Everything that you need to know about Search Engine Optimization
Walk along the corridors of Digital Marketing today, and you are likely to hear mention of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). That is hardly surprising, considering that SEO is what defines the success or failure of Digital Marketing strategies across the globe. So, what is Search Engine Optimization and how relevant is it in the current year? This article answers that question and covers that following topics;
About Search Engines
In order to answer the question “What is Search Engine Optimization?” we first need to discuss how Search Engines work. The internet has, over the past couple of decades, revolutionized the way in which human beings interact with one another and with the world at large. This has enable people on opposite ends of the world to communicate and do business as if they are in the same room.
- The internet is what gives us access to the World Wide Web; a vast repository of data in a wide variety of formats.
- So vast is this place that the web would be difficult to navigate without some way of making sense of and ranking everything that is on it.
- I have previously written a page in which I talk about some of the best rank tracking tools that can be found out there. Rank tracking is the process by which you keep sight of your web pages’ ranks on search engines.
- Search Engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing are what allow you to navigate across and find the information that is on the internet.
- Understanding how this happens is crucial to answering the question; “What is Search Engine Optimization?”
What is Search Engine Optimization? Crawling and Indexing
- Search Engines have bots that crawl across the internet and build indexes of all the data that they find on web pages.
- In other words, Search Engines have the primary task of knowing which information can be found where on the World Wide Web.
What Happens when you Enter a Search Query into a Search Engine?
- When make a query using a Search Engine, the Search Engine consults its index and determines the most relevant results that it will show to you.
- Each query that you make using a particular Search Engine, such as Google, brings back thousands, if not millions, of results.
Search Engine Ranks
Search Engine rankings are important to the question “What is Search Engine Optimization?” Ranks are assigned based on a wide variety of parameters. In fact, the methods that are used to crawl, index and assign ranks to web pages form the basis of Search Engine Optimization.
- The major challenge that exist for bloggers and website owners is that there is fierce competition for favorable rankings among the billions of web pages that make up the World Wide Web. Understanding this helps us understand the question “What is Search Engine Optimization?”
- The struggle is made doubly vicious by the fact that not many users ever bother to browse beyond the first page of search results. That is despite the fact that, as mentioned earlier, each search query brings back thousands of results.
- In fact, 91% of internet users say that they never bother to go beyond the first pages of Search Results. In Google, this contains only ten results.
- If that is not motivation enough, consider the fact that the page that is listed on number 1 on Search Results is usually rewarded with 33% of traffic. Compare that to the one that is second place, which gets 18% of overall traffic, and you will realize what a difference page rankings make to a blog’s success.
What is Search Engine Optimization? The Definition
Webmasters and bloggers across the globe have the challenge of finding ways through which they can make their pages more visible to Search Engines. This is what is referred to as Search Engine Optimization.
Optimizing Web Pages for Search Engines
So, what are some of the steps that you can take to optimize your website for Search Engines? These steps provide important answers to the question “What is Search Engine Optimization?” Here are a few of them;
- Keyword Research is an important SEO aspect for a number of reasons. We have already noted that people find the information that they are looking for on the internet by typing queries into Search Engines and using the returned results to navigate across the World Wide Web.
- Keywords can be describes as the terms that are used by people when typing queries into Search Engines.
- Keyword Research allows SEO experts across the globe to identify these Search Terms in order better target potential readers. This can be done by creating content that contains the most used search terms; the keywords.
- Knowing exactly what people are typing into Search Engines thus gives you the ability to optimize your content for better rankings.
- There are a number of Keyword Research tools out there that you can use to carry out proper keyword research. A good example is Google’s Keyword Planner, which can help you plan your SEO campaigns.
Ask any SEO expert, and you will be told that links are the highways on which Search Engine bots crawl while indexing internet content. As such, they are very important and should be the cornerstone of your Search Engine Optimization strategy during the current year. But, what, exactly, are links and how can you use them as part of your SEO strategy?
What are Links?
- Your website or blog is composed of web pages. These are documents in HyperText Markup Language (HTML). These pages and other content are what make up the World Wide Web.
- Links, also referred to as hyperlinks, are citations, on a web page, that point to another page. When you click on a link, it takes you to the other page.
- The connection can either be internal, that is, linking to other pages on the same website or blog, or external, where they point to pages that are on other websites.
- Inbound links: These are the links that point to a website from external sites.
- Outbound links: Refers to the links that you make from your own website to pages that are on other websites.
What is Linkbuilding?
- Link building is mainly concerned with external links, (although internal links are also important to Search Engine Optimization). Link building is the process by which you get hyperlinks from web pages that are on other domains to point to pages that are on your own website.
- As mentioned earlier, links are the paths on which Search Engine bots crawl while indexing the content that is on the web. The indexing of web pages would be extremely difficult without them.
High Quality Links
- It is important, therefore, for you to make sure that you get others to point to your web pages. In general, Search Engines look at the quantity and quality of links and use that as one of the parameters when assigning a rank to a web page.
- The logic here is simple; if your pages are of a poor quality, not many people will wish to link their content to them. And if you get a link from a reputed website, that tells Search Engines that the quality of content on your website is very high.
- You can, therefore, get others to link to your site through a wide range of link building strategies, all of which begin with the creation of high quality content.
Meta Tags are another SEO component that you should be aware of while pursuing your Digital Marketing strategies this year. Although Meta Tags are simple enough to insert into web pages, the truth is that not many armature bloggers are even aware of their usefulness in getting content ranked high by Search Engines.
What are Meta Tags?
Meta Tags are small pieces of text in HTML that describe the contents of a web page. Although they do not appear in the document itself, they are part of the way through which Search Engines, such as Google, Baidu and Yandex, index web content. Meta Tags are placed in the header of a page’s content. They are of extreme importance, since they tell Search Engines what a web page is all about. They have four main types, some of which are more useful to SEO than others;
- Meta Keywords
- Meta Descriptions
- Title Tags
- Meta Robots Attributes
- Guest posts are extremely important to Search Engine Optimization, and should form part of your Digital Marketing strategy this year. We have already discussed the importance of getting links that point to your site from other domains. Guest Posts are, in fact, one of the ways through which you can acquire useful backlinks.
- Guest posts allow you to get traffic to your blog from other popular blogs. Although it can be difficult to get your articles guest posted on really popular websites and blogs, the key lies in giving it your best.
- The key, here, lies in producing high quality content. If what you have written about is good enough, no one will refuse to have your article posted on their site.
Guest Posting Objectives
I have already mentioned some of the reasons why you should seek guest posting opportunities;
- Your brand gains from exposure to other bloggers and industry experts.
- You get to draw on the popularity of established bloggers to reach out to the wider audiences.
- Guest posting is an important link building strategy, as it gives you the changes to have links that point back to your site.
Your goal, as a blogger, should be to give visitors to your site value by providing them with high quality, informative content. Having high quality content improves you Search Engine Ranking in a number of ways;
It reduces your bounce rate
- A web page’s bounce rate is the rate at which people who have landed on your site leave without taking time to read the content.
It gives visitors reason to come back
- Providing value to visitors to your site motivates them to come back for more at later times. It also gives them reason to subscribe for your newsletter (if you have one), and is one way through which you can grow your mailing list.
High Quality content is an integral part of link building
- Let’s face it, no one is going to want to link to your site if the quality of the content that is on it is less than perfect.
- In this regard, high quality content is an important SEO strategy. It allows you to increase the number of links that point to your site. This happens because there is motivation (quality content), for other bloggers to link to your web pages.
- Mobile phones have, today, become the primary devices through which most people across the globe make Search Engine queries. The proliferation of cheap, Chinese made Smartphones had made it possible for millions of people across the globe to get access to the internet.
- As a result, Search Engines now use mobile optimization as one of the ranking parameters.
- Mobile optimization should, therefore, be an important target for you this year. It is what allows you to rank high on mobile searches.
I hope I have fully answered the question “What is Search Engine Optimization”. A large part of Digital Marketing concerns Search Engine Optimization. There are a number of things that you can do to increase your brand’s visibility on Search Engines. SEO, thus, allows you to reach out to the wider global audiences that have made the web such an important marketing playground.