If you want to know how SEO works for websites, here is a simple guide to help you know more about SEO, its meaning, how to go about it, and all there is to it.
SEO seems like a major requirement for online relevance nowadays, especially if you own a website, you’re an online writer or you are into online marketing. Whichever way, SEO is very important.
If you’re a newbie, SEO or anything related can be a little intimidating, but honestly, it is not that hard.
SEO, if used properly, can become an effective tool that’ll generate long-term results.
In this article, you are going to find out what SEO is, how it works, and some basic SEO tools to make your work easier. Let’s get to the main point.
What Is SEO?
SEO is an abbreviation for the term Search Engine Optimisation. This is the strategy of getting web pages to rank in search engines (such as Google) in such a way that the website gets organic, unpaid traffic or viewers towards the website.
When using search engines, the first results at the top of the page are often paid advertisements, followed by other results which appear on the page. These other results are often referred to as organic search results. This is because it is not a paid search traffic result. The results which are often paid for are referred to as Search Engine Marketing or Pay-Per-Click which is commonly referred to as PPC.
The results on the first page of the SERP have been optimized for the specific search query or keyword. And Google identifies the contents on the first page of the Search Engine Results as the most relevant answers to the query because the results comply with certain search engine optimization requirements.
How Does Search Engine Optimization Work?
A survey carried out by researchers in 2016 showed that about two trillion, six hundred and twenty-two thousand searches were conducted worldwide across different search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, and Google. For websites, traffic that came from search engines accounted for a large portion of their total traffic.
Search engines present results in a list and the more a website can get on top of that list, the more viewers or traffic the website tends to receive. Let’s take, for example, if you search for “how to bake a cake” using Google, you are likely to click on the first, second, or at most the third result that comes up on the page for answers. Now imagine that about a hundred people clicked on the first result, then five hundred, then a thousand people. This simply means that the first website that pops up on the result page will have a thousand views more than the second website or the third website. This also implies that the first website will continue to rank since the more views it gets, the higher it ranks on the result page, isn’t it? Now, if you own a website, you would want your website to rank as the first or the second on the results page, wouldn’t you?
If you understand this point, you have a clear view of what Search Engine Optimisation is about. That’s what I’m talking about in a nutshell.
Due to this, many businesses and website owners will try to influence the search results so that it shows up in their favor against their competitors. This is where there is a need for the knowledge of Search Engine Optimisation.
Search Engine Optimisation might prove to be very complex. However, three important measures determine the quality of how a website should rank with Search engines.
This is a key determining factor that is usually taken into consideration for proper Search Engine Optimisation. This is because a link is like a green light that usually proves credibility from other websites. If another website links to your website, it makes your site trustworthy especially if the site that links to yours is a dependable one. This method is called page ranking in Google.
2. Content Creation
Search engines have a way of analyzing the contents of a web page to determine if it would be relevant as a search result. An integral part of Search Engine Optimisation is creating content that includes keywords to the results that users are looking for.
3. Structure of the Page
The third main determining factor of Search Engine Optimisation is the page structure. Because websites are written in hypertext markup language codes(frequently called HTML), the structure of these codes can affect the ability of a search engine to assess a webpage. The knowledge of page structure can enable website owners to improve the Search Engine Optimisation of their website.
Does It End Here?
Well, not exactly. There are two major parts to Search Engine Optimisation. The first is the Onsite Search Engine Optimisation while the second is the Offsite Search Engine Optimisation.
Let’s look at them one after the other.
Onsite Search Engine Optimisation
Onsite Search Engine Optimisation is usually done by enabling your site to adhere to certain components so that your content can be well understood by search engines and communicated as such in the proper manner. As a reward, Search engines usually rank sites that adhere to these certain components with higher rankings. There are several important components that a website must adhere to for its site to have a high ranking by search engines.
We’ll take a quick look at these components.
- Meta Tags
- Topical Relevance
This is a term usually used in Search Engine Optimisation to describe a word or group of words that a user can input into a search engine or a search bar to perform a search operation.
In Search Engine Optimization, keywords are a very important part of any website content.
Keywords should be carefully developed and properly selected before launching any website.
In Search Engine Optimization, keywords are very important and should be the core and integral part of any written content for a website.
The more specific a user is with keywords, the more likely the user is to get accurate results. For example, if as a user, I input “Cake Decoration” into Google, the result I will get will be different from when I input “How to Decorate a Cake” into Google.
Mastering Keywords and how to be specific with their usage is beneficial for Search Engine Optimisation.
Ever skipped a web content or any content at all because the headline was a boring one and wouldn’t even draw your attention? We’ve all had one or two tell-tales or experiences as regards this.
This alone shows that the importance of headlines in any context cannot be overemphasized. Take, for example, you want to buy a newspaper or a magazine and all you see is a blank front page without a headline, how does that sound? How about a boring one? Utterly worse, right?
A headline is a very important part of Search Engine Optimisation. When writing or drafting a headline, endeavor to make it as catchy as possible and avoid fake click baits. It only proves dishonesty to the visitors that get directed to your website. One of the key factors to getting this correctly is simply asking yourself “Would I click this page if I saw this as a headline somewhere else?”
Here are few tips for writing interesting and catchy headlines;
i. Ensure you emotionally connect to your audience.
People tend to engage more with content that they can emotionally relate to. It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative. This engages your audience and gives them a reason to stay through till the end of the content rather than just skimming and walking away.
ii. Avoid Unnecessary Click baits.
Clickbait might seem it’s the right thing that works after all the goal is to attract readers through the headline, is it not?
Readers are unanimously drawn to headlines that inspire them to visit your website out of curiosity but not getting exactly what your headline states can prove harmful and reduce the credibility of your website in the long run.
iii. Be Simple.
There is more in simple. Simplicity enables your reader to have less to digest rather than too much big grammar scattered across your page as headlines.
No one likes boring content. You don’t have to be all goofy and funny but hey, you also don’t want to bore your readers, do you?
3. Meta Tags
Also sometimes referred to as title tags, Meta tags are HyperText Markup Language elements found in the top section of the HyperText Markup Language code of your website page. These often appear in search engine results. Title tags are very important in Search Engine Optimisation because they let the readers know what will be present when they click on a web page. Meta tags also play a big role in determining how relevant your website page will be when it pops up as a result of a user’s search query.
4. Topical Relevance
Topical relevance is the ability for website content to be relevant to a particular topic or keyword that a user queries through the search engine. It is also referred to as “topical authority”. In Search Engine Optimisation, the content of a website is said to be relevant to a keyword by the amount of topical relevance present in its content.
Onsite Search Engine Optimisation also includes a host of other related components. These include; website contents, load speed, and tag images.
Offsite Search Engine Optimisation.
Also called the Offpage Search Engine Optimisation, Offsite search engine optimization are the actions taken outside your website to improve your website page ranking within search engine results.
Off-page SEO majorly relies on human behavior. This means that people can only share the type of content they like. As such, it is based on your audience or ‘the outside internet world’
How Do You Get Your Page To Rank Then?
Just like the Onsite SEO, the offsite SEO also has its key components.
- Anchor text
- Guest blogging
Let’s dive straight in.
A backlink is simply a website linking to another. These are also known as inbound links. For example, Jane writes content on health, Joanna also writes blog content on health. Jane links Joanna’s blog in her contents in such a way that when readers click on the link, it takes them to Joanna’s blog. What Jane is doing here is simply creating more credibility and site authority for Joanna. That’s exactly a perfect representation of what a backlink is.
2. Anchor Text
Anchor text is the clickable text that is present in a hyperlink. Search Engine Optimisation usually prefers that the anchor text should be relevant to the page you’re linking to, instead of using a word that’s not specific. Although the blue, underlined anchor text is usually the most commonly used color of anchor text since it’s the web standard, it is still possible to change the color of the anchor text through the hypertext markup language elements code.
Search engines often use the keywords in anchor text to determine the topic of a website’s page.
3. Guest Blogging
Often referred to as guest posting, guest blogging is the act of writing web content for any website other than yours. When you write a website on someone else’s blog, you’re a guest blogger.
Guest bloggers often use this method to increase awareness about their site and attract traffic. Also in a real sense, guest blogging helps you deliver new content from different perspectives to your audience.
Top Search Engine Optimisation Tools
There are many software and tools that websites rely on to help optimize their search engine results. Below are some commonly used software and tools.
3.Google Search Console
The key is finding one that suits you and works for you best.
If done properly, Search Engine Optimization has the potential to increase the amount of traffic that is directed towards a website. This can help convert visitors into paying customers over time.