What is SEO | SEO for Beginners
On the internet, there is so much information about SEO that a novice could drown in it. We prepared an article that can help to make sense of search engine optimization, what this concept includes, and what types of SEO exist. Also, we consider several cases, like how to promote your business into the top searches.
To benefit from SEO, it does not matter whether you have a B2B or B2C business, a multimillion-dollar corporation or a coffeehouse. You can be a long-time business owner or launching a start-up with your site this month — each case of search optimization requires a map.
What Does SEO Mean?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — is a series of tricks that help the advancing into the top search results (SERP) of Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. The optimization process in itself includes different strategies that contribute to the increase of organic traffic to the site.
In 2020 a business needs to be within search on the internet. Do you think that your customer is not online?
Even if you have a small hardware store, it does not matter you will still be searched on the internet. The increased demand for voice and mobile searching contributes to the local development of SEO, which allows business owners to increase their clientele. Nevertheless, to increase online clients it is important to turn up in the top search results. It is important to optimize the site for search engines, to maximize its benefits.
Types of Search Engine Optimization
SEOs are divided into three types according to their promotional methods of a web source for a search engine:
- White SEO — involves developing the site per the recommendations of the search engine. For example, white optimization from Google can be found in the official Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. These recommendations should not be disregarded.
- Gray SEO — this is site development without the use of officially prohibited methods, but rather by using unnaturally high “popularity” web resources. In some cases, search engines can block these sites.
- Black SEO — this is a resource promotion that uses malware, which are prohibited methods that often leads to the site getting put under filters or sanctions.
Read more in the White Hat VS Grey Hat VS Black Hat SEO : Differences and What to Choose? article.
What Does SEO Stand For
Since the end of the 1990s, SEO looked like it was spamming keywords, in that the first principle search engines used in the ranking of sites was keyword tracking. In 1998, Google had already introduced the principle of reference ranking (PageRank) and in 2012 search engines blocked the first web source for substandard links and “Black SEO” by launching the “Penguin” algorithm.
Search engine algorithms are constantly changing. SEO strategies also differ according to the niche. Nevertheless, there is a base that focuses on the search engine optimization of sites and web pages. Knowing which ranking factors are more important for achieving a result, specialists form strategies to promote, but no project is possible without the essential components:
- Technical SEO. This includes the elimination of technical errors of a site: broken links, duplicate pages, and also the changing of the domain name of a site and redirects. Even web page download speed affects the position of the site in the search results and thus its ability to compete in search engines. Your resource should work quickly and without errors. The reasonable time for a page download is three to five seconds. PageSpeed Insights is a tool from Google that estimates the speed of a site. For more information on the topic, see the Technical SEO Checklist – SEO Audit and What is the Technical SEO Audit? articles.
Also, it is important to ensure that the web resource handles the strain of an active flow of visitors. To do so, it is necessary to publish the site on a dependable hosting.
- Internal Optimization (On-page SEO). This is the lengthiest process of search engine optimization. This includes the selection of keywords, for which the promotion of the resource is planned, and the search engine friendly content is written. As well as the implementation of the page’s internal linking, improving the code structure (robots.txt, sitemap.xml, and others) and the usability of the site, and optimizing images (tagging captions, meta-tagging, tagging alt, etc.). Read more in the On-Page SEO: Step-by-Step Guide 2020 article.
Assign tags to the images on a site. The title and alternative descriptions help the search robots to understand what images the page contains, as well as affecting the website rating. Read more in the SEO Images: 11 Perfect Tips for Optimize your Site article.
Another important component of internal optimizations is adding a robots.txt text file to a website. These are a set of instructions for the search robots, which allows you to conceal certain indexes of the page and technical sections of the web resource. For more information, see the Robots.txt : How to Create the Perfect File for SEO article.
It is essential to optimize the site for a search engine before purchasing backlinks. Otherwise, the promotion of the site will not be effective or rather it will harm the web resource by decreasing its influx of traffic.
- External Optimization (Off-page SEO). This refers to the reference mass, connectivity of social media and other factors of audience engagement on the website.
One of the most significant factors impacting the position in the search results is the work involving external links, this involves getting links to the site from other resources. For example, forum activity, registration in catalogs, posting press releases or link exchanges with renowned websites. For more information, see the Build High-Quality Backlinks in a Scalable Way in 2020 article.
Through its continuous development, it is possible to promote today. It is important to regularly update content and work on its design, consider the quality referenced profiles and behavioral factors, and keep track of new methods that work today.
Where to Begin With Search Engine Optimization
The first steps to implementing SEO is competitor analysis and the development of a semantic core. In other words, select keywords that will cause your website to appear. Keywords are chosen according to the subject of the web resource. Additionally, they should correspond with people’s motives: “Buy”, “How to choose ”, “What to read”, etc. For developing a semantic core, you can use special services, for instance, Google AdWords Keyword Planner or SEMrush. Find out more information in the How to Do Keyword Research article.
After forming a list of keywords it is important to divide them by thematic groups (clusters) and assign them to specific pages of the website. After this, write content using these keywords. Remember, that search engines can “punish” web resources.
The most effective way to create high-quality content is to write texts with a natural usage of keywords. Replace the phrase “Beneficial protein bars to buy in San Francisco ”. Search engines can consider this entry as spam and impose penalties.
Do not forget about page optimization. Use meta-tagging, tag captions, and images because this data impacts the website’s position in the search results. Keep track of mistakes and in time, Google Webmaster Tools will help to fix them. There, you can also specify the elements of internal website optimization. Read more in the Meta Tags for SEO article.
Use the benefits of press releases, these are another way to bring attention to your brand and company, increasing the rating of the web resource on a local or national level.
It is hard to imagine a business sector that you can not introduce on social media. This channel of communication brings you another step closer to increasing your clientele. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter would be ideal for practically any industry. Consider which social networking sites are consistent with the mission and concepts of your company. For example, Pinterest and Etsy are effective to use for the sites of companies related to arts and crafts. Read more in Pinterest SEO in 2020 and Secrets of Etsy SEO articles.
Expand your social network to increase the flow of potential clients to your site. Also, allow for useful content to be shared from the blog to Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.
Online-business Without SEO: What You Are Missing
These days, it is not only important to make the shift towards an online presence, you need to maximize the promotion of your business website by using the white methods. Especially since this allows for the main source of the traffic to the website to remain organic.
The research on Internetlivestats.com shows the rate of search requests that Google processes every second:
Also, according to the Business 2 Community:
- More than 70% of internet users ignore advertisements (PPC) and only interact solely with organic results
- 57% of marketers in the B2B sphere claim that SEO generates more potential clients than any other channel of interactive traffic
If you manage a business without SEO or limit yourself to social media alone, you will lose:
- The organic growth of traffic on the website. Actually, in contrast to the main competitor of contextual advertising (PPC), the volume of organic traffic generated by SEO does not directly depend on the budget.
- Measurable traffic. The activity cannot be measured when it is obtained from a roadside billboard. By contrast, SEO can measure the rate of traffic precisely, thanks to search engine optimization and other marketing methods that promote business.
- Web Visibility. Having a higher position in the search results increases the visibility of your business. And this, in turn, increases recognition, the level of confidence and the number of new potential customers
- Promotion through local SEO. This method is particularly effective for relatively small businesses or those that were established recently. For example, a user is looking for somewhere to have breakfast. Or, they are looking for a tailor who makes custom wedding dresses. The user will choose several that are “within a 5 km radius”, according to Google Maps. You do not have to compete with thousands of other websites. You are competing with the companies that operate in the same field, region, city or country as your business. Find out more information on the topic in the Local SEO Checklist 2020 article.
According to a study conducted by Google, 50% of local searches from a mobile device and 34% from a computer or tablet are more likely to bring customers to a company’s store.
Before buying a product or paying for a service, today’s customers will look up information using a search engine. They will compare bicycle features in various stores, familiarize themselves with the ranking of cleaning companies in their city, and they will choose companies based on their pricing and reviews. The goal of a business is to offer accessible information about a product or service package at the right time and place.
What Does SEO Stand for in Marketing?
SEO and content are the titans of internet marketing. Search engine optimization boosts a site’s rating and increases the number of users, while content marketing allows you to achieve a targeted action via the user.
For instance, SEO tools help you to assemble a semantic core. The generated keywords will need to be properly incorporated into the text. And vise versa: for the texts on the website to be read, it is necessary to fix technical errors, optimize URLs, and so on.
To fully promote a business, it is not sufficient to limit yourself to one or two channels. Social media targeted advertising and email marketing are both effective, but, firstly, they are not suitable for all areas of the business, and secondly, they might not work without a well-optimized website.
If you are a plumber and you want to use the internet to pursue new customers, you attempt to do this by creating a profile on Instagram and publishing plumbing content. This is unlikely to have the desired effect. Whereas customers from your region or city can be led to a small website or landing page (single-site page) with the help of local SEO and PPC.
Which Texts Do Search Engines Prefer?
The content that you publish influences your site’s position in the search results as much as the other promotional methods. Make and optimize the publications to enhance the website’s rating, and not to receive “penalty points” from search engines.
It is important to publish original content. A good target of uniqueness for a text is 96-100%.
When you are creating a text, remember that you are writing it for an audience. The era of articles with direct entry of keywords came to an end in the 1990s, but copywriters continue to publish spammed commercial texts “like they are for robots”.
Linking the pages evenly distributes the keywords and keeps the visitor on the website (do not forget that search engines monitor behavioral factors). You can connect the product cards with the pages of new collections, blog articles with product pages, etc.
This is what page linking looks like in an article:
Add infographics, videos and quality images to the articles. Having diverse content boosts engagement and influences behavioral factors. However, when working with the visualization of articles, it is important not to infringe copyright. To avoid this, you can use stock images or cite the source where you found the picture or photograph.
Formatting the texts. Search engines are fond of leveled headings h1-h6, bulleted lists, and meta-tagging. It is important to use the latter during optimization, as they allow the user to navigate the site before accessing the web resource.
An important component of optimized texts is the h1-h6 headers. They define the structure of the article and prioritize the sections. Headers help the search engine find the answer to the user’s request. Read more in How to Build a Nice Meta Description, H1 Tag: How To Create a Great Header, How to Create Search Engine Friendly Title Tags articles.
Use services that check the uniqueness, spelling, and punctuation. There are also various tools online that indicate the level of spam and help streamline the text or help to enhance the design.
What Does SEO Stand for in Web Design?
You might not realize the relevance of the website design for published content or the ranking of a web resource. The texts can be completely unreadable due to the chosen font or color, and the site might not be adapted for a mobile device. In this case, all of your efforts aimed at optimizing the website and its pages will not be assessed by the end-user.
It is important to know: more than 50% of the traffic of websites comes from mobile devices. This means that without an adaptive design, you could lose about half of your potential customers.
SEO and web design, as is the case with content marketing, are part of a cohesive unit. It is important to approach the design of the site comprehensively, harmoniously developing every component.
The internet and the tendencies of searches are ever-evolving; therefore, it is important to keep us with trends and adapt your site accordingly. We recommend that you pay attention to the following:
- Voice Search. It is growing more popular and it is essential to adapt content on your site for voice search.
- Mobile-First Indexing. Google’s mobile search engine first indexes the mobile version of the site. Adapt the web resource for this and test the site on different devices. Google’s official guide will help you with this. Find out more information on the topic in the Mobile-First Indexing : How Does it Impact SEO? and Mobile Search : How to Do it and Why it is Important articles.
How Quickly Will I Get Results from SEO?
Search engine optimization is one of the most effective strategies in internet marketing. However, do not expect instant results. SEO is a long-term investment with a waiting period of 6 months or longer.
The rate at which SEO will impact the position of a website within the search results depends on these factors:
- How long it has been since the site was launched
- Whether it had previously been optimized
- How much content it currently has
- The quality of the link profile and so on
Even by comparing the websites of two companies from the same industry, it is difficult to make an accurate prediction.
On average, traffic increase after site optimization is already observed after 4-6 months of work. During this period, a specialist completes internal and technical optimization, the publication of content and links profile creation. Within a year, the amount of traffic can increase exponentially compared to the initial figures. That is why it is important to consider that SEO is a long-term marketing tactic when planning your budget. Do not think of search engine optimization as a quick way to increase sales.
Every second we are looking for goods or need services, reading company reviews before making a purchase. Consumers can become your customers simply by visiting the company’s site from the first page of search results. Be where they are looking for you. Use SEO to ensure that you are not sharing your profits with your competitors.