When you are in need of certain information about any subject, product, brand, article for knowledge sake or research, you whip out your phone or computer, open up your web browser, enter your query on a search engine and voila! In few seconds, you get a ton of results.
Most times the answers to your query are contained within the results on the first page. You may want to believe the results are arranged randomly, but this is not the case. The results are arranged according to their SEO ranking.
What Is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is simply the operation that allows a search engine to show your content (online) as one of the top results when a significant word (keyword) contained in your content is searched. When your content appears as one of the top results regularly, the quality and quantity of traffic to your website is also improved. To further break this down let us consider these three things:
- Organic Results
Organic traffic is basically traffic you do not pay for. Typically, Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) are made up of a considerable amount of Ads.
- Traffic Quality
Quality of traffic means attracting the right visitors who are really interested in what your website has to offer and not because they got to your website by misinformation.
- Traffic Quantity
The moment you have the desired people visiting your website via the (SERPs), the more traffic generated, the better for your website.
Sometime in the ’90s, Content Providers and Web Administrators started modifying websites for use with search engines. At first, all that was needed by Web Administrators for the search engines to catalogue, was to send the Universal Resource Locator (URL) of the website or address of a page, to different search engines which had “spiders” that “crawled” such pages, get links from other pages, and send information from the page that needed indexing.
In 1997 however, “Search Engine Optimization” became a phrase on the lips of Web Administrators and Content Providers. Over the years, Search Engine Optimization has evolved and involves much more than just submitting a website or page URLs.
How SEO Works
The algorithms used in search engines and Search Engine Optimization techniques change frequently because search engines ceaselessly improve how web pages are ranked. However there are two elements that are the basis for a successful first-page ranking, and they are:
Offsite or Off-page (Link Building) SEO
This has to do with how other online sources reference your website, owning an active and significant presence on social media, creating profiles of incoming links from high quality and trusted sites. The outcomes of your Search Engine Optimization are often times than not affected by elements which are not directly controlled by you.
This is about your website’s infrastructure which includes:
-Using the best website structure a,
-Being able to generate new content that targets certain groups of keywords,
-Replicating available content that marks certain keyword clusters,
-Being able to mark keyword groups that are the best
-Formatting elements on your site that are critical for ranking i.e. header tags, URL structure, and Titles. See Onpage SEO strategy
Link Building or Offsite SEO
The importance of link building cannot be overemphasized.The most important objective of having references from third parties is to increase your website ranking on SERPs, thereby, boosting traffic to your website.
Off-site SEO is the most effective SEO strategy and one of the most outstanding Search Engine Optimization topics talked about in various guides about SEO.
Off-site or link building can be likened to votes – indicating that your website should have the top spots.
How To Get Links
While there are a number of ways to approach this, there are basically three types of systems for link building, and they are:
These are unnatural links that are meant to boost your ranking on SERPs. This type of link building is often referred to as “aggressive SEO tactics, strategies or techniques”. Typically, this method does not follow guidelines set by the Search Engines. They are usually spammy in nature and you are advised to stay away from them. Otherwise, you risk getting your website penalized by Search Engines. An example of this type of link building is Private Blogging Network (PBN)
White hat Links
This refers to Search Engine Optimization links which rather than deal with search engines, have their focus on human audience. They follow search engine guidelines. They are not spammy. An example of white hat SEO is guest posting on high authority and trusted sites without the intent to increase your link popularity, citing your website on online business directories.
These type of links are the best because they are natural links as a result of other websites referencing (linking out to your site) — due to the quality of information contained on your site.
Onsite Elements That Are Critical To SEO
There are important Onsite elements necessary for optimizing your website, and they are:
The role of the title tag is to keep search engines updated with what is really important about the page, it basically displays the title of the page on SERPs. When web spiders crawl a website, they look at the title tag to get an idea of what the site is all about i.e. <title> SEO Optimization</title> — In this case they know the site is about SEO optimization, thus, any query that is made with the keyword phrase ” SEO Optimization”, the pages that have the titles <title> SEO Optimization</title> is most likely be returned in the search results.
The header tag helps to break the contents of your web page into different sections and also assists the search engine in finding out the most important parts of each segment of your content. There are different stages of HTML header labels, and they are:
<H1></H1> this label covers the title of the post and there should be only one of such tag on each page.
<H2></H2> and <H3></H3> are for subheadings on your website’s page. Check the HTML example below:
<h1>Top important heading here</h1>
<h2>Important Subheading here</h2>
<h3>Less important subheading here</h3>
This tag is necessary if you use pictures on your website page, it helps you add befitting keywords as the picture name and alt tag. This helps the search engine find relevant pictures when their image search is used for any keywords. And the HTML looks like:
<img src=”SEO.png” alt=”SEO”>
Internal links help search engines know how your website is structured, and they are also links that move between different pages on one domain. They help to improve a site’s usability and also help to pass link juice between pages.
Occasionally making a selection of some texts on your web page helps to get a visitor’s attention. You can embolden important keywords and information. It helps the search engine distinguish the keywords from the content of your web page. But it is advised not to get crazy and overdo it (otherwise, it could be seen as trying to manipulate search engines).
So many websites usually experience difficulties when trying to get organic links to increase their chances of being the top result on SERPs, this is the reason you need to pay attention to your website’s off-site optimization as this is an important part of your website’s SEO. There are few practices you should pay attention to that will help your website’s SEO.
SEO Best Practice
Create link-worthy content
Creating link-worthy content is the art of SEO and the most effective way of building quality links. Use infographics by making highlights of important data on excellent images, this will help visitors use the infographic on their website while they simultaneously link back to your website for credits.
Reach out to other niche related Website Administrators — build a relationship first before discussing link building.
Learn how to use content marketing
- Know how to use analytics to know keyword rankings, to track your website’s visitors, monitor the sources of your organic sources
- Make your content interesting, the more interesting your contents are the more probability that your website’s visitors would stay and visit often.
- Make sure you create content that does not get old and be sure to regularly update your website’s content
- Always use relevant and important keywords that would attract and bring traffic to your website.
- Arouse the visitor’s interest with catchy titles, you know what they say about first impressions, so give them titles that will keep them coming back for more
- Create quality content for your website, this cannot be overemphasized as visitors will value it so much so that they will share to various social media channels, which would, in turn, boost your SEO and attract more visitors to your website.
Apparently, competition for visibility will lead many to do everything that will make them outrank their competitors. This is where negative SEO comes into play. Site owners can hire the service of black hat SEO specialist to launch negative SEO attack on their competitors. If your site is attacked by negative SEO — your ranking will plunge and you risk getting penalized by Google. It is a dog eat dog world.
If you are able to follow this Ultimate Guide to SEO, there is a certainty that you will achieve success with your Search Engine Optimization campaign. Bear in mind that, it takes time to be on the first page of SERPs for your niche keywords, especially if you are in a highly competitive industry. If the keyword you want to rank for is a difficult one, increase your SEO efforts and be consistent. No doubts and in no time you will begin to enjoy the reward of getting organic traffic through search engines.