The world of digital marketing and internet depends on the word “Search Engine Optimization” of this three word. Many big companies that sell their Proudct and servies online spend their millions of rupees on seo only. After all, what is this SEO?
If you too have heard its name repeatedly or seen it written somewhere or you are new in internet and digital marketing, then you get to hear this word again and again.
What Is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. SEO targets unpaid traffic (known as “natural” or “organic” results) rather than direct traffic or paid traffic. Unpaid traffic may originate from different kinds of searches, including image search, video search, academic search, news search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.
As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, the computer-programmed algorithms that dictate search engine behavior, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines, and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. SEO is performed because a website will receive more visitors from a search engine when websites rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP). These visitors can then potentially be converted into customers.
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How Does SEO Work?
Research shows that websites on the first page of Google receive almost 95% of clicks, and studies show that results that appear higher up the page receive an increased click through rate (CTR), and more traffic.
How Does SEO Work?
Google (and Bing, which also power Yahoo search results) score their search results largely based upon relevancy and authority of pages it has crawled and included in its web index, to a users query to provide the best answer.
Google uses over 200 signals in scoring their search results and SEO encompasses technical and creative activities to influence and improve some of those known signals. It’s often useful to not focus too much on individual ranking signals and look at the wider goal of Google, to provide the best answers for its users.
SEO, therefore, involves making sure a website is accessible, technically sound, uses words that people type into the search engines, and provides an excellent user experience, with useful and high quality, expert content that helps answers the user’s query.
Google has a very large team of search quality raters that evaluate the quality of search results, that gets fed into a machine learning algorithm. Google’s search quality rater guidelines provide plenty of detail and examples of what Google class as high or low quality content and websites, and their emphasis on wanting to reward sites that clearly show their expertise, authority and trust (EAT).
Google uses a hyperlink based algorithm (known as ‘PageRank’) to calculate the popularity and authority of a page, and while Google is far more sophisticated today, this is still a fundamental signal in ranking. SEO can therefore also include activity to help improve the number and quality of ‘inbound links’ to a website, from other websites. This activity has historically been known as ‘link building’, but is really just marketing a brand with an emphasis online, through content or digital PR for example.
Relevant and reputable websites linking to a website is a strong signal to Google that it might be of interest to its users, and can be trusted to appear in the search results for relevant queries.
How To Do Search Engine Optimization
SEO involves technical and creative activities that are often grouped into ‘Onpage SEO’ and ‘Offpage SEO’. This terminology is quite dated, but it is useful to understand, as it splits practices that can be performed on a website, and away from a website.
These activities require expertise, often from multiple individuals as the skillsets required to carry them out at a high level, are quite different – but they can also be learned. The other option is to hire a professional SEO agency, or SEO consultant to help in areas required.
Onsite SEO refers to activities on a website to improve organic visibility. This largely means optimising a website and content to improve the accessibility, relevancy and experience for users. Some of the typical activities include –
Keyword Research – Analysing the types of words and frequency used by prospective customers to find a brands services or products. Understanding their intent and a users expectations from their search.
Technical Auditing – Ensuring the website can be crawled and indexed, is correctly geo-targeted, and is free from errors or user experience barriers.
Onsite Optimisation – Improving the website structure, internal navigation, on-page alignment and content relevancy to help prioritise key areas and target relevant search phrases.
User Experience – Ensuring content shows expertise, authority and trust, is simple to use, fast, and ultimately provides the best possible experience to users against the competition.
The above list only touches upon a small number of activities involved in Onsite SEO as an overview.
Offsite SEO refers to activities carried outside of a website to improve organic visibility. This is often referred to as ‘link building’, which aims to increase the number of reputable links from other websites, as search engines use them as a scoring as a vote of trust.
Links from websites and pages with more trust, popularity and relevancy will pass more value to another website, than an unknown, poor website that isn’t trusted by the search engines. So the quality of a link is the most important signal.
Some of the typical activities include –
Content (‘Marketing’) – Reputable websites link to exceptional content. So creating amazing content will help attract links. This might include a how to guide, a story, a visualisation, news or research with compelling data.
Digital PR – PR provides reasons for other websites to talk and link to a website. This might be internal newsflow, writing for external publications, original research or studies, expert interviews, quotes, product placement and much more.
Outreach & Promotion – This involves communicating with key journalists, bloggers, influencers or webmasters about a brand, resource, content or PR to earn coverage and ultimately earn links to a website.
There’s obviously a huge number of reasons why a website might link to another and not all of them fit into the activities above. This might include speaking at an event which is covered by local bloggers, sponsoring a local football team, or being listed by suppliers, as examples.
A good rule of thumb on whether a link is valuable is to consider the quality of referral traffic (visitors that might click on the link to visit your website). If the site won’t send any visitors, or the audience is completely unrelated and irrelevant, then it might not really be a link that’s worth pursuing.
It’s important to remember link schemes such as buying links, exchanging links excessively, or low-quality directories and articles that aim to manipulate rankings, are against Google guidelines and they can take action by penalising a website.
The best and most sustainable approach to improve the inbound links to a website is earning them, by providing genuine and compelling reasons for websites to cite and link to the brand and content for who they are, the service or product they provide or the content they create.
This means that your primary goal should be to build and maintain the best possible website. Don’t try to fool Google, but use a sustainable long-term strategy. Ranking will come automatically if your website is of extremely high quality. Google wants to get its users to the right place, as its mission is to index all the world’s online information and make it universally accessible and useful.
In addition to this, Google, of course, wants to make money. To achieve this, they have to make sure people keep using Google. This means that they’ll have to show people results they are looking for. So if your website is the best in your market, Google wants it to rank high in the results.
Why is Search Engine Optimization Necessary?
Here are some key points that should convince you about the need of an SEO:
SEO Drives Relevant Audience with High Conversion Rates
Search traffics are usually highly targeted down to minor details. With good SEO campaign and keyword research, you can find how big your market is and What users are searching for.
You can drive such highly targeted audience to your website which usually provides high conversion rates. A recent study has shown that the conversion rates from SEO leads are up to 15%, which is higher than any other type of marketing or advertising.
That is why having a good SEO company or consultant can make you high returns for every penny you spend on SEO optimization.
Here’s an example – Most people go on vacation to other cities or place and they need a place to stay. How would they find a good hotel to stay? By ‘Googling it’. With a good SEO optimization, your site would appear in some of the top results of search pages. If your site is relevant to his/her needs, it is highly likely that he/she would turn into your customer.
SEO can Increase Offline Sales
Gone the era of finding stores and products physically, most people today use search engines to find the stores or products they need.
A recent survey showed that almost 86% customers use the Internet to find the local businesses to buy from them offline. Yes, in the stores.
This is one more reason why you cannot ignore the SEO if you are a business owner. Having a website is like having a sales person who works 24/7 and 365 days without resting.
There are people who seek out the Internet to find a solution to their problems and you are providing the answer at their doorstep.
Without SEO, finding your website would like finding a needle in a haystack, it is there but no one can find it.
SEO Outweighs PPC Campaigns
Have you used Google AdWords? You may have used it successfully or maybe not. But, here’s the ironic thing –
PPC campaigns drive 25% of traffic but have 80% of marketing budget while SEO drives 75% of traffic but only have 15% of the marketing budget.
The people who run PPC campaigns ignore a large part of the key ingredient that is search traffic.
You have already done well with PPC advertising with only quarter of traffic, imagine what you can achieve with other third of the traffic?
SEO Helps in Brand Building
What do you do when you need to find some information? Ask your Parents? Ask your teachers? Ask Your Friends? No. In today’s world, anyone who wishes to find something, they just ‘Googles it’.
With an effective SEO campaign, you rank higher in search results. When user search for particular topics and you are on top of the result, it helps improve your credibility.
Brand building is often considered to be a hectic and difficult task. You throw many things at customers and hopes that they will remember you at time of purchasing.
SEO campaign can accelerate your brand building efforts very effectively and help your customer memories your brand.
As we know, SEO drives highly targeted consumers to your site and when you rank higher, the user is most likely to click on your site.
When the users use your site or buy some products, it is most likely that they will come back again and tell their friends about it. So basically, SEO helps to turn a first impression into long lasting recall by presenting the most relevant content for which the user is looking.
Long Term Strategy
SEO is a long-term strategy. While SEO can deliver quick results and that’s what many business owners need but, the impact lasts for a long time.
Many marketing campaigns like PPC delivers quick results but, they are also expensive and have a specific timeframe. A recent survey showed that 91% of people prefer search results over paid advertising.
Basics Of Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results.Here are some SEO basics that will help you to understand “What is SEO?”.
Follow Webmaster Guidelines
While webmaster guidelines vary from search engine to search engine, the underlying principles stay the same:-
Google Webmaster Guidelines
Make pages primarily for users, not search engines.
Don’t deceive your users.
Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging.
Bing Webmaster Guidelines
Provide clear, deep, engaging, and easy-to-find content on your site.
Keep page titles clear and relevant.
Links are regarded as a signal of popularity and Bing rewards links that have grown organically.
Social influence and social shares are positive signals and can have an impact on how you rank organically in the long run.
Page speed is important, along with a positive, useful user experience.
Use alt attributes to describe images, so that Bing can better understand the content.
The leading search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!, use crawlers to find pages for their algorithmic search results. Pages that are linked from other search engine indexed pages do not need to be submitted because they are found automatically.Search engine crawlers may look at a number of different factors when crawling a site. Not every page is indexed by the search engines. The distance of pages from the root directory of a site may also be a factor in whether or not pages get crawled.
Today, most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. In November 2016, Google announced a major change to the way crawling websites and started to make their index mobile-first, which means the mobile version of a given website becomes the starting point for what Google includes in their index.
To avoid undesirable content in the search indexes, webmasters can instruct spiders not to crawl certain files or directories through the standard robots.txt file in the root directory of the domain.When a search engine visits a site, the robots.txt located in the root directory is the first file crawled. The robots.txt file is then parsed and will instruct the robot as to which pages are not to be crawled. As a search engine crawler may keep a cached copy of this file, it may on occasion crawl pages a webmaster does not wish crawled.
Pages typically prevented from being crawled include login specific pages such as shopping carts and user-specific content such as search results from internal searches. In March 2007, Google warned webmasters that they should prevent indexing of internal search results because those pages are considered search spam.
With everyone glued to their phones right now, investing in organic SEO is important for a business’s survival. It’s considered a “new age” marketing technique, but it’s decisive for any brand’s web page due to the increasing availability of data and competition.
I hope this helps you out. Please feel free to drop a comment below if you have any doubts about Search Engine Optimization.[tab title="Tab 1 Title"]Insert tab 1 content here[/tab] [tab title="Tab 2 Title"]Insert tab 2 content here.