Parts of SEO

Our Ultimate Guide to Actually Understanding SEO – Part 2:

So… How Does SEO Actually Work?

SEO can be broken down into two parts, on-page SEO and off-page SEO. 

Google and other search engines look at how your site performs in these two categories, and takes various factors into account Here are a few to get you started.

“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.”

Wendy Piersall

On-Page Optimisation

Having your on-page SEO on point is an incredible advantage that you’d be crazy to miss. 

Why? Because you have full control of it. You can’t control what users do when they land on your page, but you can control the elements on your own site.


Content is the best place to start when it comes to understanding SEO, because it appeals to search engines and delights your visitors. It’s the perfect example of killing two birds with one stone. 

Sounds simple… but not just any content is going to achieve the SEO results you’re looking for. Your content needs to be optimised to get the best results. For blogs, that includes using regular and longtail keywords as well as links to and from the site. Even the structure of your articles has an effect! 

So how does content improve your search ranking? With keyword optimisation. Keywords help Google to determine if your site is relevant to a particular user’s search query. It does this by matching words they use in their search with the words you’ve used on your page.

Title Tag

A title tag is the clickable headline that appears in search results. It appears on each of your pages and lets the search engine know what the page is about. 

According to Lyfe Marketing, the ideal title tag should be around 70 characters or less. Your title tag needs to go beyond pleasing the search engines, and needs to be catchy to grab readers’ attention as they’re scrolling.

Meta Description

Also known as a snippet, this short paragraph of text tells search engines and humans what your website is about. It appears in the search results underneath your page’s URL, and should contain relevant keywords and enough detail to entice users to click through.


Subheadings break your content into manageable chunks of information. This makes it easier for search engines to understand what it’s all about. It’s also easier for visitors to read, and it lets customers easily skip up and down to find the sections they’re looking for.

ALT Tags and Image Names

Using images on your site is a great way to improve your SEO, but you can take this tactic to a whole new level by including a keyword or phrase in the alt tag and image name. This will help Google to index your images and show them in image searches.

Internal Links

Using internal links in articles and blog posts can help search engines to identify what your content is about. If you mention a specific product or service, then linking it to that item on your page will take consumers exactly where they need to be, and increase your sales conversions.

Page Speed

Page speed is critical to good user experience, and according to Hobo Web, 47% of consumers expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% of consumers will wait no longer than 3 seconds before abandoning a page. 

With stats like these, it’s no surprise that Google takes this factor into consideration. When users immediately abandon your site it reflects negatively on your SEO.

 “SEO isn’t about gaming the system anymore; it’s about learning how to play by the rules.”

Jordan Teicher

Off-Page Optimisation

Off-page may seem like something that’s completely out of your control, so why bother with it at all? While it may take time to build up your external SEO ranking, the long term benefits will be well worth the wait. 

It’s not something that’s born overnight, and that’s exactly why Google loves it!

Social Media Shares

Likes and shares work to validate your website when viewers give it their social stamp of approval. The more likes and shares that your content gets, then the higher Google will rank it. When it comes to websites, “social cred” matters and you want search engines to see you as popular.

External Links

An external link is when another website has a hyperlink to your own website. External links prove to search engines that your website is providing useful and quality information. This factor is often overlooked as it can be difficult to achieve, but according to Moz, accumulating external links is the single most important objective for attaining high rankings. 

It is not an easy metric to manipulate, and that’s why it’s one of the best ways for search engines to authentically determine the popularity of a webpage.

These nuts and bolts of SEO might sound complicated, but they’re worth putting together right, and it doesn’t have to be a difficult process if you have the right tools.

The team at Engenuity have a wealth of SEO knowledge, so get in touch to have a chat about out how we can help get your pages in front of the people you want to see them most.

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