Understand what is SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is also called as organic search engine optimization or organic SEO.
When you have a website then SEO is the best way to make it reach people who use search engines to find information on what they are looking for.
Search engine optimization (SEO) simply means to improve visibility of a website in the search results pages of major search engines. We all have searched for something on major search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and others. We go to a search engine, we find a search bar and type in a query. What we see after that is a list of results on the page. These results are websites or web pages and the ones that we see first or are placed higher on that page are actually ranked at that place by those search engines.
The higher a result shows the higher is its ranking. This ranking is achieved through SEO. Also if you see the results then the text you see for each of the web page is also the result of SEO optimization.
What SEO does
SEO means making a website ready to appear in search results in order to attract the attention of more and more interested searchers and more and more search queries.
The objective of SEO is to constantly improve the place or position of website for all its targeted keywords or queries in search engines so that it is visible to more and more searchers and therefore gets high number of clicks from these searches, resulting in increase in search traffic.
SEO is driven by many aspects related to search engines, competition and users. However, one of the most important and obvious reasons why SEO is done and why it is needed is because searchers typically clicks on one of the ten results every search engine displays on the first page. Very less number of searchers go to the second page, even lesser to the third page, and so on.
So, to get clicks a website needs to be visible on the first page or at least first 3 search results pages to get traffic from any keyword. And when there are thousands and millions of websites competing for each of the keywords, the only way to get higher rankings is by doing SEO.
This means optimizing your website and building its authority to make it rank higher for more and more of the targeted keywords in order to drive higher and increasing number of search traffic.
SEO does this with a detailed and inter-connected three step process of technical improvements, on page optimization and off page SEO marketing.
The first step or aim is to optimize a website and make it searchable and search engine friendly to gain visibility in search. This we do by making it accessible and readable through technical SEO and then make content relevant and attractive for its targeted users through on page optimization. Then we make it appear higher in results, meaning improving its visibility, by increasing its authority and popularity through off page SEO techniques and content marketing.
So, SEO becomes an inter-linked and continuous process involving technical optimization, on page optimization, and off page SEO.
When we fully and properly optimize a website and increase its authority, then it appears something like this in search results.
Acronyms used here:
Search Engines: Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, etc are all search engines where people go to search for information
Query: Whatever we type in the search bar is a query or search query. It is like a question and it can be a word, 2 or more words, and a sentence or even two or more sentences.
Search Bar: Also called as search box, it is the wide rectangle bar in the middle of a blank search engine page where we can type for anything
Web browser: It is also called as the address bar, location bar or URL bar. This is where you find the URL of a website, it is where "https://www.google.com/" is written. One can also type a query there, just like in the search bar, and Google or other search engines will show results
Search results: List of websites displayed on pages of search engines after we type in a query and press enter or click the search sign
Clicks: when a user clicks on a search result
Traffic: Number of clicks a website receives on it from various sources.
Search Traffic: Number of clicks a website receives on it from search engines.
Why do SEO (The reasons and objectives)
First of all, why we need to do SEO? It is because search engines provide a platform for websites to gain visibility there and by this reach search visitors looking for information related to what the website has to say.
Search engines have become the most popular online platform where everyone goes to find information they are looking for. That information is offered by the billions of websites. Now search engines need to provide the best and most relevant information to every user which means showing the best of the websites first.
In order to show the best only, search engines developed methods to evaluate these websites and then display. To become relevant and best websites need to be better optimized and have authority and popularity. This is what SEO achieves for websites.
Website factors from SEO point of view
Website Subject or Theme
Pages or URLs
Images & media files
Pages linking to each other
Pages linking out to other websites
Other websites linking to the pages
What is Ranking and how websites are ranked?
So, with the help of SEO, a website becomes visible on search engines. This is achieved by ranking websites for the relevant and targeted keywords. This is the only way to gain visibility on search engines.
As we said before, search engines have developed methods to show best of the results. These methods are actually algorithms which evaluate all the websites and then display the best ones. Keywords play the central role here. Although content of a page is the most important aspect but it is the keywords which provide direction and indication towards the subject of a page and its content.
The algorithms are a set of rules and guidelines which search engines follow to find best websites. Each website is assigned a score and this score decides the position at which a site will appear on search engine page. This position of these websites on search pages is called as ranking of the websites.
We will cover the major Google algorithms in the chapter about algorithms.
All these best websites are search friendly or SEO friendly websites, which are optimized and have the desired authority to tell Google or other search engines to show them for their respective targeted keywords. Now it is upto the search engines to decide how best is their optimization and authority and at which position or rank these websites will appear.
Rankings are not static. This means two things. One, each website is assigned different ranking for all its different targeted keywords. If your website is ranking at number 3 for your main or any other keyword then it does not necessarily mean that it will rank at the same position for its other targeted keywords also.
Second, your rankings will keep on changing. These may go up but can also come down. All this depends upon the level and scale of your SEO, how long have you been doing it and how old or new is your website. It also depends upon your competition which means the other websites aiming to rank for the same keywords. And all the factors mentioned above related to scale and age of SEO and website's age, do apply for all.
Each website is assigned different ranking for all its targeted keywords. This is on the basis of how good its content is in respect to each of the keywords. Every time any of these targeted keywords appear in a search query that website is displayed according to its rank and positioning.
Although ranking is based upon content relevancy and other factors but every page and its content is actually ranked for keywords.
SEO is based and targeted on how search engines work
Basically, SEO will change and has been changing depending upon how Google (more importantly) and other search engines are evolving and developing.
From keywords stuffing to now more user experience focused, SEO has changed along with how and what search engines want to show information to the users.
It is all playing by the rules of Google, whether you like it or not. Although, we are now more focused on providing a better user experience and value, that is still as per what Google views as the best way to do so.
Of course, there is the BIG element of trying to remove and minimize spammy websites and spammy content from appearing high and more frequently in search results. This is being taken care by the various algorithms that are there and by constantly updating and upgrading these.
Conclusion: What is SEO
Find the right keywords for a website
Use those keywords throughout the pages of the website through optimization
Make the website search and user friendly
Build the search visibility and make the website accessible to search engines
Improve website's ranking capacity on the search engines