Ever wondered how does your search engine know exactly what you're looking for? How the website with most valuable information to you appears in the top results? Why is your competitor's product at a higher rank in search results?
Well, it is all the magic of Search Engine Optimization or SEO in online marketing.
Now, you may be wondering what is SEO and how can it predict the exact search results I am looking for.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a tool in digital marketing that improves the ranking of a web page across all search engine platforms. It is the process of optimizing your online content so that a search engine likes to show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword.
Get it? No? Let me make it simpler.
Search engine optimization is the act of performing tasks in a way that tells search engines “when someone searches for X near me, let them know that I’m the best functioning website and the most respected source of information in my community for X.”
Search engines use algorithms which allows them in choosing what to show. One of the most important and first algorithms used by Google was PageRank, named after Larry Page, co-founder of Google.
Google and other search engines change the search algorithm regularly (500-600 times a year). So it is quite impossible to crack that code and make it into your favour. But, how will you get your web page listed at the top rank? There are a few tools, techniques which directly or indirectly improve a website's ranking. In this article, we'll be guiding you through every step related to SEO in online marketing in a simple and effective manner.
White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO
To the uninitiated, there is only one kind of SEO (search engine optimization). The reality is that there are several different types of SEO. Understanding the differences and their proper use can either help you create a well-established brand name or get your reputation ruined.
Black Hat SEO: As the name suggests, it is the dark side of SEO. It involves optimization and alteration of content for search engines only and not for humans. It utilizes techniques and methods that are in direct conflict with search engine guidelines. Some black hat SEO techniques include link spamming, keyword stuffing, cloaking, hidden text, and hidden links. Usage of this technique might result in unpredictable growth in search rankings but you will ultimately end up getting banned or ruining your online presence.
White Hat SEO: White hat SEO is the most popular and used technique. It involves utilizing techniques and methods to improve the search engine rankings of a website which don't conflict with search engine guidelines.
Just like Luke Skywalker (from Star Wars) refused to turn to the dark side, we at StartxLabs Technologies refrain from using such dark practices and you'll hardly ever hear us talking about it.
On Page SEO and Off Page SEO
On Page SEO: It refers to the methods of improving SEO by optimizing web pages by altering content and HTML source code ON the web-page.
The main techniques of On Page SEO are:
Page Title: Each of the pages & posts of the website should have its own unique title, which includes the main keywords for that page. It is a very important factor of SEO on the site.
Meta Descriptions: These descriptions are an important place to include relevant keywords for your content, as these are used within the search results when your page is listed.
Meta tags: Comprise all set of keywords in the form of Meta tags for each of the pages which should be the relevant keywords of the content.
Body Tags: Body Tags are used to make it easier for people to read the content easily. While writing articles, break up content into smaller sections and paragraphs.
Keyword Density: Including relevant keywords throughout content is very important, as it helps search engines work out what your content is about. Excessively repeat and overuse keywords lead to a site being banned from search engines.
Inter Linking: Internal links is a useful weapon in your SEO stash and make it much easier for visitors to traverse around the site. Placing links to other website pages is a great way of improving the site.
For web developers, we have added a repository on our GitHub profile for all the important HTML tags for title/meta tags used on Social Media websites, newsletters, search engines etc.
Off Page SEO: It refers to the practices of improving a website's ranking by optimizing techniques OFF the website.
The main techniques of Off Page SEO are:
Link Building: Link building is the most successful and powerful off-Page SEO technique. Basically, by building external links to your website, you are trying to accumulate as many ‘votes’ as you can, so that you can bypass your competitors and rank at a higher result in search engine ranking pages (SERPs).
Social Media Marketing: Social media is part of ‘off-site SEO’ and if you think about it, it’s also a form of link building. It helps you to build links to promote your business organically. It also helps in creating a brand name and image in the social market.
Social Bookmarking: Social bookmarking is not as popular as it used to be in the past but it is still a good way to get traffic to your website. Depending on your niche you can find websites like quora.com, and reddit.com(to name a few) to promote your content.
Guest Blogging: Another way of earning strong backlinks is guest blogging. You have to build relevant and high-quality content and submit to the blogs with higher page ranks. If your article contains good and valuable content it will get published and to do that you have to observe the content types and categories your target blogs are covering, it’s even great if there are some common or related categories both of you cater to.
How does search engine optimise?
In the beginning, I talked about tools and techniques that a search engine uses to rank pages and we discussed these tools. But, a curious mind like me would want to know how do these tools function or how can a search engine detect if the web page is following all the search engine guidelines properly. A search engine follows a few steps to rank a website on SERPs.
To understand these steps let's consider the most used search engine - Google.
There are 3 basic steps for Google to deliver search results; crawling, indexing, and serving.
The crawling process crawls through all the websites online and then indexes links on each page of these sites and stores them in massive hard drives. Next, Googlebot will process all the information in key attributes and content tags.
Why does your website or web product need SEO?
By now, I hope, you would be having a good amount of knowledge about SEO and how it works, but you may not be quite sure as to why you need SEO for your website. The truth is no matter how big or small your business is, to stand out in this online world manipulated by search engines, your website or web product needs to be optimized according to search engines guidelines. SEO has gotten a bad name in recent years because of a few individuals who used "black hat" practices to exploit search engines instead of following their guidelines. Choosing the wrong SEO professional caused many websites to suffer damage to their reputation and they found themselves buried in search engine rankings once Google updated their algorithms. However, SEO professionals who are honestly interested in improving and promoting their client's pages can provide many benefits to your website like increasing exposure, profitability, and credibility of your business and/or products.
Finding the right SEO professional can be a daunting task, but is an equally important part of your development process. You can partner with the right web development company who do not follow 'Black Hat SEO' practices and can help you achieve your desired goals using legitimate tools and techniques.
Here at StartxLabs, we believe that SEO is critical for a successful website, regardless of the purpose. We offer this service free of charge when we design your website. We know all the tricks of the trade and follow all the best practices to ensure your site will reach its maximum potential.
I hope that this article gave you a brief knowledge about what is SEO and how it operates in online marketing.
After reading this guide, I hope it helped you realize that investing in SEO is more important now than ever, despite the size of your business. And finding the perfect web development company that knows all the legitimate tricks and tips to help you get your product optimized for SERPs is much more important.