What is SEO?

What is SEO?

When I face my first SEO Interview the first question asked by the interviewer was What do you know about SEO? They ask me the question because they know I was new in the SEO field.

Now I have 10+ Years of SEO experience, I can share detailed information regarding What is SEO and as beginner what you need to learn in SEO.

Whether you are searching for a Job or wants to learn something on internet, you start looking at Search engine website.

When you search something in Search engine, the website show some relevant results. The whole process of bringing your website on the list is known as SEO.

SEO Stands for Search Engine Optimization, Its simple process consist of various steps that we going to check today.

In this What is SEO guide, I am going to share Basic fundamentals of SEO and how you can use SEO strategy in your business to bring more customers.

After Reading Full content ,you will learn:

  • The basics Fundamental of SEO [ How Search Engine Works ]
  • Why SEO matters for online and offline business
  • The SEO Technical words you must understand
  • How to prepare SEO strategy
  • How much time SEO efforts take to see results.
  • Learn to Start career as SEO Expert
  • Know the Industry experts to learn SEO

So, I am very excited to show you everything related to SEO that you can optimize your website for search engine.

Let’s Start learning What is SEO?

Know the Search Engine Market Share

SEO is not only about Google, There are lots of other websites that offer searching facility and showing results that take you to other website. We have gathered some data showing the Search Engine market share of 2019. Let’s see it first

Search Engine Market Share

Image Source: https://www.reliablesoft.net/

According to Statcounter Google holds almost 92% of market share which is huge number, that is why Google is most important when you start learning seo, at the same time also focus on Bing, Yahoo, Duckduckgo Search Engine optimization.

Why is SEO important for businesses?

Almost Every second approx. 40,000+ search queries executed by Google and thats too much to calculate for a day.

Google Search Query Per Second

This means whatever business you are running, there are more chances that your customers is looking for your products on internet.

If you are not available online your customer will go to other places who provide better product knowledge and service information.

And If you have website and not using the right SEO techniques you might be loosing more traffic, customers and revenue. Lets see how!

1. More website traffic

Let’s see the case study of one of my client. Below is Google Analytic data that showing different sources that we are getting traffic. If you notice we have 43% of traffic is coming only from Organic search result, which is huge if you compared it with Social traffic, direct traffic or other traffic.

So Imagine, If you have website and if you done right Search engine optimization you can bring more than 60% free traffic to your website.

2. More traffic more revenue

For online business the revenue calculation is simple, If you bring more visitors your revenue is increased.

But when you increase your organic traffic by just 10% every month, your growth will be double in quick time. This is because you are getting highly targeted traffic that searching for your products and services.

For well established business almost 60% revenue is generated from organic traffic if you have multiple traffic sources generating equal traffic.

3. Bring More visitors to your local store

If you have local business and if you are not using google local listing then you are doing a big mistakes.

In 2020, Google gives more priority to local business listing and the first page results is full of local listing.

Let see the example, I am living in Surat and Planning to visit New york city and wants to buy clothes.

I don’t know anyone in Newyork city take store reference so I started searching on google for top clothing store in new york city. Google has suggested me below results and 90% chance is that I will visit one of the store.

Local Listing of New York Clothing Store

So if you don’t have local business listing optimized you will loose potential customers like me. This is why SEO is more important for local and online business.

SEO Glossary: 14 SEO terms you’ll need to master

There are around 400+ SEO terminology that you will come in contact but out of that you need to keep eyes on the below terms.

DA (Domain Authority):

In my early seo learning Stage around 2010 we were using Google page rank to to measure website authority, higher the page rank higher the quality of website.

DA is metric created by moz giving website authority from 0 to 100 based various factors. Higher the authority higher chances of ranking.

SEO Update:

Whenever search engine update their website database and search term related position, People notice keyword ranking fluctuations and this process is knows as SEO Updates.

Backlink:

When a website links other website its knows as backlinks. If you link your own website pages then we call it as Internal link and when you link other website pages we called it as external links.

Google Penalty:

When you work against google policy, your all search engine ranking down, this is generally referred as Google Penalty.

Black Hat SEO:

Its process of manipulating search engine algorithm, by getting quick automated links, adding hidden text and unethical practice to get higher search engine ranking. The techniques was working fine till 2009, but now search engine algorithm getting more smarter and you can caught easily. My best advice is that you avoid black hat seo techniques.

White Hat SEO:

It’s the practice what google and most of the guru suggest to follow. SEO Process followed according to search engine guidelines. Strategy focused on improving overall user experience, trust rather than focusing on first page ranking.

Organic CTR (Click-through Rate):

Whenever user search on Google if your listing visible and user click, its called organic CTR.

Example: If 100 visitors notice your listings and out of that only 10 people click, then your organic CTR would be 10%.

Bounce Rate:

It’s comes from the Google Analytics. Whenever visitors land on website page and close that instantly we called it as bounce rate. In most of the cases visitors visits 2 or 3 pages and then close website, the bounce rate falls near to 30% to 80%, Less bounce rate means higher conversion.

Keyword or Search term:

Whenever users search a term in Search Engine its know as Keywords. For example whatever I search in Google “What is Search Engine Optimization?” is keywords.

Impressions:

Number of times when users search in google or search engine and find your website in search result page its known as impression.

Meta Title and Description:

Meta title and description

Let’s look at  the Word written in blue headlines ‘Google Analytics ‘ is knows as Meta Title tag and similarly text below blue headlines is knows as Meta description tag. This text is not visible on website front end.

Keyword Rankings:

The position where your website available in search engine result page.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page):

The once you search for term in search engine a result comes, its known as SERP

Search Intent:

Whenever users searches something on search engine website might be for information, shopping or looking for a solution. There is always search intent behind the query.

How to Create SEO strategy?

After reading all the above points finally you decided to start SEO for your own website, But you are stuck at from where you can start.

Before we jump to create SEO strategy lets look at the Google search engine ranking factors published by sparktoro.

Google Ranking Factors

Here I am going to shows 8 important Google SEO ranking factors that you must include in your strategy.

1. Keyword research

When a customer searches something on google for your business, and if you available on first position chances are that you bring that customer on your website and sale something.

So the question is How you know what keywords are your customer searching?

The answer is simple you can find targeted keywords related to your products / services with any of the following techniques.

  • By Searching on Google and taking note of Suggestion.
  • Taking Related terms from bottom of the page.
  • Using Google trends
  • Keyword tool – Keyword planner, Ubersuggest
  • Asking friends and family members with different questions.
  • Youtube suggestion
  • Questions and Answer published related to your topics.
  • And doing analysis of your top competitors website content, title, description, heading tags, image alt tags.
  • Using tool like SEMRush to know on which keywords competitors getting traffic.

So make a seed list of keywords and optimize your website according to

Find Keyword Search Volume:

Check how many monthly searches are available for the keywords. Once you prepare list you can easily get search volume through tools.

Write Keyword Intent

Some keywords have high converting intent but the traffic volume is less, so don’t forget to write keyword intent for each targeted phrase.

Keyword Difficulty

Based on your search volume add 1 more column of how difficult is to rank that keywords. You can do this by doing competitor analysis. Find keywords that have less competition and high intent of conversion.

Keyword Benefit Analysis

By doing some math you can easily know the benefit of ranking at first position. Let’s take example if your targeted keywords have CPC of  US$2 and search volume is 1000, then ranking keyword at first position value will be 2000, similarly it will be less for Same search volume with less CPC.

I am taking CPC in calculation because marketer are paying high for highly converting keywords.

2. On-page SEO

Once you finished with keywords selection your next step is to integrate with your website architecture, content and link building.

The process of optimizing a single landing page with search engine standards is known as On Page SEO

Here, we are going to see only important on page seo ranking factors.

SEO Architecture:

Make easy website architecture that users and search engine bot can reach your website with just single or double clicks. This will help in Indexing and crawling your website all Important pages.

Landing Page URL:

Once you have defined SEO architecture it’s time to create Landing page url. Whenever you create new URL

  • Make it short around 50 to 55 characters long url rank higher.
  • Add targeted keywords
  • Avoid underscore use hyphen to separate words.
  • Avoid using parameters.

Meta tags:

Writing catchy meta tags helps you to increase your website organic CTR. Whenever you write meta tags keep below things in mind.

  • Always use your primary keywords in title and description.
  • Search Engine only shows limited text of title and description so make it relevant otherwise your bounce rate will be increased.
  • Avoid Keyword cannibalization in title tag.

Website Page Title:

This is the Second important tag after the meta title tag that search engines keep in mind to decide the relevancy of a page. This is also visible on a page so make it a combination of your targeted keyword and that forces the audience to read the full page.

Heading tags

Heading tags help search engines in deciding the relevance of a page.

When we say heading tags then we are talking about H1, H2, H3, H4 tags. Always keep discipline of adding heading tags in sequence. Below points you need to take care.

  • Use targeted keywords synonyms in heading tags.
  • Keep a heading tag length around 20 to 70 characters.
  • Use heading hierarchy.

How to Write Body text:

While Creating SEO Strategy page content plays a major role. You have often heard the phrase “content is king” right?

Also SEO Gurus are talking about creating long content to rank higher. 

This is not a myth, it’s true but it applies in different situations and types of query that users are searching.

So My Question is how do you make content strategy that generates audience interest? Below are some points that you can consider.

  • Simple, Read more about the topic and your targeted keywords. Find problems associated with your targeted keyword. Give a permanent solution so that users will not use the back button to search for other solutions.
  • Always write point to point content mixing with your search terms, synonyms. Use Images whenever required. If you need to give reference to an external website for a better solution, Just do it.
  • If you have a more detailed solution in your own internal pages then Just link it with proper anchor text so users can click.
  • If possible add videos related to that topic to increase users time spend

Once your website page time spend improves, Google will start giving you more importance to websites which have poor time spent for the same solutions.

3. Technical SEO

IF you have spent lots of time writing content and making good looking with stylish fonts and colors. If your website is not developed as per the technical SEO guidelines than 90% chances are that you will not rank higher.

Technical SEO is process of making website code search engine friendly, It contains

  • Easy Indexing and crawling so Search engines can find your website
  • High Quality experience in terms of loading, speed, reading.
  • Code Standards – Header, Body, Footer with proper tagging.
  • Do W3C validation and fix common errors.

So while creating a technical SEO strategy you can focus on following points:

Page loading speed

When  your website loads below 3 seconds you have done a great job in terms of technical seo. To check how much speed score you have just visit google page speed insight tool and check your website performance. Higher the page speed score more chances of getting higher ranking.

Whenever I have to test website speed I do mostly on two websites to monitor total request, image optimization and page loading time.

Page Speed Insight

Here is the result of my website internal page in Google Page Speed Insight. If You have website you must try to check your website speed.

Page Speed Insight Results

Gtmetrix

Now look at the gtmetrix speed data.

Gtmetrix Speed test

Both websites share some suggestions to improve the speed. Just check all recommendations one by one and start fixing.

Mobile friendliness

In 2020 if you plan to design a new website, then make it with a mobile first concept. Use google mobile friendly test to know how your website is seen by google.

Google Mobile Friendly Test

Once you check the results, it will show you whether your website is mobile friendly or not.

Secure site (HTTPS)

Without any doubts and extensive research make a thumb rule that your website loads with https.
Even Google has officially announced that they will use https as a ranking signal.

Privacy is a serious concern for internet users. HTTPS ensures Users that whatever data you proceed on website is safe and secure.

When you use https make sure that you force 301 redirect for http to https.

Site WWW or Without www

Load your website with or without, make sure you use either one option. This is useful to avoid duplicate content issues. If you force any one version with 301 redirection your problem will be solved.  Just keep this point in making your technical SEO strategy.

4. User Experience optimization

From 2019 I have noticed my website some ranking patterns regarding the user experience. When my website overall time spent increases within the next week, my website organic traffic starts improving.

3 major UX signals impact your organic ranking. Let’s see how we can add them in our strategy.

Increase User Time Spent on Website

The simple way to Increase time spent on websites is to keep visitors engaged with a page for a long time.

It’s difficult but you can try by doing.

  • Writing point to point content with short paragraphs and differentiating it with headings
  • Solving user problems
  • Showing relevant information.
  • Adding Images and videos

Keep track of Pages per session

Once you bring customers on a website and notice how they interact with your other pages.

If users spend a long time on a website by visiting more pages in a single session then it gives a strong signal to google that the visitors are liking the website.

So achieve higher ratio do proper internal linking.

Monitor Bounce rate

It is one of the strong signals that google is looking to maintain the organic ranking of websites.

Lower bounce rate higher ranking, but if you have high Organic ranking and at the same time high bounce rate then shortly your ranking will start dropping.

So to engage users in your first 8 seconds highlight main important points that keep users to read further.

5. Content marketing

“Content” Provides users information regarding what services or product is all about. More user focused Content helps you in improving internal linking.

The best way to create user focused content is through blog. A high quality problem solving blog will increase your website traffic and revenue.

View all your keyword research data and filter query that has informational or problem related intent and plan if you can make a blog post.

Once you have high quality content people will start promoting on social media and their own website that naturally increase your backlinks.

6. Link building

Backlinks are the backbone of ranking keywords on the first page first positions. When someone links your website to their website, Google considers it as backlinks.

There are lots of ways to build high quality backlinks, but just focus on creating links from high authority niche websites whether they are directories, blogs, Comments, local directories, forums or any community in your niche market.

There is no limit on how many links you can acquire, but make sure that it looks natural to search engines.

  • Try to get anchor text links with keyword diversification, do not repeat your money keywords.
  • Try to add links from different top level domain with Unique IP.
  • If you are planning to get links from web 2.0 sites then do it in the right way
  • Avoid unnatural link patterns.
  • Balance Follow and nofollow links.

7. Local SEO

Google is highly promoting my local business listing in India as well. Almost all product and service related keywords have a local listing.

So it’s very important that you prepare a local ranking strategy by optimizing your maps, content, Address, timing and do proper NAP with other website address.

Plan to Get High quality backlinks from local active directories.

Plan to acquire high quality local reviews from people who have a strong profile.

8. Reputation Management

If your website is new there are no questions, but if you are preparing a strategy for an existing website which has lots of customers then take this as priority.

When your company starts growing at the same time your customer’s good and bad experience also increases.

Some customers are highly satisfied with your products and left positive reviews that boost other customer confidence as well.

In some cases you might start getting negative reviews for one of your products and that affects your business. So it’s very important for you to learn how you can manage your online reputation. Here are few tips you can consider in strategy.

  • Monitor your brand mentions
  • Run some social cause campaign
  • Prepare detailed solutions related to your organization.
  • Ask people to share their feedback.

Building a career in the SEO industry

Once you finish learning SEO, it’s time to make a strong career.

So the first question comes to your mind is how much salary you will get for your first job?

Industry has some salary limitations but for individuals it’s not, you can earn as much you want. Let’s look at some SEO Career options.

Get Job in SEO Company:

Ideally In India salary depends on talent you have, for an expert you can easily get around 20k per month.

In the United States, as per the average base salary for Experienced SEO specialist is around $70000. But Once you are an experienced marketer there is no limit to earning.

Work as Freelancer:

You can provide freelance SEO services through websites like UPWORK, Fiver, Freelance and charge as much you want.

Create Website & Sell Products

Third Career option is to start a niche website and earn through ads revenue or selling products online.

Start Teaching SEO

The Fourth Career option is teaching SEO to students. Either you can provide physical classroom training or sell online courses.

If your skills are too good to rank any highly competitive keywords in a timely manner you can ask as much money as you can.

How long does SEO take to work?

SEO will not give you overnight success, Like doing work in a single day and getting next day results.

It’s Ongoing process focusing on multiple factors. But the truth is if you do a good job results are always positive.

Just focus on Search engine fundamental guidelines and prepare a SEO calendar and execute it on time.

Generally you will start noticing free traffic and results from 4 – 5 months of putting regular efforts.

Still for higher success it depends on the below points.

  • Keyword and competition selection
  • How much time you are working on solving website issues
  • How much money you spend on content creation and distribution.
  • Your website working history and domain age.

The Internet has lots of opportunities to explore, so just keep focusing on working and search engines rewards you long term.

My Conclusion about What is SEO.

Whether you are planning to start your own business or you are a student to learn SEO I believe I have given you detailed information that will help you in making the right decision.

If you know how SEO is working you can easily allocate your time and budget that produces long term positive results for your company.

My final thought is although SEO is a time consuming process, but highly rewarding skills. So we must learn it and apply in business to increase branding, traffic and sales.