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What is SEO?

What is SEO? Search Engine Optimization

Last Updated on by Hema Mehta

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the techniques and strategies applied altogether in order to improve the visibility (as well as ranking) of webpages on search engines like Google or Bing. SEO helps website owners to get site visitors/traffic directly from the search engine result page (SERP). This is all about how internet users discover your website and the content and stuff of your website via a search engine. It’s organic (unpaid) in nature. It means, you don’t need to pay search engines for the indexing and ranking. All search engines offer the services of indexing and ranking webpages across the internet for free.

In the highly competitive scenario of internet marketing today, SEO is a very crucial aspect. When we talk about digital marketing, SEO comes first.

Before telling you the importance of digital marketing, let me dig deep into what is SEO in proper sense and how it works.

What is a Search Engine?

SEO - Search Engine

In order to understand SEO properly, we need to understand search engines.

In the context of World Wide Web (WWW), a search engine is a complex software system (tool) that collects, stores, classifies, ranks the content available on the internet to serve the purpose of providing the same in accordance to the relevance to a query asked by a search user. There are many search engines in the world, but Google is most prominent search engine with more than 92% market share. Other prominent search engines are Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, Yandex and DockDockGo.

How Does a Search Engine Work?

A typical web search engine performs four primary tasks as follow:

Web Crawling

The primary components of a search engine are web crawlers (also known as, web spiders or web robots). The crawlers or spiders are automated programs that systematically browse the web to collect and update information in their database. This is known as web crawling. Crawling intensity of a website depends upon many factors, such as, robot.txt setting, XML site map, HTML meta tag, CSS components, JavaScript ratio etc.

In order to ensure that all important pages of your website will be regularly crawled by search spider, you need to create proper XML site map, submit the same to search engines, eliminate crawling errors and optimize your pages. You may also instruct search spider not to crawl some pages. However, it doesn’t mean that your website won’t be crawled, if you don’t submit sitemap to search engine. Search engines crawl the webpages even if those are not submitted to them.

Web Indexing

After crawling an optimized webpage, the crawlers stores and manage the content of the page in association with HTML based fields and the specific URL to the huge public database of the search engine. It is known as web indexing. The purpose of indexing is to optimize speed and performance of search processes.

Web Rendering

The process of web rendering starts when a user of a search engine search for some information or content from the web by putting one or more words in the search box and hitting ‘Enter/Search’ (or alternatively speaking to the mike of an audible search tool). This process is known as a ‘search query’. The words entered or spoken for a search query are known as ‘keywords’. Responding to the query, search engine renders adequate amount of results in the form of webpages, images, video, PDF etc. in numbers of pages. The pages on which search results are displayed are known as ‘Search Engine Result Pages (SERP).

Search Ranking

It’s important to note that while rendering results for a certain search query, search engines don’t randomly or arbitrarily display the results on a SERP, rather all search engines follow a set of well programmed policies of creating relevant sequences of displaying the results available on the web. Such policies are directed by the complex algorithms of search engines. Making the systematic sequence of search result is refereed as ‘search ranking’.

Search ranking follows a numbers of parameters and relates the parameters to the keywords of the search query and caches. Relevance to the keywords in query, originality, uniqueness, authority, trustworthiness, domain age, web security, easy accessibility, page speed, content optimization, responsiveness, user experience, social signals are few out of hundred important criteria for page ranking that almost all search engines follow.

Relevance of the content to the keywords in search, though primarily relates to the words in the query and their presence in the content, but that’s not all about it. Out of hundred criteria, I’m noting very few important ones, as instances:

  1. Semantic match: not always the exact wording, but normally synonymy and nearby match with high preference to natural language meaning in diverse context.
  2. Purpose match: How the purpose of the search and the webpage match to each other. for example – searching a product on an eCommerce store or an piece of information from a blog or a scholarly article from a academic website without clearly mentioning the type.
  3. Quality and amount of content: How much the quality and quantity of the content is in a webpage to highly satisfy the need of the search users.
  4. Expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT): How much the website and content creators simultaneously master the subject through in depth knowledge, win faith from the users as evidenced by user experience (UE) index and have high authority as proved through external citations and link building.
  5. Quality of the landing page: How much the page with the specific content is technically sound in terms of structured data, rich elements, speed, optimization, security and privacy protection

Important Aspects of SEO

SEO - Search Engine Optimization

Beside understanding how search engines crawl and index valid pages of a website for smart rendering in accordance to the logical and semantic relevance, being a learner of SEO, you should know the three most crucial aspects of SEO that you have to perform during your practical assignments and career growth.

  • The technical aspects of SEO that you should be careful from the begging;
  • The strategies you need to learn and apply properly to be an SEO experts;
  • The criteria on which a webpage is ranked high.

Technical SEO

Technical aspects in your SEO endeavor refers to all your attempt to keep your website technically sound. It has nothing to do with your content and back-link generation, but to ensure that your site work above average in terms of speed, optimization, media snoozing, code distribution, proper redirection or improper direction elimination, elimination of rendering path blockage and other technical compatibility in building a user friendly website. Since almost all search engines including Google take the technical issues seriously, you should be careful enough to ensure that your website has no technical issue.

Strategic SEO

Strategic SEO is all about the strength of your content and distribution of the same through external and internal links. The thumb rule is that ‘content is the king’ and how much the king has strength to influence the king makers. You and your team need a lot of hard work in creating unique content and distributing the same within the Internet’s powerful kingdoms.

Coping with SEO Ranking Factors

As I’ve already made it clear that ranking factors of a webpage to be positioned in response to a search query is not straight forward. In order to get favorable position on an SERP you should be careful about as much as ranking criteria possible. Google alone has more than 200 ranking factors – however, not all ranking factors are known to us, even to the developers of search algorithm. As a policy matter of fair representation, most of the aspects how search engines proceed inside the black box are latent. This is the reason why should you develop content of your website for the real requirement of real human beings. In other words, despite the many versions of search engine ranking factors, human experiences about a website is the best criteria to be in the good book of search engine.

Besides, along with all of the declared ranking factors, you need to cope with any unknown ranking factor through your own experience and observation by our team.

Next Steps to Follow

This is the first chapter to help you in your journey to be an SEO expert. You should also go through the most comprehensive and complete to Google Search Console and our SEO glossary – the largest glossary on SEO terms and definitions. If you’re looking more posts on SEO, you can find all in SEO category. We can also help you by high performing professional SEO services for your website to get more traffic and new customers.

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7 Responses

  1. Ishant Goyal says:

    This can called be a beginner guide to SEO. Informative, helpful, and written in simple English. Thanks for writing and sharing.

  2. Eva Saini says:

    The concluding section, i.e., ‘Next steps to follow’ is helpful with relevant and required links. Thanks for the post as well as for the links. All these posts combined can help a learner to learn SEO without the help of a institutional program, offline or online.

  3. Peter Francis says:

    Helpful post for the beginners . SEO is well defined and explained in the post. Clarity is the main strength of the post.

  4. Piyush Arya says:

    Crystal clear and all encompassing post that not only tell what SEO is, but also explain how SEO works as well as why SEO is a integral. While defining SEO or explaining the meaning of SEO, you’re also focusing on the search engine technology. It’s really a helpful post for the digital marketing beginners.

  5. Peter Francis says:

    Thanks for writing a great post on SEO for beginners. Everything is clear and well comprehensive. However, it can be more interesting if you insert some screenshots to the post.

  6. Jully Paul says:

    Definitely it’s a good starting point. Very comprehensive to understand the basics of SEO and ranking factors. Looking forward to your next post.

    • Sudhir Chatterjee says:

      Besides technical and strategic SEO, is there anything know as ‘creative SEO?’ I just want to know. Perhaps, you mention somewhere that creative content is one of the prime SEO friendly criteria of a blog.

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