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Basics of Search Engine Optimization
January 17, 2017
I come across many people who ask me, “What is SEO?” and “How Should I Optimize my Website for Search Engines?” almost everyday. In this article I will give you an overview on the basics of search engine optimization (SEO). Search Engine Optimization is the most popular digital marketing tool to market your brand online and drive traffic naturally. It is important to know what you can expect when you choose to begin an SEO campaign for your business. The basics of Search Engine Optimization has different aspects which include words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. SEO is a process where we structure our site in a way that search engines understand.
Along with building search engine-friendly websites, in search engine optimization we also work on how to make the website user friendly.
How Search Engine Works?
Search engines majorly work on two functions:
- Crawling and Building an Index
- Providing users relevant Website Ranking based on the their search results.
Now lets understand them in detail.
Crawling and Indexing are the main activities on which the entire web works. Google-bot crawls the information available on the web for the tracking purpose and this propose is called Google's Spider Crawler. After the crawling is done, the web pages are added to the Google search and this process is called Indexing. This data is stored in a massive database and is recalled whenever a similar search query is called for.
Search engines have answers for everything. There is a lot of data stored in the web and when a search query is run, the search engines gets the most relevant or useful data based on the relevance and popularity of the website with the information. Popularity and relevance is a process in basic elements of Search Engine Optimization where we manually determine based on the algorithms and also by using SEO optimization and Page ranking tool.
How People Communicate with Search Engines?
While building online marketing strategy based on Search Engine Optimization, we need to analyse what is our target audience looking for and so that we can do optimization more effectively. We need to understand that the user is looking for an answer, solution or information about a particular topic and he will come to our website only if he is able to find relevant content to his query. What we need to do is understand the most relevant keywords for your website and formulate them into a phrase and try including those phrases or queries in different form may be say as a blog or as a page in your website so that it delivers what your customer is looking for.
Why Search Engine Marketing is Essential?
The way search engines understands a page differs from how a user understands it. It is an very important aspect elements of Search Engine Optimization to make our website search engine friendly along with user friendly. It is the SEO that helps the search engine to understand the relevance each page, based on which the search engine selects the most useful information for the user. But it is important to understand the ability and limitations of search engines, based on which you can build and format your website in a way that search engine understands. We have to understand that we need to constantly improve and optimize our website content to improve our website's ranking and increase the traffic flow.
Search Engine Friendly Design and Development
A web page appears differently to a user and a search engine. This is due to the limitations a search engine has when it comes to crawling and interpreting the content of the webpage.There are some technical aspects of modifying a web page so that they are structured both users and search engine. Let’s understand how we do that.
Indexable Content: The easiest way to ensure that we perform better in search engine listing is by keeping the most important content that you want to display to your users in HTML text format on the page. But indexing your content in a way a search engine sees your site is kind of tricky. There are tools like Google's Cache and many other which help you see which part of your content are visible and indexable to the engines.
Crawlable Link Structure: Search engines, need to find the links of the content, in order to list pages in their massive keyword-based indexes. In order to find all the pages on the website, a crawlable link structure that allows the crawlers to browse the pathway is essential.
Keyword Usage and Targeting: Keywords are the most important part of the search process. While crawling and indexing the content of a webpage, the search engine keeps a track of keyword-based indexes in one database. So if you want your page to have chance of ranking in search results, make sure you use proper keywords in crawlable content of your webpage.
Keyword Domination: Keywords are like the mediator between the search engines and the query. The relevance of a particular web page to the query is entirely based on the keywords used on the page. The best practice to optimize your page ranking is to use the keywords in Titles, Text and Metadata.
Keyword Abuse: The best way is to use your keyword naturally and strategically may by putting some content about your keyword, instead of abusing them into text, URLs, meta tags and links. We need to understand that, we are using keywords to get page ranking and not keywords ranking.
On-Page Optimization: In order to improve the position of our website in the search ranking, we need to constantly optimize the content on each page of our website. We can do optimization in the HTML codes, meta tags, meta descriptions, reading the entire content and filling in the missing keywords, analyzing the keyword placement and introduce more content that involves the keywords relevant to each page of your website.
Title Tags: Title tags are something that describes your entire page and hence should be very precise and accurate in order for the search engine and the user to understand. The length of the the title tag should not exceed 75 characters as post that the title tag get cut-off. So in order to get better ranking, place the important keywords in the front and if possible include your brand name if your brand is your important keyword. We need to keep in mind that when a user visits the website for the first time, title tag would be the first interaction that will be happening with your website. In order to grab the attention of the user, it is very important for correct keywords and content in your title tag.
Meta Tags: Meta tag are used for giving information about your website to the search engine.
Ranking of your page is entirely based on the right keywords used in your page.By doing the research for the correct keywords for your product, you would be targeting the right visitors coming to your website. You need to judge how much is a particular keyword worth for your website and then based on the traffic that comes to your website, you need to make necessary changes. This is possible only if you understand your website and keep on testing different keywords associated with your website.Try targeting long tail keywords as they are those couple of phrases that are very specific to your product. And when a user is making a very specific search, the chances of your website to appear are high. Use tools like Google's Adwords Research Planner which provides you the data with estimated search volume. You need to understand the demand and work required to achieve high ranking for each keyword you use on your webpage.
Links, Backlinks and Growing Popularity
Links are like the bridge between the pages for the search engine while it is crawling a web query. If we organize our links and analyse them, it is easy for the search engine to find how pages are related to each other. We need to understand that, the more popular the site is, the links from that site will matter. So it is important to earn trust and authority if the search engine by trying to link to other popular websites. Try getting links from topic-specific websites rather from the general ones. Also, one of the strongest signal is using anchor text. If there are many links to a page with the correct keywords, it means that the page getting ranked for the targeted phrase is good. Try earning links from the highly-trusted domains which can help you to boost the link graph metrics that search engines use to measure the trust of each website. We need to be very careful about the websites we are trying to earn links or trying to get linked, because if the website is a spam, search engine will consider our website as well as spam. We need to keep track of the links that are associated with our website as over the time, links tend to become less popular. Importance of social channels is increasing and so it is also advantageous to keep sharing your link on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc.
If you want best search engine results, try to build vast and varied link profile. If you link profile is non-standard, or manipulative, they will eventually become a target for advancing search algorithms to discount. Hope you have understood the basics of search engine optimization. If you have any feedback on my article, please leave a comment.