Does SEO Really Work? From Basics & Factors to Benefits

Does SEO Really Work? From Basics & Factors to Benefits

You've probably heard about SEO countless times, but you may still be wondering, "Does it genuinely make a difference?"

When I started building websites, I also asked this same question.

This article aims to provide an answer, as well as address other related queries such as:

  • How does SEO work on Google?
  • What are the most important SEO factors?
  • Is SEO a necessity or just a bonus?

Let's dive in.

Key Takeaways

  • SEO is a strategy to enhance a website's visibility in search results. 
  • Improving your website's SEO can help to increase traffic, generate more leads, and ultimately boost sales.
  • In order to effectively reach your target audience through search engines and provide solutions to their problems, having a strong online presence with SEO is crucial.
  • Investing in SEO requires both time and money. While it can be an incredibly powerful component of a digital marketing strategy, not every business will benefit from it. The effectiveness of SEO depends on a number of factors, including the industry in which your business operates.

What Is SEO?

We must begin this discussion by answering the most fundamental question: what is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. At its core, it's a strategy to enhance a website's visibility in search results. It's the process of making your site friendly to search engines like Google, Bing, and others.

With a market share of about 92%, Google is the most popular search engine.

Why should you care about ranking in search engines? Well, a higher ranking of your content means more visibility, which translates to more clicks and potentially more conversions.

Search engines are a crucial source of organic traffic for SEO. As many people use them to find information or products, they represent a valuable market to target.

How Does SEO Work on Google?

When we talk about SEO, it's impossible not to mention Google. The search engine uses complex algorithms to determine which pages appear on its search engine results page (SERP). It's not just about keywords but a combination of many factors.

As time goes by, Google algorithms continue to develop and become more advanced.

The purpose of these updates is to enable the algorithms to distinguish between high-quality content that is genuinely helpful to users and low-quality content that is merely superficial and inaccurate, created solely to trick search engines.

For example - take a look at the article introduction I asked ChatGPT to write on the topic of the best laptops for students.

As you can see, the introduction to this article looks ridiculous. It's too wordy, lacks clarity, causing readers to quickly lose interest.

It's important to note that adding unhelpful or low-quality content like this can harm your website's visibility on search engines.

When it comes to indexing pages, any doubts about the quality of your content can lead to them being penalized or not indexed at all.

Now, let's talk more about how search engines operate. Every webpage that appears in the Google search results has been discovered through a process called crawling. This involves Google's bots sifting through your website to locate various pages. Once found, these pages are indexed and added to Google's enormous database.

However, just because your content is indexed, it doesn't guarantee that it will attract organic traffic.

If you want to rank higher on Google, your website must cater to these algorithms. This involves optimizing various elements like content quality, site speed, mobile-friendliness, and more. Each of these plays a significant role in deciding a site's position on the SERP.

But here's the catch: Google's algorithms aren't static. They evolve regularly to provide users with the best experience. So, it's not just about reaching the top; it's about staying there. Adapting to these changes and continually refining your SEO strategy is the key to consistent visibility on Google.

Different Types of SEO

SEO is based on three core principles: content, technical aspects, and links. These three elements, which include on-page, off-page, and technical tactics, are essential for improving your website's search engine rankings.

There's also a local SEO that focuses on optimizing your online presence to boost local traffic, visibility, and brand recognition. However, in this context, we will only discuss the three core principles.

What is Local SEO, and How Does It Work? | Mailchimp
Learn how Google works so that you can harness this search engine optimization strategy and grow your business.

More about Local SEO

Let's talk about every aspect of SEO by starting with the technical side of it. Technical SEO is primarily concerned with ensuring that your website is optimized properly and can be easily crawled and indexed by search engines.

It involves various tasks such as:

  • enhancing the performance of your website
  • creating a sitemap and submitting it to the Google Search Console
  • fixing any issues related to performance, page structure, duplicate content, and accessibility
  • ensuring that your website is responsive and works flawlessly on different devices.

All of these factors make your website both user-friendly and search engine-friendly. If your website is slow and difficult to navigate, users are likely to leave it, and search engines will penalize your website by lowering its ranking.

It's important to monitor your website's performance and fix any issues related to it. For instance, here's an overview of my blog's performance from GTmetrix.

There is also an on-page SEO, which refers to the process of optimizing your content for both search engines and human readers. This involves creating a well-structured post outline that aligns with the search intent, managing internal links, and setting appropriate titles and meta tags.

<h1>Main Heading/Title</h1>
  <h2>Sub Heading</h2>
  <h2>Sub Heading</h2>
  <h2>Sub Heading</h2>
    <h3>Sub Sub Heading</h3>
    <h3>Sub Sub Heading</h3>
    <h3>Sub Sub Heading</h3>
    <h3>Sub Sub Heading</h3>

Here's an example of how to structure header tags properly.

The opposite of on-page SEO is off-page SEO, which involves building backlinks and increasing your website's credibility by working outside of it. This includes linking to your website through different social media channels.

By using all technical, on-page, and off-page SEO tactics, you can improve your website's ranking in search engines, as well as its overall visibility and authority.

Is SEO Necessary?

Are you looking to increase your website's traffic through organic search? If so, SEO is crucial for introducing your products and services to potential customers.

But is it necessary to worry about SEO for every website?

While having a website that is well-optimized for the Google search engine is vital, it's not always the best marketing strategy to rely solely on organic traffic. Sometimes, you may need to showcase your product or service to a wider audience quickly, and relying exclusively on SEO may not be able to achieve this goal.

Also, if your niche is not in high demand, you may not receive much organic traffic regardless of your SEO efforts.

SEO is a long-term game and can take shorter or longer periods of time. Many people give up on SEO or blogging due to this.

However, consistency is key and can lead to significant benefits in the future.

If you're not benefiting from organic traffic, you can explore other marketing channels such as social media, YouTube, or paid ads.

In my opinion, it is necessary to implement SEO in most cases. You can also combine it with other channels, such as YouTube. However, it is important to ensure that you can benefit from organic traffic, as SEO campaigns require significant time and effort.

Knowing whether it will bring real benefits is crucial.

Do You Need SEO?

If you want your website to rank, you don't necessarily need to be an expert in SEO. However, you should be familiar with best practices and apply them to your website and content.

It is crucial to have a good understanding of on-site SEO practices. This is because it ensures that the content you write is not only of high quality but also properly optimized and linked to other pages on your blog through internal links.

Similarly, it is important to make sure that your content has a proper URL, title, meta tags, and headings.

<meta name="description" content="Boost your website's visibility and drive more organic traffic with effective SEO methods. Discover the power of SEO for your business and blog.">

An example of a meta description tag.

It is equally important to ensure that your entire website is technically optimized, including images with the alt attribute set, mobile responsiveness, and proper functionality.

Obviously - it's essential to have the right content strategy to succeed.

However, even the best content won't rank if your site is poorly optimized, lacks internal linking, or contains technical issues.

Why Is My Website Not Ranking on Google?

There can be various reasons why a website is not ranking on Google.

However, one of the most common reasons for a website not ranking, even if everything is working and indexed, is due to poor keyword research.

Chasing overly competitive keywords leads to challenges in ranking. This pitfall, more often than not, originates from bad keyword research. 

Proper keyword research is crucial in SEO. It provides a blueprint, ensuring the content has the potential to rank on Google from the beginning.

If you are unsure about how to conduct keyword research, you can use various tools such as Ahrefs or RankAtom. However, keep in mind that these are just tools and can be used to help with creating a content strategy.

Just because a keyword appears to be good does not necessarily mean you should choose it.

Using RankAtom for keyword research
Using RankAtom for keyword research

For new websites, this task becomes even more important. Competing against websites with established authority on a topic can be daunting. Yet, the problems with keyword research are just the tip of the iceberg.

There could be several reasons why your website is not ranking #1 on SERPs.

  • Technical issues, such as long loading times.
  • Content with minimal depth, overshadowed by affiliate links and excessive advertisements.
  • The domain does not have any authority.
  • There is a clear absence of expertise in the subject matter.
  • Content that has become outdated.
  • Often overlooked elements like lack of social share or legal pages can also affect rankings.

Addressing these challenges requires a close look at the website. This means reviewing content quality, identifying technical issues, and using tools like Google Search Console.

Each website presents unique challenges and requires a tailored approach.


Is SEO Digital Marketing?

SEO is a process of optimizing websites so they can rank in Google, so it's not digital marketing in itself. However, SEO often is a crucial part of a digital marketing strategy.

When you launch an SEO campaign, it's all about enhancing your visibility in organic search. The beauty of this is that it allows your brand to reach a broader audience, amplifying your message without the direct costs of paid advertising.

What Tools Can Help Me With My SEO Strategy?

I usually just use a keyword research tool, like RankAtom, to help me find opportunities in SERPs. It's even possible to do SEO without any paid tools, but I think it's unnecessary, as there are some great and affordable SEO tools available.

I believe that you can achieve the desired results by using the right SEO tools without having to spend a fortune.

What Are the Most Important Factors That Determine Website Ranking on Google?

Although factors may change over time due to updates and algorithm updates, the principles often remain the same.

You need a secure and properly optimized website that is accessible and responsive. Using http instead of https or getting a low grade in website speed audit tools can harm your rankings.

So, make sure to focus on technical aspects, but don't forget content.

It's crucial to create content that not only matches search intent but is also written well and prioritizes the needs of the reader. This is especially important in 2023, following the recent Google algorithm updates.

When evaluating websites on Google, it's also important to consider the EEAT factor. This factor is used to determine whether a website provides relevant and helpful information.

The reason for this is that the most valuable content comes from people who have direct experience and understanding, either through personal use of a product, visiting a place, or sharing their own experiences.

Backlinks are also key ranking signals.

How to Start With SEO?

If you're unsure how to begin, you can start by selecting a Content Management System (CMS) and creating your website. While most people use WordPress, which is a good option, there are also other alternatives, such as Ghost or Wix.

Personally, I prefer using Ghost because it takes care of most of the technical and SEO aspects, allowing me to focus on creating content.

Final Words: Does SEO Really Work?

To sum up, does SEO really work?

If you want to attract organic traffic to your website, optimizing it for search engines can make a significant difference. A good content strategy, along with attention to various SEO aspects and content optimization, can pay off in the long run.

However, it's essential to note that SEO takes time to show results.

While every case is different, and everyone should consider whether working on organic traffic is necessary, for most people, SEO will be an important part of their digital marketing strategy.

Also: Check out my article on improving SEO for Nuxt 3 websites.
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