If you have climbed your way up here, you are most probably looking for a simple, easy and educative guide to grasp the basics of SEO. Well, good news! This guide is going to familiarize you and give you a basic idea about SEO.
Starting With the Basics
To learn about SEO we must know what is SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In simple terms, it means optimizing the search results of a search engine to up the ranking of a website.
So, to summarize it, SEO is a method to increase the search results ranking of a website in an effort to increase the online traffic on that website and add to its overall recognition.
Understanding The Technical Aspects of SEO
Let’s dig a bit deeper to understand the technical areas of SEO. Here we will learn about the aspects of SEO that are directly concerned with a website. There are certain technicalities of SEO regarding web pages and websites that significantly affect its overall ranking.
Use of Canonicals
Typically used in cases where there are duplicate web pages of a website. If you have a website that hosts pages that are identical to each other in more ways than one, then using a canonical tag becomes necessary.
All of the above lead to the same website. Yes, but we know that, not the search engine. You have to specify to the search engine which url to crawl. Adding a canonical tag is also useful when you have more than one web page of same or identical content. You can use canonicals to direct the search engine bots to index the source page and ignore the duplicate pages.
Correct Site Structure
Ok, now this an important one. A precise and appropriate site structure is critical not just for magnifying your website’s online presence but also to appease on-site visitors. One should avoid leaving is website in disarray.
To start with, always keep your website well-organized. This involves –
Systematic Internal linking – Internal links are used for connecting one page to another within the same website or domain. This internal linking is quite helpful in smoothly navigating a website. But overdoing it can also hamper this smooth functionality. Make use of internal links only where necessary.
Withdraw from Thin or Duplicate Content – The ultimate culprit for bruising the overall reputation of a website – low-grade content. The content is the main determinant of the overall online standing of a website. Shunning the compromising of content is the best way to go.
Adopt a Simple Website Design – Not much to explain here. Just make your website simple and try to streamline the navigation on your website. This not only helps the on-site visitors but also makes your website indexing easy for search engines.
Speed Of Site
Serving a slow-paced website to a fast-moving audience will turn it into an abandoned piece of history. If you want to shoot up your online ranking then the speed of website becomes a prime factor to consider. To keep your website swift-footed, you must –
Consider the size of images on your website. Large sized images take considerable time to load. So, decide on an image size that doesn’t affect the mobility of the site while keeping the quality intact.
Make use of AMPs( Accelerated Mobile Pages). Simple, lightweight and smart optimization for mobile users. AMPs help in optimizing your website according to the mobile frame.
Siloing content means adopting a practice of systematic and methodical grouping and categorization content according to their relatability. This makes it easier for a search engine to crawl and index the content of your website. This also makes the site look user-friendly.
Meta tags and Schema Markup
Let’s first have a look at meta tags
Meta Tags – An important tool, to say the least, Meta tags are used to describe and covey the data on your site to search engines. They are typically used to highlight the important and useful data on a website. It more or less helps in providing a brief summary of the content of the page. Search engines such as Google even shows this brief summary ( meta description or snippet) of a webpage in its search results.
Time to take a look at schema markup
Schema Markup – Schema markup is used as an improvisation tactic for improving the way a web page is displayed in search results by adding more to its snippet and turning it into a rich snippet. In Google( or any other search engine) search results, we often come across web pages that display user ratings, publication date, etc. That’s what schema markup do – Make web page look more descriptive.
Till now we have talked about website optimization and SEO aspects that are directly linked to a webpage or a website as a whole. Now let’s take the next step towards optimization of on-site content. You may be hosting superlative content on your website, but won’t grab the attention of the online audience until it’s thoroughly optimized.
The first and foremost step in making your content more SEO friendly. Every industry targets certain keywords that people most often use during their online search. For example – a shoe manufacturer would target keywords such as shoes, best shoes, etc. So wisely pick keywords that resonate with your content.
A smart keyword research also involves less targeted keywords like “best shoes under xxxx price”. These are called long tail keywords. They are less polluted than their cousins the short tail keywords( example – shoes). Not everyone typing in a search bar is sophisticated and precise. But the ones that use long tail keywords are generally the people actually interested in a product or service rather than the ones who are just surfing through the net.
So, do your research properly and wisely decide the keywords you want to focus on.
Optimize for Keywords
After keyword research, next, we come to optimizing the content with smart placement of keywords. These keywords play an important role in highlighting your website to search engines. When we say smart placement, we mean avoiding keyword stuffing. In a bid to maximize their web page traffic, many site owners stuff their content with keywords, which dilutes the quality of their content.
This also results in search engines like Google, penalizing your website by removing it from its search results. You must place keywords in your content in such a way that it retains its relevance and richness while also making it more SEO friendly.
The full form of TF is Term Frequency and IDF stands for Inverse Document Frequency. Both TF and IDF share a close affinity with keywords. They too, affect the overall ranking of a website by determining the target keywords it contains.
TF measures the frequency at which a certain term appeared in a document. It generally takes into account the total length of the document and performs its analysis accordingly.
IDF evaluates the importance of that certain term in that document. Here, it takes the document into account and analyzes how well does that certain term fit into the document.
To put it simply, TF and IDF are used to determine the relevance of a keyword in a document of a web page. It analyzes how important is that certain word in that content. The data extracted by TF and IDF is generally used by search engines which eventually affects the ranking of different websites.
Finally, we come down to understand the factors that indirectly affect the ranking of a website. These are mostly off-site determinants that influence the overall site ranking.
Backlinks, as we know, are the links from an outside source that points or redirects to your website. These sources are external websites that in a way refer your website to different visitors or users on their domain.
From the meaning itself, we can get a clear idea on why we need backlinks. It’s just like the real world concept. For example, a doctor who is recommended by many is bound to have a fine reputation in the market. That’s how backlinks work. If many different domains are pointing towards your website, then it naturally indicates an image boost for your website.
However, not every backlink adds to your website’s reputation. Backlinks from non-trusted sources can negatively impact your website’s current online image. We will learn more about it in the next section.
Quality Over Quantity
Now we have a basic understanding of backlinks and their importance. It’s time we laid stress on the quality factor pertaining to backlinks. To start with, we should just go on a quest to amass as many backlinks as possible, regardless of the source. We must take into account the reputation and overall image of the domain pointing to us.
In an attempt to sky-rocket their online presence, some website owners make use of tactics which are unhealthy, to say the least. By making use of paid links, manipulating comment section of websites and many more along the line. This might provide a temporary boost to their website ranking, but in the long run, they are bound to lose their goodwill along with their ranking.
So, the lesson learnt here? Only go with trusted and quality backlinks. The links that are trusted and holds substantial authority will only bolster the influence and image of your website.
Types of Backlink Creation
As discussed earlier, there can be numerous sources for backlinks. The means and ways to earn them vary. If you aim to earn credible and influential backlinks, well then, you need to build a strong foundation for your website through unique and stupendous content. These sorts of sources generally include
The Editorial Backlinks – These are generally the links from a journalist, publisher or any other blogger that refers its visitors to your site. These online publishers or bloggers carry substantial influence to their name. These backlinks can also originate from websites of big multinational giants. In short, these links are from big established names in the industry.
Guest Blogging – It’s a more educated way of earning backlinks. There are several websites that allow guests to post blogs on their website. Here you can post a piece of content and can insert a link back to your website. The only catch is, your content must be informative and useful to the users.
Apart from these legitimate ways of earning backlinks, Some website owners tend to fall prey to some unhealthy trends of earning backlinks such as –
Paid Links – As the name suggests, in this, you are buying links from a website owner. Needless to say, these websites are not amongst the trusted ones. Plus, search engines such as Google are easily able to identify the pattern of paid links and remove the website from their listing.
Forum or comment links – A practice not unheard of, some website owners tend to post their website link in the comment section of a website. Some even take it to the online forums. This eventually badmouths the website altogether and tarnish its image.
The most important source of upping your standing in the online market. We all are more than familiar with the phenomenon called Social Media. During its inception, it was used for informal and personal communication but as time went on, people found ways and means to use social media for achieving their business ends.
Here too, we are going to learn about the authority social media possess in swaying the opinions and perception of the global community. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter have millions of users worldwide. It’s obvious that any business or individual that represents itself on these platforms is going to enter in the radius of attention of the global community.
That’s where a website can seize the opportunity to gain a positive following through social media. Successfully and intelligently representing your website on various social media platforms can certainly affect your website ranking positively. Getting in touch with the social media community, understanding their tastes and preferences and posting content that suits well with their interests will ensure a swell in your online reputation.
Summing it up
It’s time to summarize what we have learned so far. We started with the basics of SEO, then we dug up its technical aspects and areas such as Use of Canonicals, Correct Site Structure, etc. In the next section, we understood the methods and techniques to create and host rich and healthy content on a website where we learned to employ the keyword tactics. Then we finally got to learn the offline aspects that directly affect the online ranking of a website like backlinks.
With this, you would have got a brief idea about the Know-how of SEO. Although Search Engine Optimization is a subject with a vast spectrum, this basic guide would certainly provide you with a basic idea of its core concepts.
Arnjen is the founder of Atastic and created the company when he noticed that there was a need for further development in the digital marketing industry. Arnjen started the agency to help website and digital product owners grow their business.
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