On-site SEO


Search engine basics

Search engines are autoresponders. They comb through billions of pieces of content that can be found in web source code, and take into account thousands of different factors to determine which content best describes your question. Search engines do this by discovering and segmenting all the content available on the Internet (web pages, PDFs, images, videos, etc.), using a process known as crawling and indexing, and then ranking that content in order of relevance. (We’d like to be ahead in this ranking, right?)

Which search results
are organic?

As mentioned earlier, organic search results are those that are derived from effective SEO and not paid (i.e. not advertising).  They used to be easy to spot – the ads were clearly marked accordingly and the rest of the answers were in the form of “ten blue links”, under the ad responses.  But how can we spot organic matches today when web search has changed so much and the search results page is so diverse?

Today, search engine results pages – often referred to as SERPs – are more than ever filled with both ad responses and more dynamic and organic match formats (called SERP features). Some examples of SERP features are highlighting text boxes or answer boxes, People Also Ask boxes, picture carousels, and so on.  New SERP features are emerging, mostly dictated by people’s search preferences.

For example, if you search for the weather in Helsinki, instead of the Helsinki weather forecast website, the city forecast will be seen first in the SERP.  And when you look for pizza in Helsinki, the first to come up is a bunch of location-based answers from Helsinki’s pizza places. Convenient, isn’t it?

It is important to remember that search engines make money from advertising. They aim to deal as best as they can with searchers’ queries (within the SERPs) in order to attract searchers back and keep them in the SERPs for longer.

Some SERP features on Google are organic and can be influenced by SEO activities. These include sections (organic results that show the answer inside the box) and related questions or People Also Ask boxes. Here’s a €1,000 worth tip for you – try answering questions on your website.

It is worth mentioning that there are many other search elements that cannot be influenced by SEO, even if these are not paid advertising. The data for these elements is often taken from external sources such as Wikipedia, WebMD and IMDb.

Why is SEO

Do we really have to talk about it?! Joke.  Even though advertising services, social media, and other web platforms can drive traffic to websites, most web traffic is dictated by search engines.

Organic search results cover more digital real estate, appear more trusted to smarter searchers, and attract more clicks than ads. For example, only about 2.8% of all searches in the U.S. are clicked on ad responses.

In short, SEO has about 20 times the potential to increase traffic than Pay Per Click, both on smart devices and desktops.

SEO is one of the only marketing channels on the web that consistently pays dividends over time if it is set up correctly. If you produce competent content that deserves a place in the rankings of the right keywords, your web traffic will grow like a snowball over time.

Search engines are getting smarter, but they still need our help to make our websites understandable to them.

Optimizing your page helps you to deliver better information to search engines so that your content is properly indexed and displayed in search results.  Similarly, collecting external links that tell search engines that your web site is an expert will help.

Is it necessary to hire
an SEO professional, consultant or agency?

Yes and no. Depending on your workload, willingness to learn, and the complexity of your website, it may be easier to do SEO yourself.  You may also find that you prefer expert help.  Both are good options.  SEO people have written so many guides that just by googling website optimization, SEO making, website SEO, you can get many decent guides.

If you happen to be looking for expert help, it is important to know that many agencies and consultants offer SEO services, but the quality of the services can vary.  Knowing how to choose a good SEO company can save you a lot of time and money, as the wrong SEO techniques can do more harm than good to your website.

White hat and
black hat SEO

White hat SEO refers to SEO techniques and strategies that follow the rules of a search engine and its main focus is to provide value to people.

Black hat SEO refers to techniques and strategies that try to fool search engines.  While black hat SEO can work, it puts a website at high risk of getting penalized or even being removed from search results. In addition, using this is arguably unethical.

Punished websites lead companies to bankruptcy, which is also another reason to choose your SEO expert or agency very carefully.

Search engines share similar goals with SEO makers

Search engines want you to do well. Google even offers tutorials for SEO beginners similar to this tutorial here. There are thousands of instructions. They also support the activities of the SEO community.  But at the same time, it must be remembered that there is a constant cat-and-mouse game between SEOs and search engines. It’s clear that webmasters just want to be first in the search results for their web host.

Although the guidelines for webmasters vary between search engines, the basic principles remain the same: don’t try to fool search engines, it’s really hard and expensive to fool around.  Instead, offer a good web experience to your page visitors. Answer the questions your potential customers are looking for.

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