In the race to stand 1st in the search results, your website needs to use these basic SEO essentials – at a minimum. It can be as tricky as playing a chess game. Many companies are still trying hard to accumulate all the chessmen on board to win the battle and get their website on Google’s first page. Google, Bing, and Yahoo are the librarians of the web world.
Google’s second page is the best place to hide something, “NOBODY WILL EVER LOOK THERE!” but that is definitely not what you want? No ways! In fact, ranking your website on the 1st page should be the topmost priority. In such a situation, SEO acts as a catalyst for improving the ranking of a website to attract quality traffic, which would ultimately lead to more sales.
The definition of SEO and its importance in any business has been discussed numerous times. However, at times, the explanation is not very clear. In this article, we are going to discuss search engine optimization in detail and its relevance in the web industry.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
In simple terms, SEO is a strategy of helping a website rank higher in search engines via the natural or organic search results. The full form of SEO stands for, search engine optimization. It is the collection of techniques and strategies that enable a site to fetch more traffic that can be converted successfully into leads or sales.
However, a technical definition of SEO is mandatory, before we take the plunge and go into further details about the strategies, techniques, and tactics to increase the number of visitors to a website.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a webpage in a search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic” or “earned” results. SEO targets different types of search, like image search, local search, video search and so on. This internet marketing discipline focuses on the visibility of your websites in organic and unpaid search results.
There is no hiding the fact that even the best bloggers out there, invest a lot of time and money for search engine optimization of their blogs. Let’s check out the benefits of SEO to understand the reason behind people vouching for this internet marketing strategy.
- With SEO, your blog or site ranks higher in organic search results.
- Search engine optimization helps in attracting more traffic. Over here, we are talking about “quality traffic” which matters the most.
- SEO helps get more readers for your blog and the financial earnings for the blog can escalate dramatically.
- Last, but not the least, with SEO you get to earn and keep more subscribers via RSS, Twitter, and Facebook.
The Inside Story – SEO Essentials
Google, Yahoo, and Bing are the most popular search engines. When we do a search, we are not searching the web, but the index of the web or at least as much of it, as can be found. This is done by software programs called “spiders.” Spiders start by fetching a few webpages and following the links on those pages that fetch the pages they point to. After this, the spiders follow all the links and get the pages they link to until a pretty big chunk of the web is indexed. Many pages are stored across thousands of such machines.
If you want to search something, then enter it in Google search in simple terms. The software searches the index to find every page which includes those searched terms. In this case, hundreds and thousands of results come up. Google decides which documents are relevant and which are not. This is done, as Google analyses how many times the keywords are used and included in the title, page URL and so on. Whether the pages are from quality websites or not is a question of concern. Or in case there are cases of spamming, are also taken into consideration. Finally, all the factors combined together, help in producing a webpage’s overall score, thus creating the final search results. All this happens within half-a-second.
However, there are certain things which the search engines take into account before ranking a website or blog.
- Words used in the website matter. Search engines account for every word on the web. This way, when you search for some special thing, the search engines, filters the results as required.
- Page title matters and search engines pay special attention to the title used in the code.
- Links between websites matter. One webpage linked with another is a recommendation, saying that this particular site has valuable information that can be put to use. A webpage coming with a lot of links to it can look good to the search engines.
- Words used in links are crucial. Search engines can establish the relation of the words used with the link. This way the site with the keyword used in the link ranks well.
- Reputation is so very important. Sites with a growing number of fresh, engaging content and quality links are like, “rising stars” and do pretty well in search rankings.
NOTE – Let’s split up SEO to make things simpler. One is on-page SEO and the other is off-page SEO.
On-page SEO Optimization
On-page SEO is all the things that you can do on your website to give it a better ranking. It’s time to check out the effective ways in which on-page SEO can work wonders and increase page rankings on search engines.
- Page Title – One of the most important SEO factors on your site. The page title should be unique with the main keywords used for that particular page. For example, if you write a blog post about a new diet you tried, it is important to include “new diet tips” in the post title or something like that, as this strategy can get you better rankings.
- Meta Descriptions – Never forget to include meta descriptions to rank your webpage. The small, short and catchy meta descriptions with relevant keywords are crucial, as they are used within search results when the page is listed.
- SEO-friendly URL – Search engine friendly URLs are highly recommended and help the web spiders to crawl and find the blogs more easily. Shorter URLs are better recalled by visitors and perform exceptionally well in search engine rankings. Using relevant keywords in the URL is a significant factor to boost ranking.
- Internal Links – Links from other websites are important, but they are not the only ones which are crucial. Placing links to other webpages is a good strategy to improve your site’s ranking. Visitors easily navigate your site and on top of it all, it gets easier for the search engines to crawl and find all your pages. Last but not least, this technique also helps in increasing Google PageRank of your pages.
- Image SEO – Including images in your articles makes the read interesting. However, you can make the images stronger by adding ALT tags and title tags to improve the accessibility of the website. Optimizing the images around a keyword gives search engines a clue about the page and helps it rank well in organic search.
- Quality Content – Don’t just throw out mediocre content. Take the time to research and create a GOOD resource that people want to save and share. NOTE: While it’s OK to reference other people’s content, you’ll want to stay away from straight copy and paste. When I compile an article from several resources, I like to run it through plagiarism checker just to make sure that I’m in the clear. In the end, whether the content is actually good or not, is judged by search engines by checking the user-experience metrics, like:
- Chrome Bookmarks
- The number of repeat visitors.
- Dwell time and so on.
BlogPress proudly features Yoast SEO to you easily optimize your posts.
So, now you know why the SEO expert always emphasizes “quality content” that are easy to understand and highly informative too!
- XML Sitemap – The XML (Extensible Markup Language) Sitemap is a text file that is used to detail all URLs on a website. Extra information (metadata) is included on each URL with details like when it was last updated, the importance they hold and whether or not there are other versions of the URL in other languages. This helps the search engines crawl the website more effectively. Therefore, every site must have a sitemap as it makes it a tad easier to find webpages and index them for search engines.
- Mobile-friendly website – With the advent of smartphone opting for a mobile-friendly website is a favorable move for on-page optimization. It is a well-known fact that Google prefers a responsive web design and this strategy for on-page optimization is definitely of prime importance.
Off Page, SEO is the best strategy to get more traffic to your site. Off-page optimization gives backlinks to your sites and requires plentiful work on a daily basis. It helps to maximize website performance in search engine for target keywords. It refers to all things that can be done “OFF” the website for better ranking.
1. Acquiring Backlinks
Getting backlinks from higher authority pages for your website is crucial. Popular links are better liked by search engines and this has an influence on the site’s ranking. Links from multiple domains with relevancy is the key to achieving success in off-page optimization. Search engines are smart enough to catch unworthy, bulk backlinks that are bought and this can result in penalizing the website.
2. Quality guest blogging
Create relevant and high-quality content and submit it as guest blogs. Content was, is, and will be the KING, always! If the article has some good stuff, then it will get published and this will fetch you some backlinks as desired. A well-played strategy, guest blogging can make wonders happen and help you acquire quality backlinks that will be beneficial.
3. Participate in Question and Answer sites
Actively participate in question-answer forums like Quora and Yahoo. By answering and asking questions, it can build your reputation as someone who is an expert in the chosen field. Place the link to your website in the source section and this is a fabulous way to increase link popularity. Avoid any kind of spamming!
4. Create High-Quality Infographics
Infographic is a collation of image and data. It can create high-quality backlinks for website. Being one of the best off page techniques, the infographic is an effective way to build quality links. Infographic submission is regarded as one of the best off page techniques.
5. Blog commenting
Blog commenting is one of the best methods you can build links for your website. High PR link can be created from blog commenting. So, blog comments matter and can actually play a role in off page SEO optimization. This is a good tactic to build a relationship with bloggers.
6. Broken link building
Broken links are just like what it sounds! It creates a negative impact on the particular website or blog, but this can be put to use for your own site. Send an email to the webmaster and let them know about the broken link and offer your link as a replacement, instead. You are fixing an error and also doing something good for your own site. Broken link building is favored, as it falls under white hat SEO. Broken link building is a scalable strategy as it focuses on content and is highly effective.
7. Email outreach campaign
Email outreach, the old school strategy that still works wonders. Send emails and let the target audience see the mail pop in the inbox. However, making the email crisp and clear should be the formula used, as no one is going to spend more than a few seconds to find out what it’s all about. This strategy for off-page optimization can fetch you amazing results.
8. Promote content in social media
Promoting content on social media like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ is an added bonus. This actually helps in building awareness about your website and the products or services that are being offered. This allows you to extend an online network of contacts, to connect and interact with the target audience, which can promote your website and build your online reputation rather well. This is one of the strategies used for off page site optimization.
White Hat SEO VS Black Hat SEO
White Hat SEO also is known as “ethical SEO” refers to the usage of optimization strategies and techniques which focuses on the human audience and completely follows search engine rules and policies. For example, a website optimized for search engines which focus on relevancy and organic ranking is considered to be practicing White Hat SEO.
Some White Hat SEO techniques include keywords and keyword analysis, backlinking, link building and writing content for human readers. White Hat SEO is more preferred as it is a long term beneficial strategy.
Black Hat SEO is definitely always BLACK! It does not follow search engine guidelines! The techniques and strategies used are aggressive and the focus is solely on search engine optimization, not on the human audience. The human audience is regular readers of the web content and plays a role in conversion rates. If you are looking for a quick financial return, then opt for Black Hat SEO tactics like keyword stuffing, invisible text, doorway pages, page swapping and so on. However, be careful, as using this kind of strategy can ban your website from search engines. It is commonly referred to as “unethical SEO” or spamdexing!
If you are looking for a quick success recipe, Black Hat SEO is the one for you, but if you are looking at a long term perspective then White Hat SEO wins the bid, any day!
SEO – Expensive yet Essential
Is your website lagging behind? Does your website not feature anywhere in search engine results? not feature your website anywhere? Do you truly desire and wish your website to rank on the 1st page of Google? Well, this is not an impossible wish. Expanding your online presence is essential and, for this reason, ranking in search engines is crucial. Therefore, opting for search engine optimization (SEO) is the call of the hour!
Are you still thinking why does my website need SEO? Then, the main factors discussed over here will surely enlighten you with reasons:
- Search engines are the primary method of navigation for most users.
- Search engines are roadways and provide you with “quality traffic” that has the potential to turn into leads.
- Did you know that 75% of people do not scroll beyond page 1? So, if you truly wish your website’s success, a good SEO strategy is a must!
Yes, SEO is a necessary evil and it can get pretty pricey, but at the same time, it can expand your business dramatically by building the right sales funnel.
Investing in SEO is now more important than ever, despite the difficulties faced due to the lack of organic keyword data and traffic. Your web business needs to have an SEO strategy in place for effective functioning if you are truly interested in online marketing. SEO still remains as one of the most important components of any organization’s branding efforts and online presence.
About the Author:
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guest post from Rintu Biswas. He is an SEO Expert at MyTasker, a professional SEO Company. He is extremely passionate about his work. He has been in the SEO Industry for 5 years and always tries to help people with his informative articles. You can follow him on Twitter.