What is SEO

Are you wondering what is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Do you want to know how Search Engine Optimization works?

Simply, SEO is a marketing strategy that helps you to optimize your website for better rankings on search engine result pages. It includes all the techniques to optimize your website so that it’ll appear higher on result pages of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and some other search engines.

We have prepared this article to help you understand the easy but effective SEO techniques.

This article includes all topics of Search Engine Optimization like how SEO works, how the search engine works, keyword and content research, On-Page Optimization techniques, Off-Page Optimization techniques, Technical Optimization techniques, SEO Tools, etc.

A. What is SEO(Search Engine Optimization)?

Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process of optimizing your website to make it visible to people with search engines like Google.

In other words, SEO is also about increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic. As you rank higher in search engines, you’re likely to get more visitors to your site, who may be really interested in your website, its products, or its content.

To make it clear, let’s take a real example. For example, if you search the word, ‘best blogging platforms’ on Google. Then you’ll see a list of different web pages with the content about the term that you searched. The users would only click those pages that are rank at the top of SERP. So they get more visitors to their site.

Best Blogging Platforms Google Search Result Page
Google Search Result Page

In the above example, the search term used ‘best blogging platforms’ is the keyword. The results that appear are called organic results, which means they are shown by Google for free. And the number of visitors that your site gets through such organic ranking is called ‘organic traffic’. 

In short, search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketing technique by which website owners try to maximize their organic traffic from search engines. 

But SEO isn’t really about search engines only. It’s rather more about the search engine users and what they’re seeking online. Once you know what the people are seeking online, then it can help you to optimize your website according to people’s needs.

And, that will ultimately help you enhance your content for both your users and search engines. As a result, your site will get a better ranking on search results, and you gain more traffic and sales.


B. Why is SEO so Important?

SEO is more than just a cost, but it’s an investment that leads to a big return in the long run. One thing to remember is that you simply cannot expect a miracle to happen on a very day — because it takes months or maybe years to succeed at the top of the search engine.

However, with the combination of several methods, you’ll achieve a better ranking in a very organic way.

That’s why here we’ve got a variety of the advantages of performing SEO on your website:

i. Catering to a Huge Audience

Increasing Website Traffic with SEO
Increasing Website Traffic with SEO

On using SEO, you’ll get your site up in the search engine rankings, and then you get more traffic.

We all know that by using various SEO techniques,  we can get our sites more visible on the top of the search engine result pages. Hence, it attracts more users to your site.

For example, if a user wants to shop for a pair of shoes online. They might usually click on the sites that appear on the first SERP without bothering to scroll through the rest.

SEO won’t just only increase your traffic, but the recommendations of users visiting your website will help you get more hits and attract new users to your site. 

As your website gets more traffic, the users would start trusting you and your brand more which will bring more revenue for your business.

ii. Low Cost of Implementation

You know you can use a pay-per-click approach to bring your site to the top of the search engine result pages (SERPs). However, once you stop paying for the ads, the site will no longer be visible.

SEO results don’t depend on ads in order to make your site appear at the top of the rank. You don’t need to pay Google or any advertising vendors to reach the top spot on the SERPs.

In today’s time, creating and hosting an internet site isn’t expensive. You’ll stabilize your site’s position among the search results with minimum upkeep, leading to a large return on your investment through SEO implementation.

iii. Staying Ahead of the Competition

Website Competition
Website Competition

SEO can help to place you ahead of the competition. If two websites are selling a similar thing, then the search engine optimized website is more likely to possess more customers and make more sales.

So, if your competitors are ranking on Google, then you would like to catch up and outrank them on the search results. If they’re not taking advantage of SEO, then take advantage of their lack of focus and use the time to move well out of their reach.

And always focus on long-tail keywords that attract large volumes of website traffic and work your way from there.

iv. Enhance User Experience

Everybody wants better organic rankings with maximum visibility but few realize that a good user experience may be a big part of getting there. Thus, SEO and user experience go hand-in-hand.

We need to understand that SEO leans toward creating an enhanced user experience.

For example, internal links used on your website which point to relevant pages not only help search engines crawl your site but also helps in easy navigation.

This means that the use of SEO, not just only concentrates on search engines but also on the user’s requirements and intent. So if you would like to offer your users an honest experience then, you would like to draw them in with engaging content and design. 

Another point to look after is mobile responsiveness. Google also recommends and ranks those sites higher that are mobile-friendly. Because mobile has become the go-to platform for business compared to desktop- or laptop-based sites.

v. Builds Trust and Credibility

Nowadays everybody is found surfing the web through Google and other search engines. They usually tend to surf websites that are found among higher-ranked search results.

Therefore, if your page is among the top-ranked search results, it reflects a particular trust and credibility. As traffic increases, so will increase the credibility of your website.

This will make sure that the branding of the products on your site is acceptable, which results in better sales. This is often also the rationale why small-sized and medium-sized enterprises are more focused on SEO implementation.

vi. Data and Analysis

In earlier days, data used to be for monthly, annual, and sales reports by the top company. However, data helps you gain insight into customer preferences, marketing trends, and far more.

In the same way, you’ll use SEO tools that can assist you to get detailed analytics that will assist you to determine game-changing factors for your business.

For example, Google Analytics and Google Search Console. You’ll use these tools to collect data that will help you understand key aspects and disadvantages associated with your site’s visibility.

Google Search Console
Google Search Console

In addition, it also allows you to see conversions and bounce rates for the users visiting your website. For instance, you’ll be able to better judge the number of users actually buying something on your website vs. those that visited but didn’t, make any transaction.


C. How Does Search Engine Work?

SEO in WordPress
Searching Keyword in Search Engine

A search engine is a web-based tool designed to help internet users browse through the information on the internet. It’s a tool that takes users’ queries and comes up with the most relevant information about the queries in the least time possible. 

The search engines typically have a search box where you can input your queries, specific keywords, or phrases. After then, click on the Search button which will give you a list of matching web pages as the search result.

Some of the popular examples of search engines are Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Baidu, Yandex, and MSN Search. Among them, Google is the most popular one leading the market with over 90% of all search engine users. The second most preferred search engine, Bing, has below 6% users.

Most all search engines have a similar way of working. As it starts with searching the query on the search engine. Then, it looks for the online pages associated with the keyword in its database.

After that, the search engine arranges the result with the help of search engine algorithms. Then, it displays them on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) within the arranged order.

To describe the process in detail, the search engine has three primary functions: 

  1. Crawling: Search the Internet for content, looking over the content on each URL they find.
  2. Indexing: Stores and organizes all the web page content found during the crawling process. Once a page is in the index, it’s ready to be displayed as a result when relevant queries come up.
  3. Ranking: Provides a list of content that may best answer for a search query. I.e. Search engines rank the results from the most relevant to the least.

i. What is Search Engine Crawling?

Crawling is the process during which search engines send active crawling components often referred to as ‘crawlers’, ‘bots’, or ‘spiders’ to seek out new and updated content.

Website Crawler
Crawling and Indexing

You can consider a crawler as a little, curious explorer who goes around the internet 24/7. They constantly crawl billions of sites, hyperlinks, and pages URLs.

When it comes to content, they’ll vary because it might be a web page, an image, a video, a PDF, etc. but no matter the format, content is discovered by links. If the bots encounter new hyperlinks during the scan, then they visit them too.

ii. What is Search Engine Indexing?

Search Engine Indexing
Search Engine Indexing

After a search engine bot finds a page, it saves the HTML version of a page in a database, called the index. This index is usually updated whenever the search engine spiders find new or revised pages on the web.

Each of the web pages that you simply see on search engine results is crawled and added to the index by the web crawlers. So, for your website to appear in the search result pages, a search engine should store it in its index first.

Google likes to explain its index like a huge logbook that contains a copy of every website found by the crawler. If any web page changes, the crawler updates the book with new content.

iii. What is Search Engine Ranking?

Off-Page SEO
Off-Page SEO

Now, the third and final step ranking. It’s the process of search engines showing results on the order of their relevancy. It means the search engines decide which in what order to display the relevant results when someone types a query.

To make this decision, search engines use a specific set of rules called the ‘algorithm’. The rules include various ranking factors and specific values associated with them.

When someone performs a search, search engines check out their index for highly relevant content. Then, they arrange that content according to the algorithm.

As the goal of the search engines is to help users find the best answer to their queries, quality content tends to rank at the top. This ordering of search results by relevance is understood as ranking.

How Does Search Engines Find Your Pages?

As we all know that the bots crawl on the previously known hyperlinks, and also the links found on websites. So now you would possibly be wondering how the search engines will find your new site.

In the old days, you’ll submit your website to a search engine. Today, that isn’t possible anymore. Search engines nowadays follow all the links on the web.

Google also offers you a service called Google Search Console. This tool helps you to send a request to Google to crawl on your website. It also helps you to submit sitemaps for your site and monitor what numbers of submitted pages have actually been added to Google’s index and other details.

Google Search Console
Google Search Console Page

Why Sites Don’t Show up in Search Results?

Here are a few possible reasons why you’re not showing up anywhere in the search results:

  • Too new for Google to index your site yet.
  • Your site isn’t linked to from other sites.
  • Your keyword market is very competitive.
  • You have a Google penalty for spam tactics.
  • Your site isn’t optimized for search engine crawling.

What is the Search Engine Algorithm?

The formula that a search engine uses to give web pages rank is called the Search Engine Algorithm. It’s the strategy of search engines that decides in what order the results appear based on various factors.

We all use different search engines and every search engine has its own set of algorithms and ranking factors to take into account of. They all are different from one another. Hence, they won’t give a similar result for the same query you enter.

Google algorithm consists of several hundreds of factors to assign a rank to a page for a given search query. The primary step to calculate a relevancy score for a page is completed by analyzing the content and popularity of the page. The popularity relies upon the volume, structure, and quality of backlinks.

Some of the types of Google algorithm are as follow:

  • Page-Rank Algorithm
  • Penguin Algorithm
  • Panda Algorithm
  • Humming-Bird Algorithm

To make it easier to understand, here we have present a simplified process of how search engines ranking factors work:

i. Analyze User Query

The very first step to it would be to know what kind of information the user is trying to find.

To that, they might analyze the user’s query by breaking it down into a variety of meaningful keywords.

For example, once you type, “How to make a rice pudding,” the search engine would know that you simply are trying to find instructions on how to make a rice pudding based on the words how-to. Then it’ll return the results which can contain cooking websites with recipes.

Search Result of How to make a rice pudding
Search Result of How to make a rice pudding

They are very smart and clever as machine learning helps them associate related keywords together. For example, they know that the meaning of this query, “how to create a cake” is the same as this “how to bake a cake.”

ii. Finding Matching Pages

Now the second step would be to look for the searched query into their index and choose which pages can provide the most effective answer.

This is a really important stage within the whole process for both search engines and web owners.

Then the search engines try to return the most effective relevant results in the fastest possible way in order that they keep their users happy. It also makes the web owners want their websites to be picked up in order for them to get more traffic and visits.

This is also the stage where good SEO techniques can influence the choice of algorithms.

Why Search Engines Sometimes Display Faulty/No Results?

As we have already mentioned above, there are times when we don’t get the query we are searching for, which can make us mad and disappointed. The main thing behind this is that there may be a lack of clarity in your search keyword.

Now, you might be wondering how to deal with that. Don’t worry. There’s a solution to that. We will talk about it in a minute.

D. How SEO Works?

SEO Process
SEO Process

In simple words, SEO works when you optimize your website the way both users and search engines like it. Optimizing means improving your site’s content and other technical parts. So as to make it easy for users to use and search engine bots to crawl. If you’re getting to learn and work in SEO, then consider search engines and SEO tactics as 2 sides of the same coin. i.e.

  • It’s the search engine’s job to provide the precise query that their users are searching for.
  • On the other hand, SEO’s job is to know what their users are searching for. Then deliver that with awesome, relevant, quality content via the search engine.

Hence, this suggests that one is incomplete without the other. Both the search engine and SEO are two separate topics, but they work for each other.

Along with this, search engines need to understand what the most popular content is and then show those at the top.

What do you show at the top for your users?

If we get the solution to at least one or both of those questions:

  1. What’s best for your users?
  2. What’s best for your business?

This is something that everybody must keep in mind when doing SEO.

This is how you become helpful and useful to your users and at the same time being helpful and useful for your business.

If you’re ready to do both of those, then you’re about to do very, very well in Search Engine Optimization.

E. Keyword Research and Analysis

Keywords for SEO
Keywords Planning

A keyword is any word or phrase that a user types into the search engine to seek out certain information on the web. They’re also known as SEO keywords.

For example, if you have to search for information about the hotels in a city, you will probably use the word “Best hotels in the city” in search engines. This phrase is an example of a keyword.

Keyword research and analysis is a crucial part of SEO. Keyword research means finding, analyzing, and using the words/phrases that users possibly search in the search engines.

And, using related keywords on your web page content can get you a position in the search engine when users hit the keywords in the search engine. While irrelevant keywords can increase the gap between users and your website.

Why is Keyword Research Important for SEO?

Keyword research is extremely important because it’s the only way to determine what people are typing into search engines. Without it, you may be in an infinite loop of making content about topics that no one is checking out.

Keyword research can assist you to search out the answer to those questions:

  • What are people searching for?
  • How many people are looking for this keyword?
  • How much traffic will you get for this keyword?
  • In what format do the people want their information?
  • How likely that the people looking for this keyword are willing to be your customer?

Your webpage needs to compete with many web pages to achieve a higher ranking. So, optimizing your content by incorporating the proper keywords within the pages is a necessary SEO practice. If you’re not using the proper keywords on your website, then you might never get on the front page of search results.

Brainstorming for Keyword

After having an idea about what your user and your business want, then you’ve got an honest place to begin for your keyword brainstorming session.

Brainstorming is an appropriate first step for selecting good keywords. At this time, there’s no such thing as bad keywords; you only want to compile a big list of possibilities. Here are some possible viewpoints to think about any questions you’ll ask yourself:

  • What would we search to find for our product?
  • How do other people talk about the products or services we offer?
  • What do the experts call our products or services?

While answering this question, write down whatever you think would be the main keywords that you simply are going to be used afterward. Ask this same question to your friends, associates, employees, and coworkers too.

After you’ve got an oversized list of keywords that you simply might want to use, your next step is to make an overview using those keywords. To do so start with the broadest ones at the highest level and break the list into categories and subcategories, getting more specific as you go deeper.

How to Find a Suitable Keyword? 

If you’ve got a list of thousands of keywords that will apply to your website but in point of fact, you cannot use all of these keywords at once –– unless you’ve got a site that has many pages.

Even if you’ve got a huge site, it’s best if you reduce the list of keywords somewhat. Because what you would like are keywords that are getting to enhance your site and not dilute it.

Keep in mind that focusing only on keywords that are very broad, high traffic terms can lead you not getting a high ranking within the search engine and also not getting a good conversion from the traffic that you simply have got.

As people search for such broad terms only when they’re trying to gather the information which is far more specialized terms or phrases when they’re getting ready to make a purchase. When using the broad search terms, make sure you also have far more specific keywords that go alongside them also.

Here are some things to remember when you’re choosing keywords:

  • Clarity: Are the keywords clear and crisp?
  • Relevance: Do the keywords relate to what you’re offering to your users?
  • Categories: Can the keywords be grouped into understandable keyword phrases?
  • Target Keyword: Are the keywords focusing on your products or services?
  • Audience View: Do the keywords provide a good mixture of both industry standards, and what your users used in their searches?

Competitors Keywords Analysis

Keyword Analysis
Keyword Analysis

Competitor analysis is a process of identifying your competitors and evaluating their strategies. That is to see their strengths and weaknesses relative to your business, product, and service.

Now, competitors’ keywords analysis means identifying the keywords your competitors are using. The analysis gives you knowledge of which keywords they’re ranking for, and for which keywords they’re lagging behind.

These data could be really useful for you to plan SEO strategies for your own site. Using various tools, you can look up the keywords that your competitors are using in their web pages. Then, you can use them on your web pages in order to achieve a higher rank.

Tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, etc are some of the popular tools for analyzing your competitors’ keywords. Normally, these tools require you enter the competitors’ web page URL. After that, they’ll come up with a list of keywords that they’re using on that web page.

How to Choose the Best Keyword?

Relevant keywords and phrases help increase profitable traffic to your website. So, keep the following points in mind if you’re trying to find the best keywords and phrases.

Long-tail keywords: Unlike short-tail keywords, long-tail keywords contain more than 3 words. They focus on more specifically on a single niche. They have low competition and high chances of conversion. So, focusing on long-tail keywords is important, especially for small businesses and new websites.

For example:

  • Short-tail keyword – Blue T-Shirt
  • Long-tail keyword – Blue American Apparel T-Shirt

Latent-Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords: Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords are the terms that are conceptually associated with the main keyword. In simple terms, they are the words that search engines will use to better understand the main keyword and content. 

For example, if your page contains information about computers then search engines tend to see related terms like models, processors, memory, computer parts, etc.

LSI Keywords
LSI Keywords

Hence, if the search engines find plenty of semantic words on your page, then they’ll understand what your content is about and rank your site for the main keyword. 

Follow recent trends: If you actually want to use high-traffic keywords, then you want to keep an eye fixed on recent popular trends. By doing so, you’ll get a chance to understand what’s really trending on search engines. And if you discover any such catchy and trending search query associated with your business, then you can also use it to extend traffic to your site.

Location-based keywords: For instance, if you’ve got a local business site for a particular location, then it’s a good practice to include country or city name on your main keyword.  This will help you achieve a better ranking in local search results and stand out from your competitors.

Keyword Research Tools

There are a number of tools available for keyword research. Some of the popular tools are described below:

i. Google Trends

It is a free tool of Google that you can use to check the traffic for a group of keywords. It helps you compare the flow, trends, and popularity of terms and phrases. You’ll also smooth your keyword research by using its results alongside the Google Ads Keyword Planner utility.

You’ll be able to even filter search trends by sorting terms geographically or consistent with time span and categories. For instance, you’ll determine the recognition of terms during a particular country, region, or city.

Google Trends
Google Trends

ii. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is also a free keyword research tool by Google. It helps you select multiple terms, LSI keywords, long-tail terms, etc. You’ll also find alternate terms for your products or services that have low competition and should require less effort to rank well in SERPs.

Google Keywords Planner
Google Keywords Planner

Monthly global and local monthly searches are handy because you’ll determine the keywords your competitors are using to promote their products and services.

iii. SEMrush

SEMrush offers you more than just the keyword search. It does keyword research, competitor’s keyword tracking looks for backlinking opportunities, and much more. It’s such a solid SEO tool that gives you all the key data you’ll need for a successful SEO project.

SEMrush
SEMrush

iv. Soovle

Soovle is a good tool to use if you want to get ideas from multiple channels. It allows you to explore the most typed in keywords on multiple search engines based on the keyword that you simply have given. it’s a free tool to use.

Soovle
Soovle

v. Ubersuggest

Keyword Planner Ubersuggest
Keyword Planner Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is a free SEO tool that takes any keyword you provide and immediately gives you an almost unlimited list of keyword variations of your original keyword. It gives insight into the strategies that are working for others in your market, so you’ll be able to adopt them, improve them, and gain a position.

F. On-Page SEO

On-page optimization is related to all the steps you should take within your website to enhance its position within the search rankings. It mainly focuses on website content, keyword usage in titles, headings, site structures alongside outbound, and internal links.

On-Page SEO
On-Page SEO

Hence, in on-page SEO, you handle all the elements of SEO that you simply can control. For instance, if you’re an owner of a website, then you’ll control the meta tags, multimedia, and quality of the content of the site.

Why is On-Page SEO Important?

On-page SEO is very important because it provides search engines with a number of hints to help them understand what your content is about.

During the indexing and ranking processes, search engines attempt to relate web pages with keywords and search terms that the users type within the search box.

It’s through on-page SEO you can guide search engine bots to index and rank your content for certain keywords. In addition, on-page aims at optimization made to a webpage that contributes to raising user experience.

What are the Most Important On-Page Ranking Factors?

There are many characteristics of a web page that search engines consider when ranking. These characteristics directly impact the search engine’s experience of crawling your page and therefore the visitor’s experience of viewing it.

i. Title Tag Optimization

The title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. It’s displayed on the title bar of your browser window.

Title Tag on a Site
Title Tag

They assist search engines to know what your page is about, and also give the first impression of your site towards the users. You can use it in three places – SERPs, web browsers, and social networks.

The motive of your page title should be informative and relevant about the page content. Also, remember that every page on the website should have a unique title.

Don’t ever forcefully stuff keywords into a page title. It’s because the title would look unnatural and Google may penalize you for manipulating the search result. 

The best practice would be using phrases that contain relevant words with most characters – for instance, 8-12 words and 50-60 characters.

Your title should be clear and precise, and may also use a mixture of both uppercase and lowercase characters. But try to avoid commonly used titles because search engines prefer unique titles. Also, unique titles look attractive among the competitors too.

The great thing to try would be to know and consider user intent instead of looking at titles from a search engine point of view.

ii. Meta Keywords and Meta Descriptions

Google had said that it doesn’t consider meta keywords and descriptions as ranking factors. However, proper meta tags make your webpage descriptive. So, it might not be the best practice to ignore them. Although they don’t help your web page in ranking, they are a superb way of encouraging visitors for clicks.

Meta Description Tag
Meta Description Tag

They provide an outline of the content or the information on that page and contain the summary of the whole page. It’s always a good practice to limit the meta description to 145-160 characters.

Like the page title, the meta description should also be unique for every page. You can include the target keyword a few times in the description but avoid stuffing them too many times.

iii. Heading Tags

Heading tags refer to the headings of various paragraphs or sections of a page. It’s used to differentiate a specific section or paragraph from the rest of the pages and make it more readable and arranged. There’s a maximum of six heading tags, which range from H1 to H6 and forms a top-down hierarchy.

You cannot miss/skip any of the heading tags in between the sequence. Otherwise, it’ll break the heading structure. Like the H1 tag should be followed by the H2 tag, not by H3 or the other heading tag.

Heading tags are important because it helps to teach users to understand what a page or section is about, or what to expect from a page or section. It also helps users to get back on the right track if they get lost.

One heading should be about one particular topic only. Plus, always use relevant keywords within the heading to help users, and search engines understand the page’s content.

If not satisfied with the formatting or styling of the heading then, you can use CSS styling to change it.

iv. Image Optimization and Interactive Media

Images are very important for presentation purposes. They make a page more interesting and easier to understand.

In earlier times, SEO was all text-based, but with time this has also changed significantly. It’s considered a good practice to use interactive media like audio, video, images, and infographics to connect together with your users. You must also use captions, and alternate text for media, and build relevant content around these media.

You should use relevant alt texts to images. It helps search engines know what the pictures are about as they can’t see, understand, or interpret images.

The image file size should be minimum as possible for the optimal page-loading time. Also, use PNG or JPEG image formats wherever possible because they’re robust and have more visual properties. 

You can use thumbnails for representing large images with smaller ones to reduce space. They can also represent videos and products, especially for e-commerce sites.

Adding videos to your content to explain a product or marketing certain products are often a visible treat for your users. At the same time, using infographics is a superb way to provide information or create timelines with relevant content.

v. Engaging Content

The use of meaningful and appropriate content on your web pages is extremely important. As we all know that content is king. And there’s no doubt that good content is automatically ranked higher.

We all know that the content should be informative, relevant, and unbiased. Along with that, you should make your content engaging. Basically, it means your content should be readable so that people don’t get distracted and quit reading.

The basic things required to make your content engaging are the use of easy language and voice. Also, you should pick the tone of your target audience for better engagement.

Also, consider formatting your content in a nice way using good fonts, headings, pictures, lining, spacing, etc. Besides, you must always check spelling, grammar, and proofread your content.

vi. Internal Links

Those links on sites that point to another page within the site or domain are called internal links. These links are key features of SEO.

Having a good link structure makes it easy for search engines to crawl your entire website, and simple accessibility also results in an awesome user experience.

When you link your page internally, then the Google bots/spiders would crawl to the page, and it even crawls into the links. Whenever the spider visits your page, it makes a copy of the page and adds its URL to the index. Afterward, it regularly visits the sites to look for updates or changes.

Outbound/external links point to another domain or site. Sometimes your page may contain some jargon or technical terms. So, rather than wasting time explaining supplementary information on the page, you’ll simply use URLs or anchor text as outbound links to locations that specify the information in depth.

Doing this is not only relevant, but it also lends an explicit amount of trust and credibility to your site. You’ll also use it to outbound links to social media sites or blogs to help to reach out to a larger audience.

vii. Handle Duplicate Content

Unique Content in Website
Unique Content in Website

The term ‘duplicate content‘ may mean 2 things on your website. The first one is content copied from other websites, also called plagiarized content. The second one is having the same content on multiple pages of your website.

Now, having plagiarized content is extremely harmful to your SEO efforts. It’s because using others’ content is like claiming others’ content to be your own. And, if seen using others’ content, then Google will penalize your website by deindexing your website from its index.

Search engines prefer genuine and original content. So, the best way to handle plagiarism is by writing your own copy of the content. You can also check for plagiarism before publishing by using tools like Small SEO Tools.

Similarly, you may need to have the same content under several pages on your website. This is mostly seen in eCommerce sites. I.e. there can be products with similar attributes and thus, similar descriptions of those products.

When search engines visit those pages and encounter similar content, the following search engine issues arise:

  • Which web pages to index.
  • Which web page to rank for relevant queries.

You can resolve this issue by using a canonical tag in HTML codes. You can just give the URL of the main web page in the HTML code of the duplicate page using a canonical tag.

This informs search engines that the web page is using the content from the main page. This makes search engines clear for ignoring the duplicate page, and indexing and ranking the main web page for search queries.

G. Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to website and server optimizations that make crawling and indexing your site much easier to help improve organic ranking. The main goal of it’s to optimize the infrastructure of a website.

In simple terms, it covers technical enhancements on your site to enhance crawling and indexing. 

Search engines’ requirements are constantly changing and becoming more complex with the motive to rank the best results higher and provide a better user experience. So, we’ll say that technical SEO is a process of constant refinement on your site relating to technical aspects like speed, security, responsiveness, etc.

Why is Technical SEO Important?

Technical SEO is managed by website owners for improving their website’s structure. It’ll eventually help the search engine crawler/indexer bots to find your website easily and crawl for indexing and ranking its various sites rapidly.

The technical SEO focus lies on having a structural sound, well-planned, and cleverly laid out website.

Firstly, such activities are going to be helpful in building a superb reputation for the website. Secondly, it ends in Google picking up on ranking signals like feedback, reviews, time spent on the site, etc. for giving it a high-quality search ranking.

Technical SEO Best Practices

Now that it’s clear what’s technical SEO, let’s see what are the most effective practices to follow.

i. Website Speed

If your site takes more than 3 seconds to load any of your pages then people will be annoyed and leave your site for another one. Hence, such behavior sends negative signals to search engines about your site quality, making it harder for it to be ranked on results pages.

Page Speed Insights
Page Speed Insights

A good SEO practice also suggests that no page on your website should be over three clicks from the home page. It means that each page on your website should be easily accessible.

So to tackle website speed issues, you would like to create changes to your website and infrastructure to get good results.

There are several ways you’ll speed up your site:

  • Try to limit the components of your website and make your templates minimalist.
  • Select plugins, widgets, code wisely while creating websites as they need additional time to load.
  • Try to limit the size of the image to the required minimum.
  • Make sure to cut back the number of redirects. Try to have no redirects if possible.
  • Minimize and combine JavaScript, HTML, and CSS files. Also, eliminate unnecessary code.
  • Upgrade WordPress, themes, and plugins to the newest versions.

ii. Mobile-Friendliness

Responsive Website Design
Responsive Website Design

Mobile-friendliness is another element of technical SEO, and it’s just as important as website speed.

Nowadays, every website should have a responsive website design. It means they can adjust themselves automatically in order that they can be navigated and browsed on any device.

Having a mobile-friendly website isn’t optional nowadays. Most likely, the majority of the users are on mobile. With the introduction of the mobile-first index by Google, if you don’t have a quick, mobile-friendly website your rankings will suffer.

To make your design responsive successful:

  • Your mobile website should have similar content as your desktop site.
  • For videos, use YouTube as their embed code is responsive.
  • Implement the correct kind of navigation menu.
  • Make sure that each one clickable element is placed in a very clear distance from one another. This avoids unwanted actions, referred to as fat-finger syndrome.
  • Avoid custom fonts and keep sizes consistent because they’ll not always display correctly on mobile screens and might take longer to load.
  • Don’t use the auto-zoom feature for images, because it’s going to annoy your users and interrupt their journey.

iii. Site Architecture

Site architecture means how the information is structured on the website. It deals with things like how pages are organized into categories or the pathways used to navigate between sections of the site. 

Let us assume that you own an e-commerce website that’s well-designed and includes a well-placed ad section that brings a crowd to your site. But they’ll turn and leave your site immediately if your space is disorganized, impossible to seek out anything worth buying. Hence, this proves that having an honest website architecture is extremely important.

Here is a couple of effective recommendations on the way to have an efficient architecture:

  • Use the robots.txt file to guide search engines to crawl your site and block Google from indexing your private, members-only page.
  • If your site has many pages and even more layers, then it’s better to use breadcrumbs because it helps users to navigate from one page or category to a different page or category.
  • Make your URL structure descriptive and as brief as possible.
  • You should categorize the similar website content, and always link to the pages within one category.
  • Use the canonical URL to inform search engines of which one is the original post. Because it is a technical solution for duplicate content.
  • Design your website for a worldwide audience by making your website multilingual. 

iv. Security

Nowadays, Google has made it mandatory for all the sites to possess secure software to make a safe and secure platform that might get higher organic search rankings on SERPs.

Website Security
Website Security

The main reason behind this is often to protect user’s data from cyber-attacks which are considered third-party malware.

Back then servers used to run on Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). They were fast on sending data, but it wasn’t secure. This can also be an explanation of why Google chooses HTTPS websites in comparison to HTTP websites.

If you are still using HTTP then, change it to HTTPS as soon as possible. For that, you’ll have to enable the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate on your site. 

And also, set up 301 redirects from the HTTP pages to the new secure pages. That way, the users get automatically redirected from your old site to the secure version.

v. Structured Data Markup

Structured data is information about your site or specific pages given to search crawlers. Examples: whether your page includes a recipe, a product, or a user review. In simple terms, it is a way to describe your information to search engines in a very language they will understand.

Structured Data Markup
Structured Data Markup

Structured data helps you with improving the probabilities of ranking in SERP either through rich snippets, and increases your Click-Through Rate (CTR).

You can use a free tool like Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper which can help you select the type of data you would like to identify. For example, you would possibly want to feature Article markup to your blog posts, or Recipe markup if you’ve got a cooking site.

After finishing marking up your page, then check your work with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

vi. Create an XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap acts as a road map that helps search engines to know your website while crawling it. It’s a list of all your web page’s URLs.

XML Sitemap Generator
XML Sitemap Generator

It also contains the other useful information about each page on your site, such as:

  • When was your page last modified?
  • What priority does it have on your site?
  • How frequently is your site updated?

If you’ve installed WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast SEO then it’ll automatically generate an XML file for your website. Else, you’ll have to install a Google XML sitemap plugin.

H. Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO factors are all the SEO practices that are taken outside your own website to impact your rankings in SERPs.

Unlike on-page SEO, it doesn’t affect the optimization of your site or content itself. But, it focuses on improving your site’s traffic based on popularity, site authority, engagement, and relevance.

Off-Page SEO
Off-Page SEO

Many people relate off-page SEO to backlink building only. Backlinks are the links that direct users to your site from other domains.

Of course, backlinking is the most important off-page factor for ranking that Google has openly announced. It’s because they indicate the quality and worth of a website which Google tends to rank higher.

 But, there’s more to it. It’s to be noted that off-page SEO is not only associated with getting to rank your site higher by gaining backlinks. But, it also includes other promotional strategies that help your site get more traffic.

For example, some of the important off-page SEO besides backlinking are social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, guest blogging, etc. We’ll explain them below in detail.

Why is Off-Page SEO Important?

Off-page optimization is as important as On-Page optimization. Your website must apply off-page factors to promote your site and rank it higher for gaining more traffic.

Off-page SEO tells search engines that your website is valuable for users. Backlinks can be taken as other websites vouching for the quality of your content and website. Understanding that, Google ranks your site higher.

Another important thing, search engines’ ranking algorithms are constantly changing over time. In the long run, we can’t say for sure what factors affect the ranking and in what weight.

However, maintaining the site’s relevance, genuineness and authority would always have a good image to search engines as well as visitors. Not to mention that good works on the web are self-promoted through shares, inbound links, and word of mouths too.

Off-page Optimization Techniques

i. Quality Inbound Links

Inbound links or backlinks are incoming links from other sites pointing toward your website. The number of websites that link to your website is often an important factor.

There’re tons of ways you can get backlinks to your site. Firstly, if you have quality content, then people will link to your site naturally. Besides, you can get backlinks by guest posting, submitting websites to web directories, etc.

The links from sites with high page rank and authority are preferable. They lend more credibility than links from sites with low authority or low page rank.

The links from several sites to your site can boost your SEO implementation. However, it doesn’t suggest you should involve in things like link farming (link buying), because it may end in a penalty.

Always remember there shouldn’t be too many links from one site because this is often a sign of spamming and may have negative consequences. Google always recommends getting links from sites with high-quality content.

You can have referral links from blogs, social media sites, and news aggregators that are handy, and appear relevant and contextual.

Backlinks from social bookmarking sites (such as Pocket, Pinterest, Reddit) and web directories (such as DMOZ, Yelp, Foursquare) can affect visibility positively.

ii. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is an element of off-site SEO. It’s the process of sharing your website or web page on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. So, we could say it’s a sort of link-building on social media. 

Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing

Social media is an incredible medium with an ever-increasing scope. Using social media, you’ll reach out to the modern target audience which is useful users that share and promote your website.

Hence, you can expand your reach by taking advantage of social media optimization and marketing.

You should keep your audience engaged, and share updates with them.

For instance, you can use social platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn to expand your business significantly. You can use Twitter to share updates and keep your users within the loop with engaging content.

Take advantage of those social media sites for branding and advertising for a fraction of the value of traditional marketing methods like television advertising, and press releases.

iii. Content Marketing

Content marketing acts as supplementary information about your products or services. So, the users are going to be more interested in your products or services.

Blog Content Marketing
Blog Content Marketing

You can make use of blogging for content marketing. It is an excellent tool for achieving user engagement. You’ll be able to keep users aware of the latest trends and technologies in your niche.

In your blog, you can add troubleshooting steps, product-relevant content, and meaningful information to gravitate the larger the audience toward you and your brand.

There are a plethora of blogging domains that will assist you to reach out to your audience. You can use inbound and relevant links from your blog to your site to boost your SEO implementation significantly.

iv. Localization and Citations

Localization or local SEO is a crucial off-page factor because it serves the user’s region. It’s considerably popular among small-size and medium-size enterprises because it helps them connect with users in their neighborhood. 

The tool called Google My Business allows you to list your business, and gain prominence in SERPs. You’ll place your products or services and categorize them in order that they’re going to show up when an inquiry query is employed for that category or niche within the region.

Google My Business Page
Google My Business

Local citations are brand mentions or reviews that help to teach users about product robustness, or attributes. Google is very much fond of brands and prefers to rank branded websites on top of the results.

Local SEO utilities like Yelp and Foursquare are extremely helpful for understanding the pros, and cons of your products or services, courtesy of user feedback, or input. 

Reviews and ratings assist you to establish a reference to users and understand their viewpoints and concerns associated with your business. Increasing interaction together with your users will help streamline your business in a long-standing time.

v. Email Marketing

Email marketing involves sending promotional messages via internet-based email. It’s a traditional digital marketing strategy. But, it’s the most effective way for gaining traffic, conversion, and sales.

Email Content Marketing
Email Content Marketing

Nowadays, most companies with an online presence have begun to utilize email marketing and see it as a crucial part of their mix. It’s that one-to-one communication that makes email marketing so effective.

Email marketing is very important because firstly, it has a higher open and clicks rate than other marketing strategies. Also, the return on investment is astonishing 4000% i.e. it returns $40 for every dollar spent.

This marketing strategy is effective mainly due to the personal one-to-one communication with the customers. Plus, you can add call-to-actions to encourage users to use your service.

Remember that legitimate email marketing requires the permission of the recipient. Emails sent without permission are viewed as spam.

Email marketing could be a very effective way of gaining a huge audience with personalized messages, newsletters, and promotional emails. So, you should opt for email marketing as an off-page SEO tactic.

I. White Hat vs Black Hat SEO

Below is a table of differences between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO:

White Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO
White Hat SEO is referred to as an SEO technique that focuses on providing qualitative content to the audience. It involves following the search engines’ guidelines properly.Black Hat SEO is referred to as a technique that focuses on manipulating search engines to rank websites higher.
Search engines view your website as genuine if proper guidelines are used. So, you don’t need to worry about getting penalized or de-indexing your site if you use white hat SEO.Using black hat SEO tricks to get your site higher may get your site banned, penalized, or de-indexed as soon as the search engines find out.
It builds long-term credibility.It destroys long-term credibility.
This technique doesn’t compromise on providing quality and relevant content for your users.This technique doesn’t care about the quality of the content.
It is suitable for those who aim to make a long-run investment in their site. Its return will be slow, steady, and long-lastingIt is suitable for those that are trying to find quick returns (i.e. money).
White Hat SEO is often called ethical SEO.Black Hat SEO is often called unethical SEO.
Examples of White Hat SEO techniques:
– Creating quality content
– Internal linking 
– External linking 
– Keyword Research 
– Social Media Marketing
– Link building
– Optimizing code
Examples of Black Hat SEO techniques: 
– Key stuffing 
– Link farming 
– Page swapping 
– Duplicate content
– Buying links
– Unrelated keywords 
– Reporting competitors 
– Cloaking 
– Comment spamming
White Hat vs Black Hat SEO

J. How to Optimize Your Site for Search Engines?

Here are a couple of SEO checklists that you simply can implement for a better ranking of your website.

  • Choose the Best Keywords: You must choose the keywords that are associated with your products or services. Do proper research and use the keywords appropriately. Remember, not to use the keywords too densely.
  • Maintain Content Quality: When you write content for your site it must be original and unique. Plus, you should make your content readable with proper grammar and punctuation. Consider using engaging images, infographics, and useful information to make it more engaging.
  • Relevant Linking: You should link various other relevant pages to your blog or article. Make sure you provide adequate internal links and also external links if required.
  • Optimize Images: You should reduce the size of the image you’re using on your site without losing the quality. Also, make use of proper alt tags, titles and captions on images for informing search engines what the images are about.
  • Optimize URL structure: The URL should contain the keywords so that it makes clear about the web page content. Also, it should reflect the particular structure of a website.
  • Maintain Page Loading Speed: Use light-weighted code and optimize your media to enhance the loading speed of your page. It also helps with customer engagement and conversions.
  • Check for Mobile-Friendliness: Confirm that your website loads easily on mobiles and other devices. You can use Google mobile-friendly Test for checking the responsiveness of your site.
  • Enable Security: Enable SSL certificate on your website to create a secure connection between your server and the user’s browser. If you use WordPress, you can use security plugins like Wordfence, Sucuri, etc. to maintain your website security.
  • Proofreading: Always remember to proofread your content carefully a minimum of twice before publishing. It’ll help you eliminate all the mistakes in your content.

Conclusion

We hope that you simply are now familiar with all major concepts associated with Search Engine Optimization. Following this guide step-by-step, you’ll be ready to improve your website SEO.

If you like this article, then please share it with your friends and colleagues. You can also post your feedback and suggestions for this guide.

You can also check our guide on how to optimize your website speed. (22 easy methods.)

For more guides, keep exploring our blog. Also, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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