what-is-seo

What is SEO: Best Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Millions of people search for SEO(Search Engine Optimization) but are you finding the holistic content that can be consumed in less time. The answer is no because either you can find a small piece of content with limited information, or you find content filled up with unnecessary details to get holistic in less possible time.
And, the important thing is there is no right or wrong in this as everyone is putting their efforts to serve their audience most possible & better way. What I can assure you are 98% of the time, you will be done with the best
and relevant content produced in the whole world, imagine the value it’s bringing to you, and that is the reason you are here.

Why am I telling all this to you? Because you will start your journey in SEO from now as a skill, or you are here to know & understand the SEO to get the things done from an external SEO professional. The best way to understand SEO is from your perspective. When you can get the best results in the whole world, you already know the effort and knowledge required to win the game of SEO.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s jump into your beautiful Journey to SEO?

Let’s get a holistic view of SEO’s why, what, how, and when, along with essential terms that you should know in 2021.

The Internet and search engines together have put the world at our fingertips. We are generally getting the information we are looking for within a few clicks. When people look for products, services, and
information on anything, they just go online and search for it.

There can be odd chances that you have landed up here after going through other web pages, at least initially, which are not given effective and satisfying results. When you searched for something and didn’t find the information that met your expectations, you probably clicked the back button and scrolled down the page until you found what you were looking for. That is where the game of SEO kicks in.

If your webpage site is not optimized correctly with best SEO practices, your competitors start to appear in front of your customer. That means people looking for the product or services you offer will begin seeing your competitor, and they will never know that you have existed, and the best thing is you have a chance to beat your competition.

That is right; without SEO, your potential customers are going away. The important thing that you have to consider now is that you are making your competitors (competitors those who are doing SEO) life easy but not
putting up the fight.

So, who cares how search engines deliver results? You definitely should!

how-search-engine-works

If SEO doesn’t matter to you in the first place after knowing why SEO is so important, then there is no meaning in knowing what SEO is, Right?

 

Why Should You Care About SEO?

The answer is simple; search is a BIG source of traffic.

why-should-you-care-about-seo
Source:​  Backlinko

As you can see, approximately 60% of all web traffic mostly starts with a Google search. If you add all the traffic from other popular search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and YouTube, it reaches approximately 70.6% of all traffic.
Imagine the web traffic you have for your business in terms of SEO. It’s
a huge chuck for any company out there, even though if you can convert 10% of the traffic, you have a considerable number of clients signing up with you for doing a business or buying products and services from you.

proportion-of-web-traffic

Source:​  Backlinko

On average, Google processes over 3.5 billion (3,500,000,000) search queries every single day (Internetlivestats, 2019). Generally, these searches are of high intent & specific traffic.

If you have an online or offline business searching for clients or customers for your product or service, your online presence matters a lot when they search for your products and services. Because people constantly search for specific paid services or products. This kind of search intent is known as commercial intent. When people clearly show the intent of buying the services or products you offer in their search, it is called commercial intent.
But, before arriving at decisions, people research a lot on every aspect of it, which opens another door for you to attract your audience or prospective customers by helping them through your answers to their questions, solve their doubts, and become a trusted resource for them.

As you know, billions and billions of people search for many things on search engines. That traffic can benefit a business because they possess precise intent for buying products or services.

Organic vs. Paid Results

Majorly there are two distinct sections of Search engine result pages

(SERP): organic and paid results.

organic-vs-paid-results
Source:
​ ​  Backlinko

Organic Search Results

organic-search-results

Source:​ ​  Backlinko

Organic search results are ranked based the Relevancy, authority, and user intent. It is 100% merit-based. These are also called natural.
In other words, there’s no way to pay to search engines or Google to rank your web pages or websites higher in the organic search results.
Search engines rank the organic search results based on 200+ different ranking factors. But organic search results shown by Google are the most relative, authoritative and trustworthy websites or web pages for a specific keyword.
When we talk about “SEO,” the primary focus will be on ranking your website higher up in the
organic search results (which are highlighted in green thumbs up).

Paid Results

paid-pesults

Source:​ ​  Backlinko

Paid search results are those results that appear on the top and bottom of the organic results of the search page. Paid ads are ranked based on how much you are willing to pay for a single visitor for a particular set of
keywords. These are also known as pay-per-click advertising. Paid ads are entirely independent of organic search results.
Now that you have understood the importance and incredible results, if you do it in the right way, let’s answer your question about what SEO is.

What is SEO – Search Engine Optimization?

what-is-seo-search-engine-optimization

The activity of increasing the organic traffic on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) by optimizing a website or a webpage for user search queries to appear in front of your audience or potential customer in any
search engine (i.e., Google, Bing, Yandex, and Duck Duck Go) is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Suppose you started a blog for Paneer (cheese) recipes, but your webpage doesn’t rank higher on search results. There can be several reasons why this can happen, but significant reasons can be:

· Your competitors are producing better content
· You are weak keywords or not doing proper keyword research
· You have poor link building strategies
· Your webpage loading time is too high
· You are not concentrating on a good user experience on your website.
· Your website is de-indexed by mistake
To rank your website higher on the SERP, you need to understand how search engines work. In this article, you will learn about how Google ranks websites, the different types of SEO, and various SEO techniques you can
use to improve your ranking.

Types of SEO

If you want to rank for particular keywords on Google or other search engines, you need to apply Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There are two main strategies and one additional strategy that adds value to both of
these:
· On-page SEO
· Off-page SEO
· Technical SEO

How Does Google Rank Websites?

SERP ranking on any search engine is primarily based on the competition between other web pages and your web pages and for a particular keyword. The web pages with the best user experience and follow the best practices of search engines outrank every other web page in the competition and rank on top of the search engine for those keywords.

Google and other search engines follow three basic steps to rank a website. They are:

Crawling

A search engine bot or spider scans the website, copies the entire website’s content, and stores it in the search engine’s index.

Indexing

The process or activity of adding web pages into Google search results is called indexing. If the search engine does not index your website, then no one will find your website during their search on the search engine.

Ranking

When you type something in search engines like Google, the most relevant web pages (from the index) will appear in the search results of the search engine. These search results are based on multiple factors like user experience, location, language, and 200+ factors.

How do search engines come up with relevant results?

how-search-engines-comes-up-with-relevant-results

If a search query returns thousands of results, do you know how does search engine like Google decides to display the best content to their users in the best possible order? Google has around 200+ factors that determine this, and most of them are not publicly announced thanks to Brian Dean of Backlinkofor making an effort to list almost all of them.
Returning with relevant results is done by engines, and they use algorithms (mathematical equations and rules) to understand searcher (user) intent, find relevant results, and then rank those results based on authority and popularity.
Most of the SEO professionals out there knows that algorithmic decisions are made based on 200+ factors, including the following:
Content-Type
:​  Videos, audios, images, news, books & maps are different types of content that searchers (people) look for; search engines prioritize different types of content based on their intent.
Content Quality
:​  Search engines prioritize informative and valuable content that satisfies users’ intent. The best content might not appear as the content is not well optimized. So, an SEO professional takes responsibility for optimizing your web page to appear in front of your audience by making specific, original, objective, and solution-oriented content.
Content Freshness
:​  Everyone wants to know the new trends in their industry or the most relevant fresh content. The search engine shows search results with a proper balance between freshness and other search engine ranking factors. So, two pieces of content on the same topic are judged to be of equal quality by the algorithm, the most recent piece will likely appear first.
Page Popularity or backlink
:​  Google still uses an upgraded version of their original 1990s PageRank algorithm, which justifies the page’s quality by the number of links pointing to it and the quality of those links.
Website Quality
:​  Poor user experience and spammy websites are will go down the rankings by search engines.
Language
:​  Not every person is searching in English. Search engines prioritize results based on the language used in the search term.
Location:​  Most local searches are location-based (e.g., “coffee shops near me”); search engines understand this and prioritize local results when appropriate.
Google and other search engines always want to rank the most authoritative, relevant, and reliable results.
To do this, they look at content-related signals trustworthiness, authoritativeness, and expertise.

After understanding how search engines come up with relevant results, let’s know the following few more parameters, as these parameters can make or break your return on investment into SEO.
Quality of traffic: You can attract all the visitors who are searching on the search engine, but if they are coming to your webpage just because search engine tells them you are a resource for Apple computers when you are a shop owner who is selling apples, that is not quality traffic. Instead, you need to attract visitors
interested in the products or services you offer. That is why content without any context is useless.
Quantity of traffic:​  Once you have the right searchers (people) entering your webpages after seeing your webpage in search engine results pages (SERPs), more traffic is better.

The quality traffic can multiply your revenue, but quality with huge quantities explodes your payment exponentially if you already have a suitable business model.

On-page SEO

The process of optimizing elements within the webpage is called on-page SEO. When you do this, there are certain factors that you need to take into account. All these elements are something that you can control as an end-user. The aspects of on-page SEO are:

Keyword Research

Before you start doing anything with your website or on its website, the first thing you need to understand is what keywords you want to rank for. To do this, you need to do perform keyword research. It might look simple, but most of the SEOs don’t get results just because of improper keyword research or no research at all.

Remember that 50% of the battle is your own if you choose the right keywords to rank for and go after it. In keyword research, you choose the primary, secondary, and LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords around which you start to build your meta tags and content.
The components for keyword research are:
· Search volume
· competition
· Relevancy
Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefskeyword research tools can search for keywords. Once you choose the right set of keywords, you can go ahead and start optimizing your pages for those keywords.
Keyword research in itself is a big topic. So, stay tuned as I am coming up with new strategies for keyword research.

Title Tag

Have you read newspaper headlines? The title tag is the header title of the webpage. It is an element used to summarize and display the summary of your webpage’s content on the search engine results page.

As it influences
click-through rates (CTR), it is one the most important factor of on-page SEO. Most of the search engines display the first 50–60 characters of the title tag. So, make sure you choose a title under 60 characters to get
the most out of it.

Meta Description

A brief description that summarizes the content of a webpage is called Meta description. They are also displayed on the search engine page results (SERP) along with your title.

As it says 135-150 characters, a Meta description gives you more opportunity to explain to your users more and help you understand what your web page is about. Meta description also influences click-through rates.

Header Tags

Header tags are used to help your audience to identify the headings and subheadings of your content. The header tags hierarchy goes from H1 to H6. H1 is the main heading (title) of a webpage, and the H2 tag is a subheading
of H1, the H3 tag is a subheading of H2, and so on. Header tags help search engines to read and understand the content better easily.

URL Structure

The best practice is to use SEO-friendly Uniform Resource Locator (URLs), as they help understand what the webpage is about. Poor URL structure can become a big issue in SEO, which may result in your website gets
lower ranks.
It is recommended

● use the primary keyword in URL,
● keep the URL short and
● Do not use stop words

Image Optimization & Image Alt Text

Optimizing images is can add a lot of value as the image search is present on Google. There is a lot of scopes to utilize to improvise your on-page SEO.
Optimizing both image size and image file size is essential. The dimension of the image is called image size (e.g., 1024 by 680 pixels). The size of the image file is the amount of space needed to store it on the server (e.g., 350 kilobytes).
The image alt tag helps show relevant images to the user when they are searching it, and also, image alt text explains the about the image.

Image alt text is used to make sure those spiders and crawlers understand
it. Search-engine crawlers parse these HTML attributes faster than the image file.
· Resize & optimize both image size and image file size
· Use primary keyword in the image alt text
· The image gives you more real estate and also traffic.
· Use Unsplash, Pixabay, Flickr, or Google to find images
· Use your keywords as a file name
· Use keywords in alt tags

Internal Link

Internal links are hyperlinks that link web pages together within the website. They allow users to navigate other helpful web pages within the website.

They pass link juice (value passed from one webpage to another
webpage) from one to another but are recommended only if it is helpful to the reader, as user experience matters a lot.

Page content

Have you heard of content being king, and it is valid till now? The search ranks your website as one of the contents on your webpage that is relevant & useful to users. If the user searches for something on search engines and lands on your webpage, they should get what they want.

Your webpage content has to provide value and a great user experience. Google has multiple ways to measure if your content is helpful to the users.
● Do not use duplicate content.
● Use the primary keyword in the beginning.
● There is no exact formula, but try to have at least 500+ words on your
content and try to satisfy user intent.

Off-page SEO

The process of improving your rank on the search engine results page (SERP) by carrying the supporting activities outside of your website is called off-page SEO. It also helps you strengthen your website’s domain authority and build a sense of trustworthiness and credibility. Off-page SEO also helps increase the traffic of your website, page rank, and brand awareness.

Link Building

Link building is the most crucial factor in Off-page SEO. The process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your website is called link building. It is also called external link building. If you don’t have valuable
content. Quality content along with relevant keywords helps you to rank as a part of on-page SEO.

High-quality content allows you to get links from other sites to your site as a part of off-page SEO. That is the power of content, and it helps you both in on-page and off-page SEO.
Quality of links: You start to hear that every backlink is not equal, as a quality backlink from an authoritative website matters a lot. The quality of your backlinks is much more than the number of links. And that’s a massive mistake for a few reasons:
1. Search engines might ignore the majority of low-quality or spammy links.
2. Links from brand new sites are worth more than repetitive links from the sites you already got have a backlink from.
Number of links: Once you are getting quality backlinks, you need to build high-quality backlinks at scale over
time, as the number of total backlinks matters a lot.

Here are some strategies for link building:
High-quality content creation– Write a great piece of content that everyone from your industry would link with relevant anchors from their content. Others will link back to you only if your content is well researched, original & well-structured.
Infographic Promotion
Create an infographic that helps the content creators in your industry to use and with a source link. Great Infographics take a lot of effort & time to create. You can reach out to people who wish to use them with a
backlink.
Broken link building
The fast and easiest way to get a backlink Broken link building. Create good quality content, find broken
links from authorities relevant to your website, and ask them to provide a backlink if they find it useful.
Local citations or business directories
Listing your website on local directories helps you in Local SEO. Also, it is one of the easiest ways to get a
backlink just by listing your business·
Resource Pages
Find resource pages that add value to the audience in your niche and provide value in your resource with a backlink.
Guest post
There are authoritative websites that accept a guest post with a backlink. Find them and reach out
to them with quality content to get a backlink.

TRUST

Another major off-page factor is trust. Remember the famous formula that the founders of Google invented PageRank; of course, it isn’t the only measure they take when ranking pages in the top ten search results.

If you
build a big brand, Google is likely to trust you. It also helps improve your SEO rankings. Quality backlinks from authoritative sites like .edu or .gov domains help. There are four parts to building trust.

Authority

A Search engine determines the overall authority of your website by considering two kinds of authority:
Domain authority: The widespread authority over your domain name is called domain authority. Backlinko.com is very authoritative; most of them have heard of it.
Page authority: Authority related to the content of a specific page within your website. For
example, a blog post.

Bounce rate

A bounce rate is a measure of how many people view only one page on your site before immediately leaving. Decreasing the bounce rate can add a lot of value to your website, which helps in ranking better.

Domain age

Do you trust a website from 20 years or a website that is newly launched? So, domain age is an unmistakable signal for Google to consider. So have a long-term vision.

Identity

Personal brand or personal identity online takes a lot of time to build, but it is a huge trust signal for search engines

Intro to Technical SEO

Mobile-friendlinessGoogle has already started giving importance to the mobile-first index, and if your page isn’t mobile-friendly, you lose.

More than 55% of Facebook and other social media users use their network exclusively on mobile devices. Because there are 900 million mobile users and 1.65 billion monthly active users on Facebook, it opens the door for people who are optimizing their website and mobile-friendliness.

Page speed

When you search for something and land on a web page with slow loading, will you stay on the page. That indicates the fact that no one will like slow page speed. So, optimize your website to have better page speed according to Google standards.

HTTPS and SSL

Whenever you search, enter some website and notice them showing not secure. Because they haven’t used an SSL certificate that converts HTTP to HTTPS. SSL ensures safe data transfer without any problems. The data in the websites which do not have SSL certificates prone to get hacked.

Redirects

When you delete or move a page from one URL to another URL, your old URL shows an error resulting in a bad customer experience. So, to avoid this, you need to redirect these URLs to proper pages with proper redirects.

XML Sitemap

XML sitemaps can help search understand your site, and find all its content. Making the job of search engine crawlers easy will simplify your work. Ensure that you do not include pages that aren’t useful, which helps the crawlers crawl essential web pages. There are several free tools to generate XML sitemaps.

Robots.txt

You can control the search engine crawlers by indicating how to handle certain content on your site. For example, you like them not to crawl a specific section of your site. You can control the same using the robots.txt file.

This file already exists for your site at yoursite.com/robots.txt. Make sure this file isn’t currently blocking anything you want to get indexed by a webpage.

Conclusion

If you have understood at least half of it, you already know the significant portion of SEO essential for SEO.
SEO is never a destination, and unlike other channels, it’s a journey as the main focus is on user experience.

The more you optimize, the better the user experience. Better quality content with quality backlinks is an essential thing that you need to win the game of SEO.
SEO has always been long-term and stable, with a high return on investment channel for most businesses out there.
SEO helps you in building excellent brand awareness along with reasonable conversion rates.
If you are a business owner, you haven’t built your empire in one day in the same SEO empires takes time, and it lasts for long as long your competitors are not doing SEO.

If you want to become an SEO professional, you need to start by having a website to experiment with each and everything you learn.


What do you think about SEO? Let us know in the comments.


Cheers
Keerthi. P

 

Recommended reads:
1) The Complete SEO Checklist For 2022

2) Top 6 tips to consider before finding local SEO services in India

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