What is SEO?

  • Nick Plokkaar
  • December 18, 2021
Search Engine Optimization

When you start a business, it makes sense these days that you have a website. So you create a website, you put a lot of time into it and you're happy with the result. Bring on the customers! But, those customers don't come. The website is bad until not findable via Google and there are hardly any visitors. SEO can help you rank higher in the search engine, but what is SEO actually?

In short: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, or search engine optimization in Dutch.  The goal of SEO is to optimize a website in order to rank higher in the organic (unpaid) search results.

What is SEO and what do you use it for?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, in Dutch it is also called search engine optimization. Not to be confused with SEA, Search Engine Advertising, advertising on search engines.

SEO aims to get a higher position in organic (=unpaid) search results by means of optimization of the website. The better the website is optimized, the greater the chance that your website will be found.

Although SEO takes a lot of time, it does have a great added value for your website. It is in fact one of the most sustainable and effective online marketing tactics.

With SEO you ensure that your website matches the wishes of your visitors as well as possible. This can be offering a service, but also answering specific questions or presenting relevant images.

By answering the visitor's search query, you try to fulfill their needs and be more helpful than the competition.

Sounds simple, but it's a bit more complicated.

How does SEO work?

Search engines want to add value to the user. This means that they want to ensure that the user must receive an answer to his or her question as quickly as possible.

To achieve this, search engines use complicated algorithms. Not only do these algorithms consist of more than 200 factors that determine how well a website scores, these algorithms are also continuously developed.

Not so long ago it was possible to get a higher position in the search engines just by using the right search terms. Nowadays, as mentioned before, SEO is a lot more difficult.

You can outsource SEO, but you can get started with your SEO without too extensive knowledge.

SEO 101

How high a website is in Google is determined by the algorithms of the search engines and so you depend on it. But how do you make sure that the algorithms consider your website as relevant ?

As mentioned, the goal of search engines is to provide their users with the right results as well and as quickly as possible. The EAT principle  is central here. EAT stands for ExpertiseAuthority and Trustworthy and these are the 3 pillars that help Google improve the quality and relevance of reviewed a website.

So even if you have no idea which hundreds of factors influence your ranking, you can take EAT as a guideline.

  • Expertise

Obviously, the search results should be relevant  to the query. You don't need a bicycle repair shop if your car is broken. With search engine optimization you therefore have to ensure that search engines see the relevance of your website.

The best strategy for this differs per website. It is important to put yourself in the shoes of your customers or users. What are they looking for? How do they find this? What do they need? Am I providing the correct information? Make sure you know who you are optimizing the website for. This is also known as User Intent .

With the reliable, informative content  you can show that you have the right expertise and that visitors are in the right place. Share your knowledge and make your website informative.

  • Authority

A website builds up a (good or bad) reputation  over time. A website that has been around for years and has always been optimized for the search engines has a much better reputation than a new website.

Building a reputation is done by showing that you are active and current. Writing and publishing blogs, creating reliable backlinks (other websites linking to your website) and even regular activity on the linked social media pages will help grow your reputation.

  • Reliability

Reliability and security, that's what search engines absolutely want to guarantee. Using the correct security certificates and update software is essential in this. If your visitors are not sufficiently protected, this will have a strong negative impact on visibility.

Tip: User-friendliness

User-friendliness is not directly in the EAT principle, but should certainly not be forgotten as a basis. The content of a page can become worthless if the website is user-unfriendly.

For example, when a website is slow , a illegible font or has a unclear layout  , visitors are quickly inclined to leave a website immediately. The percentage of visitors who leave a website within 3 seconds is also known as the bounce rate . A high bounce rate can (note: “may”!) be an indication that a website is user-unfriendly and therefore has no added value. When a website has no added value, the search engines no longer want to show this website.

So make sure you have a clear and clear website with a professional design. Please note that many Google users nowadays search by telephone and your website is therefore also viewed on a telephone. Does your website look just as good on a phone as it does on a computer?

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