earch engine optimization is important for the success of any online business. Every webmaster should understand what is SEO, how it works and the traffic potential it could generate for all website types.
In this SEO guide you will learn:
- What is SEO?
- Why is SEO important?
- An introduction to SEO for begginers
- Best way to learn how SEO works
- SEO and Search Marketing
What is SEO?
SEO or search engine optimization it is a set of rules for optimizing your website so that it can achieve higher rankings in search engines organic results. It is a great way to increase the quality of a website by making it user-friendly, faster and easier to navigate. SEO can be considered as a complete framework since the whole process has a number of rules (or guidelines), a number of stages and a set of controls.
Why is SEO important?
In today’s competitive market, SEO marketing is more important than ever. Search engines serve millions of users per day looking for answers to their questions or for solutions to their problems. If you have a website, blog or online store, SEO can help you get targeted free traffic from search engines. It is strongly recommended and important because:
- The majority of search engine users (more than 65% – see graph below) are more likely to click on one of the top 5 suggestions in the search engine results pages (SERPS). To take advantage of this and gain visitors to your website or customers to your online store, your website needs to appear in one of the top positions.
- SEO is not only about search engines but good SEO practices improve the user experience and usability of a website.
- Users trust search engines and having a presence in the top positions for the keywords the user is searching, increases the website’s trust.
- SEO is good for the social promotion of your website. People who find your web site by searching Google or Yahoo are more likely to promote it on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media channels.
- SEO is important for the smooth running of a big website. Websites with more than one author can benefit from SEO in a direct and indirect way. Their direct benefit is an increase in search engine traffic and their indirect benefit is having a common framework (checklists) to use before publishing content on the site.
- SEO can put you ahead of the competition. If two websites are selling the same thing, the search engine optimized website is more likely to have more customers and make more sales.
An introduction to SEO for begginers
In simpler terms, Search Engine Optimization is a way to improve your website so that it will appear closer to the top positions in the search results of Google, Yahoo, Bing or other search engines. When you perform a search on Google the order by which the returning results are displayed, is based on complex algorithms. These algorithms (also known as search engine rankings) take a number of factors into account before they decide which web page will be shown in the first place, second place, etc. Optimizing your website for search engines will give you an advantage over non-optimized sites and you increase your chances to rank higher.
What are the main stages of the Search Engine Optimization process?
As I mentioned above, SEO is not a static process but rather a framework with rules and processes. For simplicity though, SEO can be broken down into 3 main types:
- Technical SEO – With technical SEO you can ensure that search engines can crawl and index your website without any issues. This is the first stage in the SEO process. As the name implies, technical SEO has nothing to do with the actual content of a website or with website promotion methods. It has to do with settings you need to configure to make the job of search engine crawlers easier. Usually, once you get your technical SEO correct, you may not have to deal with it again. On the other hand, if you have problems with crawling and indexing, it can negatively impact your rankings.
- On-site SEO – Rules to apply on your site and content to make it search engine friendly. On-page SEO has to do primarily with the content and other elements found on a page. Unlike technical and off-page SEO, the main focus of on-page SEO is to provide search engine crawlers enough signals so that they can understand the meaning and context of your content. Remember that search engines don’t read a page like a human so they are looking for signals to figure out what a page is all about. It is at this stage that you will deal with website structure, SEO keywords title optimizations, headings, internal links, image SEO, structured data markup and other techniques that can send the right signals to search engines. If followed correctly, on-page SEO will also improve the usability and credibility of a website or blog.
- Off-site SEO – Ways to promote your website or blog so that it can rank higher in search results. Besides the changes you can do to your website (on-site SEO) so that it ranks higher in the SERPs, the other way to improve your website’s ranking position is by using off-site SEO techniques. Generally known as link building but we prefer to use the term website promotion since a proper way to promote a website involves many more methods and techniques than building links. When a user types a search query, search engine algorithms look into their index and try to find the best pages that can satisfy the intent of the user. Pages that are good candidates appear to the first positions of the search results.
What is the best way to learn how SEO Works?
The best way to learn how SEO works is to practice SEO. Besides learning the different concepts and theories, the only way to find out if what you’ve learned works, is to apply the various SEO techniques on a website and monitor your rankings. If your rankings and organic traffic are increasing, then this means that you are in the right direction. If not, you will have to revise your SEO strategy and action plan.
The following resource can help you get started:
What is the difference between SEO and Search Marketing?
The difference between SEO and SEM is simply that Search Engine Optimization is part of Search Engine Marketing or Search Marketing as it is widely known. Both processes aim in increasing visibility in search engines. SEO is about optimizing your website to get higher rankings in the organic search results while SEM goes beyond SEO. It involves other methods that can get you search engine traffic like PPC advertising. For the purpose of doing a comparison between SEO and SEM, it is important to start with the definition of SEO, so that it is clear for everyone what the difference between the two is:
- SEO is the process of optimizing your website for the purpose of getting free traffic from search engines.
- SEM or Search Engine Marketing is over and above SEO but it’s only a subset of your overall Digital Marketing Strategy. Also is a digital marketing process with the goal of increasing visibility in search engines either by getting organic traffic through SEO or paid traffic through PPC advertising.
Google will know that you are hungry for sushi before you do.