A beginners guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technique to make your website appear on top or in top results for some specific terms supposed to be entered by a user.

In other words, Search Engine Optimization is a process to convince the Search Engine that your website/page/post is the most relevant for the query of the user.

Normally SEO is done…

  • To drive more traffic on your website.
  • So that Search Engines like to show your content to prospect user or visitor.

Why SEO?

The world’s very first website was published on August 6, 1991 by British physicist Tim Berners-Lee.

Since then there were too many websites added to the internet.

And till June 2017 there were 3,885 million websites live on the internet, and the numbers are increasing every minute.

The Infographic also claims that 70 new domains are registered and 571 new website are created within a minute online.

Scary! Isn’t it.

In this world you have to stand, yell and maintain your existence!

To do so you have to make people aware of your live existence.

Now, for your surprise, 96% of traffic (say users) to a particular site comes through Search Engines.

And it is obvious that everyone may not remember your website address, instead they just ask the search engines what they want.

Whenever a user searches something on the Search Engines, in 95% cases they often go through the top 2-3 links, and not others; because Search Engines nowadays provide very much related results to the user’s query and nearly to exact what user want.

So, here comes SEO, to bring your website or webpage in the list of top results.

The higher you rank, the more visitors you get…

The more visitors you get, the more you earn / sell.

Note that too much traffic on your web may not be beneficiary, but relevant traffic is beneficiary.

Why Google?

Because it is my favorite one?

No, not at all.

Google owns 60 to 70 percent of the internet traffic.

There are many search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask Me, AltaVista, Duck Duck Go, Baidu and many others. Among these the Google is the most used & trusted search engine.

Trusted!

Yes, you heard well.

Google provides most relevant and user specific results among all the search engines. It is so because they have a lot of data about most of the users. Google own Android, YouTube, and Google+ etc.

And they keep track of…

  • What you see on these platforms?
  • How often you use them?
  • How long you stay there?
  • And many other factors.

In the short, they know the taste of the user.

Moreover Google is very serious about the result and it is often updated to kick out irrelevant results usually more than twice or thrice in a year. When you optimize your website for Google, you do not have to work much for other search engines.

Got it? Very good.

 

How Google works?

Google has the special search techniques called algorithms. Algorithm takes user’s query and parse it, and fetches the webpages from its Index matching the content.

Index is a repository of Google where it stores the web pages. Google get these web pages by sending out web spiders named Googlbots to crawl the websites and store & analyze the web pages.

Google has many Linux servers running their own file-system called Google File System. (Like NTFS, FAT32, EST etc. but it is their own!)

Google keeps updating its algorithm as they identify bug in the existing one or to improve the search. Some of their previous algorithms are…

  • Hummingbird
  • Penguin
  • Panda etc.

Interested to know more on working of Google? Click here!

Now, coming back to the track…

It is the algorithm who decides which web pages to show for the keyword entered by the user. It does this by taking many factors into account, usually more than 200. Some of them are… (For ruff idea)

  • How many times the keyword appear in the page?
  • Does it appear in title of the website?
  • Does it appear In the URL?
  • Does the page include synonyms for those words?
  • Is this page from a quality website or a bad website?

How to convince Google?

Well, first of all make clear that you are not convincing a human being or any brainy animal, and there is no strict rule to do so.

Google uses crawlers (bots) to analyze your site, and these bots decide what your web page is all about and how important it is for some keywords.

Keywords are nothing but phrases or words entered by a user.

There are two ways to convince Google that your site has the best and most relevant content for some keywords.

1. Black hat SEO

It is done via misleading bots, providing fake information, making lots of back links etc.

In short, it is an un-ethical way or pretending to be someone you are not.

This technique may get you on top results even on no. 1 position very quickly. But it is not recommended as Google keeps changing its algorithm to kick out these type of asses.

It may lead you in trouble in case of big changes in Google’s algorithm. Your site might be blocked on Google for such activity.

Don’t do it.

 

2. White hat SEO

This is the genuine way to make your website or web page easy for the bots to understand and analyze.

Remember one thing that SEO is long run game. You have to build trust with Google that you provide quality content and do not spam.

Google is focused on providing best answers to the user’s queries.

Hence, we will be discussing the white hat SEO.

Till now we have cleared the concepts related to website, search engine and SEO. Without any other discussion, let us go straight to the real game – where we are focusing on what to do in order to convince Google.

Areas to work on…

There are many factors that affect the rank of your website on Google. That are categorized in…

  1. On page.
  2. Off page.

On Page SEO

On page optimization includes the tasks related to structure and arrangement of the web pages and posts within your website.

It should be started at the moment you start building or developing your website. Later, it may become more complicated to modify structure of the website.

So, develop your website or blog taking into account the points listed below right from the beginning.

Remember one thing that without On-Page optimization no SEO technique will be helpful to you.

While dealing with the On-Page optimization of your web page take care of following things.

 

Title tag

The <title> </title> points to what the page is all about. You should focus on the main keywords and try to be short as possible.

These tags may contain your brand name and tag line. That’s enough.

Meta tags

It is not necessary that your web page title should always contain keywords you want to rank for. I’ve seen many websites that do not contain keyword in the title, and still manage to rank well.

It takes a lot time to build such trust with Google.

Hence try to emphasis the keyword.

 

Meta tags

Title of the web page is displayed as the title in the browser and shown as link in SERPs (Search Engine Result Page), whereas the Meta tag gives short description to the search engine.

You should write some short description of your web page or post and include keyword or words nearest to that keyword. Do not spam keywords here.

This description will be shown in the SERP.

Title tag

Alt texts of images

You may heard that your post should contain images as many as possible or at least one.

Google appreciates Info graphics and visual type media.

There should be alt text for the each image that describe the name and purpose of the image.
This will make your image available in image searches on Google.

That is, whenever a user search for something, especially in image, then Google will display your image in SERP if your alt text matches the search.

Having alt and title text in image tags make sense that the site is well developed and maintained.

It will also make some sense whenever the image is not loaded due to any network issues.

 

Permalink

Permalink means the specific URL of your page / post.

Your page / post URL should be as simple & short as possible. It should contain the keyword if possible.

The permalink should be easily readable and understandable by non IT users.

For example, http://www.computermiracle.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/

 

Mobile friendliness

Your website should be responsive. It should be loaded without having horizontal scroll bar in the mobile devices.

Most websites nowadays are mobile friendly.

Moreover, if possible, your website should have Accelerated mobile pages.

Hint: make the width of the elements in % (usually 100%). This will make the element fit to its parent.

To check mobile friendliness of your page visit this Google’s mobile friendliness Tester

 

Page speed

It is very important that your page loads faster. If your web page take longer to load then user will not wait for so long. So try to improve your web page performance.

If user closes your page while loading or just after loading, it is very bad issue for you. Because Google takes into account this thing, that is Bounce rate.

To analyze and improve the speed of your page or site you can use following tool.

Google’s page speed tester.

Content

Content is the king! Just focus on providing quality content, and you do not have to waste time on promoting or optimizing your page / post.

Keywords

Keyword means words or phrases user may enter in the search box.

For example “how to do SEO”, “Beginner’s guide for SEO” etc.

To make your page appear in top results you have to provide the content having and matching the keywords entered by user.

Which keywords I have to use?

To get the answer of the above question, do some research on how user searches, what he/she types in the search box. That’s it!

Now, it is very difficult for us to do this. Thankfully there are many tools available on internet to do so. For example…

Google Keywords planner

This is the tool provided by Google. It is basically built for the adwords and it is there in the Google adwords. We can use it for free to research for keywords.

Click here to go to Keywords Planner.

Google Keywords planner

Ubersuggest

This tool is available for free. Simply enter your topic and get suggestions

Click here to visit

.Ubersuggest

And many more… (just search for it on Google)

 

Optimizing posts

It is important that your post contains the keywords you want to optimize for. It does not mean that you stuff the keyword everywhere.

In fact, it is recommended that the first paragraph or 100-200 words contain the keyword, and in rest of the content do not try to use keyword too many times. Instead, use the keyword per every 150-200 words. This will make Google believe that you provide decent answers. This will lead to increase trust on you.

Try to provide best content that the keyword want to express.

Headings

Make the keyword part of your heading. Keywords in heading represents the relevancy of the post. Use keywords in <H2> </H2> tag.

External link

You post should contain external links to other websites. Provide at least one outgoing link to excellent sites of the same interest.

Internal Links

Provide links to your internal pages and other posts.

For example, if you are discussing the thing that is in another article of yours then you can provide link to that article saying “if you want to dig deep, click here”.

Length of post

Try to be as descriptive as possible. At least 1000 words.
Google loves long, in-depth content.

 

Sitemap

Sitemap is nothing but a hierarchical list of webpages in your website. It is usually stored as XML file.

According to Wikipedia, “Sitemap is an XML file that lists the URLs for a website. It allows webmaster to inform search engines about URLs on website that are available for crawl.”

If you are using WordPress then you can generate sitemap using Yoast SEO plug in. Otherwise you have to create sitemap on your own.

Before developing sitemap refer Google’s guide

Also refer the Sitemap organization’s website for protocols here.

 

Indexing the page or post

It is necessary that your page / post is indexed after publishing. It simply means that the Googlebots crawl and analyze your page / post, so that it can be shown up in Search Results.

Well, to do so you have to tell the bots to crawl your page. This process is called pinging for crawl. For such ping use Pingomatic, a free tool that pings to many search engine at once.

To check whether your page is indexed or not, just go to google.com and type in search box “site: yoursite”.

Here, yoursite is the specific URL of your web page or post you want to be indexed.

e.g. “site:computermiracle.com/category/seo/what-is-seo

Off page SEO

Off-page SEO includes all those external factors and things that affect how Google treats your web page.

Back-links

A back-link is a link on other website pointing to your website.

For example, I wrote an article on “how to create fan page on Facebook”, and I included a link to facebook.com in my article. That is called as a back-link for facebook.com website.

There are many techniques to create back-link for your site. Do not try to create links on unrelated websites and blogs. This will cause huge trouble for you. In fact, do not try to create back-links but, try to earn back-links.

Yes, earning back-link means getting featured in someone’s post or page.

For example, I wrote an article on “how to create fan page on Facebook”, and I included a link to facebook.com in my article. That is called as a back-link for facebook.com website. Here I’ve included the link to facebook.com in my article on my own; That is, Facebook has earned a back-link.

Some of the techniques to create back-link are discussed below.

Guest posting

In this technique, you have to submit article on websites that provides facility of guest posting. In that article you have to provide a link to your page intelligently.

This is effective but a tedious task.

Social media

Dropping link on social media is one of the most effective ways to create quality back-links.

You should have at least one fan page or account on popular social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ etc.

Obviously, Google will try to provide results that are popular around the users and what users like the most.

Having accounts on social media prove that you are real, and not a bot or spammy site.

Forums and blog comments

You can also create back-link by commenting and answering on forums. Try to provide intelligent answers that the reader will like and provide a link to your post or page of same thing.

These are not very effective but are very useful links.

High authority links

Some domains are trust worthy by default for a Search Engine. If you have contact or know someone who works at the domains below, don’t hesitate to ask for a link.

For example, .gov, .edu, and Non-government organizations’ websites.

 

Domain name and URLs

Your domain name and page or post URLs should be very clear and should be SEO-friendly.

SEO-friendly means your URL should only contain alphabets and a dash(-).

For example, www.computermiracle.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/

 

Google search console

It is very important that your post or page should be indexed by Google to be appear in the SERPs.

Google Search Console (GSC) is service provided by Google to the owners of the website.

You can request actions on your website such as requesting a re-crawl, or view Google Search data for your property, such as Google Search statistics or crawling errors.

 

Conclusion

This is the overview of SEO, the things and techniques to help you get started.

SEO is complex and changing field, but some rules remain same that we have discussed here. Keep visiting for updates.

Useful resources

2 Comments

  1. Dear AB Diwan,
    Your blog is awesome in terms of content and looks. You have wrote a good article to understand the concept of SEO for beginner, keep it going on with fresh content.

    I suggest you to change your author name from site to person name. And there are many improvement which you may be already doing time to time.

    God Bless you success in your journey!

    Thank you

  2. Dear arbaz diwan,
    Great blog on SEO for the beginner.Content and your way of discrib the topic’s is awesome.keep going on,success is yours.
    Thank you

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