Every businessperson wants to see his or her business thrive before anyone else. Such is the case in digital media and marketing. It is desired that your business is the first result in related searches. Thus, Search engine optimization is important for the success of any online business and every web developer and digital marketing team must understand the basics of SEO.
What is SEO?
It is a set of rules for optimizing your website so that it can achieve higher rankings in search engines’ results, without any paid advertisement to the search provider. It involves making certain targeted changes or optimizations to your website and content to make it more attractive to a search engine. In order to provide user with the best results, the search engine will scan and crawl through different websites to understand about the domain of the site. This helps them deliver more results that are relevant on topics or keywords.
Similarly, the search engines will scan the site to determine how easy it is to navigate and read, rewarding user-friendly sites with higher rankings on the search engine results page.
To sum up SEO in one line ‘It is the process that organizations go through to help make sure that their site ranks high in the search engines for relevant keywords and phrases.’
Even though you can generate traffic from paid advertisement, social media and other platforms, but search engines serve millions of queries per day ranging from ‘how to build a website to how to cook pizza at home and drive the majority of traffic. Therefore, in today’s competitive market, SEO marketing is more important than ever.
If you have a web site, blog or online store, SEO can help you get targeted free traffic from search engines.
Search engine optimization is important because:
- The majority of search engine users are more likely to click on one of the top 5 suggestions in the search engine results. To take advantage of this and gain visitors to your web site it needs to appear in one of the top positions.
- SEO is not only about search engines but good SEO practices improve the user experience and usability of a web site.
- Users trust search engines and having a presence in the top positions for the keywords the user is searching, increases the web site’s trust.
- SEO is good for the social promotion of your web site. People who find your web site by searching Google or Yahoo are more likely to promote it on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media channels.
- SEO can put you ahead of the competition. If two web sites are selling the same thing, the search engine optimized website is more likely to have more customers and make more sales.
Now that we have a good understating of the importance of SEO, let us see how to optimize your website for better SEO.
HOW to do SEO?
SEO is not a static process but rather a framework with rules and processes. SEO can be broken down into 3 types:
- Technical SEO: With technical SEO, you can ensure that search engines can crawl and index your website without any issues.
- On page SEO: Rules to apply on your site and content to make it search engine friendly.
- Off page SEO: Ways to promote your website or blog so that it can rank higher in search results.
It has nothing to do with the content of your website or with promotion methods. Technical SEO deals with the configuration of your website so that crawlers can easily search through you website. It is performed only once. If incorrectly configured, it can negatively affect your ratings as crawling and indexing is difficult.
On-site or On page
On-Page SEO has to do primarily with the content and other elements found on a page. The focus of on-page SEO is to provide search engine crawlers enough signals so that they can understand the meaning and context of your content.
Here are just a few of the on-page SEO factors that can help you improve your search ranking:
- Title Tag – The title tag on each page tells the search engines what your page is about.
- Meta Description – The meta description on your website tells search engines a little bit more about what each page is about. This should include your keyword and provide enough details to tell the reader what the content is about.
- Sub-headings – Not only do sub-headings make your content easier for visitors to read, but it can also help improve your SEO. You can use H1, H2, and H3 tags to help search engines better understand what your content is about.
- Internal Links – Building internal links, or hyperlinks to other content on your site, can help search engines learn more about your site.
- Image Name and ALT Tags – If you are using images on your website or within your blog content, you will also want to include your keyword or phrase in the image name and alt tag. This will help search engines better index your images, which may appear when users perform an image search for a certain keyword or phrase.
An important thing to consider when creating content for your site is SEO keywords and phrases. These are relevant words and phrases that a search engine user might type in when looking for answers to their questions or relevant products and services. However, try not to over-optimize, search engines penalize for over use of keywords.
If followed correctly, on-page SEO will also improve the usability and credibility of a website or blog.
Besides the changes you can do to your website (on-site SEO) so that it ranks higher in the SERPs, the other way to improve your website’s ranking position is by using off-site SEO techniques.
In general, when a user types a search query, search engine algorithms look into their index and try to find the best pages that can satisfy the intent of the user. Pages that are good candidates appear to the first positions of the search results.
One of the factors to determine the position of a webpage in the results is the number of incoming links (backlinks). Backlinks are a signal of trust and depending on where the links are coming, they can greatly affect your ranking position.
If the links are coming from well-known and trusted sites, your ranking will be positively affected.