SEO For Beginners is a new video series where we cover everything you need to know about SEO. In this first video of the series, we provide you an overview of what is SEO. Think of this as your SEO 101 class!
SEO stands for search engine optimization and it’s the process of optimizing your website in a way that search engines like Google show your webpages right there on the top for a particular search query. Broadly speaking, you can optimize for SEO by optimizing the following three areas.
The first is your website.
Your ranking will depend largely on how good your website is. And, “good” refers to both the aesthetics and technical factors of your website.
Ask yourself if you’ve optimized your website for crawlers. Is it mobile-friendly? What’s your page speed like? Are your heading tags optimized? What about the UX, the user experience? Is it a website where you’d want to stick around because it’s a delightful experience, or leave because it feels clunky and old?
The second is your content.
Are you creating great content? Is your blog catering to the most important topics in your niche? Is it current and relevant? Is it error-free in terms of grammar and factual correctness?
But content isn’t just about your blog. What about the written and visual content on the rest of your website? How good is your copy? Does it grab attention and guide users along their journey?
The third is your reputation.
This refers to what your peers, competitors, and customers, are saying about you. That’s where important factors like off-page SEO, link building, reviews, and social media mentions come into play.
But how does Google figure out when you’ve checked all the boxes when it comes to search engine optimization? For that, we need to learn how Google search works. Google uses little programs called bots or crawlers that go out and discover webpages. These crawlers start off with a few pages, find backlinks on those pages and visit those links, discover backlinks on those pages and visit them, and so on … until Google has crawled trillions of pages.
Those pages are stored in Google’s database, which is what we call the Google index. And when you search for anything, Google uses its algorithm to determine which pages from its index it should show you, and in what order. That’s what we call ranking.
Nobody outside of Google has seen the algorithm. But we have enough public information to know that there are hundreds of mini-algorithms, or “ranking factors” that feed into Google’s search algo. Some ranking factors have been publicly identified by Google, some have been identified by top SEO professionals through studies and proven experience, and some are just educated guesses.
And search engine optimization is all about improving your rankings so that you show up at the top of search results for your target keywords.
SEO is an extremely important part of your digital marketing campaign. It helps build a website’s authority and drives organic traffic to your site. Despite paid ads appearing above organic rankings, a majority of searches result in a click on an organic result, not an ad.
Organic results are trusted more by people and are seen as a neutral vote of confidence by Google. Moreover, it can pay long term dividends. With paid ads, your page will disappear the moment you stop your ad campaign. That’s not the case with organic results; they’ll stay there at the top as long as Google thinks you’re the best source of information for the user.
If you’ve been reading this far, it should be pretty clear to you now that focusing on SEO will help you in the long run. In the next video, we’ll talk more about crawling, indexing, and ranking.
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