What is SEO? A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process of increasing organic traffic on your website by enhancing the probability of its appearance on the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). If you think this is too much to take in at the start, then let’s make it simpler.
SEO is the process of developing your website in such a way that it is easier for search engines like Google and Yahoo to find it and display to the audience looking up for something similar. There are different aspects of it. It requires your content to be stuffed with relevant words which people mostly search, called keywords. Besides, how other websites integrate with yours also plays an important role.
SEO drives more visitors to your website and thus helps it rank higher. Next time you search something and google shows you a list of related websites, know that the website owners have mastered SEO.
What Do Search Engines Look For?
Since every website doesn’t make it to the search engine’s list of favorites, it is evident that they pick up favorites based on certain criteria. The site infrastructure, tags, images, title, internal link structure are some of the things which matter the most. What has been found out is that search engines follow a four-step process to select the websites they prefer to be displayed as results for a relevant search.
This is quite interesting. Following a search , search engines crawl into related websites to check the content, images, titles. An automated “bot” does that work. Nowadays, they also look for the position of advertisements, layout of the page etc..,
When you have different boxes of chocolates, unboxing to find what is there is crawling and when you make a list of all the chocolates it is called indexing. Easy? So, organizing the data collected from crawling in a database is referred to as indexing.
These are basically formulas which look for leads to comprehend the search query in a better way. Some major updates of Google algorithm are Panda, Penguin, Pirate, Hummingbird, Pigeon , the latest one being BERT. Google updates its algorithm very frequently.
This is the final step where the websites are arranged in a particular order based on their relevance. The order in which websites appear in SERPs is called ranking.
How Communication With Search Engines Happen?
To understand this, think of the purpose of search engines. They address people’s queries through your content. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to analyze what exactly your audience wants. Your website will be considered relevant by search engines only if they find out that you have content which provides perfect solutions to people’s problems or have sufficient information on something they are interested to know more about.
Hence, it is essential to find out the keywords which people look up for most of the time and compose phrases out of it. They can be introduced as a blog or a page on your website. If your content is relevant enough, search engines will pick you up and people will visit your site.
Benefits of SEO
In this section of the article we will focus on the benefits which SEO confers?
SEO boosts organic traffic so you do not have to pay in exchange for clicks. It is definitely more effective than paid advertisements.
If you have relevant keywords, proper titles and a satisfying content then more and more people will visit your site from the SERPs.
When your website appears on the first page of SERPs, people naturally begin to believe that you are a trusted source.
The benefits conferred by SEO can be tracked and quantified. You can evaluate the outcomes of your SEO strategies and reorganize them to get even better results.
Increases Online Presence:
SEO makes your website more available for search engines to navigate. Consequently your website becomes more available to users too.
Enhances Brand Awareness:
Since more people get to see your website they come to know more about you. Your brand gains attention from people.
Increases Conversion Rates:
As the traffic increases it is obvious that people will get to explore about you and that leads to more conversion.
Search Engine Optimization Process
This involves thoroughly examining your website. Factors like page errors, site speed are taken into consideration. This takes time but is vital. The following steps are followed during website audit:
Daily Organic Traffic:
With analytics tools you can get the metrics and evaluate your daily performance. You can also see the performance of your competitors.
Find Appropriate Keywords:
Utilize the SEMrush keyword research feature. You can find the most appropriate phrases and keywords for SEO and PPC campaigns and get higher ranks in Google’s searches.
SEMrush is an efficient backlink checker. You will be displayed all the links which point at your website. You can gain impressive link intelligence.
The SEMrush site audit tool allows you to rectify the on-site errors like detecting and removing spurious pages, create unique titles, and adding HTML tags. Crawling your website to get updates on technical errors is also possible with the tool.
Using relevant tools you can check your site speed. You can find out the time your website takes to load and get suggestions on ways of optimization.
Here you get to analyze all the factors which affect the performance of your website. Certain tools will also give you suggestions to get better results.
The structure of your site needs to be analyzed. Make sure that it is catchy and simple. Ease of navigation is a must as that attracts more people and leads to user satisfaction.
Number Of Pages:
Assess the content in each page. Check whether indexing is properly done. Do not forget to stuff images with keywords too.
Quality Of Content:
Since content is king, make your content unique and engaging. Check the length, grammar and originality of your content using tools like Grammarly, 1text etc.
Find out your Alexa rank from Alexa.com or from other SEO tools. You will get an insight into your as well as your Competitor’s performance. You can even get a glimpse of what more they are doing.
This will tell you how reputed your website is . Small SEO tools can be of great help. The DA is represented as a number from 1-100 depending on the popularity.
Through page authority tools, you can evaluate the strength of your website and its estimated rank . Higher page authority corresponds to a higher page rank in the search engine results.
Find Out Client’s Requirement:
If you figure out what your audience is looking for, it will be easier to structure an SEO strategy that successfully addresses their queries. Some important things to review are the type of your client’s business, their goals, niche audience, competition in their industry. A grip over these areas will certainly help in increasing organic search.
Create a Website Theme:
Your website theme speaks in detail about your business. So it’s necessary to have an elaborate website design. This increases the effectiveness of the optimization process.
Search For Keywords:
This requires extensive research. Think what all relevant searches people can make, find out the misspellings possible, consult your customers and colleagues to find out what they would search for a similar product/service, use local words if the business is restricted to a locality, read similar blogs and articles and check out the pages of your competitors to see what keywords they have used.
Keyword optimization occurs by taking into consideration the Keyword Effectiveness Index(KEI). This is given by number of pages/number of searches. The most appropriate keywords are the ones which are searched often but have low competition rates. Use concise keywords, formulate phrases out of them and use a mixture of industry standard keywords and what people will commonly search for.
Keywords are basically classified as ‘short tail keywords” and ‘Long tail keywords’. Short tail keywords contain 3 or less words which are very common . Long tail keywords consist of more than three words which are very specific and not that common.
Focus on Website Architecture:
An impressive site architecture largely impacts your SEO performance. You can stick to the following steps to build your site:
- The hierarchy of information should be sensible
- The structure of URL should follow the hierarchy.
- Introduce CSS or HTML to ease navigation.
- Use short tail keywords in landing pages and for subpages use long tail keywords.
- Develop an internal linking structure.
On Page Optimization:
- Optimize the content on the page. To do that keep the following points in mind:
- Craft a unique page title with the relevant keywords.
- Keep your description concise and loaded with keywords. This is what we call meta description.
- Include SEO friendly URLs.
Add headings enriched with keywords. Introduce heading tags . The main title is H1 and the subheadings are H1, H2, H3 and so on. This makes the content organized and suitable for reading.
Introduce relevant images and keyword rich, optimized descriptions.
Introduce internal lining for easy navigation
Off Page Optimization:
This follows on page optimization and the strategies work outside your website. You can achieve it by social networking, blogging, forum marketing, video marketing, article submission, sharing documents etc.
It is no doubt that SEO decides your online fate. Though this word is commonly used, not many people know what it exactly is and how it works. This is the reason why people’s content, despite being efficient, fails to get noticed.
If you are reading this, then I hope that you haven’t missed the important details mentioned above. These are the basics , but obviously there is much more to it. To start with, this is enough. Be meticulous while carrying out the process and the results will amaze you.