SEO Basics: Introduction
Today, everything is happening online. From booking a cab to buying a sofa, the search engines are the first mechanism where you can search for the information you need. Here comes SEO in the picture. The search engine is the art of getting pages to rank higher in search engines such as Google. SEO basics can increase your visibility organically.
In simple terms, Search Engine Optimization is the method of improving the visibility of the website by increasing the ranking in the Search Engine Result Page. It is a way of creating the website much more search engine friendly, thus obtaining a higher position in the organic search result. By understanding the SEO basics you can kickstart your business and rule the search engines.
Role of the Search engines in and its working?
A search engine is a program designed in a way to extract or retrieve information on the web. The search results that you get in a list of pages are known as SERP. Whenever any user searches for something on Google or any search engine, the order by which results appear on SERPs is based on complex algorithms.
To decide which webpage will appear at the top, the algorithms of the search engine take into consideration various factors. So to appear SERPs, your content needs to be noticeable to search engines. That is why it is the most crucial part of SEO. SEO is not a static process but it is a framework with rules and processes. SEO basics can also help your business to reach more audiences.
How does Search Engine work for SEO?
Search engine work by getting a list of known URLs. So, when you search for something in Google then, its search engines return associated pages and rank them by relevance.
Let’s drill down deeper into the mechanism of Search Engine and make sure we understand how they work. The search engine performs the following activities for SEO basics:
1. Web Crawling
It refers to looking for the content availability on the web. Automated bots or spiders or crawlers crawl the websites, and also they explore new content frequently by re-crawling established pages where new links often get added over time.
It is a process where search engines index the data i.e. classification of pages into categories. The index contains a huge database of all the content that the search engine discovers are stored.
This step begins when a user’s search request comes. Here, the search engine compares the search query with the indexed pages in the database.
4. Calculating Relevancy
Search results show more than one page that contains the search query, so the search engine starts calculating the relevance of each of the pages in its index.
5. Retrieving Results
Finally it is the retrieving of results. This is the last step in the process. In this, the search engine retrieves all those pages that have a high relevance score and display them in the browser.
Stages for SEO Basics
SEO establishes a web presence and gives visibility so that website gets quality traffic that can help the business to grow. SEO basics steps can be broken down into four stages:
2. On-Page SEO
3. Off-Page SEO
4. Technical SEO
At first, the emphasis is laid on Content. All information, whether it is text, audio, video, hyperlinks, images, and animation that any webpage contains is the content. The topmost priority of the website developer regardless of website type is to improve the quality of the content. If you want organic search visibility, rankings, and traffic, you have to commit yourself to optimized content.
Following are some elements that one should consider while writing content for their product, blog articles, about page, services, or anything else considering SEO basics:
The site’s content should be different, new, unique, and should add worth to the target audience. One should keep in mind to create the content in a way to not only give visitors a good user experience but also to rank well in the search engine. Providing specific and high-quality content compels users to stay on your pages, building trust and familiarity.
Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines:
1. Firstly, Informational content should be reliable, comprehensive, authentic, and professionally presented.
2. Secondly, Artistic content should be fresh, different, and carry a high level of skill.
3. Lastly, the News content should be well-cited, in-depth, reliable, and include original recording.
● Keyword Research
After writing high-quality content, the next step is to find the keywords that people may use to find your content. It is the most significant part of SEO basics after generating quality content. Keyword research helps you to provide insights about your audience’s needs, whether it’s a navigational, informational, or transactional need.
Few things to keep in mind when choosing keywords:
1. Focus on Long-tail Keywords
2. Avoid high competitive keywords
3. Take help from Keyword Research Tool
4. Match your topic to your keyword
● Outline and format of your content
As we all know that online readers have a short attention span. Because of that, they are not going to stick around if your article is just a big paragraph. It’s best to stick with sections that have 3-4 short sentences. Also, use sub-headers or visuals after every 150-300 words. With better formatting, the author can increase visitors’ average time. In addition to this, readability is crucial for better engagement.
After settling on the outline and format, the next step is to optimize your multimedia. Focus to use appealing formats like images, video, animations, infographics, audio, etc. in content because it attracts your audience and set you apart from competitors.
Never go overboard, though. Too much of a good thing can be damaging, which eventually works against your purpose.
2. On-Page SEO
On-page SEO involves all the on-site techniques that one can use to make sure that the webpage will rank on SERP. In addition to this, several on-page factors affect Google search rankings.
Let us discuss the factors:
● Site Performance
It relates to the total time that a page takes to load. In simple terms, it refers to page loading speed. Furthermore, the slow loading pages tend to have high bounce rates. It is tough to hold a visitor on a website that takes a lot of time to load. The benchmark should be 2 seconds.
The following are the factors that one should consider:
1. Enable compression by minifying HTML, JS, CSS.
2. Enabling Image compression
3. Reduce Redirects
4. Prioritizing above the fold content loading
● Meta Tags
Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a page content; the meta tags don’t appear on the page but appear in the page source code.
The three types are:
1. Meta Keywords Attribute
This is a series of keywords you consider relevant to the page in question. Using keywords in HTML and Meta Tags is the best practice. But the search engine penalizes for abusing its use.
2. Title Tag
It is the text visible at the top of the browser. Search engines identify this text as the title of your page. Each title tags has to be unique, descriptive, and optimized under 60 characters limit.
3. Meta Description Attribute
It is a short description of the page. It describes a webpage and gives the search engine a summary of that page. Ideally, it should be within the 150-character limit.
● URL Structure
URL forms the first impression in the mind of users of the webpage before they visit the other pages on the website. Use keywords in your URLs, if possible. Also, use hyphens (-) to separate words. Underscore(_) is not preferred because the search engine takes it as one word.
● Headings (H1)
Headings are usually the longest words on the page, and due to this, search engines provide them a little more weight than the other page copy. Adding the target keywords into the headings of each web page is a great practice. Also, always make sure to reflect the page’s great content accurately. The H1s should limit to one per page, and other headers are H2 or H3.
● Alt text
It provides search engines with more information about an image. It is the description of the pictures for visitors. As such, the alt text should be specific and descriptive of the visual content, 125 characters or less, and optimized with a keyword or phrase only if appropriate.
● Internal Linking
Linking internally with other pages on your website is valuable to visitors, and also for search engines. While attaching internal links, make sure to have suitable anchor text. It is the clickable text in a hyperlink, and it is usually symbolized by blue font colour and underline. Furthermore to optimize the anchor text, check the relevancy of selected words or phrases to the linking page.
Keywords are the words and phrases that assist the users in finding any website by using search engines. Choosing the right kind of keywords requires thorough research. Use synonyms or related keywords because it helps search engines to know better about your website.
Points to be kept in mind while choosing keywords are:
1. Long-tail and Short Tail Keywords
Short tail keywords are general keywords. They have high traffic, but conversions are low because these are generic. On the other hand, long-tail keywords are a specific brand or product-related queries by users. Search volume on long-tail is few hundred searches. But they lead to more conversion.
2. Keyword Density
It indicates the frequency of a keyword that appears on a webpage. The ideal keyword density is between 0.5-2.5%.
As discussed earlier, the use of synonyms and related keywords assists search engines to understand better about your page and keywords. It also helps with using words that have various meanings.
The keywords research tools that can assist you in selecting keywords are:
3. OFF- Page SEO
Off-page SEO concentrates on improving the authority of your domain by acquiring links from other websites. “Domain Authority” is the score that determines the authenticity of your website by comparing it to other sites. The most vital off-page SEO factor is undoubtedly the quality and number of backlinks to your website. It not only focuses on quantity but also on the quality of links.
Some ways of building links to your website are:
It is a process of getting hyperlinks not owned by a brand but from external pages that are link to a webpage of their website. By creating backlinks, one can increase the Domain Authority of their website. The following points should be noted to gain backlinks:
- Firstly, create excellent content that other sites want to link to because it is worth it.
- Secondly, create social media shares of your content that ultimately generate links.
- Thirdly, link with influencers from your industry by outreaching e-mails.
- Lastly, create Guest blogs on sites relevant to yours. Such guest posts comprise of links back to your website.
● Press Release
It is a way to spread organizational news and information to the news media. Also, one can create a backlink from these sites to the company’s site, which will boost their SEO.
These are like a database that has a list of websites in defined divisions. It’s like a search engine where users could find websites related to a category.
SEO used to believe that buying links was the right way to link building; however, Google now penalizes for buying links to manipulate page rank. Also, there are penalties for submitting your links to link directories whose sole purpose is to increase your domain authority. When it comes to building connections, the quality surpasses the number of links.
4. Technical SEO
Traditionally, Technical SEO referred to optimizing a website for crawling and indexing. It can also add any technical method intended to enhance search visibility.
Technical SEO Checklist
A checklist of essential steps you can practice to ensure that your technical SEO is up to mark is listed below. It can also ensure that your site’s security and structure meet the expectation of search engine algorithms. By practicing this, your website gets rewarded in SERPs.
Following is the Technical SEO basics checklist:
- Install the SSL certificate on your website to make it secure.
- Create a Mobile-friendly website.
- Fix duplicate content issues
- Speed your site up
- Add structured Data Markup to your website.
- Get Registered with your with Bing Webmaster Tools and also with Google Search Console.
SEO not only increase your online visibility but also helps in gaining more profits. It is undoubtedly the best practice to ensure that your website appears in search results. Today most of the people, be it businesses or bloggers, are adopting and practicing SEO basics. Because of its various benefits, it has become popular, and no website can survive without practicing SEO. By understanding and proper practicing, you can master the art of SEO and indeed make your website rank at the top in SERPs.