no demand for them.

Hence, long-tail keywords allow you to win Google's competition while addressing your audience's specific queries.

In conclusion, by aiming for the right keywords, it becomes easier for you to formulate content strategies that truly cater to your audience's needs. Moreover, Google is more likely to rank your website according to the target keywords.

6. Content Topics

The next SEO indicator is content topics. Although it may seem trivial, choosing the wrong content topics can have fatal consequences.

"But wait, it's my website, shouldn't I be free to choose any topic?"

Well, you are indeed free to choose any topic. However, try to select content topics that are related to each other.

For example, if you have a technology blog, provide several main topics such as digital marketing, web development & design, etc. All of these topics are interconnected with the main theme of the blog, which is technology.

Why should it be this way? The reason is simple: the more content with interconnected topics, the easier it is for search engines to understand the context of your website.

Moreover, related content will facilitate the process of building internal links. Since the information in one content supports the content in another, it becomes easy to insert relevant links.

Easy Tips! Implement content marketing strategies, which are marketing techniques to create and distribute relevant, important, and consistent content for your audience.

7. Search Intent

Search intent refers to the purpose of users when they conduct a search using specific keywords.

For example, when the audience enters the keyword "website creation service" on Google, they are most likely seeking a service to create a website.

Consequently, the SERP will display recommendations for the most reliable website creation services.

Clearly, the results will be different if the audience types the keyword "tips for starting a website creation service." They might be interested in starting a website creation service and are looking for information on how to begin.

Therefore, the SERP provides recommendations for tips on starting a website creation service.

This means that Google strives to understand the user's intent through the entered keywords. In other words, the content you create with specific keywords should be as relevant as possible to the audience's search intent.

8. Content Structure

Next, content structure is also crucial.

One of Google's ways to read your content is by examining the usage of headings. Headings are titles of article sections that contain specific information.

The use of headings is not arbitrary. Although there are H1 (main content title) to H6 (sub-heading), you need to understand their hierarchy. The closer to H6, the more detailed information you should provide.

Besides facilitating Google in reading the content structure, the heading format will also help the audience quickly grasp the core of the content.

Furthermore, headings can assist you in obtaining a featured snippet (a snippet column at the top of Google).

Through headings, Google and the audience can assess whether your content addresses their search intent.

9. Image Optimization

One of the elements that people often underestimate, yet has a significant impact on website optimization, is images. Whether they are content thumbnails, supporting illustrations, videos, or other visual formats.

However, image optimization can greatly boost the performance of your website, both in terms of speed and discoverability in search results. This is because Google's algorithms are capable of reading the images you post.

Therefore, image optimization becomes a crucial indicator that you should pay attention to. The way to optimize images in WordPress is by ensuring proper file naming, selecting images with appropriate sizes, and so on.

10. URL Structure

URL or permalink is a link that will direct the audience to specific content or pages of a website.

With a simple and clear URL structure containing relevant keywords, search engines can better understand the topic of that web page.

Easy tips! Create a URL structure that includes the domain name and the title of the article or primary keywords. Example: www.yourwebsite.com/mens-watches.

11. Meta Tags

Meta tags consist of the title tag and meta description. The title tag is the article's headline that appears in search results, while the meta description is a summary of your content located below the meta tags.

As meta tags are the first thing the audience sees before delving into your content, their presence is quite crucial. With meta tags, the audience can assess whether the content aligns with their search intent or not.

It's important to note that due to Google's limited space, the size of meta tags must be adjusted accordingly. Title tags that are too long will be truncated by Google, and the meta description is restricted to only 120 to 130 characters.

12. Backlink

In the Off-Page SEO section, you have briefly learned about backlinks. A backlink is a link from a neighboring website that points to your website.

This SEO indicator is quite important as it becomes a consideration for Google to assess the credibility of your website. When your content is referenced by other websites, it signifies that the content you have created is valuable.

However, you cannot obtain backlinks from just any website or blog. Certainly, the sites that provide backlinks must be of high quality. The quality can be determined by their DA and PA scores. The higher the DA and PA scores, the greater the chances of your website's pages appearing at the top of rankings.

13. Web Spam

Web spam refers to the excessive and massive communication through websites. For example, bombarding a short article with hundreds of identical keywords. Its purpose is to gain an advantage in search engine optimization competition.

Typically, those who engage in web spam are either individuals who are not well-versed in SEO practices or those seeking to manipulate search rankings instantly and dishonestly.

However, Google does not favor sites that engage in spamming practices. This is because web spam negatively affects the user experience for the audience and simultaneously reduces the credibility of the website.

There are several types of web spam that people often engage in:

  • Content-based spam, which involves spamming activities directed towards the content, such as excessive keyword stuffing.
  • Comment spam, where individuals spam neighboring websites' comment sections by inserting links to their own websites.
  • Link spam, which entails spamming specific platforms with an excessive number of backlinks, whether it's on online forums, guest blogs, and similar platforms.

Therefore, while optimizing your website is essential, you should be mindful of the limits and avoid engaging in dishonest practices.

Furthermore, Google has become increasingly adept at assessing the level of website spam and won't hesitate to remove sites that engage in such practices.

What Are the Determining Factors for Website Ranking?

From the previous discussion, you know that search engine optimization indicators are metrics that Google evaluates to assess the suitability of a website and its content. Now, these indicators can actually be categorized into determining factors for ranking.

The determining factors for website ranking are the criteria set by Google to evaluate SEO indicators:

  • Relevancy, which is the degree of connection between the audience's needs and the provided information.
  • Authority, which is the level of credibility of the website or content in presenting accurate and relevant information.
  • Value, which represents the quality of the website and content in providing benefits to the audience.
  • User experience, which is the audience's experience when they interact with the website and all its elements.

Then, which indicators are included in Google Ranking factors? Let's take a look at the following table.

SEO Factors Scope
Relevancy Usage of keywords
Content topics
URL structure
Meta tags
Authority Domain factor
Website security
Web spam
Value Search intent
User Experience Website design and structure
Website speed
Image optimization

Apart from the factors mentioned above, website ranking is undoubtedly influenced by Google's algorithms. Google's foundation in evaluating websites involves a system that is continuously updated to provide the best search experience.

This means that Google's algorithms exist to meet the needs of the audience. So, instead of solely chasing after Google's ever-changing algorithms, it is better to focus on presenting websites and content that are beneficial to the audience.

Are You Ready to Optimize Your Website?

Now, you already have a better understanding that SEO is a way to optimize your website to be on the top pages of Google.

By implementing search engine optimization for starting a venture or business, you will be flooded with traffic and reap abundant benefits. Ranging from expanding awareness, driving transactions, to extending the lifespan of your business.

But even though this article is finished, don't think that learning SEO ends just like that. As Aristotle (Greek philosopher) said, "What we have to learn, we learn by doing it." So, the best way to understand SEO is through practice.

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