What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Learn to Improve SEO
# SEO Knowledge
# SEO Tools
SEO, Search Engine Optimization, is the process of improving websites’ rankings and visibility on search engines, focusing on organic traffic, not paid one
- What is SEO: Search Engine Optimization?
- Why is SEO important? What are the Benefits of SEO?
- Different Types of SEO
- How does SEO work?
- How to do SEO: SEO Techniques and Strategies
- On-page Optimization
- Off-page Optimization
- Technical Optimization
- Keyword Research: How to select SEO keywords?
- How to do SEO: SEO Tools
- Future of SEO
- Need Help to do SEO?
What is SEO: Search Engine Optimization?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” As a lot of people shop and search for products online, many business owners start to aim for ranking higher in search engines, such as Google and Bing. This is when SEO comes in:
SEO is about improving your website’s presence on search engines to be exposed to more visitors and bring in more traffic, and most importantly, business opportunities.
SEO is not the only digital marketing strategy out there. You must have also heard of SEM and PPC. So, what’s the difference?
SEO vs. SEM
SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) both aim to increase visibility, but they take different routes. SEO focuses on organic methods like optimizing content, while SEM, on the base of SEO, includes paid advertising to boost visibility.
Take Google for example, you can see 2 main parts on SERP (Search Engine Results Pages): the paid search results and the organic search results. SEO aims to rank your site higher in the organic part; while on top of that, SEM also considers all the traffic and performances your site gets in the paid ad section.
SEO vs. PPC
PPC means Pay-Per-Click, also a form of digital marketing. Remember the paid area we mentioned before? PPC is about getting traffic from paid search displays.
Site owners would have to bid for certain keywords to appear on the top paid search results. One of the downsides of PPC is that if you don’t bid high enough, you won't get the chance to be shown on the search results. The game of PPC is quick and instant and with a financial investment: while SEO is more about long-term growth and doesn’t involve bidding keywords.
To put it simply,
SEO focuses on only organic searches, and PPC is about the competition in the paid area to fight for traffic. Combining both of them, we get SEM.
Let’s paint a clearer picture of SEO and PPC concepts by comparing them side by side:
|Strategy||Content optimization||Ad campaigns|
Keep in mind that they are all essential channels for digital marketing.
The question of choosing only one of them to be your only marketing strategy has never existed, but it is worth considering which one you want to put in more effort with the resources you have right now.
Here we are going to tell you why SEO is important and how your site can benefit from investing in SEO.
Why is SEO important? What are the Benefits of SEO?
First of all, organic search takes up over half of all website traffic and it is still growing. People search for everything online now, so it has become vital for businesses to fight for their place to be seen on search engines.
If we look at the click-through rates on Google search for different positions in 2023, the top position gets around 40% of the CTR. It is more than the second and the third positions’ CTR combined. So, it is guaranteed that ranking for a better place on SERP helps your business bring in positive results and attract more potential customers.
More traffic, more customers. It is just as simple as that.
The other reason to start your SEO campaign is that it is a sustainable strategy compared to other digital marketing channels. Paid advertising campaigns rely on a lasting budget. When you stop investing in more money, so stops the traffic. But that won’t be the case for a good SEO campaign.
Once your SEO strategies are established, the benefits endure.
The final reason to run a successful SEO campaign is that it is critical for building your brand awareness. High visibility and high rankings reflect your brand credibility. You will walk away with a trustworthy brand in the long run.
If Google thinks your brand deserves a higher ranking, then people do, too.
Different Types of SEO
There are many aspects and strategies to talk about when it comes to SEO. Let’s delve into the world of SEO and explore different types of SEO in more detail.
On-page SEO largely involves optimizing the content on your site for both users and search engines. Content quality, title tags, metadata, and target keywords are the factors you’re looking for to improve your on-page SEO. Creating a nice user experience when visiting your site is also a key factor.
Off-page SEO is about improving your site’s relationship with third-party sites across the Internet. It usually focuses on developing backlink strategies to convince search engines that your site is of high authority.
Technical SEO, just like its name, is about the technical part of your website. It deals with the relationship between your site and the search engine. If you want search engines to understand your site’s structure easily, then they can successfully crawl, index, and rank your website. Also, your site’s accessibility, security, and speed are important factors to improve in technical SEO.
Other Subgenres SEO
There are also other genres of SEO, covering a much more specific ground. Apart from the mainstream SEO aspects, it is still important to understand these subgenres if they can be applied to your business or website.
The range of local SEO is more specific about the location. Its goal is to get your business or brand to rank high in the regional organic search. Optimizing for search results on Google Maps is the perfect example of local SEO as the local audience is the group of people you want to impress the most.
It poses more challenges to optimize for e-commerce as it targets product searches. There are many aspects to aim for in this type of SEO, such as category pages, product images, product descriptions, reviews, and more.
The goal of image SEO is to rank high in the Image Search on Google. The algorithm can be different from the usual SEO, but they are interconnected for sure. Ranking high in image search can help your rankings on organic search.
This SEO focuses on competing rankings on YouTube searches or Google’s results for Videos. It involves on-page, technical, and off-page SEO for your video content to get the most impressions.
How does SEO work?
So, how does SEO work step by step? Firstly, we need to figure out how search engines work. Let’s look at Google since it is the most powerful and popular search engine. Understand how Google ranks sites, then we can have a clear direction to optimize websites.
Secret of Website Ranking: How Google really ranks sites?
Google’s search engine has one goal: to provide users with correct information and satisfy their queries.
It would use its algorithms to look over all of the pages to decide which pages are best for answers, then rank them at the top positions.
There are 3 steps of how the Google search engine work:
Step 1. Crawling:
The search engine bot will go through the whole Internet, examining all the code and content of every URL
Step 2. Indexing:
The search engine will then decide which pages it wants to be part of its archive
Step 3. Ranking:
Based on the different queries, the search engine will choose the best pages to present from its archive by using its algorithms
Think of Google as a library. To have your book become part of its coveted collection, you must submit fundamental details about your book. Then Google will decide whether to include your book in the library after the assessment. Should your book earn its spot in the library, Google categorizes it, making sure that it's showcased in the most ideal sections to assist people with similar interests.
The puzzle is in how Google decides the order of websites on its search results. We might not find out exactly how they do it since Google wants to keep how they carry out the algorithms a secret. But we do know what things Google thinks about when ranking. They look at E-E-A-T, which stands for "Experience," "Expertise," "Authoritativeness," and "Trustworthiness."
Google prefers articles that share personal experiences or are helpful to users. Also, trustworthy websites, like government sites, news sites, groups, or encyclopedias, will get a higher spot on the search results.
To put how SEO works in a nutshell:
Step 1. You need to have your website crawled and indexed by the Google search engine properly
Step 2. You need to have your content be useful and professional or offer unique experiences
Step 3. You need to convince Google that your site is trustworthy
How to do SEO: SEO Techniques and Strategies
After figuring out how SEO works and the ranking factors, you must have doubts: How do I get started in SEO? Can I do SEO by myself? Well, let's roll up our sleeves and explore practical ways to implement SEO and learn about some useful SEO tools.
After selecting your batch of keywords, it’s time to create content around them. This is also when on-page optimization comes in.
On-page optimization is about making your website's information easily understandable for both users and search engines. It involves refining the content you present to users and sending signals that guide search engines through your site.
Here, we'll delve into steps to improve your on-page SEO:
Match the Query:
Ensure that your content aligns with the target keyword query. Your content should deliver pertinent information that addresses users' needs. Before crafting your content, it's wise to search the keyword on Google to gauge its relevance.
Write with In-depth Information:
There is no strict rule of how long your article should be, but Google tends to favor a complete piece with valuable information. Aim for articles that are at least 1,500 words to satisfy search engines and readers alike.
Design Meta-title and Meta-description:
These elements are your site's introduction on SERP. These elements are vital for bother users and search engines to grasp what your site is about. Keep them concise, and informative, and attract users to click through.
Keep All H Tags Structured:
Maintain a structured hierarchy for all your H tags in articles. Typically, your H1 title doubles as the meta title. Organize all subheadings in a logical order, with more crucial subheadings as primary ones. This organization helps search engines go through your content effectively.
Include Image Alt Texts:
If you have images in your articles, don’t forget to set alt texts for images. Since search engines can’t read the words on the images, labeling your pictures by setting alt texts help them to categorize. This is a way to improve the image SEO and help the article to rank better.
Make Target Keyword Present:
To rank high, the keyword must be present on the page. Try to make it more present in your meta-title, meta-description, H2 titles, and the first paragraph of the article. Remember to include the keyword naturally. Avoid keyword stuffing, and maintain a smooth integration.
Add External Links:
Find pages from high domain authority that are relevant to your topic and link them as anchor texts in your article. This would not only build trust among your readers as strong references but also help establish credibility with Google.
Add Internal Links:
If you have other articles with similar or relative topics, try to make them anchor texts in the articles as well. This helps users to stay and explore more on your site. For Google, a well-designed internal link network help in comprehending a website’s structure.
On-page optimization is about maintaining relevance, while off-page optimization revolves around building authority. The key practice in off-page optimization is the use of backlinks.
Backlinks refer to links to your pages from other websites. They are also a key factor when Google decides which website to be ranked higher. It works as a referral system.
If you receive more referrals from others, this is a sign of you having greater authority. The more high-quality referrals you receive, the better your authority appears to Google, resulting in a higher ranking.
There are several methods to build backlinks. Let’s take a closer look.
Create Original Content: This is the organic way of building backlinks. Good quality content will naturally attract other sites to reference your page.
Reach Out to Other Sites: You can contact other websites for links to see if they are interested in referencing your content. Engaging with relevant sites can encourage them to consider referencing your page.
Do Guest Posting: Seek out websites that offer guest posting opportunities. By providing a well-crafted article and including your links, you can secure backlinks from third-party websites.
Share Content on Social Media: Share your content on social media platforms to be seen by more people. It would also increase the chances of your content being referenced and creating backlinks.
Finally, we need to talk about the technical part of SEO. Optimizing from a technical standpoint often involves meeting Google's site security standards and other requirements.
Here are some fundamental elements your website should cover:
Make sure your website is easily crawlable by Google. Build a clear site structure. You can also submit a sitemap to help Google locate your web pages and understand your site more efficiently.
Use Schema markup language to improve how Google presents your content in search results. This approach would make your site more appealing on SERP.
How well your page is displayed on mobile devices also impacts your SEO performance.
It is best to use HTTPS as it is more secure than HTTP.
Get Rid of Duplicate Pages:
Prevent confusion for both users and search engines by ensuring only one version of a page is available. Duplicate pages harm not only user experience but also SEO ranking. Use canonical URLs to fix such situations.
A slow loading speed of your page can also create poor user experience. Improve the page speed to aim for seamless browsing.
You certainly don’t want the big 404 popping up after users enter your page. Address redirect issues to prevent showing broken pages to users.
Keyword Research: How to select SEO keywords?
Create a Keyword List
You need to decide which keywords you want to target first. It is better to brainstorm keywords that are either close to your business or the ones that are the most relevant to your websites.
Try to guess the query behind each keyword to match your business and come up with a list of potential keywords before moving on to the next step of your keyword research.
Get the Search Volume and Keyword Difficulty
Use keyword research tools to get the data behind every keyword on the list. There are 2 metrics you should look at: search volume and keyword difficulty.
Search volume shows how frequently this keyword has been searched each month, while keyword difficulty indicates how hard it is to rank high for each keyword. Each tool may give you different results.
Choose Your Target Keywords Carefully
Now, it's time to choose the keywords you want to focus on. Keywords with high search volumes can bring a good number of views and visitors to your site. However, it can be tough to get a good position in search results. On the other hand, low-volume keywords are usually longer and more specific. They might not have as many searches, but it is easier to rank high for these keywords.
How to do SEO: SEO Tools
Optimizing your website can be an overwhelming task, especially when you have to take care of all the aspects of SEO, but the good news is that there are a lot of tools and software to help you with SEO.
Google Search Console
GSC is your best friend when it comes to monitoring your website’s impressions, collected keywords, rankings, and other essential data. It is also vital to spot any issues your site might have from the technical SEO point of view, like indexing.
Don't forget to check our full guide on how to master GSC!
Top Keyword Tools for SEO
Conducting effective keyword research can bring your SEO game to the next level. Luckily, there are many keyword tools available.
- SEMrush is probably the most advanced keyword research tool available now. Its free version is powerful already. SEMrush offers a wide range of specialized keyword tools, providing basic data like volume, trend, and keyword difficulty. Also, you cannot miss the feature of the content marketing toolkit to help you create content automatically by grading it for SEO.
- Ahrefs is another competitive all-in-one keyword research tool available online. Its content gap feature is useful to filter out the keywords your competitors are ranking for that your site doesn’t. The keyword generator is another great selling point, offering up to 150 keyword ideas for free with monthly volume and difficulty. In fact, Ahrefs started as a backlink analysis platform, so it also offers powerful backlink-related features.
- Ubersuggest is the best suit for those who are beginners in the SEO field or those who don’t have enough budget to invest in SEO. Even though the free version offers very limited features, Ubersuggest still has a competitive advantage when it comes to keyword research. From keyword difficulty to content ideas, you can all find it on this platform.
- Moz Keyword Explorer is also another great keyword research tool for beginners. Moz itself is one of the leading companies for SEO. The tool offers you basic features to conduct full keyword research, including organic CTR, rank tracking, volume, and so on. Its most unique feature is the “Priority”, analyzing whether a keyword is worth investing in or not for you.
Best Backlink Checker
Building backlinks plays a big role in the SEO strategy. As we discussed before, it is a way to build up your authority to search engines.
Deciding which websites to link is the key factor to be successful. Linking to spammy, skeptical, poor-quality websites can eventually have a negative impact on your sites and rankings.
The 4 SEO companies above all have their own backlink tool on their platform. Here we will introduce just a few more tools to check backlinks.
BuzzSumo: This is a powerful tool to check backlinks on domains and pages. Simply type in an URL to find out how many backlinks that link to it. Checking your competitors’ top pages and scour valuable backlink resources can be useful.
LinkMiner: Mangools offers this dedicated backlink-checking tool designed to enhance websites’ performances. This tool is tailored to check your backlinks and provides various filtering options such as nofollow, new, lost, and more. Moreover, you can use this tool to monitor the status of your site's backlinks effectively.
Majestic: The Majestic Site Explorer is a set of SEO tools that help you analyze backlinks. It generates detailed reports about a specific website or page, mainly focusing on the backlinks and the websites that link to target sites.
Future of SEO
From last December, the elephant in the room will be the debut of ChatGPT. The wave of AI seems to be taking everything by storm, and certainly the SEO.
Bing is gearing up for a fundamental transformation by integrating ChatGPT, the most powerful AI chatbot ever, aiming to boost its competitiveness against Google and challenge its leading position. Such integration could reshape the whole SEO landscape.
AI has already played a role in content generation. With this regard, Google has rolled out a content update about AI-generated content, which will be punished and eliminated if deemed as spam. However, it is safe to say that Google does not inherently oppose any AI-generated content. Still, maintaining high-quality standards is important for either regular or AI content to perform well on Google’s search results.
SEO is already an ever-changing world. The development of AI will continue to impact SEO, but the essence of SEO wouldn’t change: presenting user-centric and valuable content.
Need Help to do SEO?
In the dynamic landscape of SEO, navigating the journey to success can pose challenges. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the SEO or find yourself short on time, seeking expert assistance can be a game-changing move. At Welly, we specialize in guiding businesses through the intricate SEO field.
Remember, SEO is an ongoing endeavor, and keeping it as the best practice is essential to outshine the competition on search engines. If you're eager to delve deeper into SEO or receive an SEO audit report, don't hesitate to reach out to Welly through the yellow button below! Let's elevate your SEO performance to new heights!