The Art and Science of Search Engine Optimization


Search Engine Optimization or SEO refers to the set of techniques engaged by businesses to get their website to rank higher than others in search engines such as Google and Microsoft Bing. SEO practices are designed to improve the appearance, positioning, and usefulness of multiple types of content in the search results.

In Google and other search engines, the results’ page often features paid ads at the top, followed by the regular results which digital marketers call “organic search results”. Traffic that comes via SEO is referred to as “organic search traffic”.

This kind of traffic is usually high-quality traffic because users are actively searching for a specific topic, product or service. If a user finds the relevant site through the search engine, it can lead to better brand engagement. It is very important to implement the best SEO practices to ensure that your digital content gets highlighted and is found easily and quickly.

Google Search and SEO

How does Google determine in what order to post the results of a search query ? How does this translate to traffic towards your website? Let’s take a look at how this works:

  1. Google’s search crawlers are constantly scanning the web, categorizing, and gathering the billions of web pages and storing them in an index. When you search the Net, Google pulls up these results from the index instead of the web itself
  2. Then Google uses a complex algorithm to order them in a ranking sequence.This may be based on a number of criteria, such as, the quality of the content, its relevance, the website  and the domain it belongs to
  3. How people interact with the results further indicates to Google the significance of each page, which is also factored into the algorithm

Thus Google Search works like a complex feedback system – to surface the most accurate, trustworthy, and relevant results. Your role is to publish content that is in accordance with Google’s Service Norms, i.e. experience, expertise, authority, and trust ( E-E-A-T ).

Google’s Ranking Factors

Google is constantly evolving and refining its algorithm to continue providing the best experience possible, but here is the most recent list by FirstPageSage:

  1. Consistent Publication of High-Quality Content ( 26% )
  2. Keywords in Meta-Tag Titles ( 15% )
  3. Backlinks ( 14% )
  4. Niche Expertise ( 14% )
  5. User Engagement ( 11% )
  6. Freshness ( 6% ) 
  7. Trustworthiness ( 5% )
  8. Mobile-Friendly, Mobile-First Website ( 5% )
  9. Page Speed ( 3% )
  10. Internal Links ( 2% )
  11. Site-Security/SSL Certificate ( 2% )
  12. Schema Markup/Structured Data ( 1% )
  13. Other Factors ( 1% )

Search Engine Optimization Techniques

Let us see how you can utilize various SEO techniques for optimizing your site:

  1. Keyword Research: This involves looking at what keywords your site is already ranked for, what keywords your competitors rank for, and from what other keywords potential customers can be attracted to. Identifying these helps guide you on how existing content can be optimized and how to craft new content.
  2. Content Marketing: It is advantageous to create compelling pieces of content that provide a positive user experience and have a chance of ranking higher in the search engine results – this is content marketing. Good content also has a greater chance of being shared on social media and attracting links.
  3. Link Building: Links from other websites, called backlinks are one of the key ranking criteria in Google’s Search Algorithms. This can involve promoting good content, reaching out to other websites, building relationships with webmasters, submitting websites to relevant web directories, and getting press to attract links from other websites.
  4. On-Page Optimization: This involves improving the actual structure of the page. You can do this by optimizing the URL of the page to incorporate specific keywords, updating the title tag of the page to use relevant search terms, and using the alt attribute to describe images. 
  5. Site Architecture Optimization: How the links are located on the pages and where they link to, is also important for higher ranking of a website. One can use a Search Engine Optimizer for this, which makes sure that key pages are being linked to and that the relevant anchor text is being used in those links to improve the page’s relevance. 
  6. Semantic Markup: This means to describe the meaning behind the content on a page, such as helping to identify who is the author of a piece of content or describing the topic of a page or classifying the type of content on the page. Using semantic markup one can get rich snippets displayed in the search results page, such as extra text, review stars and even images. These can help in site click-through-rates.


Since there are billions of searches, conducted on Google everyday, it is no surprise that search engines are usually one of the biggest traffic sources to websites. To harness this traffic source’s potential, one needs to understand the ranking criteria and the appealing factors to customers.

One has to use strategic keywords and display compelling introductions to the services. The site should also be well structured, and convenient to navigate, among others. An understanding of the ranking factors, and how customers are attracted to your website can help in this regard.

Finally, there is no doubt that SEO drives real results for brands, businesses and organizations –  by 2030, the global SEO market is projected to reach a staggering and astounding size of US$129.6 Billion.

Image Source

Leave a Comment