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Introduction to SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of contents on a website or a webpage to users of a web search engine in an organic way.
Introduction to SEO

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Optimisation, which is a process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of contents on a website or a web-page to users of a web search engine in an organic way. Organic search results  are the search results that are earned through effective SEO, not paid for (i.e., not advertising). In other words, SEO is the process of making your site better for search engines.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Why SEO is Important?

On any given day, people conduct more than 2.2 million searches. And that’s just on Google — to say nothing of the other search engines. Therefore, showing up on the front page of Google can be the deciding factor between a business that’s thriving and one that’s, well, bankrupt. If search engines can't find you, none of the rest of your work matters. While paid advertising, social media, and other online platforms can generate traffic to websites, the majority of online traffic is driven by search engines. Organic search results cover more digital real estate, appear more credible to savvy searchers, and receive way more clicks than paid advertisements. For example, of all US searches, only ~2.8% of people click on paid advertisements. SEO is performed because a website will receive more visitors from a search engine, the higher the website ranks in the search engine results page (SERP). These visitors can then be converted into customers.

How does Search Engine Works?

When you search something on Google or any other search engine, you get a long list of links to web-pages that could potentially answer your query. But have you ever stopped to consider what's behind those lists of links?

Here's how it works: Google (or any search engine you're using) has a crawler (bot or spider) that goes out and gathers information about all the content they can find on the Internet.

Crawlers
Crawlers

The process used by these search engine web crawlers to visit and download a page and extract its links in order to discover additional pages is called crawling. The crawlers bring all those 1s and 0s back to the search engine to build an index. That index is then fed through an algorithm that tries to match all that data with your query and rank the website. The search result is shown based on the website ranking.

How Search Engines Work?
How Search Engines Work?

There are a lot of factors that go into a search engine's algorithm.

Off Page SEO & On Page SEO

SEO can be divided into two buckets:

Off Page SEO :

Off Page SEO (Source: What is Off Page SEO? by Alex Chris)
Off Page SEO (Source: What is Off Page SEO? by Alex Chris)

Off page SEO refers to methods beyond website design, which can use to improve the position of a web site in the search engine results page (SERPs). Many people associate off-page SEO with link building but it is not only that.

On Page SEO :

On page SEO refers to techniques which can be applied to the website in order to improve  the website's ranking on SERPs.

The most important on page SEO tips are :

  • Having optimised titles and descriptions
  • Proper URL Structures
  • User-friendly navigation (breadcrumbs, user sitemaps)
  • Optimised internal links
  • Text Formatting (use of bold, italics, etc)
  • Fast loading pages
  • Mobile-Friendly pages
  • Using proper keywords for user to find the appropriate content on the site

White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO

White Hat SEO

White Hat is a search engine optimisation technique which refers to long term correct, ethical way of optimising a site. It follows the guidelines of  search engine i.e., Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Strategies that follow Google’s guidelines and create a positive user experience are often more time- and work-intensive than black hat methods.This means that it will take time to see the results you want.The main idea of white hat is one shouldn't use any kind of manipulative tactics to optimise the site. Also, it focuses on the human audience, that means, it involves making changes that are beneficial to a site’s visitors. Some of the major white hat practices includes -

  • Relevant content
  • Well labelled images
  • Relevant links and references
  • Complete sentence with good grammar and spelling
  • Unique and relevant page titles

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO is an optimisation techniques which focuses on "quick wins". The technique doesn't follows the search engine guidelines and moreover, uses  some manipulative tactics to optimise the site. It focuses on exploiting loopholes in Google’s algorithm which can lead to improvements in rankings without much work. And while some of these tactics can produce results, they’re almost always short-lived. That’s because Google is constantly improving its algorithm to provide the best results to searchers, and to prevent site owners who don’t provide a great site experience from ranking well. This means that sites using black hat strategies are at risk for losing their rankings every time there’s a new algorithm update — making this a much more short-term approach than white hat SEO. Some of the common black hat practices involves -

  • Duplicate content
  • Invisible texts and stuffed keywords
  • Cloaking or re-directing the user to another site or page
  • Links from sites with non relevant content

Grey Hat SEO

Another category sometimes used is grey hat SEO. Grey hat SEO, like its name implies, is a little white and a little black.This is in between black hat and white hat approaches, where the methods employed avoid the site being penalised but do not act in producing the best content for users. Grey hat SEO is entirely focused on improving search engine rankings.

Conclusion

SEO is a never-ending, ever-evolving, multidimensional science. Every SEO would love to find the magic formula that could once and for all explain how SEO works, with specific rules and concrete equations on the table. Unfortunately, SEO is too complex to fit into a template. Although it does evolve around principles and certain rules, its inner workings are all about analysing and applying tactics that work and sifting out tactics that do not. Bear this in mind, and keep a close eye on your competitors, and you will definitely succeed in search results. This is how SEO works!