Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results.
In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a website appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users; these visitors can then be converted into customers. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, video search, academic search, news search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.
SEO differs from local search engine optimizationin that the latter is focused on optimizing a business’ online presence so that its web pages will be displayed by search engines when a user enters a local search for its products or services. The former instead is more focused on national or international searches.
As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, the computer programmed algorithms which dictate search engine behavior, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines, and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience.
Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, adding content, doing HTML, and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines.
Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic. By May 2015, mobile search had surpassed desktop search. In 2015, it was reported that Google is developing and promoting mobile search as a key feature within future products. In response, many brands are beginning to take a different approach to their Internet marketing strategies.
SEO techniques rely on how search engines work. Some are legitimate methods that are a great way to let search engines know your Web page exists. Other techniques aren’t good ways to get noticed and might involve exploiting a search engine so that it gives the page a higher ranking. Sometimes it’s tough to tell if an approach is legitimate. If it seems a little questionable, it’s probably a bad idea. SEO is linked with search engines, and you should know How do search engines work?
While most search engine companies try to keep their processes a secret, their criteria for high spots on SERPs isn’t a complete mystery. Search engines are successful only if they provide a user links to the best Web sites related to the user’s search terms.
If your site is the best skydiving resource on the Web, it benefits search engines to list the site high up on their SERPs. You just have to find a way to show search engines that your site belongs at the top of the heap. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in — it’s a collection of techniques a webmaster can use to improve his or her site’s SERP position.
The leading search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!, use crawlers to find pages for their algorithmic search results. Pages that are linked from other search engine indexed pages do not need to be submitted because they are found automatically. The Yahoo! Directory and DMOZ, two major directories which closed in 2014 and 2017 respectively, both required manual submission and human editorial review.
Google offers Google Search Console, for which an XML Sitemap feed can be created and submitted for free to ensure that all pages are found, especially pages that are not discoverable by automatically following links in addition to their URL submission console. Yahoo! formerly operated a paid submission service that guaranteed crawling for a cost per click; however, this practice was discontinued in 2009.
Search engine crawlers may look at a number of different factors when crawling a site. Not every page is indexed by the search engines. Distance of pages from the root directory of a site may also be a factor in whether or not pages get crawled.
Today, most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. In November 2016, Google announced a major change to the way crawling websites and started to make their index mobile-first, which means the mobile version of your website becomes the starting point for what Google includes in their index.
To avoid undesirable content in the search indexes, webmasters can instruct spiders not to crawl certain files or directories through the standard robots.txt file in the root directory of the domain. Additionally, a page can be explicitly excluded from a search engine’s database by using a meta tag specific to robots (usually <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”> ). When a search engine visits a site, the robots.txt located in the root directory is the first file crawled. The robots.txt file is then parsed and will instruct the robot as to which pages are not to be crawled. As a search engine crawler may keep a cached copy of this file, it may on occasion crawl pages a webmaster does not wish crawled. Pages typically prevented from being crawled include login specific pages such as shopping carts and user-specific content such as search results from internal searches. In March 2007, Google warned webmasters that they should prevent indexing of internal search results because those pages are considered search spam.
A variety of methods can increase the prominence of a webpage within the search results. Cross linking between pages of the same website to provide more links to important pages may improve its visibility.Writing content that includes frequently searched keyword phrase, so as to be relevant to a wide variety of search queries will tend to increase traffic. Updating content so as to keep search engines crawling back frequently can give additional weight to a site. Adding relevant keywords to a web page’s meta data, including the title tag and meta description, will tend to improve the relevancy of a site’s search listings, thus increasing traffic. URL canonicalization of web pages accessible via multiple URLs, using the canonical link element or via 301 redirects can help make sure links to different versions of the URL all count towards the page’s link popularity score.
White hat versus black hat techniques
SEO techniques can be classified into two broad categories: techniques that search engine companies recommend as part of good design (“white hat”), and those techniques of which search engines do not approve (“black hat”). The search engines attempt to minimize the effect of the latter, among them spamdexing. Industry commentators have classified these methods, and the practitioners who employ them, as either white hat SEO, or black hat SEO.
White hats tend to produce results that last a long time, whereas black hats anticipate that their sites may eventually be banned either temporarily or permanently once the search engines discover what they are doing.
An SEO technique is considered white hat if it conforms to the search engines’ guidelines and involves no deception. As the search engine guidelines are not written as a series of rules or commandments, this is an important distinction to note. White hat SEO is not just about following guidelines, but is about ensuring that the content a search engine indexes and subsequently ranks is the same content a user will see.
White hat advice is generally summed up as creating content for users, not for search engines, and then making that content easily accessible to the online “spider” algorithms, rather than attempting to trick the algorithm from its intended purpose. White hat SEO is in many ways similar to web development that promotes accessibility, although the two are not identical.
Black hat SEO attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception. One black hat technique uses text that is hidden, either as text colored similar to the background, in an invisible div, or positioned off screen.
Another method gives a different page depending on whether the page is being requested by a human visitor or a search engine, a technique known as cloaking. Another category sometimes used is grey hat SEO.
This is in between black hat and white hat approaches, where the methods employed avoid the site being penalized, but do not act in producing the best content for users. Grey hat SEO is entirely focused on improving search engine rankings.
Search engines may penalize sites they discover using black hat methods, either by reducing their rankings or eliminating their listings from their databases altogether. Such penalties can be applied either automatically by the search engines’ algorithms, or by a manual site review. One example was the February 2006 Google removal of both BMW Germany and Ricoh Germany for use of deceptive practices. Both companies, however, quickly apologized, fixed the offending pages, and were restored to Google’s search engine results page.
What is the main factors that impact SEO ?
Unique Content is the king of SEO strategies:
-Content is effective in both attracting the search engines and helping your organization make connections with site visitors. Great content is one the most important elements for SEO because it tells search engines that your website is relevant. This goes beyond just keywords to writing engaging content your customers will be interested in on a frequent basis.
The more quality, relevant content pieces that you have on your site, the more likely search engines will be to rank your pages higher on the search engine results page. Similarly, the more engaging and effective content you have on your site, the more likely your visitors will be to spend some quality time on your website and maybe even make a purchase.
The secret to creating content that is optimized for both the search engines and your human site visitors is to create a variety of different types of content pieces that are well-written and on topics that are most relevant to your audience. Here are just a few types of content that you can focus on to help improve your content offering and, thus, your search engine rankings:
- Blog posts and articles
- Social media content
- E-books and whitepapers
- How-To Guides and Tutorials
- Videos and audio recordings
- Infographics or other visual content
Another important thing to consider when creating content for your site is SEO keywords and phrases. These are relevant words and phrases that a search engine user might type in when looking for answers to their questions or relevant products and services. When you create content around these keywords and phrases, you improve your chances of ranking higher for these keywords on the search engine results page.
Yet another factor that can impact your content, and thus your search engine ranking, is how fresh your content is. Freshness basically refers to how often your organization posts new content to your site. However, creating brand new content is not the only way to keep your content fresh. You can also freshen up your content by updating posts, rewriting them to make them more effective, or adding new information and statistics over time.
Though creating content takes time and resources, it will more than pay off in the end. Search engines love great content and consumers need quality content to better understand the value your organization can provide. Start off by creating a few blog posts and work to build a following on social media. Once you have a group of loyal fans and followers, your organization can work to create different types of media to attract and engage new leads.
Architecture – Make websites that search engines can crawl easily. This includes several elements, like how the content is organized and categorized and how individual websites link to one another. An XML sitemap can allow you to give a list of URLs to search engines for crawling and indexing.
BackLinks – When a lot of people link to a certain site, that alerts search engines that this particular website is an authority, which makes its rank increase. This includes links from social media sources. When your site links to other reputable platforms, search engines are more likely to rate your content as quality also.
Keywords– The keywords you use are one of the primary methods search engines use to rank you. Using carefully selected keywords can help the right customers find you. If you run a jewelry store but never mention the word “jewelry,” “necklace,” or “bracelet,” Google’s algorithm may not consider you an expert on the topic.
Title descriptions – While it may not show up on the website, search engines do pay attention to the title tag in your site’s html code, the words between < title > < /title >, because it likely describes what the website is about, like the title of a book or a newspaper headline.
Meta Description – The meta description on your website tells search engines a little bit more about what each page is about. This is also used by your human visitors to better understand what the page is about and if it’s relevant. This should include your keyword and also provide enough details to tell the reader what the content is about.
Sub-headings – Not only do sub-headings make your content easier for visitors to read, but it can also help improve your SEO. You can use H1, H2, and H3 tags to help search engines better understand what your content is about.
Image Name and ALT Tags – If you are using images on your website or within your blog content, you will also want to include your keyword or phrase in the image name and alt tag. This will help search engines better index your images, which may appear when users perform an image search for a certain keyword or phrase.
Internal links – Including internal links helps search engines crawl your website more effectively, but also boosts what many SEO professionals refer to as “link juice.” In other words, it has the same benefit of any link to your site: It demonstrates the value of your content.