What is SEO? A Complete SEO Guide

SEO Guide
SEO Guide

SEO Introduction

This is a simple Google SEO guide for beginners who want to learn basic concepts of search engine optimization. It is a long tutorial which will explain what is SEO and important factors for getting #1 in Google SERP.

Let’s Start with Basics, you may have heard this word SEO (Search engine optimization) many times and in the recent past, it becomes so popular around the world because of increase in Internet users.

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To understand SEO, you need to first understand what is digital marketing?

There are two types of marketing

  • Traditional Marketing: Advertising on newspaper, billboards, hoardings pump lets, ads on radio, tv etc.
  • Digital Marketing: Advertising on electronic devices like computer, mobile phones, smartphones which includes SEO, SEM, SMO, PPC, Email Marketing, Affiliate Marketing etc.

SEO is a part of digital marketing.

Let me ask one question if you want to buy a new smartphone then you’re what you will do?

Most probably you will do the following things.

You will search for the specifications and price of that phone on Google.

You will click on a website which is visible in top position in Google ranking.

If you get a good price then you may buy that phone online.

Right?

OK! So search engine optimization started from here.

What you did above that clicked on websites which are at a top position in Google ranking and there are several thousand websites which are selling the same smartphone.

And, every website owner wants their website on top of Google ranking, so that they can get maximum clicks.

If clicks will increase then the sales of the product will also increase!

And, most important thing is that you don’t have to pay Google to get top position.

You, just need to follow Google’s webmaster guideline.

SEO Basics

What is SEO?

The full form of SEO is search engine optimization which simply means that create your websites in such a way that it is loved by search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc.

If we talk about Google (Since it is a global leader in the search engine category), it has 200+ guideline which can help your website to achieve a high position in Google ranking.

The process by which you make your website search engine friendly is called search engine optimization or SEO.

SEO Definition

Optimizing your website according to the Search engine’s guidelines to improve websites ranking in SERP (Search engine ranking position) is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

According to Wikipedia

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results.

The advantage of SEO

  • With SEO you can reach to the user who is searching for your product or services.
  • It brings most targeted traffic (Users) on your website who are ready to buy.
  • Almost nill programming required.
  • You can target customers of any geographical location.
  • It is very easy to learn and implement.
  • One time SEO optimization can give benefits for several years.
  • You can do it with yourself without hiring an employee.

The disadvantage of SEO

  • SEO is a slow process, your website may take several months to get a good position in search engine ranking of competitive
  • The main disadvantage of SEO is that your ranking will not be fixed, it will fluctuate, and you need to work on a daily basis to maintain your ranking position.
  • You may face a drastic change in ranking when search engines update their
  • Only users with the Internet can be targeted by SEO
  • You need to update your skills to stay in the competition.

Why is SEO required?

Look, since internet penetration is increasing, as per one study now peoples are spending more time on the Internet than watching television (TV). So, no company can survive without having a presence on the Internet.  If anyone wants to buy anything or wants any type of services then their first step is to search on Google or on Bing.

User clicks on the link of website which is at the top position of Google ranking.

Only fully optimized websites get top position in SERP for that you need to do complete SEO of your website.

Scope of SEO

My personal opinion is that the scope of SEO is huge because traditional marketing like TV ads, Paper ads, and hoarding are now things of the part. Now everyone wants to use digital technologies to promote their products and services.

Since the company of any industry required to have a website, to optimize that website they need SEO experts, so SEO offers great job opportunities.

Work as a freelancer: Most of the small SEO jobs are outsourced from the USA, UK, Australia, and Canada to countries like India, Philippines, and Bangladesh etc.

An SEO professional can earn money with freelancing; they can registrar on following freelancing marketplaces.

Fiverr.com:  here you can sell your SEO services by creating gigs, the minimum price of each gig is $5, and you can set your price for every gig.

Upwork.com:  It is the most popular freelancing platform for digital marketing services, here you need to bid on every project (Job) posted by a client. Every job can have one of the following price formats a) fixed price and b) hourly price.

There are several other ways by which a search engine optimizer can earn money. Like

Blogging: Create own blog and write useful content to attract visitors. Earn revenue by putting Google AdSense ads or by selling your ad inventories.

Affiliate Marketing:  Promote others products through your blog or website and earn a referral commission on every sale.

Search Engines:

Before knowing about website optimization and SEO basics first you should know about search engines and their functionalities.

There are several search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, Yandex etc and each of then works in the same pattern.

Google is a leading search engine with approx. 75% market share and it serves approx. 1 billion search queries per day

“The main job of a search engine is to provide the most relevant results for the users search query. “

For any of above-given search engine quality of content serve for user query is more important than websites SEO optimization.

That’s why you may see several websites with zero SEO optimization rank at top position in search engine ranking.

How Does Search Engine work?

Since Google is the most trusted search engine so from here onwards I will explain every concept that is applicable to Google.  So you can read above heading as how does Google works.

Google never shared its secrets and never explained its functionalities.

But, based on documents publishes by Google and research are done by some experts like Niel Patel, Jeff Bulla, Google basically has three main programs

  • Crawling
  • Indexing
  • Ranking

Crawling

: In simple terms crawling process of collecting data of websites by Google crawler or spider.  This is the first step of the search engine ranking process.  With crawling search engines bots/spider discovers new pages or new content.

Crawling is a process by which search engines crawler/ spiders/bots scan a website and collect details about each page: titles, images, keywords, other linked pages, etc. It also discovers updated content on the web, such as new sites or pages, changes to existing sites, and dead links.

According to Google

“The crawling process begins with a list of web addresses from past crawls and sitemaps provided by website owners. As our crawlers visit these websites, they use links on those sites to discover other pages.”

Indexing

This is the second and most important step of a search engine to rank any page.  In very simple words, rendering or processing of web page contents (Links, Images, content etc.) which search engine spider gets in crawling is called search engine indexing.

Search engine Index process everything which is found on a webpage like keywords, images, headings, links etc. Google search Index compiles all the words it sees on a web page and their location on each page and stores it at a database of billions of pages.

Ranking

 After crawling and indexing search engines’ spider store every bit of information about web pages.  When the user inserts any query into the search bar, the search engine shows most relevant web pages in descending order of their relevancy, it is called search engine ranking.  It takes the only a fraction of second to complete the whole process

But how search engine decided which webpage get the first position and which will get second and so on? Let’s talk about how Google decides website ranking.

Google does it by asking questions like searched is keywords are present in the website page title and description? Is searched keyword is present in heading tags (h1 to h6), website content, anchor text, URL of the page? and is website getting backlinks from high authority websites?

The web pages which can provide answers of above questions in better ways get ranking in search engine ranking position.

For the remaining part of the article, I will discuss mainly Google SEO techniques, and SEO basics are very similar for other search engines as well.

Type of Google search results

Before going into details of the SEO optimization process, you should know that how many types of search results shown in Google search result page?

There are basically two types of search results

  • Organic (Get through search engine optimization)
  • Inorganic (Ads)

Organic Search Results

 These are natural search results shown for any query,  it can be obtained by strong SEO strategy on competitive keywords.  Google shows all relevant web pages but divides these results by 10 web websites per page.

These are purely organic results (Or Free results) and Google never accepts money from any website or organization to rank them at the top position.

To rank your website organically you need to learn SEO and follow SEO tips/Guidelines given by Google. These results become a huge success for small businesses which don’t have a heavy marketing budget for traditional marketing and Google pay per click.

Types of Organic Search Results

  • Knowledge graph results
    1. Carousel
    2. Brand Knowledge Graph panel
  • Travel box
    1. Route box
    2. Google flights
  • Local results
    1. The local pack (the 3-pack)
    2. Local Knowledge Graph panel
  • Featured snippets
    1. Rich answer
    2. People also ask
    3. Featured video
  • Organic search results
    1. Regular organic results
    2. Rich snippets
    3. Videos
  • Vertical search results
    1. Images
    2. Social listings
    3. Google news

Inorganic Search Results

 In Google search results, inorganic results are basically ads which are shown above and below organic/SEO results.  These ads are shown on targeted keywords and managed through Google Ads tool. They look very similar to normal search results but has the tag of word “Ad”.

Maximum 4 ads are shown above the organic SEO search results and maximum 4 ads can be shown below normal results.

Benefits of Google ads:  Look getting SEO ranking on competitive keywords may take time (approx. 2 to 3 months), so what you can do to get top position in Google ranking?

Run Google ads! You can get top results in just 2 hours.

Types of Inorganic Ads

  • Text Ads
  • Product Listing Ads
  • Hotel Ads

Submit Website to Google

SEO optimization process starts with submitting your website in Google so that it can crawl your website content and your website into search result page.

Follow given steps to add your website to Google

Open Google Search Console

Click “Start Now” button and log in with your Gmail email ID

Just below the logo, you will find websites “Add property” option, click on it

Google search console
Google search console

A pop-up will open, write complete URL of your website (along with HTTPS or HTTP) and click “Continue”

Now you need to verify your ownership of the website which means Google wants to know that are you real owner of the website?

There are several options is available for verification, most preferred is an HTML tag

search console HTML tag
search console HTML tag

Copy given HTML tag and place this code between <head> and </head> tag.

After placing HTML tag in website code, click on verify

Note: if you don’t submit website into Google search console, still Google will find it but it may take time.


Golden Rule of SEO

“Focus on visitor rather than a search engine.”

Before going into details of each on-page and off-page SEO techniques, I want to discuss my golden rule of SEO which “Focus on visitor rather than a search engine.”

You must have thought that why I am giving less importance to search engine?

So, my question to you is, what is more important for a search engine? SEO optimized website or a website with quality content according to users search query?

The search engine gives more importance to websites where visitors spend more time.

That’s why I said create content for visitors and the search engine will automatically like it.

SEO Techniques

This is the main segment of the whole article, here I am going to discuss all those techniques and methods by which you can make your website search engine friendly so that your website can get a higher ranking.

Search Engine Optimization stands for making small changes in your website structure,  coding, and content to meet the search engine’s quality guidelines.

Individually these changes are very small but the combination of all changes can significantly impact websites ranking and traffic.

As per my point of view, there are two types of SEO techniques

  • On-page SEO
  • Off-Page SEO

On-Page SEO: I have a very simple definition of on-page SEO techniques “SEO change which are made in the existing website to optimize it, is called on-page SEO techniques, it includes changes in meta tags, content optimization, heading tags, website structure, internal linking, image optimization, URL structure, and responsive website design. ”

Off-Page SEO:  Here is my definition for off-page SEO “Website promotion techniques which are used to improve the ranking of a website in the search engine are called off-page SEO techniques which includes content marketing, backlink creation, guest posting, and social media promotion”

Let’s move into details of on-page SEO and Off-page SEO techniques since Google is biggest search engine so all the techniques will be discussed according to Google’s webmaster’s guidelines. But, the process is very similar for all search engines like Yahoo, Bing, and others.

On-Page SEO techniques in detail

Before making any changes to your website remember one thing that your main consumer is visitor NOT a search engine, so make only those changes which look natural and don’t distract visitors. Do not make any changes which give bad user experience to the visitor of your website.

Given website optimization techniques will be applicable for any types of website like the small corporate website, large website or personal blog.

Website Hosting

People who have knowledge of SEO basics must be thinking that hosting is not part of on-page SEO.

Somehow you are correct because no one considers website hosting is part of search engine optimization.

But, as per my point of view hosting is a major factor in website optimization and plays an important role to improve the performance of a website.

Why?

Because of load time factor of search engine optimization.

Google gives an extra advantage to the websites which load faster. According to a research, user closed about 70% of websites which takes longer than 10 seconds to load.

Nowadays more traffic comes from mobile devices so having good website hosting ensures faster loading and better ranking.

Never fall into the trap of cheap hosting or free website hosting because most of these come with high load time and several restrictions like server down, website crash, hacking, your data can be stolen.

Recommended website hosting providers

Always do some research before buying hosting for your website or blog because you will have to use it for several years.  I already used several Indian and International hosting provides, as per their performance here is my recommendation

Having good website hosting can give you an extra edge from your competitors and your website may get better ranking very quickly.

Keyword Research

The keyword research is a separate topic, in general, it is not part of on-page SEO, but since I am explaining all SEO factor step by step that’s why I am discussing it here.

I have already written a detailed article for Keyword in SEO, refer this article to know the classification of keywords and their importance.

The keyword is the heart of on-page SEO optimization and “process of finding perfect keywords is called keyword research.”

Let’s first understand what are keywords?

Keywords are queries or terms which user type into Google search bar to get desired information.  Keywords can contain only one word like SEO, Cloths, Dogs or can contain several words like What is SEO, search engine optimization or how to do SEO etc.

Now, the question is how to find perfect keywords for our website?  Or which keywords are best for our website?

Keyword research process includes analyzing historical data like traffic and competition on the individual keyword.

The perfect keywords are those who have more traffic and less competition.

There are several free and paid tools are available for keyword research, my recommendations are given below.

  • SEMrush (Free/Paid)
  • Google Ads Keywords Research Tool (Free)

Both these tools are equally good but SEMrush is better because they share more information than Google ads keyword research tool.

Find below keyword research process using SEMrush tool.

  • Open SEMrush tool by typing SEMrush.com
  • Type any term (keyword/word) which you think best describe your website or any word on which want your website in Google and click on search.
  • Now a dashboard will be open which have several pieces of information for your keyword and other related keywords.
  • Initially, you need to focus on keywords, Volume, keyword difficulty (KD) and Competition.
  • Select those keywords which have good search volume and less keyword difficulty and competition.

Let’s understand it with an example, I what to find keywords which are related to “what is SEO”, so I typed in SEMrush search bar and it showed me historical data of what is SEO keyword along with several related keywords.

I will select only those keywords which have less competition but high search volume. Repeat this process for all your terms/words to find a list of perfect keywords.

Ideally, you should have at least 10-20 keywords for a single website.

Meta Tags

If you have basic knowledge of website programming then you be aware of meta tags.  Those who are new in this space and want to learn SEO, webpage coding has mainly two parts

  • Head Section (<head> ….</head>): Most of content of this section is not visible in browser.
  • Body Section (<body> …. </body>): Content of this section is visible in browser.

Meta tags are used in the head (<head>…</head>) part of a webpage. Meta tags are the most important part of on-page SEO, “meta tags are a small piece of code which provides additional information about webpage to search engine like Google.”

There are several meta tags but Google understands only 8 important meta tags.

Why Meta tags are important?

To know the answer to this question, search anything on Google and analyze search results. Each search results have three things Page title, URL of the page and a small description.  The page title is sometimes called meta title and text in small description mostly taken from meta description.

Page Title

Websites page title is one of the most important ranking Google SEO ranking factor.  If you ask me about the 5 most important ranking factors my answer will be

  • Website content
  • Page Title
  • Meta description
  • URL of the page or domain
  • Backlinks

According to my page title (sometimes people call it meta title) is a second most important website ranking factor after content.  My reason is that the content of the page title appears in the first line of the search result.

Why it is important?

“Because page title tells about the topic of the particular page to both search engine and user”,  It basically gives a brief idea of the whole content of a web page.

In website coding  the text of the page title is placed between <title >…</title> tag and this HTML title tag is placed between <head> …</head> (head section of a webpage).

In above-given example What is SEO? A complete SEO Guide – DigitalgenX is the page title.

It is adviced that you should create a unique page title for every page of your website.

Words in the title are bolded if they appear in the user’s search query. This can help users recognize if the page is likely to be relevant to their search.

So, how to write perfect page title?

You need to use your knowledge and intelligence to write an SEO friendly page title, follow the given steps

Length of page title:  Google can show only limited characters of the page title in the search result, ideally length of title tag should be 50-60 characters including spaces.  

Extra characters are not shown in Google’s search result, they are hidden by three dots (…), check given example

  1. Write a title which can accurately describe the content of the page and can effectively communicate the topics of page content.
  2. Never write a title which doesn’t have any relation with page content.
  3. Avoid using default titles like “Unlimited” or “New Page 1”.
  4. To distinguish every page from each other write unique title of every page of your website.
  5. Use brief, but descriptive titles, titles can be both short and informative. If the title is too long, Google will show only a portion of it in the search result.
  6. Avoid using extremely lengthy titles that are unhelpful to users.
  7. Use your main keyword in the title tag.
  8. You can use the pipe (|), Hyphen (-) and comma (,) to separate words in the title.
  9. Highlight your brand name at end of the page title separated by a hyphen.
  10. And last but most important, don’t stuff title tag with un-necessary keywords.

 

Meta Description

I consider meta description tag is a 3rd most important SEO ranking factor because in most of the cases  (Not for every website) Google shows the content of meta description tag in search snippets.

It is helpful for both users as well as search engine.

For a search engine like Google,  A page’s description meta tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about.

Since the content of the description tag might be shown in the search result  (Search snippet), so the user can get more specific information about the content of a page by reading it.

By using some attractive call to action words (CTA), you can generate more clicks from organic search results even if your ranking is low.

You may be thinking that what is the difference between the page title and meta description, right?

The answer is here

Page’s title may be a few words or a phrase, a page’s description meta tag might be a sentence or two or a short paragraph.

Adding description meta tags to each of your pages is always a good practice in case Google cannot find a good selection of text from the content it is used in the snippet.

Words in the snippet are bolded when they appear in the user’s query.

In HTML coding the syntax of the meta tag is given below

<meta name=”description” content=”Content of Meta tag.” />

Now the main question is how to write a perfect meta description tag that you helps to get a better ranking?

  1. Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your description meta tag as a snippet in a search result.
  1. Description text should be unique, never copy from others.
  2. The maximum length of the description meta tag should be 150 – 160 characters.
  3. Use your main keyword at the start of the description meta tag.
  4. Use call to action words like call now, contact now, best discount and sign up now etc in description content to increase click-through rate.
  5. Never writing a description meta tag that has no relation to the content on the page.
  6. Never using generic descriptions like “This is a web page” or “Page about Real Estate”.
  7. Never filling the description with only keywords, otherwise, your website gets penalized by Google and lose ranking of all keywords.
  8. Never copying and pasting the entire content of the document into the description meta tag.
  9. Write different description meta tags for all pages of your website.
  10. Analyze competitors description meta tag before writing you’re text, it will give an idea to write better one.

There are several other meta tags like keywords, robots, noindex, nofollow, content type, meta refresh, notranslate meta tags. But they don’t have any large impact on website SEO ranking.

If you want to learn about these meta tags then you can read my other article dedicated to meta tags.

To be countinue ……………

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