If you are not associated with a background that aims to explain anything related to digital marketing. As a small business owner, it is very likely to wonder about the concept of SEO. In the next few minutes, we will take you on a deep-down journey to explore SEO as a beginner.
SEO or Search engine optimization is all about the process to take your website on the top of the search results page when you hit a specific query on search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing. wondering why? It is very natural, the higher will be the website, the more people will see it bringing you better business opportunities.
Though the concept emerged in the 90s, as more businesses have shifted to the web, the need for SEO has also grown along with it becoming an essential of the marketing process. However, it needs you to be very creative and technical for building tailor-made solutions for the audience as search engines run on various algorithms to rank your website on the top of SERPs i.e. search engine result pages. Google alone uses 200+ factors to plan the rankings of your website of which some are recognized to be content, links, speed, while many of them are secret.
SEO helps you reach the top of the search results as more than 75 percent of clicks are meant to the websites that are shown on the first page. No matter what your website delivers, either it is a product, service or even your blog, SEO is essential for achieving desired conversions.
Now let us quickly begin with our guide starting with the basic insights to SEO:
Insights Into SEO
Every single change you make on your website has got a deep check from the search engine. Therefore, it becomes vital that anyone having a website should understand the basics of SEO, to begin with, optimization process. Though you may try to approach any of the top local SEO company, we bring you a better way to SEO which is much affordable.
We’ll start the very first part of this guide i.e. insights to SEO by bringing you all the essential terms which you should know as a beginner.
SEO is divided into three major categories depending upon the practices which are followed on each of them. These three categories can be listed as:
Black-Hat SEO: black hat SEO is all about working on some unethical or unfair practices with your website that are not recommended according to google policies. Though the results could be achieved quickly with the techniques, there are always chances of getting penalized by Google.
You can find all the guidelines that will help you avoid any type of penalty, read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines for SEO.
Grey Hat SEO: Grey Hat SEO is all about the combination of white hat and black hat practices. However, the chances of spamming and penalty are much less with Grey hat SEO but still, you are always at risk.
White Hat SEO: White Hat SEO is all about ethical practices of building links and generating content. Though it may take a longer time period to fix all the flaws and work all the tasks, the results are consistent.
On-page: the next thing which we will be talking about is On-page SEO. when you start- working on On-page SEO, it is about a set of technical tasks that are necessary for the optimization meta tags, headings, URL structure, content, images, and anything that affects the website’s speed.
Off-Page: off-page SEO optimization is all about those tasks which can help you build a stronger domain authority of your website. Some of the practices which are done to achieve the off-page goals include, exchange of the backlinks, guest blogs, social media, publishing content on relevant websites, etc.
How Search Engines Work
Before you start the process of optimizing your website, it is necessary to understand how search engines work? This is because every website which is ranked high on SERPs has to go through the filters planned by a search engine to decide on any website’s position. The search engine’s process of ranking is defined in three major steps:
Crawling: the crawling process is all about scanning the web pages which includes a complete check of headings, images, keywords, content and every other content present on the website. The search engine bots are designed to crawl over the content again and again in routine.
Indexing: once the entire website is crawled by the search engine, the next thing which works is indexing the website. The index is similar to a giant library of websites where websites are indexed to be displayed on search engines. It may take around 1 to 10 days for indexing and every time you make any alterations to the data on your website, it is scanned again before making it visible to search engine results.
Results: SEO is all about the results in the end. Every time a user or developer share their query on the search engine, the search engine starts to dig the entire index to find out the most relevant results within a fraction of seconds. The search engine algorithms are designed to pick the maximum relevance with the search phrases or keywords to reflect the perfect results.
However, the ranking of the website still depends on so many unique factors on your website. Some of them are quality of backlinks, content quality, CTR, load time, keyword usage and density, the structure of the website, domain authority, internal links, mobile experience, etc.
Moreover, it is the way the user operates the search engine and type of query they share are factors that affect search engine results. The search engine understands the query type to be navigational, informational, and transactional to display the results with maximum relevance.
There was a time when search engine optimization was just limited to the use of keywords in creating descriptions, content, and titles of the page in order to gain the desired rankings. But with the passage of time, SEO has been changed and it has become more oriented towards user engagement. Therefore, to target both the search engine and users on the web, it is necessary to follow some special strategies that comprise the technical SEO.
Here are some elements which you need to target in order to strengthen your technical SEO part:
Meta tags: Meta tags is all about the HTML code of your website which helps search engine’s to know about the content of your website. Though meta tags like titles and descriptions are not having any direct participation in your website’s ranking, they are the big reason which affects your user engagement and CTR. Therefore, when you are working on meta tags, make sure you consider both technicalities as well as the user’s perception. Moreover, you can take advantage of various tools and plugins such as Yoast SEO for creating meta tags in an easier way.
Search Console: the next thing which you need to work with technical SEO is to use search console as it assists you in monitoring and maintaining your website’s presence on search results. It is all about presenting the content before search engine for crawling where you get to know about site errors, code errors, structured data issues, etc.
Website Speed: the next big thing which affects user experience and increases the bounce rate for your website is the website speed. If your website is not loading within 3 seconds of the click, it is very likely that a user may bounce back from the page. However, to improve such errors, you can always take the help of tools like PageSpeed Insights or fix all the hosting related errors. Moreover, you can optimize your website for images, HTML compression, CSS and JS modification, etc. to reduce the load time.
Mobile-First Optimization: over the years, the trends have shifted and a bigger number of people are using mobile devices to work on any queries. Thus, taking account of all the data and Google’s mobile-first release, it is necessary to optimize your website for perfect user experience on mobile. This may need you to optimize all the content and media along with the use of AMP for quicker web-surfing experience amongst users.
Sitemap: if you are using a big website or have rich media content on your website, it is very important that you have a sitemap. It not only helps your website to be crawled but also helps you list all the sections of your website making it more presentable for crawling. Make sure you place the sitemap in the root directory and it should never contain more than 50,000 pages.
Robot.txt: robot.txt are the files where you hide those content or pages which you don’t want search engines to see. It is good for your website when you don’t need any unnecessary visual or data to be indexed by the search engine.
Additional Technical SEO Factors: there are many other technical SEO factors which you need to work on your website for a better website position. This can include the use of SSL on your website, URL canonicalization, use of google tag manager, etc.
There is a very popular phrase that is used widely in SEO, it says “Content is king.” however, most of the time people are not informed about the type of content which they must create for their website or any tasks that can help gain exposure. But the fact is that only unique content managed to survive on search engines and bring the leads. Let us quickly jump on the type of content which we can create for the betterment of any website.
Blogs: there can be nothing better than a good blog for the right user engagement. All you have to do while writing blogs is to aim for uniqueness in content and data, quality over quantity, and consistent with the posts.
Products Page: the product pages are the doorway to sales and therefore they must be simple, descriptive, and must offer perfect navigation experience through great design and relevant CTAs. make sure you never forget to include professional photos.
Infographics: we all love to interact with infographics. Loaded with visuals and easy to understand, they are perfect for user engagement. It is more of creating a short story but you must take care of adding a transcript to your infographics to help search engines read.
Reviews: If you want to be a brand, there is no other way better than sharing reviews. It is not necessary to be 5 stars always as all you need to be is share precise and accurate information.
Informational: make sure you always share informational content either it is your own website or you need to post it on the web. You can always present content that contains a guide or how-to content making it worth the reading.
Videos: videos are becoming more popular these days as people love to watch videos rather than writing. Moreover, they are more interactive and easy to understand.
Role of Keywords in content: keywords play a major role in your content because they are actually the keys to attracting relevant traffic. It is completely on your part to choose those keywords which are having great search volume, low level of competition that can bring you perfect exposure. If you have any specific goals related to sales in the local region or voice optimization needs, you can always reach for long-tail keywords or semantic keywords that can help you gather a great audience. Moreover, you can always take benefit of various tools like google keyword planner, ahrefs, or even take advantage of semantic search to get some great suggestions.
One of the most significant factors that affect your website’s ranking is link building. Even if you have unique content, the authority of your website plays a major role in defining your position on SERPs. Basically, we have two types of link building:
- External links: linking your website to some external website or domain.
- Internal links: linking your page to some other page within a domain.
Though both types of links are necessary, external links are perfect to cater to the exposure. They can be categorized as do follow and no follow links but do-follow links can bring you more link juice as they are authority passing. Some significant factors which you must keep in mind while creating backlinks are to check for domain authority, page authority, and other website metrics that can help you gain more authority on your website.
SEO is an industry that is growing at a very fast pace because of the emerging needs of business presence on the web. However, when it comes to the growth of sales, audience, returns, or maybe any other objective, it is the visibility of your website that makes the difference. So, if you are planning to take your business to better heights, all you need to do is aim for all the strategies shared in the above guide as a beginner. But remember, you must work on each of these factors in a planned manner building a great online presence that could bring you endless conversions. All the best!
Ravi Sharma is a young entrepreneur and a proud owner of Webomaze. He is providing top-notch local SEO services around the world with a great hold on concepts of leads and sales promotion through relevant optimization that brings business exposure. He is a travel enthusiast and always loves to chase adventures.