Are you absolutely new to SEO? Do you really want to know which factors decisively matter in SEO? If the answer is overwhelmingly ‘yes’ then you’ve arrived at the right place. This blog post has been prepared as an exhaustive guide to help beginners to learn the fundamentals of SEO.
After reading this blog post, readers will have a refined knowledge about what really is SEO and how to really go about in practicing it.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is an online marketing activity that seeks to bring changes and alteration to the website with an aim to generate more visibility for website in the search engine’s SERP (search engine ranking page).
In the above definition I would like to give more stress on the ‘online marketing activity.’ Since many including SEO professionals hesitate to associate SEO with online marketing activity. However, search engine optimization is nothing but a marketing activity since it mostly aims for customer retention and sales conversion.
Notably, online visibility gained through paid results (PPC) does not come under SEO. Actually SEO, PPC and social media marketing (SMM) fall under the broad umbrella of Digital Marketing.
What is a search engine?
Since we’re talking about SEO in great detail, it is only fair to shed some light on search engine. Let us start by acknowledging the important role that today search engine plays in our lives.
Everyday millions of people flock to search engine for various purposes; for resolving queries, seeking information, searching for product & services so and so forth. The list is quite big and this only goes to prove just how dependent we’ve become on search engine.
If today internet is the basic necessity of life then search engines are largely fueling this necessity. In fact, today for most of us it would be difficult to imagine how helpless our life would have been if search engines were not there.
How does search engine function?
From an SEO point of view, there are three important aspects as to how search engine goes about in performing its function. These three aspects are as follows:
The below image gives a rough illustration of how the entire process works
Since everyday new webpages and websites are launched, search engines never stop the process of crawling, indexing and ranking. They are an ever continuing process.
Before going ahead, I would like to debunk the myth that crawling & indexing are one and the same thing. There is a popular misconception that there is no difference between the two. But as we’ll now know, crawling and indexing are not same.
Which are the top search engine players?
Although today there are quite a few search engine players in the market, none is as dominant as Google. Google, which is owned by Silicon Valley Company Alphabet INC, is unarguably the world‘s no 1 search engine player.
As of November 2020, Google owned a market share of more than 88% in the U.S. In India Google’s market share is as high as 95-98%. Google’s position is so dominant that other search engine players like Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuck Go have been reduced to miniscule players in the global search engine market.
Just to give an idea about how other search engines fare poorly as compared to Google, Microsoft owned Bing holds a market share of merely 6.45% (according to StatCounter) in the U.S. as of November 2020.
Google is world’s default search engine. Therefore when people talk about SEO, they are primarily concerned about Google. They want highest visibility for their websites/products/services on Google while other search engine doesn’t receive the same importance.
How to do SEO – Practical SEO
Now that we’ve touched on the basic SEO, it is time to dive into the practical aspects of SEO. But before I start shedding light on the practical aspects, I want to talk briefly about good SEO and bad SEO. A knowledge about what compromises as good SEO or bad SEO practices will keeping you away from earning a place in Google’s bad books.
In SEO terminology, they are referred as White hat and Black hat techniques. White hat stands for good SEO practices, which are basically in compliant with the guidelines of Google and other leading search engines. Bad SEO, on other hand, refers to Black hat techniques. Using these techniques is a violation of the guidelines and overindulging in them can earn your website/webpage heavy penalty.
In the table below I’ve segregated the SEO practices in white hat and black hat techniques.
On Page & Off Page Optimization
Practically, there are two ways to conduct an SEO operation: 1) On page optimization 2) Off page optimization. Both are standard practices that are today followed by almost all SEP pros.
- On-page: On-Page refers to the practice of optimizing an individual web page in order to Improve its ranking and visibility in search engine’s SERP. In On-Page everything happens on the website and therefore sometimes it is also referred as On-site SEO. This simply means that to perform on-page SEO you will have to log-in into your website or client website’s CMS account. For all those who are not aware CMS account simp means your website’s WordPress account or whatever CMS your website is using.
Following practices fall under On-page SEO
- Content optimization
- Title Tag optimization
- Optimizing website speed
- Internal linking
- Image optimization
- Meta tags
- Meta description
Few more practices come under On-site SEO but the above-mentioned practices are widely considered as the most important ones.
- Off-Page: As opposed to on-page, off-page SEO happens outside the website. This obviously means that to carry Off-page SEO one doesn’t have to log-in to a website’s CMS account. Conventionally, off-page largely concerns with link-building campaigns or any activities seeking to increase the authority of a website. Off-page is usually more time-consuming than on-page and unlike the latter results and Outcomes of Off-page activities are not in our hands.
Following practices fall under off-Page SEO
- Link building campaigns
- Guest posting
- Email outreach
- Broken link building.
There is a general misconception that off-page activities are more important than on-page SEO. However, for implementation of successful SEO strategy, both off-page and on-page activities should be receiving equal amount of importance.
If one collectively analyzes all on-page as well as off-page activities then three factors play a decisive role in the ranking of a web page. To know about these three factors, check out the below image…
It must be noted that technical SEO generally deals with On-page activities like website speed and UX design.
However, broadly speaking many other factors also comes into play in the ranking of a webpage. After all, SEO is a very broad concept. The below chart shows 10 most decisive factors for a successful SEO strategy.
When laying out an SEO strategy, these 10 factors should receive maximum importance.
Before concluding, I’d like to recap some of the most important points. I have recapped these points because they form the very basis of basic SEO. Above all, remembering these points will give a nice hang over basic SEO and will always serve well as and when you decide to formulate an SEO strategy.
Points to remember
- SEO is an activity that seeks to bring changes and alteration to the website with an aim to rank it higher in the search engine ranking.
- One must only use only white hat techniques for implementing SEO strategy.
- Overindulging in black hat techniques may earn your web page or entire website a heavy penalty from search engines.
- Google is the world’s most popular search engine and therefore most SEO strategies are prominently focused on Google.
- Crawling, indexing and ranking are the three basic functions of any search engine.
- On-page and Off-page optimizations are two standards methods to perform an SEO.
- On-page practices are always done on the website. You’ll have to log in to the website’s CMS account to perform On-page SEO.
- Off-page SEO mainly concerns with link building campaign .
- Both on-page and off-page must receive equal importance for implementing successful SEO strategy.
Overindulging in black hat techniques may earn your web page or entire website a heavy penalty from search engine.