Demystifying SEO

Stephen McCance April 15, 2019

We have an announcement to make:

Here at Red Cow Media, we are not wizards.

We know, we know, it makes us sad too. But, it’s a fact we can’t ignore. Getting to number 1 on Google doesn’t actually take a magical spell or virginal sacrifice. Though if that changes, we have a guy called Phil on-hand.

For that reason, here’s a quick look at what SEO actually is underneath all of the buzzwords. We’ve had to use some buzzwords as a matter of course, but we’ve done our utmost to ensure they’re well explained, we promise!


How Does SEO Work?


Okay, back to basics. SEO is an acronym for ‘search engine optimisation’. To put it bluntly, this is the not-so-secret art of activity that is designed to improve a website’s rankings in search engines. This is usually Google, though it can include Bing, etc., depending on user behaviour.

All major search engines have an algorithm designed to rank websites based on a number of factors.


Man searching for information on Google

What Factors Affect SEO?


There’s no exact science for SEO. And, truth be told, no one actually knows what the ranking factors are explicitly.

However, there are a few things we know – through trial and error mostly – that actually do have an impact. They include:

  • Content
  • Page Speed
  • E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness)
  • UX
  • Mobile-Friendliness
  • Links


On-Page and Off-Page SEO


You’ve probably seen these terms thrown around quite a lot. And if you’re scratching your head about it then don’t worry, here’s a simple breakdown:

On-page SEO is everything you do on your website to manipulate web rankings. This includes keywords in content, alt text and all that other good stuff.

Off-page SEO is all the stuff that contributes to ranking outside of your website. Links, social signals and citations all contribute to this.

In modern SEO, there has definitely been a move away from off-page SEO as a vital strategy. Google’s Penguin algorithm update in 2012 totally changed the landscape for link building, targeting obviously blackhat gained links that were artificially impacting a websites rankings. Which means that many people who relied on a high volume of bad links suddenly found their sites disappearing from the first page of Google. As such, many people simply don’t practice link building anymore ‘just in case’.

There’s arguments against this school of thought, of course. Links are still an important ranking factor. But, that can be a very long-winded debate and deserves a whole blog of its own.


Wooden blocks representing links

Does SEO Actually Work?


If it didn’t, we wouldn’t be here! SEO can absolutely make a difference to your business. If you’re still on the fence contemplating how does SEO work and whether it can actually impact your business – don’t be! By implementing various SEO techniques, you’ll start to notice that your website is experiencing an increase in traffic, higher user engagement and eventually, more people buying your product or services.

Where SEO can’t help, however, is the site itself. For example, you may be seeing a dramatic rise in traffic to your site which is great, but if your site isn’t user-friendly, attractive or enticing – users may still click away. That’s why SEO often goes hand-in-hand with website development.


Need SEO Help?


Okay, so now we’ve answered your question about ‘how does SEO work?’. And if you’re still reading at this point, then there’s a definite chance you want it for your own site.

Good news – we can help! Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we’ll talk you through how we can support your business through SEO.

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