- October 10, 2019
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Uncategorized
What is SEO in layman terms?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. In layman terms it means optimizing you site so that Google shows it on the first page. The sites that are on the first page will be visited very often whereas those on the 2nd and 3rd page will be visited less frequently, and for those on the 20th 50th or 100th page let’s just say our eulogy and move on. Now let’s suppose you started a company and you have your own website where would you want like it ranked, on the first page or the last page(let their sites rest in peace). It’s an easy one, of course you would want it ranked on the first page, because first page equals more visitors and more visitors equals more business for you. But who decides where and how it should be ranked. It’s decided by the search algorithms of the search engines(Google, Bing, Yahoo ) that you are using
let’s take an example and try to understand what really happens when you search something online
If you watch closely there is small box on the left bottom side of the first search that says ad, that means the owner of this site has requested Google to promote his website and the Google will charge the owner every time a visitor opens this website (This if often referred to as PPC (PAY PER CLICK)). Now this is called an inorganic search result since this is a paid social media advertising you are buying traffic .
To learn more about Organic vs Inorganic searches https://www.traffic-masters.net/inorganic-vs-organic-seo-whats-the-difference/
Organic search results are the ones that don’t pay Google for their websites to be shown on the first page, that is they don’t buy traffic. Now the question arises if it’s free then why doesn’t everyone go for this? the answer is because it takes time and you might not make it to the first page. let’s say you created a website on travelling today. Now it will not be displayed on the first page right away . You will have to give Google crawlers (online police department) a chance to go through your website and check if it’s legitimate or not and if it has relevant content or not, For e.g. whether you have copied the article or not, is it a genuine piece, if it is informative or not, if it is spam or not and if you are involved in illegal or anti social activities or not . After Google has verified that website is legit. It will rank you on the basis on its algorithm factors such as content, mobile friendliness, title, description, architecture, keywords, links to and from other quality websites, social media presence, security authority, speed, location and so on. You are competing with other websites on these algorithm factors. So it will probably take you some time, months or maybe even years to climb up the organic search results ladder. That is why some people go for advertising their website by paying Google in hopes of getting the traffic.
We will be discussing in great details some of the factors that Google algorithms uses to rank the sites Google keeps updating their algorithms so that it keeps on changing constantly. SEO can be categorized in two major pieces
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
let us discuss the On page SEO criteria’s and try and understand it’s inner workings
1.)What is SEO & Why Content quality is so crucial?
This is one of the major ranking factors. Suppose you have a blog website. You get some visitors but almost each and every time someone opens your blog site, they hit the return button within seconds. This is an indication of poorly written blog and shows that it lacks quality, your content is unable to catch the attention of the visitors or is unable to answer the queries the user had. You have to write something or come up with facts and services that gives you an edge over the others. Sometimes keeping the language simple instead of going for high level technical jargon stuff can help user read and comprehend the article much better
- Genuine information content Offer high quality
- Try to differentiate yourself from the others
- Don’t copy from the other sites (Google can make out easily if you have copied the content)
- Content has to be engaging( for example it has graphs, videos, tables and charts )
- Better user experience
so what is the solution. Here are some pointers
a) Know what your readers want. You can read regarding those topics on different sites(e.g Quora, Ask.com, wiki). What are the question visitors usually ask. Are they satisfied with the answer, is it supported by facts, does it come from a trustworthy source or not, you can take pointers from these sites. For e.g. if a layman has a doubt related to the Minimum alternate taxes, you cannot just copy paste and post the income tax act and expect them to read and understand all that technical jargon, instead if you can explain the same thing with a simple language and diagram that a reader can digest . You have earned yourself an edge. This way you will attract more visitors and Google will promote you higher. Google believes that a web of thin shallow content websites creates a frustrating experience for the user and it doesn’t add any value. Google wants to take you to the best possible website.
b) Searches related to suggestions. You can take a hint from the Google search suggestions at the bottom of the page. Sometimes people don’t get the result they were hoping for, so they change the search parameters and expect a different result to pop up.
c) Google auto complete. It provides suggestions when you are typing and gives you an indication regarding what people search the most
There are a lot of tools available online to come up with these topics and titles. I have listed a few of them here. To check the quality or duplicity of your content you can use tools
- Answer The Public research tool can give you a wide range of query related keywords( for example – what is SEO, SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION, what is local SEO )
2) Keywords research
Keywords are words that describe your concept and idea. It can be a single word or a group of words that usually have high search volume. These are the words searchers usually type in the Google search engine when they are looking for a particular subject or topic, for e.g. you cannot search world’s top football player list and expect Warren Buffett name to pop up (list will probably mention Christiano Ronaldo or Messi )
You want to create a content or website with high search volume keywords , if you want your website to be found. Now the question is how will you come to know which keywords you should go for and if they get high volume of searches or not. There are some tools available online that can help you .we will read and study those but first let’s understand the glossary
- Impressions : A number of impressions are a number of times that an advertisement has been shown(through Google Ad Words or other forms of PPC advertising) or on a web page of a site. let’s say you open a website and at a passing glance you see an advertisement related to dance courses that is called an impression .Sometimes you might not even notice it .If the advertisement shows up once on the page or website you just opened the impression count has just increased by one .
- CTR (click through rate) is no of clicks received on your advertisement divided by the no of impressions .It is essential to be aware of this figure. let’s say you are paying Google 1000$ a month for your advert but only one or two people clicked it and opened it in the last month. so it is not efficient to keep paying for the ad maybe it’s time to switch to some other strategy.
- CPC (cost per click) rate gives you the amount you earn each time a user clicks on your advertisement
Tools for searching keywords
- Google keyword planner
- Keyword.io it can sort search results between major sites such as Google you tube wiki Amazon, eBay etc
- Soovle is a free tool that collects keyword suggestions from Amazon, Wikipedia, Ask.com, and YouTube.
- Google correlate it gives you correlated topics and keywords
- Answer The Public helps generate question-focused keywords .
- Keywords everywhere
- Google trends
- Keyword snatcher
These sites can give you
- average monthly searches for your particular keyword
- If you want to place an ad and an estimate of how much it will cost and how many clicks you will get
- It can give you a breakdown of how many searches came from mobile and how many came from pc and tablets
- It can give you a breakdown of CTR, CPC and impressions after you have placed an ad with the help of Google ads
Now that you have finalized the topic and the keywords just write an article, blog or create a website naturally around these words, but don’t go overboard with keyword stuffing .However you can use synonyms or correlated keywords, but hold your horses with them as well. Try to keep a keyword density of less than 5%. The quality or value of your website comes down drastically with keyword stuffing. Google penguin update came down with hammer on such poor quality sites with their penguin update you might even get penalized. so keep that in mind
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. These are keywords that look similar and carry the same meaning and are just synonyms of the keywords you are going for. You can sprinkle them in between to help your website rank higher.
3) Fresh content (Query Deserves freshness )
Using this algorithms search engine tries to identify your query requests that demands new developments and results. QDF comes into picture when a new topic, news or query starts trending a lot and get a lot of search volume
For this it monitors.
- Magazines and blogs
If combined results of query related to these are current as well as trending. Google ranks these results higher than usual, but beware after the buzz fades away the article will move down the search results. This temporary results lasts as long as it holds the general public interest.
4) Site html architecture
It consists of title tag, description tag. URL structure, Heading tag, Canonical issue, Image optimization(alt tags) are the answers for what is SEO. All these put together can help you propel your site rankings .let discuss each one of these in detail
a) Title tag A title tag is a heading that specifies the title of a web page. It shows how you want your page to be described in the search page result. Title tags are shown as the headlines for a given result, and are important for usability, SEO, and social sharing because it is informative and it looks appealing. It summaries what your web page and article is all about. It’s the title that shows on the tab when it is opened in a browser window. Google scans your page for specific words and phrases and once it has indexed all the content it establishes what your article is all about .This is the most important part of the research. Let’s say you are a writer and you wrote a book and it is an edge of the seat thriller, you gave an order of one million prints, you expect it to be a big success .There is just one problem instead of giving it a catchy name such as “The hell ride“ you went with “Managing emotions“. We are an impatient bunch of people how many people do you think are going to pick it up, read what’s written overleaf and buy it, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out probably a dozen at max, Most of them will ignore it straightaway that is why you have to use keywords in your article and title tag without going overboard .
Now how and from where are you supposed to edit your website’s title tag
a) WordPress. Now if your website runs on wordpress you can use the wordpress dashboard. Yoast SEO plugin, Yoast makes it easy to setup your page’s title and description tag. you can change the title and description of any page of your website
b) Wix.com. If your site runs on the other platform like Wix they come bundled with SEO features same as yoast SEO
How to Edit HTML Title Tags There are two ways you can edit title tags:
- By directly editing the HTML
Open the main page of your website which are usually named as home.html, index.html, or default.html then you can open this in editor and make the changes to the coding line that looks like this.
- <title>your website title goes here</title>. Remember don’t break the syntax and coding
The cardinal rule of on page SEO is to have your keyword in the title tag
Here are some pointers
- Watch your title length. You only get 50-60 words limit and if you are writing with uppercase letters that limit is going to come down even further
- If your title is too long, search engines may cut it off by adding an ellipsis (“…”) and could end up omitting a keyword
- Don’t overdo SEO keywords (avoid stuffing keywords in your title that are correlated same and repetitive. Search engine understands variations of the keyword and can penalize you. For e.g if you have an e-commerce website don’t use title such as best and cheapest laptops, best and cheapest Tv , cheapest ac etc.
- If your site has multiple pages give each of them a unique title. Avoid giving them categorized name such as home page, support page etc.
- Put keyword first-surveys have shown people read less than two or three lines on the SERP page to figure out what the site is about. this means they are looking for the same keywords they used for searches in your website title. So try to keep keywords first.
- Brand name -if you have a strong brand name and presence or if you are trying to promote it. try using it in your website title tag
5) Description tag
A meta description tag is a portion of HTML code in a web page that summarizes the content that will be shown on the SERP page.The meta description is usually placed after the title tag. The purpose of the description is to be catchy enough for the visitor to generate clicks. It is a snippet of about 155 characters length. If the phrase being searched for is present in your description tag chances of your website being shown on the first page increases dramatically.
Meta description can be edited the same way as the title wag.
- With the help of content management system that you use such as wordpress. You can edit the title tag and description tag since they are present on the same page (check the video above)
- By directly editing the html tag
The meta description is an HTML tag, which looks like this in the HTML code for the page:
<meta name=”description” content=”your website page description will come here A page’s description.”/>
- Other sites such as wix also provides the same bundled package where you can edit the description tag
Now how to write better description tags
a) Try to get the crucial information in the tag
b) Keyword If the searched keyword matches a part of your description in the meta description, Google will be more inclined to show that in the search results.
c) Matching the content. If you are tricking the visitors into clicking on your website, Google might penalize you, as it will be obvious from the bounce rate
6) URL structure.
There are basically two types of URL’S
Static URL is one in which the content of the web page remains the same as long as the changes are not hard coded within the HTML.
Dynamic URL is one which is a result of a search within a website driven by a database running on some script.
What use is this information to us
Dynamic URLs are less friendly to search engines and looks far less appealing
Search engines do not like dynamic URLs. let us take an example of a dynamic website, which may look something like this:
Imagine trying to remember this URL and typing it to get to the page you want . The experience is nothing short of traumatizing. Whereas static URL looks something like this
Bottom-line is static URLs are search engine friendly and appealing to eye whereas dynamic URL are not. Plus they don’t get indexed as easily as the static URL’S.
If the word you want to be found for is there in your domain name it helps your ranking prospects
7) Canonical URL issue
Now all these URLs will take you to the same page. Crawlers see them as different pages and when it indexes it. It comes to the conclusion that all these pages have the same content. Now search engine gets confused as to which page it should show for a given search. You only want one version of a page to be available to search engines.
Canonicalization helps pick the best URL to present to the on the SERP page when multiple choices are available. The easiest way to get around this problem is to tell Search engines and the users know which is your “preferred URL” or the canonical URL. This will redirect all of the variations to your canonical URL which you will mention in the canonical tag.
So how do you make a canonical tag?
The canonical tag is part of the HTML header on a webpage. This is the same place where we edited our title tag, meta description tag and the robots tag. Let’s say, we wanted to change the canonical URL to be http://www.bodybuilding.com/. The code, using my example above, would look like this.
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.bodybuilding.com/”>
This canonical tag would then work on all of the other variations of that URL.
Other ways you can counter this problem is
- Select your preferred domain (Google search console)
- Use a sitemap to set preferred URLs for the same content
- 301 redirect. when the site’s URL is changed for any reason(for example when a brand is changing its company or website name). A 301 redirect helps in maintaining the power of inbound links to the original URL on the migrated new domain .It helps sends visitors and search engines to a different URL without having to actually type in a different URL. It helps maintaining a website’s domain authority and search rankings .
- Set a preference for HTTPS over HTTP for canonical links
8) Heading tag
There are two types of header tags H1 and H2, but first let’s learn what they are and how they can help you in ranking your site and how it can help you reduce bounce rate. Header should give the reader an idea of the information they can learn from the paragraph text that follows, think of it this way H1 introduces what the topic is all about H2 is similar to the sub chapters or sub points. When an article is structured, users might actually stick around to read it, instead of bouncing back to Google search page thus increasing the bounce rate
How to use header tags properly
- Include keywords in your header tags.
- Google can sometime show your sub headers with bullet-ed and numbered lists or featured snippet in the search results.
- Use only one H1. Try to keep them neat precise short and to the point
How to edit H1 and H2
There are two ways you can edit them
- Edit the html file directly in backend. You can check the coding of the site by pressing the shortcut keys (ctrl + U) keys on the keyboard
- In wordpress Access it from Appearance -> Editor. Choose the respective .php file. Identify the HTML h1 and h2 tag and change it. Site description code is most probably available in the header.php.
- If instead of page you want to change the post h1 and h2. Go to your Word-press Dashboard.Go to the POST >Post List. Open the post in which you want to do the changes.
- If you use Visual Composer then open the text editor select the heading Section choose from the option to changes the heading from H1 to H2.
9 ) Image optimization (Alternative tag )
When you search images of your favorite soccer player say Lionel messi, ever wondered why sometimes it show you an image of some other player. Why is it that Google cannot make out from the image if it is the same person or not .Unlike a text-based article, search engines cannot understand what’s inside of an image or whose image it is. So they depend on your image’s filename, alt text and title to index it and figure out on which searches it should be shown.
Why image optimization is important?
It creates a nice user experience and reduces the bounce back rate and at the same time it helps crawlers index and categorize the images
- How to edit the alt name. Log in to your WordPress website >Open the post or page to edit the content. Click on the pencil ‘Edit’ icon for the image.You will see a row of icons that allows you to edit various fields related to icon. Add or edit the ‘Alternative Text’ field and update it.
A site map is a model of a website’s content designed to help both humans and crawlers navigate the site. It is a roadmap crawler can follow to index the site. There are two types of site maps
- When the site map is for users, it’s just a plain HTML file with a listing of all the major pages on a site.
- Sitemap.xml file, helps search engine crawlers index all pages on the site
Google recommends to keep a site map as it allowing all search engines to be notified of the site map by mentioning it into the robots.txt file.
How will you find a sitemap?
- Try typing directly “http://website.com/sitemap.xml”. If it is not showing there .Look in http://example.com/robots.txt .You can find it directly in robot.txt file (Web site owners use the /robots.txt file to give instructions about their site to the search robots.This is called The Robots Exclusion Protocol. The “User-agent: *” means this section applies to all robots.
- The “Disallow: /” tells the robot that it should not visit any pages on the site.If you still cannot discover it you can right-click > “View Source” and complete a hunt (otherwise known as: “control find” or Ctrl + F) for .xml to check whether there is a reference to it in the code.
To allow crawlers to crawl and index your site, login to Google webmaster tools, click Sitemaps and press the ADD/TEST SITEMAP button, then submit the sitemap.xml file and registration of your website is complete now.
Now how will you generate a sitemap
a)If you are using wordpress .plugin by yoast can give you a sitemap in xml
b)What if your website CMS does not allow you auto-generate your sitemap xml file? Or if you simply wish to upload it manually? you can create the site map manually using this code
c)Search on Google “xml sitemap generator” and you will get a lot of website which generates sitemap free of cost.
11) Mobile friendly
This is one of the most important ranking factors as more than 60% searches originate from mobile.So what is SEO & How it works in case of mobile-friendliness Think about it if you have to search something, order something or just watch some video’s what do you usually do, do you take out your laptop from the bag fire it up and then search or do you just take out your mobile and search whatever you wanted to on your mobile. Mobile is very handy and easy to use Google recommends that mobile version Optimization of your website plays a very crucial rule in website rankings.
What mobile friendliness means
- Minimal to almost no pop ups
- Features such as the autocorrect (this provides better user experience)
- It Loads resources such as video, links, images etc in a similar manner acoss all the platform
- It Doesn’t hide content on mobile versions of your site
- The site opens quickly
- Compress Your Images and CSS compress anything that takes up a lot of space now and slows loading time .That includes your high-resolution images and your CSS.
- Has working internal links and redirects.
- Responsive Web Design automatically resize, hide, shrink, or enlarge, a website, to make it fit the screen size This means the text, image, video everything is responsive and can shrink or enlarge in response to the computer screen size
- Avoid using flash as it slows down the loading process of the page.
- Include Meta Tag . The viewport meta tag tells browsers to adjust the width of your page as per the screen of the device you are using.
Adding this to your html. Just paste this onto the html for each page:
<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″>
For a detailed explanation visit this link https://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_meta.asp
How to find out if your website is optimised or not.
To use it, login to your Google search console account. Then click on “Mobile Usability”.
visit this link to check mobile usability https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
It can give you a crack down report of your website and if there is something wrong with it Example suppose the Google bot had trouble loading a page, or if the text is too small, etc. and then you can sort it out later
let Google crawl everything. Unless Google can fully crawl your page, they can’t index it mobile friendly as per the mobile-first index. Other factors that affect the ranking of the website and results shown are as follows
Security : Optimize for speed Regardless of the platform, your site has to load in 5 seconds or less. Image compression, code and structure optimizations, and faster hoisting services and servers can
definitely help. Slow speed and increased loading time affects user experience and increases the bounce back rate, and as the bounce back rate increases your website ranking falls, for example using embedded link instead of uploading the enitre video on your website.
You can use these websites to check the speed of your websites
Security : Google bots give prefers to HTTPS sites over HTTP. it rewards sites that use HTTPS with a small ranking boost.
Location : sometimes Google can give you a personalized result depending on your location. Example your search result that you get for “salsa classes near me “will differ compared to someone who lives in Australia
Vertical research : To begin with, a vertical search engine, unlike a general web search engine, focuses only on a specific segment. Example Say, you run an online sports store in a densely populated area. In that case, your horizontal keywords could be sports equipment while the vertical keyword could be ‘baseball bat ”. However, if you plan to sell only baseball bat, your horizontal could be baseball bat ’ while your vertical could be “Nike baseball bats”. Content that performs well in vertical search can help you succeed even if your web page content lets you down
All the topics discussed above are a part of the on-page SEO.
On-the-page search ranking factors are those that publishers control. Now that we have discussed what is SEO at length, we can move on to off-page SEO.
Now let’s discuss the Off-Page SEO briefly
what is off-page SEO. Off-Page ranking factors are those that publishers do not directly control.
- The trust factor of a site affect ranking a lot, for example, a site with a history of violating guidelines and receiving multiple penalties may find it hard to make its way to the top
- Piracy. Any site that is involved in or was involved in piracy activities such as copyright infringement violations will find it extremely difficult to make it to the top
- Advertisement -a site that is just stuffed with advertisement, pop up will lead to a horrible user experience which in turn increases the bounce rate. Although promoting someone’s else’s ad is not illegal, going overboard with it, will come back to haunt you
- Dwell time. Google analytics can make out if users viewing your site stays and explore the site or leave seconds after opening your website. This is an indication of poorly written or constructed website that is just not engaging enough.
- Authority is calculated by a number of factors.
-Such as the shares the back links from different websites come from trusted and reputed websites or not.
-Your back link web comprises of good websites or not ? if your back link web comprises of sites that have a history of violations or not.
-Similarly if your back link web comprises of good website you will have a higher authority.
– More the no of back links higher the authority of the websites.
– More the no of links from different sites better the authority, Invest in link building as part of your SEO efforts.
– the less the no of links with broken links, better the authority.
– history longer the site and it’s domain has been around for a long time higher the authority.
– links in your websites, do they contain the content and keyword the user was looking for.
– How many links point to your website .Higher the no better the authority of the site.
– How often does your website, article or product gets shared, although sharing is not a ranking factors but it helps in forming backlinks which help in creating authority.
Now let’s take a look at what you aren’t supposed to do
There are some techniques that could result in your pages receiving a ranking penalty, or worse being banned from the search engines entirely these practices are called blackhat practices.
Cloaking is a search engine optimization (SEO) technique in which the content presented to the search engine spider is different from that presented to the user’s browser. This is done by checking and identifying what type of ip address is trying to access it. When a user is identified as a search engine spider, a server-side script delivers a different version of the web page, one that contains content different than the original page which a normal user sees. The purpose of cloaking is sometimes to deceive search engines so they display the page which it shouldn’t otherwise.
If you have purchased link in the hope of better ranking. There is a very high probability that your site is going to get banned. Google once banned Google japan for purchasing the links.
Anchor Text Optimization
– Anchor text optimization. Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. SEO best practices dictate that anchor text be relevant to the page you’re linking to but if you go overboard with it Google will penalise you.
– Keyword stuffing (repeating keywords)
– Websites with virus
Hidden Text & Links
– Hidden text and links. Hiding text or links in your content to manipulate Google’s search rankings will be treated as a violation and a black hat practice.
- Using white text on a white background
- Putting text behind an image
- Using CSS to position text off-screen
- Reducing the font size to zero
Hopefully, this article has cleared some of your doubts regarding what is SEO. If you want to learn more about digital marketing you can visit the post and get in touch with a digital marketing consultant.