What is SEO, and what does it stand for?
What is SEO? is the top searched query on Google related to SEO.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, a process of optimizing web pages to get targeted traffic from a search engine’s organic results.
SEO helps your web page rank for keywords that people are searching for and attract traffic from there, which improves your visibility, making it easier to attract business for your brand.
Take, for example, a local auto repair in New Jersey – let’s call it Shuttle Space. Shuttle Space has a website and is active pages on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. They also have a blog where they post informative content, which covers everything from “auto parts” to “how to tow” as a part of their content marketing strategy. However, when someone searches for “local auto repair New Jersey,” their website doesn’t show up on search engines, which means they are losing out on business. With proper SEO practice, they can rank on the first page of search engines.
Everyday activities associated with SEO include churning out high-quality content, backlink building, keyword research and optimizing content.
What is SEO Marketing?
SEO Marketing is a term that is used synonymously with SEO; YES, you read it right.
I know there are websites out there that have written multiple pages defining SEO Marketing to feed the search engines, but it’s the same as SEO.
SEO definitely adds value to your marketing efforts by ranking for specific keywords on search engines.
Make sure that your SEO efforts are user-focused by putting out relevant content targeted at specific users.
How to do SEO?
Some people, especially new business owners, get intimidated by the amount of information out there when they search for topics related to SEO. So if you are one of them, we break down SEO into three easy to follow steps that will help you get started on your SEO journey.
Build an SEO friendly website –
The most crucial element of SEO is to have a SEO-friendly website that is crawlable and indexable.
Getting your technical and on-page SEO right is the first step towards building an SEO friendly website.
We will summarize the entire process for you :
- Do keyword research and optimize your website for relevant keywords.
- Make sure that your website’s load time is less than two seconds.
- Optimize your website for mobile users.
- Make your title tags and meta description descriptive and include keywords in there.
- Create backlinks and cross-link your articles wherever possible.
Practice, well, that’s the best way to learn SEO. We advise you not to start practising SEO on your main website; it’s always better to make a junk website and start. Once you figure out how SEO works, you can always come back and implement it on your main website.
Create original content which is helpful and engaging –
You need to churn out quality content both for your visitors and search engines. How much time a visitor spends on your website is directly proportional to the number of content you have on your website. It’s the same with search engines; the more number of webpages you have, the more your chances of getting indexed on search engines.
Content comes in different formats (blogs, videos, podcasts, industry articles, infographics, ebooks). Find out which format resonates with your audience before creating content.
Once you have figured out the format, the next step is keyword research. Keyword research gives a better understanding of which keywords you should try to get traffic from. Getting your keywords right is crucial because going after the wrong keywords will attract irrelevant traffic, which is a waste of time and money.
Once you’re done with keyword research, create content focused on those keywords. Churning out quality content combined with other SEO strategies helps you rank on search engines.
Monitor your analytics –
Monitoring your analytics helps you understand if your SEO campaign is getting you desired results.
Google Analytics is an exceptional tool to analyze your SEO campaign. You can see essential metrics, such as :
- Conversion Rate
- Number of pages visited
- Organic traffic
- Dwell time
- Bounce rate
These metrics help you analyze your pages’ performance, the quality of traffic coming in and the audience behaviour.
The analytics also gives you an in-depth insight on which aspects of your campaign are getting results and where it needs improvement.
Protip: Don’t overdo things when you’re using any of these SEO elements.
Why is SEO important?
Before going into the importance of SEO, you should understand what it would be like without SEO. Without proper SEO strategies in place, it would be challenging for users to find relevant results, and manipulating search engines would have been a lot easier.
Importance of SEO :
Visibility and Rankings –
In today’s digital era, where 5 billion search queries are made every day, it’s essential to appear on search engines’ first page. Brands will lose out on customers if they don’t rank for relevant keywords.
Businesses use SEO to improve visibility, making it easier for prospects to find you when searching for a specific query. Because most web users, including you, will never click past the first SERP, you have to make sure that your SEO strategy is effective.
Web Traffic –
The presence of a website on search engines first page increases traffic. The first five results on a search engine get 75% of the total clicks, and 33% of those clicks go to the page ranking first.
Implementing SEO strategies will help you rank on the first page of search engines and boost your website’s traffic.
A website’s authority is an indicator of its quality, relevancy, trustworthiness and ability to rank. The more your website’s authority, the higher it will rank. SEO strategies, if incorporated efficiently, helps in building authority.
Creating a Better User Experience –
Your SEO efforts have a direct impact on the website’s responsiveness and its load speed. Getting these two metrics right will lower the bounce rate and create a seamless experience for users.
The ultimate goal of any business is growth. SEO helps attract relevant users to your website, which will help you achieve the desired results, whether conversions, sales or more traffic.
How to improve SEO?
Here are 8 ways to improve your SEO results:
- Do an SEO audit – SEO audit helps you identify your website’s strengths and weakness. An SEO audit involves looking will reveal:
- On-page SEO issues
- Technical SEO issues
- User experience issues
- Issues with website structure
- Content gaps and opportunities
- Improve site navigation – Without a clear navigational structure, it becomes challenging for users to find what they are looking for. Poor site navigation also impacts the bounce rate and the time users spend on your website. Follow the 3 click rule to make navigation easy.
- Fix duplicate content – Google penalizes websites with duplicate content. Audit your website for duplicate content and fix it, as it impacts your SERP rankings.
- Optimize your website for mobile users – More than 50% of Google searches come from mobile devices, so it’s crucial to optimize your website for smaller screens.
- Speed up your website – Fast Websites rank higher on search engines compared to the slower ones. Slower websites have a higher bounce rate as well. Keep your page load speed less than 2 seconds.
3 things you must optimize for speeding up your website are :
- Images – Large images increases the load time. There are a lot of plugins out there that help you compress your images on your website.
- Browser caching – When your browser loads a webpage, it has to load images, page elements and HTML coding. This process repeats every time you load the same webpage.
Browser caching saves the previously loaded webpage’s data so that you don’t have to reload the webpages each time you visit the website, resulting in increased speed.
There are many plugins that take care of your websites browser caching needs, install one of them, and you are good to go.
- HTML scripts – Minifying HTML scripts remove or fixes unnecessary or duplicate data without impacting how your browser processes HTML. And again, there are many awesome plugins available that do it for you.
- Publish high-quality content consistently – There are no substitutes for high-quality content. Make sure the content you publish is well researched and useful for your target audience.
Relevant and useful content keeps your readers hooked on your website, reduces bounce rates, helps create backlinks, all of which impacts SEO.
- Use Metadata efficiently – Metadata uses keywords and phrases to help search engines decipher what your webpages are all about.
Important elements in Metadata :
- Title – A title tag is an HTML element that points to the title of the webpage. They are displayed on the top of the browser window and as a headline on search engines.
Use your keywords at the beginning of the title tags to rank higher.
- Meta description – Meta description is an HTML element that summarizes the content of your webpage.
Optimizing the meta description is essential as it appears on the search engine results. Make sure to use your keywords in the meta description to rank better on search engines.
- Alt tags – Alt tags, also known as alternative description, is an HTML element used to describe an image, video or other visual media.
Alt tags provide image description to search engine crawlers, and including keywords in alt tags improves ranking.
Using these metadata elements efficiently will improve your visibility on search engines.
- Add Inbound and Outbound Links – Internal link directs users to another page within your domain. Use internal links every time you see an opportunity.
External links direct users to another page on a different domain. Create valuable and shareable content to get external links.
Both internal and external links boost your website ranking since search engines see it as a quality signal implying that your website is worthy of citations.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO aims at ranking on search engines for queries aimed at particular geographic markets. With local SEO, you are trying to rank in what is called the “Map Pack”.
Local SEO is useful for businesses with a physical location, like a department store or a boutique, where they depend on customers walking in.
Search engines use your location when you search for specific keywords with local intent. For example, if you search for “car wash near me” on Google, you will see results closer to your location. By optimizing local SEO, you can get your business to rank on search engines for such queries with local intent.
Top local SEO ranking signals
All the signals listed here are backed by statements from top search engines and thorough research. Also, keep in mind that many of the signals listed here deserve an individual post, which is not possible here.
- Google My Business (GMB) – Claim your GMB page if you have not. It is free and takes a couple of minutes.
GMB is an effective and straightforward way to improve your Local SEO.
- Google My Business (GMB) Categories: Choose the right category within your GMB account. Make sure the categories you choose are accurate.
- Photos on Google My Business (GMB) Page – Uploading relevant photos on your GMB page improves credibility.
- Bing Places for Business – Even though Google is the go-to search engine for most of us, Bing still enjoys a decent market share. So claim your Bing Places for Business account as well.
- Online Directories/Citations – Get your business listed on the top online directories.
Citations no longer have a significant impact on local SEO, but it’s good to get some.
- Number of Positive Reviews – Make sure to have enough positive reviews on your listings; they boost your rankings.
- Social Listings – Create a business account on top social media sites. The idea here is to redirect the traffic coming from your social media account to your website.
- Consistent NAP – The name, address and phone number you have used should be consistent on all the places you have got yourself listed.
- Mobile Responsiveness – Search engines consider your website’s mobile responsive as a ranking factor since a large chunk of searches come in from mobiles. So make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
What is a backlink in SEO?
A backlink is a connection established between two websites by linking one website to another. When one website links to another, it indirectly tells the search engines that the other website is valuable, relevant and useful.
Pages with many backlinks tend to have a better ranking on the search engines.
Why are backlinks important?
Search engines see backlinks as votes from other websites.
If many pages link to the same website, search engines consider it a signal that others believe in your content and rank your website higher.
So leverage the backlinks to take your business to new heights.
What is technical SEO?
Technical SEO focuses on site improvements that make it easier for search engine spiders to find, crawl and index your website.
Technical issues can block search engines from finding your website.
Now let’s see some technical SEO factors that everyone should tweak to rank higher on search engines :
- Crawlability and Indexability – Search engine spiders (bots) visit websites looking for new data and downloads them. This process is called crawling.
Search engine spiders crawl systematically unless there are technical errors, or else you have manually blocked the search engine spiders from crawling your website.
There are pages on your website that you don’t want search engine spiders to crawl; you can block spiders from crawling such pages by using a robots.txt file. A robots.txt file tells search engine spiders which page on a website they can and cannot visit.
Indexability refers to a search engine’s ability to add a page to its index. And just because a web page is crawlable doesn’t necessarily mean it should be indexable as well.
- Sitemap – A sitemap is an XML file that acts as a blueprint of your website, providing information on your website’s files and the relationship among them.
Review your sitemap. Ensure your sitemap is structured correctly. Include all the essential pages and exclude the ones you don’t want search engines to index from the sitemaps.
- Mobile-friendliness – Sometime back, Google and other search engines decided to use the mobile version of your web page for ranking and indexing instead of the desktop version. Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly to rank better on search engines.
- Page speed – Search engines consider page speed as a crucial ranking factor. So ensure that your website is fast and responsive.
Go out there and get your Technical SEO healthy.
What is a slug in SEO?
In SEO, there’s a term called slug.
But what are slugs? The “slug” is the text that comes after the domain name in your URL. A slug points to a specific page or a post.
Let’s consider the URLs of some pages on our website (stripeseo.com) to understand the concept.
Slug is the part that comes after the “/”.
Example 1: https://stripeseo.com/about/
The slug here is “about”.
Example 2: https://stripeseo.com/blog/
The slug here is “blog”.
You must have observed how both pages on the website are labelled with different slugs.
So why are Slugs important?
- It helps the search engine spiders understand the context of a page.
If a search engine doesn’t understand the page’s context, it obviously can’t promote it to its users.
The search engine’s algorithm uses slug in the ranking process as well. So make sure to keep the slug consistent with the content of the page.
Using keywords in the slug helps in better ranking.
- The slug appears in the search engines’ snippet, which helps the users understand the page’s content.
So using the right keywords in your slug attract users searching for specific queries.
What is black hat SEO?
Black hat SEO is a fast way to boost rankings and get more exposure on search engines.
Black Hat SEO uses tactics that violate search engine guidelines. Black hat SEO tactics aim to exploit the loopholes in search engine algorithms to boost the rankings.
Search engines, such as Google and Bing, have listed down guidelines to keep such malpractices at bay.
Using black hat SEO strategies hurts in the longer run. Your website will be penalized by search engines, lowering your rankings and impacting the organic traffic.
Black hat SEO strategies won’t drive long term results. Black hat SEO techniques optimize for the search engines rather than the users, which means that these tactics will bring in traffic, but the bounce rates would be high because of the bad user experience.
Some tactics that violate the search engine guidelines are: keyword stuffing, creating paid/manipulative links, duplicate content, using hidden text, cloaking.
What is SEO writing?
SEO writing is a form of writing which involves planning, outlining, creating and optimizing content with the sole objective of ranking for specific keywords in search engines.
Why SEO writing matters?
Many pages on the internet go unnoticed even though the content might be excellent.
SEO writing is optimized, keeping the target audience in mind. SEO writing is designed to rank for specific keywords, making it easy for your target audience to find your content.
SEO writing helps in growing your traffic over a period of time.
So the best way to drive consistent traffic on your website is through SEO.
These were the top 11 most searched questions about SEO on Google.
We would like to know your thoughts on this post. Do let us know if you have any question or if we missed out on anything in the comment section below.