What is SEO and How Does it Work?

Understanding and properly implementing SEO is proving to be one of the most important areas of digital marketing.


Over the span of a year, Google receives over 1.2 trillion searches every year worldwide.

The lower down you are in the search engine results, the less of the 1.2 trillion users will see you.

While the first page receives almost 69% of the search traffic clicks, by the second page, you have already dropped to around 13%, the remaining miniscule amount is received by pages 3 onwards.


First Page SEO results = More Clicks, More Leads & More Sales!



SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a digital marketing discipline focusing on the manipulation of search engine results. Manipulation of these results may be through strategies such as clever uses of keywords and high quality, relevant on-site content.

Unlike paid advertising, SEO is designed to control and encourage the organic digital presence of a website. Essentially, the position of your site on a search query is determined by the SEO practices conducted by yourself and your competitors.

The higher your rank is, the more visible your site is to searchers, and subsequently, the more leads your business receives.

Underpinning SEO is the fact that, in essence, search engines attempt to provide the most relevant results to a user’s search query.


SEO is about earning high rankings through the relevance to users’ search queries. Essentially, this means that leads generated by SEO will tend to be more profitable and reliable comparatively to those from paid ads.


A negative to paid ads is the lack of credibility they receive from consumers. SEO on the other hand, is organic in nature, meaning users are more likely to trust your site if you rank highly in these results. When done effectively, SEO enables your business to have a greater mind-share in the market. This is rewarded with more loyal customers who trust your products and services.


While effective SEO will still cost time and resources to manage, the ongoing benefits of a well implemented SEO campaign will almost always justify the cost. The clicks that are generated, while not necessarily free, aren’t paid for directly and are not dependent on any ongoing payment plan.


Compared to PPC and other forms of paid advertisements, the benefits of SEO are far longer lasting.


At the mercy of the algorithm – Many search engine algorithms are routinely updated an refined. SEO efforts used in the past may no longer be useful, even detrimental, after updates. This means that a business needs to spend resources constantly staying ahead of these changes.

It’s harder to start with – Depending on the market, larger operations will already have a greater mind-share and be difficult to organically rank against.

Requires specialised content development – Not all businesses will have the means or connections to generate meaningful backlinks and implement SEO in their content.


SEO works in two major ways, on and off the site.

This is dubbed “on-page optimisation” and “off-page optimisation” respectively. Both sides need to be addressed in conjunction for effective SEO.


SEO explained



On-Page Optimisation

On-page optimisation refers to everything on the website itself that contributes to an organic search result. This includes practises like optimising titles, URLs and the density of keywords.

Content is most important in affecting a website’s organic ranking. Search algorithms are trying to provide users with relevant answers to their queries, meaning that having content that most accurately answers their search queries is the most imperative part of on-page work.

Images, internal links and general quality of content are all factors that keep a user engaged with the website. Ultimately this user engagement results in a better ranking.


Off-Page Optimisation

Off-page optimisation includes activities conducted outside the site in order to push the site higher in the search results.


Off-page optimisation is an ongoing process


Link-building is the primary way off-page optimisation is used and materialises in several ways.

Natural link-building requires no deliberate action by the business other than having quality content. A natural link occurs when another website genuinely wants to link its audience to another business, usually because they see value in their product or service. This is the rarest, but most valuable form of link-building.

Manual link-building refers to when a business co-operates with another website in order to have their link appear in their content. This may involve paying for directory listings or simply convincing the link target that there is value in using the business’ link on their site.

The more relevant the content of the linking site, the better the result will be.

In-house link-building is the least effective in the modern SEO landscape. This involves prompting site visitors to share links through signing up or leaving a comment. Presently, SEO algorithms punish websites for using this approach and thus it is not commonly recommended.


Quality SEO takes some timeWHY DOES SEO TAKE SO LONG?


Like anything organic in nature, SEO takes longer to achieve the desired result than other forms of digital marketing. Optimising a webpage to appease search engine algorithms is slower and more difficult to achieve than a traditional paid strategy.


SEO timeline


SEO is an ongoing process. The results may begin being visible any time after a few weeks, to 6+ months (depending on the complexity and popularity of the targeted keywords/phrases).

Some of the keywords will be on the first page of Google within 3-4 months.



Why SEO is expensive?


If you have had little time to shop around, you are probably starting to realise just how costly hiring an SEO professional can be.


Like a lot of other things in life, you get what you pay for.


If you are using a cheap SEO service and think you are getting a great deal, think again. Cheap service almost always translates into cheap quality.

Basically, SEO has a high price attached to it because of the sheer amount of continuous work it requires. SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing. Once you reach the first page, the work doesn’t stop there. You need to continue working just as hard to maintain high rankings.

Google (and other search engines) are constantly updating and changing their algorithms, this means that something which was considered best practice yesterday could be completely irrelevant tomorrow.

As well as this, if SEO is stopped, all the cumulative work that has been done will slowly unravel and competitor after competitor will jump ahead of you in the rankings. Quality SEO will stay in effect significantly longer.



Looking for a quality SEO firm with a proven track-record of getting clients to the first page of Google and helping them stay there? Well, look no further than SEO Shark! We are here to help you on your journey to success.

Get in touch with us today!