Search Engine Optimization is Also Known As SEO
WE will discuss how search engines work and why search engine optimization is important.
In the second section, we’ll discuss basic techniques and important factors in SEO and search rankings.
And, in the final section of this guide we’ll discuss how to maintain and continually improve SEO long term.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is optimizing your content to drive search engine traffic to your work.
It involves gaining a thorough understanding of how search engines work and then reflecting that knowledge in your writing and webpage design to maximize traffic to and user experience on your page.
SEO is important because search engines like Google, YAHOO!, and Bing drive the majority of web traffic. Shares on social media can cause short term spikes in stats, but real, long term success comes from maximizing search engines ability to drive traffic to your page.
Not only will good SEO improve search rankings and increase traffic for the author, but it helps people interested in your topic find your page and improves the viewer’s experience as well.
SEO involves strategically using appropriate keywords, building links to your work and making your pages search engine friendly. Although it is important to understand what SEO is, it is also important to understand what SEO isn’t. While SEO can make a big difference in stats, it cannot fix bad writing or poor content. SEO can make good writing into a great, high performing webpage, but it cannot turn poor content into good writing.
How Search Engines Work
Search Engines use “spiders” or “crawlers” to build an index of the webpages available, the words on each page, and where on the page those words were located.These program robots begin on popular webpages and add important words found on the page to the search engine’s index. From there, they follow every link on the page and index the corresponding pages before using the links on those pages to go to the next set of pages, and so on and so forth. This process is known as crawling.
Once this information is gathered by the spiders, it is encoded and stored for indexing. In order to even out the difference between the time needed to search a term beginning with a popular letter like ‘t’ and a search term beginning with a less popular letter like ‘q,’ a numerical value is applied to each word. This process is known as hashing. Not only does hashing even out problems related to letter frequency, but it condenses the index. Only the numerical value and a link to the actual information is stored in the index. This increases index and search speed, especially with more complicated searches that involve multiple words.
When a user performs a search, he or she types a query into the search box. Boolean operators can be used to define specific relationships between the terms in a query. Some of the most common operators are:
- AND-requires that both terms are on the page
- OR-requires that one term or the other is on the page
- NOT-excludes pages that include the following term
- NEAR-requires that two terms be near each other on the page
- “quotation marks”-requires the query be treated as a phrase, instead of each significant word in the query being considered an individual keyword
- FOLLOWED BY-requires that one term be followed by another
These searches are defined as literal searches. Research is currently underway on concept based searching which uses statistics statistical analysis of webpages containing your query to recommend pages you might be interested in, as well as natural language searching which allows users to type a question into the search box using the simple language they would use to ask a friend their question instead of using Boolean operators.
There’s More than One Search Engine
Each search engine uses different rules for determining which words are indexed and which words aren’t. Some search engines index every word on the page. Others focus on the most common words, the words in titles and subtitles, meta tags and the first few lines of text.
If you’ve ever tried searching the same phrase on different search engines, you probably noticed that you got different results. This is because each engine uses different algorithms to weight and index keywords and determine search result rankings. Search engine ranking algorithms use website popularity, meta tags, number of back links (links to the page), keyword frequency and location and a wide variety of other factors to rank webpages and how well they correlate to viewer searches.
In addition to relevance, website popularity is taken into account in determining search rankings. As more interested users are directed to your page by your SEO techniques, not only will the techniques increase your relevancy scores, but the popularity component of the ranking algorithms will increase as well.
(For more concrete information on specific ranking factors and their relative weight please see this website.)
Your Audience is Important in SEO
Now that you know how search engines function, we need to consider how users interact with search engines. To conduct a search, the user types a few keywords into the search box and clicks enter, browses the results and selects a page to visit. If the user is unsatisfied, he or she will return to the search and select another result or modify their query for a new result list.
People perform searches because they a) want to go somewhere specific on the web b) want to do something specific or c) learn a piece of information. In order to create a high performing webpage, you need to think like your user.
Ask yourself how many of your audience’s needs can be met on your page. Add additional, relevant content that meets these needs to attract more viewers and happier views. Then ask yourself if your audience can find your page. What queries might your target audience put into the search engine? Are those keywords found in your titles, subtitles, alt text, summary and first few sentences?
Remember, building content for your users will lead to better results than trying to build pages for search engines.
17 Essential SEO Strategies for E-Commerce Sites
Seo for Beginners
All web-designers need to optimize and rank their websites high on Google's results page: This is so since Google tops all other search engines on the internet in terms organic traffic generation: Ranking high on Google's search engine results page (SERP) is not difficult if Google SEO is followed.
On the other hand; ranking high in SERPs is not enough; you need to optimize your site for human consumption; so that your website gets the traffic and conversion rate it deserves when users are convinced to click-through into your website to find specific information or product.
So; what does Google recommend for starters? Google looks for a number of signals to determine the quality score of a website/web-page before showing relevant results in the SERP; and content is among the most important ranking signal it considers.
After all; you built that website to provide a given information or product to the internet users; and not Google's search engine: It will be needless to work hard on your SEO to rank your site high; while the content it contains is irrelevant and insufficient to those who need it.
Even if such websites with irrelevant and insufficient content ranks high due to some black hat SEO techniques; or by just effecting other ranking signals; they will always have a high bounce rate which also among the ranking factors Google considers: As users find your content useless for their needs; they click-away from your site and find another website with relevant information they need.
But; how exactly to you work on your content to get the favor from Google web crawlers??
This starters guide is broken into various parts of web-seo; both on-page and off-page SEO techniques that you need to perfect during site optimization process before embarking on extensive content marketing for high conversion rate.
A) Basic Search Engine Optimization
1. Unique and Accurate Page Titles
Web crawlers start understanding the content of your web-page right from its title: Ensure that your titles are original and accurate; stressing on the main point or idea you want to put across.
On the other hand; include researched and high ranking keywords in your titles for search engine consumption; while still making your titles catchy; having it in mind that your content is for human use.
2. Use Meta Tags and Descriptions
Meta tags and descriptions will show in the search engine results page; these are the summary of your page's content.
Your meta tags should include the main keywords you are going to exploit on the body of your web page; so that web spiders can crawl and index your page appropriately.
On the other hand; use clear and precise description to summarize your content for the humans; so that they know what to expect on your page before actually clicking through to your content.
B) Working on Site's Structure
1. URL Structure
The url structure of your web-page should be descriptive; including the main keywords: Web crawlers should be able to understand the content of your web-page form the url of that page; so that they serve the relevant web-pages to the internet users depending on the search query they use.
On the other hand; meaning full urls have a significant impact on the conversion rate; since humans will be able read them and understand the relevancy of the content; and consequently being converted into a visitor.
If you are using a content management system (CMS) such WordPress; ensure that you edit your permalinks to read exactly what the page is talking about.
Finally; your website URL should also include the main keyword in it; so that if you are a PC retailer, your website will include a PC retailer somewhere.
2. Site Navigation
Make it easy for your website's visitor to navigate around: Provide links to all your pages using relevant anchor tags; so that your visitors get more information concerning relevant topics you have written about on other pages.
C) Content Optimization
1. Offer Quality and Unique Content
Having it in mind that content is king; strive to offer original and quality contents that cannot be found anywhere else.
Before creating your contents and publishing them; ensure that you do sufficient keyword research using keyword tools available on the internet such as the Google Keyword Planner found in AdWords account.
While creating your content; be sure to use your researched keywords naturally throughout the page to maintain a good flow; and also to avoid spamming the search engines.
2. Use Anchor Text
Using your keywords as anchor text; provide links to the pages within your website; with relevant topics as the anchor text.
On the other hand; if necessary, you can provide links using these keywords as anchor text linking to other relevant sites; with good reputation and quality content to offer more insight to your visitors
Avoid linking to irrelevant sites with low quality content as this will hurt your web-page ranking; or even worse the whole website ranking.
3. Optimize Page Visibility Using Images
Web crawlers are in love with images; utilize images on your web-pages so that they are fully optimized for search engine consumption.
Use image description and caption text boxes to describe what your web-page content is all about; ensuring that you include all the necessary keywords you expect to rank high for.
Use quality and large images on your web-page as these are always doing better in search engine results page.
On the other hand; be sure to use your own images; or buy from sites selling images online; or otherwise find the rights to use free images from sites like Google Images offering images and photos for free use.
4. Make Use of Headings
Separating your content into different heading has a significant impact on both search engine and human optimization.
Provide headings and sub-headings with quality and relevant keywords depending on the topic of that heading or sub-heading.
If you are using plain HyperText Markup Language (HTML); utilize in your content page the H1, H2, H3 and so on; so that emphasis is made depending on the importance of the keywords on your titles and sub-titles.
D) Optimize Your Site for Web-Crawlers
1. The Robots Exclusion Protocol (Robots.txt)
Web-designers/developers use this file to direct the web-crawlers on how they should crawl and index their web-pages.
However; using robots.txt needs sufficient web-development expertise; as it can extremely harm your web-pages visibility if not used correctly.
Ensure that you locate robot.txt files in the top-level directory of your web-server for it to function as it should; otherwise, you will compromise your site's crawling by the search engine robots.
2. Using rel="nofollow"
Similar to Robot.txt; using rel="nofollow" requires extra care. This nofollow attribute is used to direct web-crawlers on which links not to follow and crawl on a web-page.
Some web-designers use this attribute to discourage spamming; or if the content of the page is not for public view.
Whichever reason you use it for, ensure that you counter-check your links so that you don't use nofollow attribute inappropriately and prevent search engine robots from crawling your important web-pages.
E) Mobile SEO
The majority of internet users today use mobile phones and other hand-held device to access information from the internet.
You need to notify Google crawlers of the mobile version of your website so that it is optimized for the users using mobile devices to search for information through the search engine.
On the other hand; ensure that you use mobile friendly images; and give clear directives on how to use the site with mobile devices.
If you are using a CMS like WordPress; ensure that your website is responsive by using WordPress themes that are mobile optimized; and can re-size to fit on small screens as well.
F) Promote and Analyze your Site
1. Content Marketing
Now that you have satisfied Google's SEO recommendations and most probably your site is enjoying high rankings; embark on extensive content marketing to promote your website's contents.
For you to convert more visitors into leads, so that your site's conversion rate remains high every time; taking your site to the top in SERP is not enough; and without effective content marketing strategy; your site's performance will be compromised.
2. Website Analysis
Analyzing your site's performance will assist you to calculate your return on investment (ROI); whether your SEO efforts are rewarded effectively.
There are a number of website analytic tools out there; Google Analytics being one of them with a number of features to analyze your site's performance.
On the other hand; utilize free Google Webmaster tools to get more insight about your page visits; and a number of data that will help you evaluate your ROI.
Getting your SEO right for high Google ranks is that simple: And since Google is the biggest search engine in the internet; all major search engines such as Yahoo and Bing will like your content and rank your website higher.
Did you like this article? Please leave your comment in the comment section below!
How to Use Social Media to Improve Your Organic Search Engine Ranking
It's a major facet of every marketing plan, and every brand leader wishes they had a crystal ball to tell them its fate. Every consumer, client and professional uses it to educate themselves on their options, discover their peers' findings, and consider alternatives. I'm talking about, of course, online search.
Whether you rely solely on Google, or if you tend to stray to alternatives like Bing or even DuckDuckGo, the future of search engines plays a huge part in not only your daily life, but the success of your brand. Because the technology is constantly evolving, any book you read is already outdated; in order to stay on the cutting edge of search engine progress, ensure you continuously update your knowledge by reading articles (such as this one), staying up to date on new algorithms, analyzing your competitors' successes and failures, and consult expert opinions and insights.
One such expert is Baruch Labunski, CEO and Founder of Rank Secure, a leading expert in search engine optimization for businesses. Labunski gave us the insight scoop on what search engine habits and trends he expects to become normal in 2017. Consider this guide required reading for any brand that's interested in keeping - or improving - their search engine ranking in the next twelve months:
Mobile Friendly Or Bust
As of November, Google has started making mobile a priority - with the goal of their new mobile indexing algorithm the primary algorithm by 2018. Given that mobile searches now account for well over half of all search queries, this was a long time coming.
The reality is that the era of mobile-friendly websites being a perk or extra is over. Smartphones have now reached saturation in many major markets, including the US, Canada, Japan, Western Europe and China. If you're trying to sell to markets in these major economies, mobile is no longer optional.
The Rise Of Digital Assistants Make Her A Little Closer To Reality
SEO professionals are currently staring down the barrel of a very long gun - and that gun is held by Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google's as-yet-unnamed assistant persona.
The challenge with the growing popularity of digital assistants is that, as more consumers submit their queries with voice controls, it becomes increasingly important to not just be on the front page, or the top five results, but the first result. Voice searches return only the top result - which means if you aren't it, it doesn't matter if you're the second result or on the second page, the consumer won't hear about you.
Hey Neighbor - Have You Conquered Local Search?
As Google reduces the clutter on their results page - and alternatives like Bing and DuckDuckGo follow suit, inevitably - the emphasis on local search will become all the more cut throat. By combining the highly specific locational data that's available from consumers searching on mobile, alongside Google's already in-progress goal of customizing results by location for all users, positioning your brand to those who are physically near you will become crucial in 2017.
Google is continuously improving their customer experience, and their technology has them approaching the thought patterns of actual users, however, this means that our jobs as brand managers and promoters will continue to become more complicated as time passes. The days of search engine algorithms filtering by obvious data points, or being easily manipulated are over. The new fact of search engine optimization is appealing to your immediate markets - those around you and those who are searching directly for your product.
The best way to master local search? Make sure you claim your location on as many review sites - and of course Google Places - as quickly as possible. List your locations on your main website. If you have multiple locations, give them each their own website (which should still be linked to the general brand site) with their address listed. Make it as obvious as possible where you are.
2017 will be the most challenging year yet for online marketers, as technology continues to advance at a breakneck pace. However, if you continue to stay current on updates, research your competitors and test your strategies, you'll make it through. Remember, the core goal of search engines is to find what the user is looking for; make sure that those who are looking for your product can find you, and can easily understand why you're the right option, and your brand will be just fine.