what is seo

What is SEO? How Does SEO Work 2022?

To those asking, “What is SEO?“, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an effective digital marketing process that drives search engine traffic to a website. To maximize your search presence, you must focus on various tasks such as on-page SEO, technical SEO, link building, and content creation. However, the primary goal of SEO is to generate high-quality traffic, not merely quantity.

SEO has come a long way from the days of keyword stuffing and writing clickbait copy. To rank top in a Google search result, your web page content must match the intent of a potential visitor. Optimization of your site for SEO might feel daunting and time-consuming, but it is just a matter of learning how the search engines function and how searchers use them, incorporating that knowledge into your page content, and then carefully working through some readily accessible backend tweaking.

Here at Advantage Attorney Marketing, we provide efficient and affordable SEO services for attorneys. Our digital marketing company is competent in getting attorneys and small law firm businesses into the Google Local Pack. For more information on our SEO services, give us a call now.


What is SEO? How Does It Work in 2022?

SEO is a strategy for ensuring that your website is found when someone searches for your product or service category on Google. This definition, however, oversimplifies the discipline a little.

There are many ways to improve the SEO of your website pages. Image tags, inbound links (also known as backlinks), internal link structure, keywords, and title tags are all elements that search engines look for. Search engines also consider the design and site structure, visitor behavior, and other external, off-site variables when determining how high your site should rank in its Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

With all these elements considered, SEO influences two things: 

  1. Rankings, and 
  2. Visibility.


The Ranking Factor

This is how a search engine selects where to put a specific web page in the SERP. A ranking ranges from zero to the final number of a search engine result for the query, and a web page may only rank for one position at a time. The ranking of a web page may fluctuate over time because of age, competition in the SERP, or changes in the algorithm made by the search engine itself.


The Visibility Factor

This refers to the visibility of a specific domain in a search engine result. Lower search visibility happens when a domain is not visible for many relevant search queries, while greater search visibility is the reverse.

They are both responsible for fulfilling the main SEO goals: 

  • Traffic, and 
  • Domain authority.


What are Search Engines?

A search engine is a web-based tool that helps users to find a web page on the Internet based on their search queries. A search engine indexes millions of websites and provides the most relevant results based on the keywords entered into the search field.

When a search query is typed, the search engine scans its database and generates a list of results for users to see. SEO experts refer to the list as the SERP.

Even though there are several search engines, their core function stays the same. They respond to users’ search queries.


How Does a Search Engine Work?

Today’s search engines scan billions of sites using their web crawlers, such as Googlebot and Bingbot. They are often referred to as search engine bots or spiders by search engine marketers. A search engine’s primary function is to crawl a web page and index them on search engine results pages according to ranking algorithms.


What is There to Know About Search Engine Indexing?

When web crawlers find pages on a website, they go through the process of indexation, which involves adding the pages to a data structure. 

Indexation takes into account the following necessary factors:

  • What is the topic of the page? What keywords and phrases does the web page want to target?
  • The type of content (determined by Schema Markups)
  • The web page’s freshness. Is it regularly updated with “fresh” information?
  • The web page’s user engagement. How do visitors engage with the web page? (Mostly based on user feedback)


What Role Do Search Engine Algorithms Play?

The search engine algorithm focuses on delivering high-quality and relevant websites that match the search queries on search result pages. It happens in a matter of seconds.

The algorithm gathers all relevant data on how users engage with the websites and if the pages truly match the user’s search intent. This data is utilized in algorithm updates that impact the web page rankings in search engines.


What Transpires When You Do a Search?

When a keyword or phrase is typed in the search field, it identifies all sites related to that particular query. The algorithm selects the most relevant sites in the hierarchy to appear on search result pages.

However, the algorithms utilized to rank web pages differ from one search engine to the next. A high-ranking web page on Google may not score highly on DuckDuckGo or Bing for the same search query.

Search engines consider the following factors in addition to search queries to provide the best results:

  • Search History – The search result pages display pages based on the search history. It means that the results shown are determined by the previous search query entered by the user.
  • Geographic – Some search queries are generally reliant on location or geography. For instance, “restaurants nearby” or “dental clinics nearby.” The search results will display web pages according to the user’s location.
  • Language – If a user searches in a particular language, a search engine will produce results in that language if available.
  • Device – Try entering the same keyword or phrase on your PC and smartphone. The web pages that appear on those two devices will be different.


The Importance of SEO

Another crucial reason to use SEO is that it helps position your brand across the entire purchasing journey. In turn, SEO helps guarantee that your strategies in marketing are in sync with the current buying habits. Because, as Google acknowledged, consumer behavior has permanently changed.

As of June 2021, Google properties accounted for 92% of all internet searches. Furthermore, they want to complete the total purchasing process by themselves. For instance, Statista discovered that 60% of internet users do online research on a brand before purchasing something. The process is also more complicated than it has ever been.

Finally, according to DemandGen’s 2022 B2B Buyer’s Survey, 67% of B2B buyers begin the purchase process using a broad online search.


How Do They Utilize Search Engines While Doing the Process? 

They utilize Google to research their problem early on in the process. Some people also inquire regarding potential solutions. Then, before contacting a provider, they assess possible alternatives based on customer feedback or social media buzz. 

However, this occurs after they have exhausted all available information sources. Subsequently, the only way for clients to find and consider you is to appear in their organic search results.

According to a recent Forrester research study, 71% of consumers start their journeys via a search engine to find new products and services (initiation), and 74% use a search engine for consideration and purchasing (research, comparison, transaction).

These searches include a wide range of queries:

  • Brand searches involve the name of a specific product or brand. For example, if the brand is Fisher-Price, product searches may include Power Wheels or Little People.
  • Competitor brand searches include brands or products of your rivals. This is a chance for your brand to be seen via conquest advertising. For Fisher-Price, key terms could include Baby Einstein, Exersaucer, or Safety First.
  • Category searches involve broad key phrases that are not brand- or product-specific, such as “bouncer chair,” “baby activity center,” or “jumpers.”
  • Tangential searches are those that are related to a given journey but are not in the same category. For example, if you’re looking for baby activity chairs, a tangential search may be “childproofing products” or “baby gates.”

Findings from the Research: Non-brand Searches are Essential for Starting a Journey

While brand keywords have always been valued in traditional search, the Bing Ads research team discovered fresh insights about the impact of non-brand search terms in today’s journeys.

The Bing Ads research team’s Utsav Biswas, Jacquelyn Krones, and Judson Randolph conducted a Brand Impact Study on usage data from a major US auto retailer and found 72% of brand ad clicks (including category, competitor, and tangential searches) were preceded by a non-brand keyword. This suggests that merchants that do not use non-brand keywords at multiple stages of the decision process are losing out on the vast majority of relevant searches and leaving considerable gaps for their rivals.

Furthermore, the research found that consumers exposed to a brand ad on a category or competitor inquiry were 30% more likely to do a branded search and had a 15% higher conversion rate on average than consumers not shown the brand ad. Seeing a branded ad in the category and rival brand inquiries boosted brand affinity and recall, as well as the likelihood of future brand searches.


Findings from the Research: Incremental Awareness and Perceptual Value

In Q3 2016, the Bing Advertising research team also performed a study with a leader in the automotive insurance vertical to assess brand awareness and perception based on exposure to ads inside search results pages. The significant takeaway from this research was that searchers on Bing who saw a branded ad for non-branded search queries had a statistically significant boost in brand recognition, perception, and purchase intent.

Searchers reported a 24% increase in unaided awareness, a 28% increase in purchase intent, and a 30% increase in considering the retailer as a market leader after seeing a branded ad. When searchers clicked on the ad and were sent to the business’s landing page, brand awareness increased even more.


How Exactly Does Google Determine a Web Page’s Ranking?

Search engines serve a single purpose. They strive to deliver the most relevant information to users.

When you utilize them, their algorithms will choose web pages that are the most relevant to your query. Then, rank them by authority or popularity, presenting the most authoritative or popular first.


Search engines consider two factors in delivering relevant information to users:

  • Relevancy between a search query and page content Search engines evaluate it based on several factors, such as keywords or topics.
  • Authority – This is judged by how popular a website is on the Internet. Google assumes that the more popular a web page or a resource is, the more substantial the content is to users.

And to examine all of this data, they use complicated equations known as search algorithms. The algorithms used by search engines are kept secret. However, SEOs have revealed some of the elements they use in ranking a page over time. They are referred to as ranking factors and are the focal point of an SEO strategy.

Using the E-A-T framework when establishing relevance and authority may be beneficial. In SEO, E-A-T stands for “expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.” Although they’re not direct ranking factors, they may help enhance your SEO content, influencing direct ranking considerations.

Adding more content, optimizing picture filenames, and strengthening internal links may all impact your search visibility and rankings. This is because each of these actions enhances the ranking factor.


What is an SEO Strategy?

An SEO strategy is an elaborate plan for increasing the number of visits to your webpage via search engines. On-page methods that leverage intent-based keywords and off-page actions that generate inbound links from other websites are essential for successful SEO.


How to Track and Monitor SEO Results

Content, links, and technical setup are all valuable factors in ranking a website in search results. Monitoring your efforts enables you to enhance your SEO strategy even more.

Defining SEO success is keeping track of metrics like engagement, links, and traffic. Although most businesses establish their own sets of SEO key performance indicators (KPIs), the following are the most common:

  • Growth in organic traffic
  • Rankings for keywords (separated into branded and non-branded terms)
  • Organic traffic conversions
  • The average time spent on the web page and bounce rate
  • Top landing pages of organic traffic
  • The volume of indexed pages
  • Links growth (which includes new and lost links)


Local SEO

Previously, we concentrated on improving a site’s general ranking in search results. However, if you own a local business, Google allows you to target prospective clients in your location. However, you have to utilize local SEO for that, and it’s all worth it.

Local businesses account for 46% of Google searches. They check for vendor recommendations as well as particular business addresses. Furthermore, people act on this info: 72% of users visit a local business or business’s location within 24 hours after searching.

But does local SEO differ from what we have been discussing all this time? It’s both yes and no. In both local and worldwide ranks, search engines use similar principles. However, since they position a site for particular, site-based results, they must also consider several other ranking considerations.

Even local search results vary in outcomes:

  • They only display searches with local intent (i.e, “restaurant nearby”) or when the location is explicitly specified by the user.
  • They include results that are unique to a specific place.
  • They focus on providing consumers with particular information that they do not need to go elsewhere for.
  • They primarily target users of smartphones since local searches are increasingly common on mobile devices.


Factors Influencing Local Search Ranking

Google considers the proximity of a searcher’s location when assessing local web pages. With the growth in local searches featuring the term “near me,” it’s only natural that Google would prioritize the businesses closest to you.

Keywords are also important in local SEO, but the involvement of a business’s name, phone number, and address on a web page is an additional component of on-page SEO. It’s referred to as the NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) in local SEO. It makes perfect sense since the search engine requires a mechanism to determine the location of the business. It is important for local SEO to have the correct NAP for all of your listings on the internet because Google values accurate information for its users. When Google searches for information about your business, it checks all of these listings. The information is saved and used to determine ranking. Incorrect information in NAP citations can cause customer confusion and a bad user experience.

Google evaluates authority in local search based on factors other than links. Citations and reviews (Internet references to a business’s location or phone number) further emphasize its influence.

Lastly, the information a business places in Google My Business, the search engine’s platform for managing local business listings, impacts where it ranks considerably.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. These are, however, the most important to get right immediately if you want your firm to rank high in local search.


What is Black Hat SEO?

The last SEO strategy that needs mentioning is one that no one should ever employ. Because, despite its appeal, utilizing black hat SEO almost always results in a penalty from search results. Black hat SEO strategies seek to manipulate a search engine’s algorithms by violating a search engine’s guidelines. Keyword stuffing, cloaking (concealing keywords using codes such that people don’t see them but a search engine does), and link buying are the most prevalent practices in black hat SEO.

Why would anyone engage in black-hat SEO? For starters, it takes a long time to rank a website following Google’s guidelines. Black hat tactics, for example, allow you to reduce the difficulty in link building. Keyword stuffing permits users to rank a single page for several keywords without developing new content. However, as previously mentioned, getting caught almost always leads to a website being erased from search results.

There are no quick fixes in SEO. Be wary of anyone who suggests strategies that seem too good to be true.


Do SEO Yourself

Are you not interested in SEO? Is your staff overburdened? You don’t have the funds to create a full-time SEO position. Outsourcing SEO to an SEO specialist offers the best value for your dollar. Why? 

First, a good SEO agency is capable of generating leads, conversions, and organic traffic to businesses. They do this daily, so they will not need the ramp-up time you or any team member need to master the basics.

Second, since they do not need insurance coverage, payroll taxes, or other perks, a consultant may be less costly than employing someone full-time. But how much would you be paying if you outsource SEO?

Our digital marketing firm offers small law firms affordable SEO, Local Search, and Technology Solutions. Advantage Attorney Marketing was built and developed as our digital marketing service for small law firms and solo attorneys. We offer affordable pricing options to help you obtain the high ROI solutions you seek. 

Give us a call now to discuss our pricing options.


Outsource SEO to Our California Digital Marketing Agency!

Want to grow your small law firm? You should invest in a local SEO marketing campaign. This ensures that your website will rank in Google and other search engines, boosting your law firm’s chances of being found by the right clients. 

We are a full-service attorney marketing agency and provider of legal technology solutions that exclusively serve small law firms and solo attorneys in the United States. We offer you the complete digital marketing package at an incredible value! Join the Advantage Attorney family to save thousands of dollars on marketing expenses and get more leads!

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