SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization and is an initiative aimed at raising websites higher up on search results. This increases the traffic driven to your website because people are more likely to click on your website if it is showing up at the top of search results. This is called “organic” reach as these outcomes are unpaid and not a part of paid advertising.
It is crucial to bear in mind that despite its name, people are just as important in SEO as search engines are. The point here is to understand people’s searches and search behaviors as well as their desired content. A good grasp of this allows you to provide content that people want to consume. That’s not all, however. Understanding your audience is only one part of the process. The second part is getting search engine crawlers to find and comprehend your content in order to achieve a good ranking. We’ll elaborate on crawlers and what they do later in the article.
We want to introduce you to two types of Search Engine Optimization: White hat SEO and Black hat SEO. White hat SEO represents techniques of SEO, best practices and strategies that follow search engine guidelines and focus primarily on providing value to people. Black hat SEO, on the other hand, refers to strategies and techniques that try to trick search engines. While both of these strategies can deliver results, black hat SEO exposes websites to the risk of penalization or de-indexing – removal from search results – and not only is it not recommended for ethical reasons, but it could drive businesses to bankruptcy.
This section aims to provide you with a little bit of basic knowledge about SEO-ing your website or webpage on Google. Every search engine differs in this department, so make sure to read up on each specific search engine you want to work on. Google is definitely the most famous and that is why it is our main focus.
Google Webmaster Guidelines
Google has provided guidelines for you to have a better idea on how to be found, indexed and ranked by Google. Reading google Webmaster guidelines is a good place to start in your SEO journey.
- Make pages primarily for users, not search engines.
- Don’t deceive your users.
- Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
- Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging.
- Automatically generated content
- Participating in link schemes
- Creating pages with little or no original content
- Cloaking (Showing search engine crawlers different content than visitors)
- Sneaky redirects
- Hidden text or links
- Doorway pages (low-quality pages optimized to rank well for specific keywords)
- Loading pages with irrelevant keywords
- Creating pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware
- Sending automated queries to Google
Read the complete guideline on Google Search Console Help
Google has an advanced algorithm that ranks websites based on various criteria. We will discuss a few of these here.
1) Quality and relevance
The content on your website must answer the searcher’s answer or provide the relevant knowledge to fulfil the searcher’s objective for making that particular query. Relevance is determined by crawling and algorithmic evaluation. Quality is determined by factors such as the links to your website or webpage.
This goes back to the behavior searchers have in relation to your page. For instance, if they constantly leave your site without finding the information they were looking for and have to click on another website instead or if they just disregard your website and never click on it, you may not be doing a very good job of engaging users.
3) Speed and Interface
Loading speed of your website is extremely important in the age of impatience. If your website is slow, people most likely will leave before they even have a chance to consume any content. This would affect the engagement, as discussed above. Apart from that, having a mobile-friendly interface is critical. It is forecasted that 72% of internet users will only use smartphones to access the web by the year 2025. Need we say more?
4) Content uniqueness
The amount of content on your website that’s distinctive matters. It is not a good sign if a lot of your content is duplicated or unuseful. Duplication “waters down” the value of the content you are sharing on your website.
Search Engine Optimization is undoubtedly a very complex concept and that is why many businesses prefer to outsource their SEO efforts or hire an SEO expert. If you would like guidance for SEO practices on your website, get in touch with us. Alternatively, If you are interested in gaining more in-depth knowledge and learning more about SEO, you can refer to this comprehensive guide on WordStream