What is Search Engine Optimization ?
What is Search Engine Optimization
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches. The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to garner attention and attract prospective and existing customers to your business.
The world of search engine optimization is complex and ever-changing, but you can easily understand the basics, and even a small amount of SEO knowledge can make a big difference. Free SEO education is also widely available on the web, including in guides like this!
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. SEO targets unpaid traffic (known as “natural” or “organic” results) rather than direct traffic or paid traffic. Unpaid traffic may originate from different kinds of searches, including image search, video search, academic search,news search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.
What is Search Engine Optimization & Why is it Important?
Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing web pages and their content to be easily discoverable by users searching for terms relevant to your website. The term SEO also describes the process of making web pages easier for search engine indexing software, known as “crawlers,” to find, scan, and index your site.
While the concept of SEO is relatively straightforward, many newcomers to SEO still have questions about the specifics, such as:
How do you “optimize” for your site or your company’s site for search engines?
How do you know how much time to spend on SEO?
How can you differentiate “good” SEO advice from “bad” or harmful SEO advice?
Perhaps the most important aspect of search engine optimization is how you can actually leverage SEO to help drive more relevant traffic, leads, and sales for your business.
In simple terms, SEO works by demonstrating to search engines that your content is the best result for the topic at hand.
This is because all search engines have the same goal: To show the best, most relevant results to their users.
Precisely how you do this depends on the search engine you’re optimizing for.
If you want more organic traffic to your web pages, then you need to understand and cater to Google’s algorithm. If you want more video views, then it’s all about YouTube’s algorithm.
Since each search engine has a different ranking algorithm, it’d be impossible to cover them all in this guide.
So, going forward, we’ll focus on how to rank in the biggest search engine of them all: Google.
Search Engine Optimization Techniques
Understanding how search engines work is only the first step of the process in improving a site’s search rankings. Actually improving a site’s rank involves leveraging various SEO techniques to optimize the site for search:
Keyword research is often the starting point for SEO and involves looking at what keywords a site is already ranking for, what keywords competitors rank for, and what other keywords potential customers are searching for. Identifying the terms that searchers use in Google search and other search engines provides direction on what existing content can be optimized and what new content can be created.
Once potential keywords are identified, content marketing comes into play. This can be updating existing content or creating brand new pieces of content. Because Google and other search engines place a premium on high-quality content, it’s important to research what content is already out there and create a compelling piece of content that provides a positive user experience and has a chance of ranking highly in the search engine results. Good content also has a greater chance of being shared on social media and attracting links.
Because links from external websites (called “backlinks” in SEO parlance) are one of the core ranking factors in Google and other major search engines, obtaining high-quality backlinks is one of the main levers that SEOs have. This can involve promoting good content, reaching out to other websites and building relationships with webmasters, submitting websites to relevant web directories, and getting press to attract links from other websites.
In addition to off-page factors such as links, the improving the actual structure of the page can have tremendous benefits for SEO, and is a factor that is entirely in the control of the webmaster. Common on-page optimization techniques include optimizing the URL of the page to incorporate keywords, updating the title tag of the page to use relevant search terms, and using the alt attribute to describe images. Updating a page’s meta tags (such as the meta description tag) can also be beneficial– these tags don’t have a direct impact on search rankings, but can increase click-though rate from the SERPs.
Site Architecture Optimization
External links are not the only thing that matters for SEO, internal links (the links within one’s own website) play a large role in SEO as well. Thus a search engine optimizer can improve a site’s SEO by making sure key pages are being linked to and that relevant anchor text is being used in those links to help improve a page’s relevance for specific terms. Creating and XML sitemap can also be a good way for larger pages to help search engines discover and crawl all of the site’s pages.
Another SEO strategy that SEO experts utilize is optimizing a website’s semantic markup. Semantic markup (such as Schema.org) is used to describe the meaning behind the content on a page, such as helping to identify who the author of a piece of content is or the topic and type of content on a page. Using semantic markup can help with getting rich snippets displayed in the search results page, such as extra text, review stars, and even images. Rich snippets in the SERPs doesn’t have an impact on search rankings, but can improve CTR from search, resulting in an increase in organic traffic.
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