SEO stands for search engine optimization (SEO) which refers to a technique that garners traffic from search engines such as Google, Bing, and other search engines to websites.
Search engine optimization also helps with search engine rankings. When a website optimizes its contents, the website has a high potential to rank high among other websites in the search engine results page or SERP.
For example, when you search for a recipe to make beef lasagne on Google, you will see a list of recipes on the search engine page. Those recipes which appear on the first page have the highest ranks in Google’s search engine compared to recipes on the subsequent pages. This is because the websites that put up those recipes have optimized their contents well and Google trusts that their content is good and beneficial for its readers.
So, in order for your sites to be discovered by people through a search engine, you need to apply these search engine optimization practices to help you rank among the top three positions. But why settle with three when you can try for that number one spot, am I right?
One of the niches that guarantee an SEO success factor is local SEO. Local SEO practices work in a way that allows you to find things or places that is within the proximity of your physical location. For example, when you want to get a Domino’s pizza delivered to your office during lunchtime, Google will show you the places which are nearest to your office in the SERP.
However, when you search for the nearest Domino’s when you are at home, you will be shown different Domino’s branch locations because local SEO caters to your geographical location.
Local SEO strategy is also helpful for your business to gain visibility around your geographical area because you are able to gauge your surroundings and potential customers or clients as well as business competitors.
Business site owners can also add new features or services to their web pages to further enhance their visibility. This helps to ensure that potential customers are aware of the products or services that you provide, thus allowing you to utilize local SEO to increase your sales conversion rate.
This is what digital marketing is all about. However, before we delve further into that, I’m sure you’re wondering exactly what makes search engines work this way?
In this article, you will learn briefly about algorithms, how to optimize your website to keep your readers from venturing into other websites, the essentials of search engine optimization which includes keyword research, search rankings, google search console, link building, and more.
How do search engines work?
Search engines use algorithms and various ranking factors to provide a webpage that is ranked according to relevance on SERP. Search engines’ algorithms are a system that retrieves the data that you key into the search engine and in turn, Google uses this data to comb through billions of web pages to deliver the best search results for you. The best search results are naturally the web pages that have been optimized according to Google’s standards.
For example, when you are searching online for the best chocolate chip cookies, Google’s algorithm will search, in real-time, for all relevant data for the best websites that contain chocolate chip cookies, either in the form of recipes or ready-made packages in stores.
Google will not show you web pages that it thinks does not provide high-quality content. And that is exactly what SEO strives to equip in your websites.
However, keep in mind that the factors that influence search engine algorithms are ever-changing depending on the behavior of users and how well technology evolves with it and keeps up with the change.
So, how do you ensure that your website is optimized for SEO?
First, you need to acquaint yourself with Google Search Console which is a free tool that helps site owners identify and fix the technical issues that may occur in the website.
Besides that, Google Search Console delivers information on rankings and traffic reports for top keywords to keep you up to speed with what most users search for in search engines as well as showing you which site links to your website.
You can also test how mobile-friendly your site is by entering your page URL to the site to check on whether your visitor can easily access your site on mobile phones.
Why do we need to optimize websites in Google or other major search engines?
Why is it so important for you to optimize your websites in search engines such as Google or any other search engines for that matter?
Imagine working really hard on writing about a topic that you love, for example, pet grooming. You chose to write about this topic because you have a pet and you want to help other pet owners to increase their knowledge about grooming.
But, you did not optimize your content when you were writing your topic, so your article did not reach your intended audience, hence, you are not able to help as many pet owners as you’d like to.
But, you did not optimize your content when you were writing your topic, so your article did not reach your intended audience, hence, you are not able to help as many pet owners as you’d like to.
Optimizing websites help you reach your target audience and provide them with useful content that you have painstakingly gathered and written with the intention of helping your readers.
SEO can help you attract your audience by increasing your website’s traffic, thus improving your ranking on SERP and reaching out to the right readers.
SEO also helps you produce high-quality content that further enhances your website’s search engine traffic and in turn promotes your website to a lot of readers who trust you because you deliver top-notch content.
We have discussed the beauty of optimizing your websites with SEO. Now, let us dive into one of the biggest niches that are closely related to SEO, which is digital marketing.
By applying the use of SEO in digital marketing, you don’t only get to share about pet grooming, you could also use your website to promote pet grooming products or services.
In this day and age, people are also willing to pay for exclusive information such as pet grooming techniques for different dogs if they think it is worth it.
What does SEO mean in digital marketing?
To make sure that your website appears at the beginning of the search results page, you need to make sure that your website is first and foremost, optimized.
The same goes for optimizing your business websites. SEO marketing helps your site to receive traffic which in turn provides possible business revenue to your company. This is also one of the reasons why SEO marketing is impertinent to online organizations.
As more companies geared towards online marketing in this day and age, there is increasing competition to rank on SERP. However, despite the competition, Google still offers various opportunities in digital services because search engines are constantly evolving. Hence, Google is always bringing something new to the plate.
However, how do you ensure that SEO marketing work for your business?
What is on-page SEO and off-page SEO?
First off, before you get into the nitty and gritty of implementing SEO techniques into your website, you need to know about these two types of SEO: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
Both these types of SEO complement each other well to help your websites rank in Google’s SERP, but they consist of completely different things. Let’s take a step-by-step look into these two types of SEO optimization.
On-page optimization is a tactic used to help search engines understand your content and rank your websites better. This includes optimizing your title tag, meta tag, image and video optimizations, and more. They make your website easy for Google to recognize and pair the contents of your site to relevant search queries.
Google picks up the exact keyword you use in your headings, tags, images and videos, and eventually match them with user queries in search engines. That is why it is important to use the right keywords to describe and talk about your content so that your targeted audience can easily find you at the top of the SERP page.
On-page optimization can also be achieved by using plugins such as Yoast to help you identify whether your website has been completely optimized. Yoast SEO tools help you to draft and edit the contents of your website to ensure optimization by helping you check the amount of time you use your keywords, the length of your text or whether you used any internal links.
Yoast SEO is most beneficial to WordPress sites because it makes your life so much more convenient when it comes to optimizing your content. It is easy to use and is completely painless for beginner site owners to use.
When you first start off with SEO, one of the most important things you need to master is keyword research.
Keywords help you to identify how your competitors manage to rank on Google. Websites with relevant keywords will score higher in Google ranking because they successfully hit the words that users are most likely to search for.
You also need to be able to be flexible with keywords depending on the relevance of the topic. If they do not match the user’s intentions, you will not rank high on SERPs.
So it’s good to know what your readers want out of your website and what their goals are based on your keyword research. It will definitely help you better optimize your website and create high-quality content with high rankings.
Google ads keyword planner is one of the best keyword research tools that you can use. To top it off, it is a free tool that helps you search for new keywords that are relevant to your field or business. This keyword planner also helps you estimate the number of searches the particular keyword receives which makes your life a whole lot easier to achieve optimization.
This just shows that you do not need to be an SEO expert to optimize your website. You just need to know how to utilize the free tools that are readily available online and apply them to your website the best way you can. Creating content that ranks is not impossible.
It does take a lot of time to do all the necessary work to make sure that you obtain good results in Google’s SERP but it will all be worth it in the long run. Google trusts websites that constantly produce high-quality content.
So, the more work your put into your content to optimize it, the greater the chances are for your website to rank on Google. The better to rank on Google, the more audience you are able to reach and the greater your chances are to receive converts.
To make sure that your website contains keyword-rich content, you need to apply them to various aspects of your website which is geared towards the more technical side of it. Let’s look at what aspects you need to pay attention to in order for your content to deem reliable and trustworthy in Google’s eyes.
Apply keyword in the first paragraph
Introductions often make the first impressions. While introducing your content, why not use relevant keywords to help you in making sure that your readers are clear about the aims of your content.
If your audience finds your content relevant to their intentions and is comprehensive enough, they will stay on your website instead of finding more relevant content on other websites.
So you want to make sure that your audience sticks around and get the most out of your site.
Remember about Google’s algorithm? Google will evaluate your key phrases and terms to gain an understanding of your content and the information that you put out to your readers.
This also helps Google decipher if your content is useful enough for your intended audience and where it should be ranked on SERP.
Titles and subtitles in H1 and H2 tags
Organizing your content also helps to optimize your website. You can do this by adding your keywords to your titles and subtitles in your H1 and H2 tags. You can add up to 5 subtitles together until H5. H1, however, acts as your main title.
The organization outlines your content so that it is easier for Google’s algorithm to understand your text. Hence, it is important to incorporate the mandatory key phrases in the headings and subheadings so that the algorithm can easily match the terms to relevant search queries.
Organizing your content also contributes to a better user experience because it makes your content readable to your readers. Google prioritizes a positive user experience because it means that your website is not just optimizing for the sake of ranking, but it also aims to provide invaluable content to your readers that keep them coming back for more.
Outlining your content clearly with comprehensive headers and subheadings appease both search engines and your audience. Websites are more likely to rank successfully when it is organized well.
There are two types of link building: Internal and outbound
Outbound linking is the act of linking to external sources. This is usually done to add more information or references to your content which increases the credibility of your website.
Outbound link building actually makes your website more trustworthy because you include information from other (usually with higher authority) websites which in turn brings in more authority to your own website.
The great thing about outbound linking is the fact that it also increases your readers’ experience. When you insert links from external sources that have greater expertise, knowledge, and experience in a particular topic, you are giving your reader high-quality content because you take the pains to cover a topic in-depth so that your readers can take more out of your website, thus, increasing your user’s experience.
Internal linking, however, consists of providing links to content from your own website. Let’s say you have written about content marketing before. Now, you are writing about 10 content marketing websites, which relates to your article about content marketing.
Hence, you link your previous post to your latest post so that your readers can also read your previous article if they missed it or want to know more about it.
In a way, linking internally also shows Google and your reader that you are experienced in that particular topic because you have covered something similar before.
This is another great way of increasing your website’s authoritativeness.
Title tags can be found on the search engine page, below the URL of your website. It functions to provide users with information about your website. It serves to help them make informed decisions about whether they should click on your website to get what they are looking for.
Hence, optimizing your title tag by clearly inserting important keywords will help you gain more clicks from your readers. It is the first thing your audience will see when they search for keywords that match yours, so make sure that your title tag contains enough information to help them decipher if your site is for them.
Your URL is as equally important as your title tag. Inserting sufficient information in your URL lets your reader know what they will be getting from your website.
This is impertinent because it determines the success of your website’s click rate on the SERP. You want to make sure that you reach the right audience to your site because when you prove to Google that your content understands user intent, you will encourage your audience to stay on your page and reduce bounce rate.
Meta descriptions or meta tags serve to promote your web page to your readers when they encounter your site on the search engine by introducing a brief description of your page.
On the search engine result page, it is located underneath your URL and title tag. They help to prompt your readers to read the meta descriptions of your page if they find it interesting enough.
However, it is up to the meta descriptions to give sufficient but brief information about the content of that web page to continue hooking your audience to click on your site. In other words, it acts as a teaser for your website.
Hence, optimizing your meta descriptions with relevant keywords is essential to promoting the contents of your site without giving away everything from your page. Give your reader enough information to encourage them to visit your site instead.
Optimize images and videos
Images and videos help to engage your reader with the contents of your site. Make sure that they are relevant to your content and optimize them by inserting an alt text.
Relevant videos or images heighten the credibility of your website because it boosts the value of your content. Alt-text is also disability-friendly because it helps visually impaired people consume your content and understand your message.
The good thing about having relevant images and videos is that it helps to give your readers a short break from reading your article and increases its readability. It is also visually pleasing to the audience regardless of whether they are reading from their laptops, monitors or mobile phones.
Now that you are well-acquainted with on-page SEO let’s look at the other type, which is off-page SEO. It is a tactic in which you perform activities away from your websites. Some of the off-page factors include content marketing, social media, local SEO and more.
But, one of the most popular off-page factors is link building from other websites, because it brings the most benefit to your page. However, you need to consider the number of websites that links to your website and their quality to truly increase your ranking factors.
Link building is one of the top SEO tools and methods to increase your website’s visibility. But it also increases your authoritativeness because when other sites link to your site, they are acknowledging that your contents are relevant to a particular topic, thus, showing that your web page is trustworthy. After all, site owners will very unlikely link to other sites that are not credible or trustworthy.
In the same vein, a link from a smaller, less well-known site will not increase your page ranks as much as a site with high authority would. That is why it is important to get external links from more trustworthy websites that have a high visitor count.
Keep in mind, however, that external links are more valuable than internal links. So to get other pages to link to yours, you need to gain the trust of your readers and prioritize user intent by giving them the content that they need instead of the type of content you think they want to read about.
Looking at how powerful external links can be for your site’s optimization, it is no wonder that link building is one of the significant ranking factors in Google and other major search engines.
Content marketing involves posting your content on other platforms besides your own websites. While it can be considered an on-page search engine optimization when you post your content on your site, it is also considered off-page when you produce content elsewhere, such as infographics, guest posting, research papers and been e-books.
As long as your content is published online, that is content marketing. When you produce content that people can easily consume, share and respond to online, that is already considered a marketing strategy for your website. The only difference is that you do it away from your own website.
Content marketing is closely related to link building and social media because it helps to promote your website and increase your visibility.
Social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, and Twitter are powerful platforms because of their extensive amount of users. Social media is sometimes used as a search engine.
Imagine finding comfortable beddings on Instagram. You will receive hundreds of search results of pictures or videos of beddings that would most likely include the company that produces those beddings.
That is a form of free advertisement for the bedding company. Similarly, you can also promote your company’s service or products through social media. However, keep in mind that you do not get revenue from the number of shares your posts get.
Instead, you will put your website or company to the forefront to give opportunities for clients or customers to notice and reach out to you. There will be a possibility that an audience will take an interest in your business and contact you.
They do not necessarily need to find you through your website because they could easily get to your site through social media.
Guest posting is to write as a guest on another website. It may sound simple, but it is a good form of marketing for your website. Especially when the website you are guest posting for is a well-known site, has a high visitor count, and has a good ranking on SERP.
It is also a good form of link building because you will be creating and producing content for a new audience, some of whom may not have heard of your website before.
If your new audience likes your content, they might even check out your website, and subscribe to your content. So at the end of the day, it’s a win-win situation!
Guest posting is also a good method to build up your reputation as an expert in your field because the site owner trusts you to post valuable content for their readers on a specific topic.
There are two types of site results you need to pay attention to when starting a website, which is an organic result and paid result.
The organic result happens due to the help of organic traffic, which means that your website attracts the audience the natural way without needing to pay for advertisements or search engine marketing. Organic traffic happens via SEO optimization.
Organic search traffic is prompted by SEO optimization that assists in your site’s visibility and searches rankings on the search results page. Basically, everything that you have read in this article up to this section prompts organic results to your website.
Organic search traffic is a little harder to achieve compared to paid search traffic, but it promotes a slow growth to your website over time because it attracts the relevant audience to your page and depends very much on merit. Hence, SEO experts are needed to achieve a successful organic result.
Furthermore, search engine optimization ensures that your site is credible, hence, users are most likely to get invaluable insights into your content without being prompted to click on your page. Search engine optimization also enables your website to get free visitors monthly from search engines.
A paid site, however, is a site that pays to rank on the search engine result page, enabling visitors to notice their sites on the top five spots in SERP. Hence, the chances of these paid websites receiving visitors are higher compared to sites that do it organically resulting in more clicks.
Paid advertising results in immediate income generation with pay-per-click whereby the website receives revenue for every click that it receives. However, the traffic to websites that follow this route will stop the moment pay-per-click is stopped.
Hence compared to organic search, paid search does not guarantee a constant visitor count because it is much dependent on paid advertisements. If the site owner is willing to spend for big advertising, the site can be ranked on top fairly quickly. Otherwise, it will disappear into the sea of other websites that succumb to organic search results and had to work hard to achieve a good spot on Google’s search results page.
With paid search ads, you can pay search engines to get higher organic search rankings without needing to put in the hard work of optimizing your content with SEO. The result is immediate, but it only works best in the short term. Meanwhile, organic results ensure that your website continues to receive visitors in the long term even though it takes a longer time to achieve.
White hat SEO versus black hat SEO techniques
White hat SEO describes a practice that complies with the rules of search engine guidelines by not succumbing to tricks or acts of fraud in order to achieve web optimization.
The SEO techniques that have been mentioned in this article are white hat SEO techniques that ensure your content is top-notch, trustworthy, and high-quality. One of the techniques white-hat techniques is to insert relevant content, which includes links and references that relate to your topic.
Another strategy of white-hats is to include well-formed sentences with perfect grammar and spelling to make sure that your page is readable to your audience and is not formed by convoluted sentences which only aim to achieve a high content score without proper content management.
Black hat SEO, however, uses techniques that increase ranking that will only work in the short term. Black hats include keyword stuffing, duplicating content, and linking from sites that have a high ranking factor but is not relevant to the topic at hand.
In short, white-hat strategy is the legal way and black-hat strategy is the illegal way of optimizing your sites.
Google will penalize websites that implement the black-hat strategy over time. However, once the search engines discover their tricks, the websites will be removed entirely. Hence, if you want your website to thrive over time, follow white-hat strategies and do it the legal way.
It will definitely take more time to get your website to rank in Google, but the results that White-hats produce go a long way. Following a good SEO strategy will help your website achieve SEO success in the long run.
How to create quality content
Optimizing your website goes beyond implementing SEO strategies that incorporate white-hat, on-page, and off-page ranking factors. In order to ensure that you produce high-quality content consistently on your website, you need to always consider the intentions of the user which is to identify what exactly is your audience searching for.
Creating content that rank high on Google’s search engines also take more than implementing the key phrases into your page. Google’s algorithm helps you match user intent with the phrases in search queries to make sure that they are relevant to each other.
If your keywords do not match the phrases that users search for, the content of your page is considered unsuitable for that particular topic, hence, Google is not able to rank you well on the search results page.
Understanding your user’s search intent also helps you in creating content that your reader will trust and follow. If your reader finds value in your content, they will not bother to find the information they need on another website because they can get sufficient information from your website.
However, if your website is not helpful to your readers, they will immediately jump to other sites, thus letting Google know that the user bounces from one content to another because your content is irrelevant.
This is not an ideal situation you want to be in. Ideally, of course, you want your readers to stay on your site and reduce the bouncing rate from your page to the next. Taking extra care to meet the user’s needs by focussing on their search intent can help you improve your Google rankings.
Besides that, there are three more factors you need to consider to create good content that helps you rank on Google’s search results page.
Google’s EAT guidelines
Another way to achieve SEO success in your website is to consider these three important elements that will help you rank higher on Google: Expertise, Authority and Trust. They come hand-in-hand with one another and no one element stands by itself.
Gaining expertise on a certain topic takes time. You need to make a lot of research to make sure that you are sharing accurate information. Otherwise, your readers will not trust you to provide the relevant information they need.
To be an SEO expert in a particular field, you need to be as detailed as possible so that your reader can extract as much information as possible from your website. It is also impertinent to speak about what you already know to make sure that the information is accurate and trustworthy.
Then, your audience will see that your content is not only insightful but is also valid.
A website authority comes with experience, similar to how an older person automatically has more authority than a younger one because experience is invaluable.
In the same vein, websites that have been around for a while and have been producing good content continuously have a higher authority compared to a website that has only been around for two months.
This is what you call, domain authority. The website has built its domain by churning content about a certain topic and is acknowledged as the expert in that particular field.
Over time, a lot of newer websites will link to the experienced website in order to achieve authority for their own site.
Google Chrome puts a lot of trust on websites that already have a lot of experience and quality backlinks from other sites with greater authority. It shows that your website’s content provides what the reader will expect when they visit your site.
Not only that, they can expect to get a little bit more from the backlinks that you have provided from other sites with high authority.
To further secure your website, you can install HTTPS or SSL certificates to your website to allow encrypted connections to make your site more secure. Google will trust your website more if it has security assurance and this will also gain your site more traffic.
It is not impossible to achieve SEO success in your website optimization. Becoming an SEO expert takes time and that is OK because all good things take time. Once you have mastered search engine optimization, you can increase your website’s search rankings on the search results page and get more traffic.
The first step to optimizing is to learn SEO and answer the big “what is SEO” question to get you started. If you want to learn more about SEO, Search Engine Land can also be your guide in further mastering search engine optimization in more detail.
If you still haven’t gotten the hang of SEO, keep trying, because the time you put in your SEO efforts will definitely pay off in the future.