Ultimate Guide of SEO – Definition, Importance, Types, and How it Works
January 18, 2023
For the last two decades, SEO has been at the forefront of the digital marketing world, and rightfully so. A search engine like Google receives 2.4 million searches per minute (source) on any given day – a huge number by any standards, and most users aren’t willing to go past the first 5 results. That’s where the true power of SEO comes in: it helps websites appear, aka “rank” on top of the search results of major search engines.
Let’s jump in to understand what SEO is, the types, and how it works, so you can truly leverage the power of SEO for your business or website.
What is SEO?
Here’s the definition of SEO:
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your website to increase its visibility on search results. In layman’s terms, it constitutes making small changes to your website to make it more helpful for a visitor, automatically helping you get higher rankings, clicks, and organic sessions.
When searching for something on a search engine, users are most likely to use words for a query rather than an entire web address. Using these keywords, a search engine’s algorithm analyzes thousands of web pages to show search results containing the websites or content that satisfies the query in concern.
When someone searches for something on a search engine like Google, typically, the following results appear:
- #1 Ads (Search Ads & Shopping Ads)
- #2 Featured Snippets
- #3 People Also Ask
- #4 Organic Search Results
- #5 Google Business Listing
- #6 Knowledge Panel
- #7 Rich Results (Videos, images, etc.)
For example, as an SEO agency, we want to appear in search results whenever a user does a search pertaining to SEO. This step requires us to do keyword research and understand what type of queries we want to rank for; these keywords could be Enterprise SEO services, what is SEO, SEO services packages, Techmagnate Pune, etc. We’ll need to create content to suffice the intent of each of these queries.
We’ve only begun to scratch the surface. Today, SEO is much more than inserting these keywords into your content.
|Enterprise SEO Services
|What is SEO
|SEO Services Packages
It involves understanding what the users are searching for, how you can resolve their queries, how search engines rank and index web pages, the type of content your target audience and search engines require, and more.
Importance of SEO in Today’s Digital Landscape
First, let’s take a look at today’s digital landscape:
- The number of active internet users worldwide has reached 5.07 billion (Source)
- Nearly 200 million websites are active on the internet today (Source)
- Nearly 83% of all websites are not active (Source)
- Google index has nearly 30-50 billion web pages (Source)
- Google has over 1 billion users who use its products and services (Source)
Today’s digital landscape suggests a growing number of websites and increasing competition. In such a competitive landscape, it is crucial for businesses to have a robust presence on search engines.
More importantly, consumers continue to rely on search engines to find products, services, and information online. As mentioned earlier, most users aren’t willing to go past the top 5 results. Therefore, appearing on the first page of search results is crucial for any website that wants to attract traffic and generate revenue; that’s where the role of SEO becomes more important, so let’s learn how search engine optimization actually works.
How SEO Works
To understand how SEO works, we must answer how search engines work.
How Search Engines Work
The main objective of search engines is to help resolve the queries users search for by showing the most relevant information. Search engines use bots to crawl the internet and collect information: websites, web pages, and content.
This information is stored in an index or a digital ledger, a huge database of all the content they’ve discovered and deem worthy of being shown as results. When someone runs a search query, search engines refer to their digital ledger for the most relevant content and use novel algorithms to rank it in order of how closely it can solve the query.
For a website to be successful, it must be crawlable and indexable. There are a number of ways you can ensure that Google bots find your pages important.
- A crawler needs to be able to discover your content from links across the web and a path of links within your site to guide it from page to page.
- You can also add “schema codes” as instructions to search engines on how you want your web page to be treated.
- Finally, to decide on relevance and ranking – search engines use algorithms – a formula by which indexed information is retrieved and ordered. These algorithms are constantly updated to improve search quality.
Now that we have a basic idea of how search engines work and search results appear the way they do, let’s discuss how you can be successful at SEO.
So, how does SEO (search engine optimization) work?
Now that we understand what SEO is and how search engines work, let’s jump ahead and see how SEO actually works.
SEO works when you implement strategies on your website to boost its rankings on search engines and gain organic traffic.
These strategies can be related to optimizing your website for different types of SEO techniques, namely – on-page, technical, and off-page SEO.
However, there is a flawed outlook on SEO, which focuses on optimizing your website only for search engines. Instead, the right SEO techniques should be about helping the users and enhancing their experience.
That’s the reason why prominent search engines like Google have established quality guidelines, and following a search engine’s guidelines for SEO refers to White Hat SEO techniques.
Moreover, there are frequent algorithm updates to ensure websites adhere to these strategies, and the Google helpful content update is a prime example of that.
Thus, for SEO strategies to work, you’ll need to:
- #1. Keep the search engine’s guidelines in mind
- #2. Continue to refine your strategies as per algorithm update
- #3. Learn about different types of SEO strategies
What are the Types of SEO?
A well-rounded SEO strategy leverages all types of SEO in conjunction to drive the best results.
There are three main types of SEO:
- #1 On-page SEO
- #2 Technical SEO
- #3 Off-page SEO
On-Page SEO focuses on optimizing elements on your website to boost organic ranking on search results and receive more organic traffic.
The four crucial factors of On-page SEO:
|On-Page SEO Factors
||Finding relevant and accurate keywords for your business/website is the most crucial part of on-page SEO.
- Keyword intent (Informational, transactional, navigational, commercial)
- Brand and non-brand keywords
- Keyword difficulty
- Search volume
|Metadata provides information related to your web pages to website visitors and search engines like Google.
- Title tags
- Header tags (H2, H3, H4, etc.)
- Meta description
- Robots meta tags
- Schema mark-up
- Image alt text
- Canonical tags
||Optimizing content on your website to ensure it meets the search intent, answers the query the users are searching for, and is easy to digest at a glance. Additionally, you need to update old content with new information frequently.
- Update and repurpose old content
- Excellent readability
- Organic keyword insertion
- Choose appropriate tone (It’s typically persuasive)
- Catchy titles
- Content should be helpful
- Write long-form, valuable content
||E-EAT is Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, so optimize all the factors that help you showcase these factors. Google has kept these factors a little vague; PageRank is a google example of that. It is no longer a public-facing metric, and SEO experts cannot measure it; however, it is still important.
- Non-disruptive ads and pop-ups
- Proper attribution (About us, contact us, blogs section, etc.)
- Content showcasing thought leadership
- DMCA or Copyscape factors to minimize plagiarism
- Off-site Reputation (Links, citations, digital PRs, etc.)
- On-site Reputation (Awards, client testimonials, etc.)
Technical SEO focuses on improving site speed, responsiveness, indexing, crawlability, site architecture, structure data, and security.
|Technical SEO Factors
- XML Sitemap
- Set crawl budget and priorities
- Fix and optimize the site structure
- Use robot.txt file
- Create breadcrumb menus
- Check if your SEO log files are in order
- Check for 3XX/4XX status codes or errors
- Check if all the URL redirections are in order
- Ensure your website is mobile-responsive
- Ensure your site doesn’t have duplicate content
- Troubleshoot the problems your server is facing
- Ensure there are no orphan pages on your website
- Optimize Page Depth for important web pages
- Add internal and external linking to your webpages
- Ensure the quality of backlinks is top-notch, i.e., only choose quality websites
- Create topic clusters for indexing all the content related to the pillar topic
- Ensure you don’t have no-index tags on content you want to index
||Use relevant schema markup
Essentially, Technical SEO focuses on everything but the content on your website. It is the process of improving user experience through improvements to the site infrastructure and navigability. This makes it easy for search engines to crawl, which they reward through better rankings.
For example, Google considers Core Web Vitals as a critical ranking factor, and these should be an integral part of your SEO strategy. Moreover, Google rewards websites that are fast, safe, responsive, and easy to navigate – Amazon is a great example of such a website.
Thus, not only does Technical SEO impact your website’s rankings on search engines, it also positively affects user engagement and conversion rates.
Off-page SEO is crucial because it contributes to your website’s reputation and credibility, which play a pivotal role in bolstering the E-EAT factors. It includes activities that you perform beyond the confines of your website or on-page SEO activities.
Off Page SEO relates to the relationship your website shares with the rest of the internet. When done correctly, Off-Page SEO builds trust, which enables search engines to trust your website and treat it as a credible source. However, the quality of backlinks matter.
If you partake in Black Hat SEO techniques for link building, like purchasing links in bulk, the results aren’t going to be fruitful. To do Off-page SEO right, here’s a list of activities you can perform to get proven results.
|Off-Page SEO Factors
|Create Quality Content For Natural Backlinks
||Creating good content for your website is not only good for rankings and helping the readers but also for earning natural backlinks. Earning natural backlinks when authoritative websites cite your content is much better than purchasing backlinks.
||Writing quality guest posts on authoritative websites relevant to your niche is another important factor in Off-page SEO. However, it is important to ensure the quality of the content and website is top-notch.
||Digital PR is a great way to build brand authority and awareness not only with the users but with search engines, too. Essentially, Digital PR involves borrowing principles of traditional PR to promote your content, brand story, or product or services online.
||Sponsored posts are still a viable way to get quality backlinks; however, you should follow search engine guidelines here. For instance, Google’s link spam update states you cannot publish posts on a website you’ve paid for without a sponsored tag.
||The relevance of social media and forums isn’t limited to brand awareness. Social media platforms also help search engines become aware of the fact that your content gets traffic from diverse sources. Thus, it is important to include social media and forums like Reddit and Quora in your content distribution plans.
The type of SEO techniques we have mentioned above form the crux of SEO, but there are a few specializations of it as well.
Here are the specializations of SEO:
#1. Enterprise SEO
Enterprise SEO differs from traditional SEO as it deals with enterprises or websites that have thousands of web pages. Even though it follows the same methods, all the strategies are executed at scale.
#2. Local SEO
Local SEO focuses on optimizing your website for local search results and business listing like Google My Business (GMB). It is apt for brick-and-mortar businesses.
#3. Mobile SEO
Mobile SEO focuses on making your website responsive for mobile devices. The idea is that users who are visiting your website using a mobile device should not face any difficulties while performing an action or engaging in some activity. Also, search engines like Google emphasize mobile-first indexing, so it is crucial from that perspective, as well.
#4. International SEO
International or multilingual SEO is apt for businesses with a global presence, allowing them to target customers in different countries and regions. This involves making a website accessible and relevant to users in different countries and languages, which requires a different approach than traditional SEO.
#5. Vernacular SEO
Vernacular SEO is not that different from Local SEO and borrows elements of International SEO when it comes to content language. It still means you optimize your website to be found locally in a certain local demographic and ensure the content language is optimized for the target audience in that demographic.
#6. ASO (App Store Optimization)
ASO focuses on improving your mobile app’s visibility and discoverability by optimizing the title, description, keywords, ratings, reviews, and other elements. This boosted discoverability increases the app downloads or installs.
#7. YouTube SEO
YouTube SEO refers to optimizing your YouTube channel, video description, video title, etc., which helps your videos and YouTube channel appear in YouTube’s organic search results.
What are the Benefits of SEO?
Growth from SEO is sustainable, organic, and offers great RoI.
Improved rankings and brand presence on search engines give credibility to your website, leading to increased sales and revenue.
Here are some key benefits of SEO:
- #1 Low Investment
- #2 Long-Term Strategy with Great RoI
- #3 Growth in Visitors with High Intent
- #4 Increase in Quantity of Relevant Traffic
- #5 Build Trust & Credibility
- #6 Improve User Experience
- #7 Stay Ahead of the Competition
- #8 Access to Valuable Data
- #9 Permanent Results
This blog has covered everything you need for getting started with SEO. Ensure you’ve got your basics covered, and constantly research, combine and experiment with multiple methods of SEO. Closely track the results and leverage the methods that work for your website or industry.
SEO is an ever-growing, ever-changing science, and more importantly, it is an on-going process. It’s crucial to stay updated with the latest updates and trends. If you need experts who are adept and experienced in SEO to drive growth, contact Techmagnate today.