Beginners Guide to SEO Guidelines
How Search Engine Operates? Search engines have two primary functions. Crawling and building an index, and Based on the search query, provide the most relevant ranked list of the websites. Now let's understand each better.
Crawling and Indexing
Crawling is nothing but following a path. Search engine crawlers are nothing but bots that crawl your website every 36-48 hours. They come on your website to see if there are any new update on it. The bot goes to all the web addresses from the past crawls and sitemaps provided by the website owner. As the crawlers look at the website, they use links on those sites to discover other pages and new updates. Once they have gathered all the data from the web pages, they store it on the search engine's servers. Based on the relevant keyword people are looking for search engine will show them your page.
Depending on which meta tag you used, the search engine will crawl and index your pages. If you haven't provided a meta tag, search engines won't be able to add the page to the web search index. Once the bot has discovered all the new updates and pages, they decipher the code from them. They store them in a vast database to deliver it whenever a relevant search query comes up.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO is a marketing strategy to improve the online visibility of any business. SEO incorporates both the technical and creative components. These components improve rankings of a website in search results. Brands can increase their brand awareness with SEO and drive traffic to their site. SEO has many aspects to it from the content on the site to the way other sites link to you on the web.
Let's dig a little deep to understand SEO better:
Quality of traffic - You can attract visitors from across the world. But it is important the people coming to your site are relevant to your business.
Quantity of traffic - Number of people visiting your website depends on how many of them are relevant to you. Once you are getting quality traffic to your website, you need to work on the click-through rate from those search engine results pages (SERPs).
CTR% = (Total no:of clicks / Total no:of impressions)*100 ; More traffic is better.
Organic results - Organic traffic is that you don't pay for. Ads make up a notable portion of many SERPs.
Why does my website need SEO?
Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! drives the majority of web traffic. Social media channels can generate decent traffic to your website. But people will land on search engines first to look for any information.
Search engines provide targeted traffic. It will send unique customers to your website who are looking for what you offer. Search engine traffic is free of cost. But you need to invite them to your site. Search engine traffic makes a considerable difference to a business's success. Targeted traffic to the website can improve the popularity of the brand. Investing in SEO can have an excellent ROI. Getting discovered on search results works better than any other marketing strategy.
Why is Search Engine Marketing necessary?
You can attract more people to your site using Search Engine Marketing (SEM). SEM boosts the visibility of your website in search engine result. It includes techniques like organic placement, contextual advertising and paid search. Let’s understand why is it crucial for business - whether large or small.
Direct Response Marketing
Direct response marketing is traditional sales channels. It's like infomercials or mail order where the ad prompts the audience to act. The purposes of SEM can be quite diverse, from traffic generation to lead generation. No matter what it is, it needs people to take action.
Majority of them use search engines when they are looking for a product or service, and it is a fact that can't deny it. With SEM regardless of the device your users use, you can reach people relevant to your business. If targeted well, it is easy to generate more traffic to the website and most likely to convert them.
SEM makes it easy for you to target people relevant to your business based on the search intent. You can get an idea of how close you are to completing your goal based on what people's search queries. Understanding your target audience's search query is essential. Based on that, you can revisit your calls to action, ad copy messaging and landing pages.
Anyone doing business online can how important it is to be able to get visibility on the internet. To achieve this SEM and SEO, both play a significant role. It isn't about traffic to your website; it is moreover about the quality of traffic. By implementing SEM marketing strategies, you can optimize your website for relevant keywords. You can ensure your site is visible on search engines to a particular keyword phrase. If you are not visible for a qualified search, you may be losing your business to your competitor.
Keyword targeting is very crucial. You must be very precise with your targeting settings. You only want target people who are interested in your services and offers. Maximize your SEM performance, by optimizing your Adwords targeting settings. You can include filters like geo-targeting, device targeting, Ad scheduling and many more.
Why can't the search engines discover my site without SEO?
Though search engines are intelligent, they still need a little help. Though search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo! are always working towards improving their technology to crawl the web. They intend to give better search results, but there is still a limit to how search engines can perform. Doing SEO can give you thousands of visitors to your website. It can increase your visibility and chance of getting discovered. Your website can rank well if you optimize the content on your website based on SEO guidelines.
How my website's usability and user experience affect search engine ranking?
Did you know user experience of your website can increase your search engine ranking? By the way usability of your site also plays a significant role in your site's ranking.
What is usability?
Usability is nothing but how user-friendly is a website's user interface. It is to see how comfortable people are to navigate from one page to another. Search engines see if users can do basic tasks without any confusion. The efficiency of the design is the measure of any site's usability. Search engines check it based on how soon a user gets familiar with the layout of the website.
What is user experience?
User experience, known as UX is about a users perception about your business website. It is how a user who visits your site feels throughout the interaction. Factors including usability, design, usability, system performance accessibility play a meaningful role. Usability and user experience are correlated, but they are not the same.
How the two affect SEO?
Both usability and user experience are essential for a website's popularity. They have a direct correlation with SEO. They can improve traffic to your site, conversions and recommendations.
You will struggle to engage your visitors if your website is difficult to navigate. It will, in turn, increase your exit rate and decrease your return visitors. By improving your usability, you can cut your bounce rate. It will help you to increase user engagement.
If people don't find relevant information on your site, they will go back to the search results. The user experience of your site will be evaluated based on the exit rate. If your site has too many exits, search engines will de-rank your website. Search engines can track every click. They identify the websites that don't serve searcher's intent. It can impact on your search engine rankings.
How to improve usability and user experience?
The next question that may come to you is how to improve usability and user experience of your website. Here are few tips:
Record your user's click behavior. Understand how they use your website. Based on this you can make necessary improvements.
Publish content that is relevant to your product or services. Keep it concise, clear and easy to understand.
Design your layout by placing relevant information where your visitors can see.
Ensure your page's loading time is good so that your visitors don't get frustrated and exit your site.
Be consistent on each page and opt for a simple page layout.
Visualization is essential. But make sure you the color coordination you use doesn't distract your visitors.
Your website should be mobile optimized. No matter what device your users use, there shouldn't be any navigational issue.
Myths and Misconceptions about Search Engines
Search engines are getting sophisticated each day. With that, many misconceptions have arisen about how they function. Following are some myths and misconceptions about search engines. They can help you to build an effective SEO strategy:
Keyword Stuffing Is Helping You Rank Higher
It's assumed that your website will rank well if you stuff your content with keywords. You need only one keyword per 100 to 200 words. Search engines consider it to be a good keyword density. It is often seen people stuff their content with keywords assuming they will rank well. But it isn't a fact. Google considers keyword stuffing as black hat SEO strategy. Google has penalized websites and didn't encourage keyword density.
Paid Advertising Improves Your Organic Rankings
Spending on search engine advertising improves your organic SEO rankings is a myth. Search engines prevent paid advertising, and there is no impact of it on organic ranking. Many business owners invest many dollars in Google PPC campaigns. It is only after that they realize that there isn't much of consideration from search engines.
Backlinking Establishes Online Trust
People think back-linking helps website build online trust and improve search engine ranking. Theory says if many links are redirecting to a site, it must be having relevant content. Your website must be delivering value to the reader as other sites are linking back to it.
Many marketers started manipulating linking to improve search engine rankings. Marketers started to get links like low-quality directory links and paid links. John Muller, Google’s webmaster trends analyst, made a statement in recent Google+ live Hangout. He said that webmasters try to avoid back-linking. He explained how Google analyzes links as part of its ranking algorithm. He also added that a website should aim to create a content that earns links. There is no point in aiming at building links. It will not impact website's ranking unless you earn them organically.
Optimizing for Google Is All That Matters
Often marketers optimize their website using an SEO strategy to rank well in Google. But there are other search engines like Bing and Yahoo! which you shouldn't ignore. About one trillion of searches happen on Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com, and more. Put in place an effective SEO strategy that performs well in all search engines.
Research, Find the Right Keywords and Craft Your Content
Of course, research is a time taking process and a tedious task. But it is an essential part of finding the right keyword for your content. The research will help you understand:
How people are looking for you that will help you to look for keywords with high search volume.
Look for keywords that have low competition. If you use keywords with fewer search results, you have a chance to increase your site ranking.
Look for relevant keywords and build content around it.
Many tools can help you with your keyword research. You can get keyword ideas customized to the website.
Let's understand another critical concept, "The Long Tail." You can get more quality traffic from many low traffic keywords combined. You can even use them over a couple of high-traffic keywords. When you merge them all, your long tail not so popular keywords should give you about 80% of your traffic. So while doing keyword research, also focus on keywords which are less popular. Combine them with the ones getting massive amounts of traffic. Then include them in your strategy.
What are influencers saying about SEO Guidelines?
John Doherty is the founder of Credo and has over ten years of experience in SEO and digital expertise. In one of his blogs, he has explained why "SEO Keywords" don’t matter if not used correctly. SEO keywords aren't about inserting keywords into an article. He has beautifully articulated how Google is rewarding great content and what's the role of keyword research in content marketing.
Jordan Kasteler, the SEO Director of Hennessey Consulting, has extensive experience in the area of SEO and creating marketing strategies. According to him, "In-links are the virtual equivalent of someone “vouching” for your site." He has explained search engines evaluate a variety of factors when determining a website’s legitimacy. He has combined a few tried-and-true elements that can boost your site’s credibility and shared it in his blog.
David Mihm, is the Director of Local Search Strategy at Moz Local. He increasingly focused on strategies and tactics to help local businesses acquire customers beyond just the search engines. In one of his blogs, he has explained "Why Citation Is the New Link" and how local link building strategy is important.
Annie Cushing is the vice president of marketing at YourTango. She helps companies with practical SEO strategies that every business can apply even with limited resources. In her blogs, she has addressed different SEO problems like and has given simple solutions. According to her opinion, "SEO isn’t measured by the traffic that makes it to the site alone".
Mike King is an SEO & lead generation expert. His strategies are focused on Content Strategy, Solutions Architecture, Marketing Automation, SEO, Social Media, Measurement and Optimization. In one of his blog where he has explained how search engines work and the meta tags every web page must have. According to him, even though Google algorithms keep changing, "Meta descriptions are still the most important meta tags for an SEO to prepare."
Dan Shure is an SEO consultant who helps organizations large and small conquer SEO problems since 2007. He is the founder of Evolving SEO where he helps solve specific SEO challenges. Dan has created many podcasts where he addresses all SEO related issues. In one of his podcast, he discussed tools and tactics of SEO success. According to him, "Engagement as the new ‘ranking factor’ for local SEO."