This blog post is Part 1 of the SEO series.
Over 409 million people read more than 20 billion pages on WordPress each month in 2020.
With so much content on the web, how do search engines decide what to show first?
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization.
It is the process of improving the quality of your website so as to rank higher in search engines’ SERPS ( search engine ranking pages)
The higher a website ranks the more people see it,given that 67% of clicks are made on the first page of Google.
Most people hardly ever click over to the second page of Google.
Over the years, SEO has become one of the most essential marketing strategies when it comes to growing a business online.
The reason why SEO is so popular is because 51 percent of all website traffic comes from organic search, and it is 10x more effective than social media.
Difference between SEO and SEM
SEM or Search Engine Marketing is a broad term used for SEO and paid search (pay per click), which means that SEO is a subset of SEM.
For SEO, you focus 100% of your efforts on ranking for organic results.
For SEM, you focus on both organic and paid results.
Search engine ranking
Search engines rank websites based on their algorithms.
Google has more than 200 ranking factors to determine what websites should be ranking on page one.
Although we don’t know all of the factors, there are several steps we can take to optimize our website for search engines and user intent.
One important thing to remember is that Google ranks web pages, and not web sites. Which means that you can rank for different keywords with different pages.
Satisfying user intent
User intent is the goal a user has in mind when typing a query in the search engine.
For example, if you are looking for easy keto recipes, you are more likely to click on recipes that take 20 minutes to cook vs those that take over an hour.
If more people click on the 20 minute recipe post, Google will know that this particular post satisfies user intent, more than the other recipe posts that take over an hour.
This means Google is likely to rank the 20 minute recipe post higher than others for the “easy keto recipes” search query.
Google recently published a report on “Understanding the new marketing funnel and user intent”
Google wants to show users results that it believes will truly be helpful for them.
Which means that no matter how many backlinks you have, Google is going to pick the best result for the topic, in terms of satisfying user intent.
Different types of SEO strategies
1. ON page SEO
On page SEO means optimizing your web page for keywords your audience is searching for.
It includes all strategies you can use to optimize the content on the web page for search engines as well as for satisfying user intent.
On page SEO includes strategies like using the titles, meta description, using multimedia like images, videos and infographics, word count, whitespace and more.
2. Off Page SEO
Off page SEO strategies help increase your website’s authority in the eyes of search engines.
So many people focus on link building because a website with good authority linking to your website gives your website more legitimacy.
The most common ways of link building are:
- Guest posts
- Collaborations with other influencers
- Writing amazing content so others link to you
3. Technical SEO
Technical SEO is the process of optimizing the technical aspects of your web page with the goal of improving search engine rankings.
No matter how good and valuable your web page is, if a search engine cannot crawl and index it, it will not rank.
In order to be fully optimized for the technical SEO component, your web pages should have good page loading speed, they should be secure, free of duplicate content and have the right URL structure. These features are only a small subset of a huge list.
SEO 101: White hat vs black hat SEO
White hat and black hat SEO are the good guy bad guy in movies.
White hat SEO is the ethical way of optimizing for search engines. It is when you keep Google’s guidelines in mind in order to make your web page the best result in the eyes of Google, as well as for the user.
In black hat SEO, you are trying to trick Google in order to optimize for higher rankings.
There are many black hat SEO tactics, most of them don’t work anymore because the Google algorithm has learned to detect these practices over the years.
These include keyword stuffing, cloaking, sneaky redirects, link schemes, doorway pages, and more.
Google as a search engine
Google search is the most used search engine across all platforms, with 92.62% market share as of June 2019.
Google search handles 5.4 billion searches each day.
Google webmaster guidelines
Google shares guidelines in order to help you help Google find and rank your web pages.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
- Use of misleading practices may result in a negative response from Google – which means your website may be removed from search results
- Pages should be created for users, not search engines
- Make your website stand out from others by making it valuable and engaging
- Don’t deceive users
- Avoid tricks to improve search engine rankings
Things to avoid according to Google webmaster:
- Automating content creation
- Participating in link schemes
- Trying to deceive the search engines by using hidden text or links
- Keyword stuffing
- Sneaky redirects
You can check out the complete link of guidelines on Google webmasters document.
Resources to learn more about SEO