What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization that improves the visibility of websites in the search engine result pages (SERP). It helps to achieve high rankings and requires a lot of knowledge and patience.
SEO is generally about what people are searching, the words they use to search, and the content they spend their time on. Awareness of the users’ demands and providing the right answer to the demands in a visible and understandable way, are two sides of the same coin.
Search engines are unpredictable due to the constant changes in the ranking algorithms. Therefore, SEO experts should keep up to date with new algorithms. Google’s ranking algorithm has more than 200 factors for ranking a website. Read more about six techniques to improve Google ranking.
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Search Engine Basics
Search engines are like answering machines. They search through billions of content, including a webpage, a video, a PDF, an image, etc. and evaluate thousands of factors to determine the best answer to your question. Search engines work through the following functions:
- Crawling: A discovery procedure to find updated and new content
- Indexing: The process of organizing information and converting data into an index
- Ranking: A website’s position in search engine result pages
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What is Organic Search Result?
Organic search result is a free and unpaid listing in Google search that matches the visitor’s search query based on relevance. Organic or natural search result helps to rise your website ranking to the top of the search engine results. The ads above natural search results contain an “Ad” tag, which are paid advertisements.
Some of Google features such as featured snippets or related questions can be influenced by SEO, while some websites are not affected by SEO due to their high credibility, such as Wikipedia, WebMD, and IMDB.
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A Brief History of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The first search engines were launched in the early 1990’s. Some of the most popular were Infoseek, Alta Vista, and Yahoo. At that time, people thought that the list of search engines is in alphabetical order. There were pages like AAA at the top of the list.
With the continuous growth of the Internet, newer search engines appeared that used more complicated ranking algorithms. These algorithms used keyword density (the number of times a keyword or phrase was mentioned on a page divided by the total number of words on the page) and keyword-like tags to understand the website contents. Following this growth, search engine optimization began to make websites more visible.
According to an article published by the New York Times in November 1996, web developers used immoral methods to get to the top of search results. Getting high rankings for specific keywords was much easier in the early days than it is today. Using immoral methods at the time was guaranteed to be at the top of the search results list. Search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated today, and it is very difficult for optimization engineers to manipulate search engines.
Why Is SEO Important?
Although ads, social networks, and other platforms can be effective in generating traffic to the website, the main source of traffic is search engines. Organic results get a higher traffic as usual.
SEO is one of the only marketing methods that, if implemented properly, will be the powerful way to increase traffic to a website. If you have great content on the website that deserves to be ranked, the traffic will increase over time, while advertising requires spending money and charging to be applied.
Search engines are getting smarter. Website optimization helps search engines to better understanding of the content and therefore the website content is properly indexed and displayed in search results.
SEO Goals You Should Target for 2021
Search engine optimization ranks up websites on search-engine results pages. Time is the most important factor in optimizing a website or a page. Depending on keyword optimization techniques, it takes weeks or months to see the results. In spite of long time, your website ranking will be improved and you will see increased traffic to your website.
It is essential for websites to be on the first page of Google search results, especially in the top three results, which gets for 58.4% of clicks. A study shows that people are very fond of clicking on organic results in search results. The study found that only 27.3% of users click on pay-per-link and 72.3% of Google users click on organic results. That is why your business needs search engine optimization to increase your profit/sales. Learn more about features of a successful business website.
Therefore, websites compete with each other to attract more visitors and appear first in search results. In general, SEO goals can be summarized as follows:
- It will increase organic traffic
- It boosts domain authority (DA)
- It decreases the bounce rate
- It optimizes for featured snippets
- It improves website ranking
- It optimizes your internal linking
- It enhances page speed
- It will increase product sales/profit
- It is the best tool for advertising
It is recommended to track the goals mentioned above and keep your eyes on the prize. If you have a website, consider the goals to promote your business organically. Then, what is important to you as a website owner is to know what pages does a website need.
What is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO or on-site SEO is related to the factors that you can control on your website. It refers to the keywords or informational quality of the pages to build organic traffic, optimize pages, and improve the website ranking. It should be noted that on-page SEO not only includes relevant and high-quality content but also optimizes the headlines, images, and HTML tags. In general, everything you publish on your website is related to on-page SEO. Any changes on the content of the website will affect the search results, so it is very important that the on-page SEO method is done correctly.
What is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO or off-site SEO is related to the actions that are taken outside of your website to affect the Google ranking. Unlike on-page SEO, off-page SEO does not happen directly on your website. It primarily involves backlinks (any link on one website that points back to your website). Generally, off-page SEO tells Google what other websites think about you website.
White Hat SEO Vs. Black Hat SEO
In technical terms, white-hat SEO refers to a set of techniques, methods, and strategies that follow the rules and guidelines of search engines. This does not mean cheating or manipulating search engines or users in any way. It is ethical and promotes ranking by a search engine.
Unlike white hat SEO, black hat SEO is unethical and goes against search engine guidelines. It is a set of disapproved practices that improves website’s ranking by manipulating search engine algorithms. Although, black hat SEO techniques may cause rapid rankings improvement, they can lead to removal of the website from Google.
Know the Goals of Your Website
Each website is different and therefore the webmaster should know the business goals. Understanding these goals will help you identify important areas in SEO and set benchmarks for yourself.
What are your parameters for measuring SEO performance? Common parameters are:
- Number/amount of sales
- Number of downloads
- Number of subscriptions to the email newsletter
- Submit contact forms
- Phone calls
It may be interesting to you that the website rank and traffic were not in this list. In fact, it was done consciously. SEO increases the website ranking and as a result, gets more traffic. Despite a good ranking, if no one clicks on your website, it will be of no use.
Before you start SEO, set your business goals and then use SEO to achieve your goals. As a SEO specialist, planning and achieving the goals is one of the most important tasks.
Winnipeg SEO Company
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