What is SEO? A Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization
Updated: Apr 19, 2020
The word “SEO” is widely used for the search engine result page (SERP). So, what’s the meaning of SEO, anyway? The full meaning of SEO is “Search Engine Optimization”. Search Engine Optimization can simply be defined as “SEO is a bunch of strategies or practice of getting targeted quality traffic to a website by increasing the visibility of a website or webpages organic search engine results.
Basically, SEO is the process of improving a website’s ranking in organic way. Here, organic means free, editorial or natural search results on the search engine, which is not paid search ads.
What’s Included in SEO?
Although, SEO is a long process. But mainly SEO involves creating quality content, optimize the content for the specific keyword (On-page optimization) and building backlinks to support the content for ranking. In broadly, SEO is a combined process of:
Creating High-Quality Content
Link Building (Off-Page Optimization)
So, now you have the question in your mind that how do you optimize content for SEO? Well! To understand the optimization concept, you need to understand the working process of search engines first.
Working Process of Search Engine
Think of a library for a while. How does a book library work? We know, a library stores a huge number of copies of book, right? The book we are looking for, we can get easily from the library. Search engines are similar to a library. The difference is, instead of storing a large number of book copies, search engine stores a huge number of webpages. When someone (user) types a search term (query) into the search bar, the search engine starts scanning all of its indexed pages and comes up with the most relevant topics that the user is looking for. This is the algorithm of search engines. Now, the real-time question is, how the search engine determines “the best relevant results” for the user?
Relevancy: The first and foremost factor that search engine (Let’s say, Google) looks for the content relevancy with the search term. Speaking of search term, if you search for “cars”, search engine won’t show webpages about “flowers”. Of course, it can show closely-related webpages like “BMW cars”. Because, BMW also the relevant topics of cars. Now, if you search for cars, there are millions of pages are indexed, how Google determines what site should be on top position
Authority: The second factor that Google looks for authority of a site. Basically, it’s the way of determining whether the content is trustworthy and more accurate or not? Based on the accuracy and trusting source, (i.e. authority) search engines determine the order or position of websites.
Usefulness: This is another important ranking factor. Let’s assume, your website content is high quality, relevant to the search term, accurate and trustworthy. But, if your content is not useful to the reader or user, google won’t give you the top position. Because, Google measures the usefulness of content using “User Experience Signals”. If your web content is not organized, hard to understand, you can’t hold the ranking position, although it is written by a world-class writer. So, your content must have to be useful to the user in order to rank on the search engine page.
Search Intent: When we use search engine? Simple! When we need to know something, right? Yep, Google knows that users perform searches when they need to know something. In order to help every user and make more satisfied users, Google always helps them by returning better search results that can really help the user.
How SEO Works?
Now we know how search engine works. Let’s dive into how SEO works. In short, the work process of SEO is simple. Optimize your website for search engines and the keyword that you want to rank for. Just make your site user-friendly, make each and every piece of contents useful and more interesting for the reader and make sure that your site is overall best in all aspects for the search engine and the users. There are a lot of ranking factors algorithm you need to care in order to optimize your website and make it user-friendly both for the search engine and users.
Why Is SEO Important?
Statistics show that more than 60 percent of traffic comes from Google search. Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube originates more than 70 percent of traffic. Let’s start with an example to understand the importance of organic search traffic i.e. SEO.
Suppose, you are a travel agency service provider. Now, according to Google AdWords Keyword Planner, 110,000 people search for “travel agency service” every month. Now, if you get at least 20 percentage clicks, so you have 22k visitors to your website. Now, if every single visitor spends say 1$ per click, that means you will get worth $22k per month.
Moreover, Let’s say, if you get at least 10k real customers from the organic search traffic, this is a very good customer you are getting just from organic visitors. So, is SEO important for business? Yes, of course. There is a lot of website available, in which advertisers are paying more than $50 PPC (Insurance and real estate niche site), even more than $100 per click on the search term (Medical/nursing niche site). Organic traffic can get more clicks than any kind of paid advertisements. Statistics show that less than 3 percentage of traffic clicks on paid advertisements. On the other hand, SEO has 20x more opportunity to generate traffic than PPC.
Here are some important facts by which you can able to understand the importance of SEO clearly. First of all, SEO is cost-effective and does not have to pay for ads. Although, social media marketing, paid advertising and other online marketing platforms can generate a good amount of traffic to websites, but the majority of passive and organic traffic is driven by search engines.
Moreover, Search Engine Optimization is a suitable online marketing channel that can continue generating natural traffics to your website. You do not have to continuously invest in the advertisement to drive paid traffic to your website.
Search engines are getting smarter day by day, and the algorithm of the search engine is changing and updating periodically. We know SEO is important for business, but you have to keep updated with the newest and latest SEO algorithm over time to time in order to keep up your ranking on the search engine’s first page. Optimize your site regularly, optimizing good content, collaboration with customer/users will help to deliver positive and better information to search engines so your sites and contents can be properly crawled by search engine crawler, your site contents will be properly indexed and displayed within search results easily, which eventually gives you top position of search page.
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