SEO for dummies
Who doesn't want to get listed on Google’s top search list?
Well, everyone from a startup to a small business or an established larger one wants their website to hit the first page of search results.
And considering the fact that only top 10 sites per one result page are provided, only experienced and highly professionals ones get through it.
So, what can an un- experienced small business do to let the right people find their website, e-store, and online presence easily?
Having an SEO, which is thought to be a dreadful thing to cope up with, is the sure-shot simple solution.
In this article, we'll learn about SEO and how to nail it?
Let's start with the basics of SEO...
WHAT IS SEO?
First of all, remember that one doesn't simply appear in search engine results, you need SEO.
SEO, in simple terms, is “An art that helps you get the top position in search results”.
For example, if you need a sci-fi book from a library, you will ask the librarian about the book section specifying the exact sci-fi book you're looking for, like books related to “Quantum Physics and Time” in sci-fi section.
As per your requirements, the librarian would head you towards that section. Similarly is the SEO that will help your targeted audience to reach you.
4 REASONS YOU NEED TO LEARN SEO BASICS
Okay, you might be thinking about paying an SEO company to get your work done. Why bother learning it? Right ?
Think Again. Because knowing SEO can have multiple benefits
1. Do it yourself - If you know the basics of the SEO, you can do it yourself. This is important for startups and small businesses that are on a shoestring budget and can't afford professional SEO people.
2. Hire quality experts - When it comes time to outsource SEO functions to a professional, how would you be able to make the right decisions, if you yourself don't know about the basics of the SEO. This is important as there are some shady SEO companies who would be willing to take away your money and not do much anything for you.
3. Keep up to date - Stay updated with implications of latest changes.
4. Better use of tools - Without putting on much effort, by using modern tools you can get desired results. Just like the Pareto principle, 20% of your invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained.
TARGET YOUR GOALS
First of all, you need to determine your targets and goals. Why do you need high rankings? Do you want to sell a product/ products or run a blog?
It's foolish to start without knowing your goals.
If you’re confused about your set targets, you can choose one or more from the ideas given below:
- Traffic generation
- Sales revenue
- Brand awareness
- Lead acquisition
- Return on investments
Before you invest in a long term SEO strategy, you should carefully consider which of these can have a major impact on your goals.
Say, you need to run an eCommerce website, so your first target would be ranking, raw traffic, brand awareness, sales revenue, ROI, etc.
Once you have answers, you can hit SEO with right set of goals in mind.
After getting the basic idea of SEO, let's move onto the working of search engines and see how SEO can help you with that.
HOW DO SEARCH ENGINE WORKS
Imagine you are a teacher (the search engine) at a school.
In the class, you bang on the board to get children's attention. You, the teacher, make an announcement saying a local drama association has offered a volunteering ticket for a student that is most interested in volunteering.
Of course, the class is going to get gush with loud voices and every kid will put his hand up, shouting “Pick me”.
You, as the teacher, must pick the child who volunteers (is relevant), is recognized as a volunteer (has authority), and has a certain skill of volunteering and as well is available on that day (technical).
As a teacher, you start by selecting student from the group of top ten. You base these selections based on various components.
First, you narrow down the students who volunteers (are relevant).
Then, you can check to see if any of the students are recognized as being top volunteers or rewarded for any volunteer programs.
Of course, you'll even check which student is most dedicated to volunteering.
The teacher will do this by seeing who is constantly talking about volunteer programs, writes or participates actively in such programs.
Further, you’ll also look at the technical aspect, i.e. skills of students in volunteering.
After all these considerations - relevant, authority, dedication, and technical aspects - the teacher will then select the student to be at the first of the group.
And that student will get the chance to volunteer.
This is how search engines - particularly Google - rank websites against a search query.
The search engine finds your website via indexing.
Whenever a search query is executed, search engines look through their database and shows the result based on indexing.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO RANK ON GOOGLE
It's really easy to get your website indexed. However, the main challenge is to get it listed on the search engine results for specific queries and keywords.
That's when SEO comes into action.
The search engine uses three factors to rank your websites in results. These are - relevance, authority, and technology.
Relevance is all about your website, i.e., the keywords, titles, content, etc.
Basically, it is one of the most important factors as search engines wants to see how relevant your content is for a specific search query.
So to make your website more relevant you can use specific keywords for your website's title, header, sub-header, description, etc.
You can collect long- tail keywords, LSI keywords, Question-based keywords that can be used repeatedly to maximize your ranking.
For example, if you have a travel business, so by narrowing things down and specifying your paragraphs to “How to travel Singapore on low budget?”, etc.? you may get higher monthly volume.
In order to check your relevance, search engines look at:
How your website is structured.
What keywords are used within the URL?
How your page is formatted.
The keywords those are present in the headline that is also found within the content of that page.
The first thing to keep in mind is SEO keeps changing. The technique which worked last month may get you stuck this time.
However, one thing that remains constant is the authority, i.e., the number of backlinks that you've. That is, SEO still relies heavily on links.
Search engines will determine how informative and creative your website is based on the number of inbound links your site has from different websites.
When your site is mentioned on other sites (with the hyperlink to your site), it is called an inbound link. This helps your rank within Google as well.
When your site is mentioned on another one, which has a high standing (Page Rank and traffic) with Google – this helps even further.
For example, a link coming from Singapore Tourism Board is a lot more authorative than one coming from a little website that was created a few days ago.
While looking for authority, the search engine also looks for other components such as what anchor tag is being used (In HTML, a link tag is known as an “anchor” tag (This is a link to Google) to link to your website and how old your domain is.
No matter how good content, URLs, and strong inbound links you have - your internal structure is important.
In order to make Google crawl your site, you need to have semantic HTML that covers the technical SEO - the elements of the page that cannot be seen by user and the on-site SEO - the elements that user can see without looking at the source code.
The basic on-site SEO elements that you can use for maximizing rank and indexing are:
Title Tag, URLs, Headers, Body Text etc.
However, these may not be enough to get the desired results. You can use Meta Tags for better results.
Meta tags are nothing more than HTML markup tags that give search engines more information about a web page.
Though this information is not visible on the site, these tags assist search engines in understanding a web page.
Meta tags are placed inside the head element in a web page and contain a name and content attributes.
For example, the Meta tags for this post that you reading could be:
<meta name=“description” content=“SEO for dummies” />
Meta tags are one of the most important aspects on a web page because they give search engines a short description about the page.
For example, if you do not have a meta description tag for your page, some search engines will simply grab the first few lines of your page to serve as the description of your site.
In addition to the description meta tag, there is a meta robots tag to determine indexing of your site and meta keywords tag to get your page listed under specific keywords under the search engines.
The meta robots tag is useful if you want to prevent search engines from indexing certain pages or from crawling the links on those pages or from keeping those pages in a cache.
To use meta robots tag, add the meta name and description for indexing and following as shown in the given format:
<meta name=“robots” content=“index, follow”/ >
As these tags can be very useful in placing you on the top of the search result, it is probably a good idea to add these tags to your page.
Being a business owner, you don't need to set redirects or fix critical issues; however, you need to keep a check on the basic technical issues that influence your ranking.
If you notice your web page loads too slow or doesn't respond at all, you can identify the issues in the Page Audit section.
Remember, Google likes sites that load fast.
WRITE FOR HUMANS NOT ROBOTS OR ALGORITHMS:
YES! The search engines are complex but they're trying to act more like a human.
So, instead of doing it for Search engines, do it for humans. Remember yourself that you're writing for humans.
Now-a-days, even search engines can tell whether the content is readable to a human or not.
So stop worrying about the algorithms and inform and educate your readers in the best way you can. Everything else will fall into place after that.
ADDITIONAL SEO TOOLS AND RESOURCES
SEO- even being a multi-million dollar industry, you don't need to invest thousands in SEO service.
In fact, learning the basics and executing them is enough to get your business going.
Below are a few tools to help you with SEO on your site or your client's:
1. GOOGLE ANALYTICS (GA)
Google Analytics is one of the best free analytic trackers that will show you exactly who visited your website, their location, what device they were using, on which web browser, and so forth.
All you have to do is install the tracking code on your website. And, of course, sign up for a Google account (if you don’t already have one).
2. GOOGLE WEBMASTER TOOLS
This is another fantastic and free service from the Google team.
Webmaster Tools has various features, including monitoring your site’s search performance. Oftentimes it can be used along with Google Analytics.
We've summed up almost all the topics related to SEO and search engines in this article.
You need to provide value to your readers as SEO doesn't come without content.
Summarizing the basics of the SEO, you need to
Have relevant content
Use Meta Tags
Use hyperlinks on your site and as well links from third party website.
Solve basic technical issues
And stay updated and dedicated.
To learn more about the SEO and how we can help you minimize your efforts,
We at IntelliSoftwares would love to boost your business with top quality features.