February 12, 2022

4 min. read

What does SEO mean?

By Sander Kah

You have probably heard of it: SEO. This acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization. In this article, we explain what it is and how you can use it to your advantage to attract more visitors to your website. Do you already know what SEO is but want to know how to write the perfect meta titles and descriptions? Then read this article!

In this article you will find the following topics:

So what does SEO/Search engine optimization mean?

Search engine optimization is a collective term for activities you perform to improve your position in the various search engines on the Internet. In other words, Search Engine Optimization. This consists of many different parts where you do your best to rank as high as possible in search engines. The main one is of course Google but there are also other search engines such as Bing.

Below is an overview of some of the activities related to search engine optimization:

  1. Content: An important factor for search engines to determine which words you should be shown in the search engine results (SERP: Search Engine Result Page). Content are all texts, titles, images, videos etc. what you put on a page.
  2. Backlinks: The number of links a page receives from you and other sites on the internet determines how important a page is.
  3. Socials: In the world, the various social media apps are impossible to imagine life without, and this certainly applies to SEO as well. The number of likes, shares and comments on your article is an increasingly important factor in determining your SEO score.
  4. Technology: How the structure of your website is built, whether your page loads quickly and whether you have your sitemap and robots.txt file set up properly are very important factors. If you do not have this right, all the time you put into writing good content can be wasted. So make sure you check this properly.
  5. Speed: The loading time of a page is an important factor in determining your ranking. Because many visitors on a mobile site view the site via a 3G or 4G connection, it is important to look critically at your page size.

SEO What!

Robots, Sitemaps, SERP, Pagerank and backlinks it is logical that the first time you read an article about SEO you get confused about all the different terms. Below is an overview of commonly used SEO terms and their meanings:

  • Black Hat SEO: Search engine optimization that breaks Google's rules.
  • Backlinks: Links from other pages inside or outside your own domain to a page.
  • Crawling: The process by which search engines discover your web pages.
  • CTR: Click Through Rate
  • External Links: Links from another domain to your domain. For example, a link from another website's blog to a page on your website.
  • Featured Snippets: Portions at the top of organic results that highlight certain things for certain searches.
  • Indexing: The storage and organization of crawled pages by search engines.
  • Intention: Intention refers to what a visitor is trying to achieve when they type a search term into the search bar.
  • Internal Links: Links within a particular domain. So for example, links from one page within your site to another page within your site.
  • KPI: Key Performance Indicator - This is an indicator that allows you to measure how well an activity is achieving its goal.
  • Organic: Organic traffic or organic search results refers to non-paid visitors or search results. This is in contrast to paid traffic.
  • Pagerank: By pagerank is meant your position of a specific page on a specific search term in the search results.
  • PPC: Pay per Click - Paying for clicks by means of PPC campaigns.
  • SEA: Search Engine Advertising - paying for positions in search engines in order to bring in traffic.
  • SERP: Search Engine Result Page - the page you see after doing a search in a search engine.
  • Traffic: The visitors to a website.
  • URL: Uniform Resource Locators the path you type into the bar of your browser to visit a site.

SEO, I know what it is and now?

Now that you know what SEO means you can get to work improving your pages to get a higher ranking in the search engines. But before you start doing this, you'd better pick up on a few other things first. Of course, you would like to know whether all that effort is paying off. Therefore it is good to set up a number of tools so you can see where you stand and whether you are making progress.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a great tool that allows you to track your position in Google for the search terms that your pages are showing for. The best part about this tool? It's free :) From this link you can create an account and set up the Google Search Console.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a tool that allows you to do a thorough analysis of the traffic on your website. You'll find answers to questions like: Where do your visitors come from? What are they doing on your site? What are my best-performing pages? What are my best-selling products? To use Google Analytics, you need to set up a pixel on your website. Click here to create a Google Analytics account to analyze your website traffic.

Use an SEO tool

There are numerous paid tools on the Internet that allow you to see how often a particular keyword is being searched for. This gives you valuable information with which you can optimize your pages, also you can often use these tools to do an analysis of your competitors. Besides paid tools such as Semrush and Ahrefs, you can also use the free Google Adwords keyword planner to get insights if you have a Google ads account.

Writing good SEO content

Writing good SEO content is one of the most important things to get a better ranking in search engines. The search engines are getting smarter and the competition is getting bigger. To achieve a good position you need to write very good content but what is good content?

Good content is written by putting yourself in the position of the user. What problem do they have? What questions do they have? And how do I make sure that a page explains these questions and problems in a good and structured way so that the user has a pleasant experience with the site. The moment you help your visitors solve their problems; And do this in an efficient and clear way. They will stay longer on your page, come back more often, and maybe even recommend their friends to check out your page.

So backlinks are external or internal links to a page. How do you get people to link to your page? Again, that starts with the previous paragraph, writing good content. This ensures that your page is valuable and if you do that well enough then maybe even other sites will find your content so valuable that they will add a link to your explanation on their site.

SEO & Socials

Nowadays, social media is an integral part of today's world. You have the established channels, of course: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn & YouTube. But also newer platforms like TikTok and Clubhouse are becoming increasingly important in everyday life. So this also has a big influence on how you are found in the search engines. Choose one or more platforms that suit your business and communication style and make sure you share the content you create on them. This can of course be done in many different ways so find the ways that suits you best!

Technical SEO, how do I do that?

The technical side of SEO is the part that is usually done by the web builder. Think of menu structures, URL structure, metadata, product data, the proper use of breadcrumbs, and internal link structure. In addition, if all goes well, you have set up a sitemap on your website that indicates to search engines how your site is structured and you indicate through a robots.txt file which pages may and may not be indexed.

It is important to understand at least the basics of this and to be able to check if these things are set up correctly. This way you know for sure that the effort you put into creating good content is not lost due to a technical problem.

Speed for better ranking

Today, website visitors are impatient creatures ;) This means that they don't want to wait for a page to load. So speed is hugely important for good SEO. So make sure your pages can be loaded quickly. You can do this by keeping your page size as small as possible, not running unnecessary scripts and compress your images and videos. You can find a number of tools to test the speed and size of a page. The ones we often use ourselves are WebPageTest.org and Google Pagespeed Insights.

And now it's your turn!

In this article, we've outlined the principles of SEO to help you take the first steps towards ranking better within the various search engines, thereby driving more relevant traffic to your website. SEO optimization is an ongoing process and not a one-time investment. This means that you will have to include it regularly in your activities. Analyze with the tools mentioned above what works for you and what doesn't and also take a good look at what your competitors are doing. By constantly learning and optimizing you will steadily grow, good luck!

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO activities are the activities that you perform (or have performed) to get higher in the organic search results (organic means not paid) of search engines such as Google. The ultimate goal is usually to lead people to your website and generate conversions. The extent to which you manage this has a major impact on the success of your website or webshop.

By improving your SEO, your goal is to have your website rank higher in the search results. You do this by optimizing your page for the search terms that people use to search for something, both technically and in terms of content. There are hundreds of factors that play a role in why a certain page is shown at the top of the search results. The most important thing to remember is that you write content for the user.

When someone searches for a certain keyword, they want a solution to their problem or a clear answer to their question as quickly as possible. If you are the one who can present this quickly, effectively, and clearly you will be shown higher than competitors who do this less clearly, quickly, or effectively.

On-page SEO stands for on the page. So these are the SEO activities you perform on your own website to improve your site's ranking. The opposite of this is off-page SEO. These are activities that you do outside your own site (such as gathering relevant links to your page) to improve your position in the search results.

An SEO specialist is someone who is experienced in improving the organic results of websites. The activities that a good SEO specialist performs include:

  • Improving the content on the website
  • Improving the technical SEO of a site
  • Developing and implementing relevant inbound link structures
  • Adding relevant outbound links
  • Improving the URL structure of a website
  • Gathering relevant backlinks for a website

SEA stands for Search Engine Advertising. This is the paid side of search engine marketing where you buy traffic for certain relevant search terms. You will get the best results if you also have your SEO in order. This is because the quality score of a page is a big factor in how much you will pay for a click.

For example, if you sell bicycles but there is a lot of traffic on the keyword buy motorcycle then you could also buy traffic on that with the hope that those people would also consider a bicycle. However, because your page is about bicycles and not motorcycles, a search engine will recognize this and will charge you (much) more or simply not show it because your page is not relevant enough for the search.

So with only SEA, you usually won't manage to run a successful campaign.

Written by
Sander Kah

I'm Sander, a SaaS entrepreneur with over 5 years of experience in co-owning and growing a software company, Afosto, that helps retailers succeed using smart and scalable software solutions. I'm also the co-founder of Sanwin Beachwear, an exclusive beachwear brand for men, and a pilot, flying Boeing 737 aircrafts across Europe and beyond. I'm passionate about creating value for my clients, partners, and customers, and seeing them achieve their business goals and reach new heights. When I'm not in the cockpit or the boardroom, I love to explore the world, kitesurf, and camp in my van. I'm always open to connect and exchange ideas with like-minded people, so feel free to reach out to me.

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