SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of optimizing your web pages so that your webpage ranks high in the search results or the SERP (search engine results pages) of Google or other search engines ( bing, yahoo).
How will you rank high? You can rank high when the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through search engine results pages aka organic listing is high compared to your competitors.
Search engine optimization (SEO) focuses on improving the rankings in the SERP driving organic traffic to your website from the search engine’s results or organic listing.
All major search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users.
How search engines work
We can think of a search engine as a website that we visit to type a question into a box and Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or whatever search engine you’re using replies with a long list of links to webpages that could answer your query.
Search engine functions in 3 stages-
The search engine( google, yahoo, bing ) has a crawler which is a computer program that searches the Internet for information and gathers the content for each URL they find on the internet. The crawlers start by fetching a few web pages and then follows the links on those webpages to find new URLs and bring all webpages those search engine to build an index.
Now Search engines process and store information they find in an index, a database of all the webpages that crawler has discovered and is good enough to answer the searcher’s query.
Indexing is a process of Storing and organizing the webpages found during the crawling process. Once a page is in the index, it’s in the running to be displayed as a result of relevant queries. Now the indexed pages are ranked.
Ranking a webpage that will best answer a searcher’s query, which means that results are ordered by most relevant to least relevant webpages.
When someone performs a search, search engines search the index for highly relevant webpages and then order those webpages in the hopes of answering the searcher’s query. This ordering of search results by relevance is known as ranking.
This is how webpages are ranked. The Higher a webpage is ranked, the more relevant the search engine believes that the site is to the query.
Nobody knows exactly how these algorithms work, there are over 200+ factors that go into a search engine’s algorithm.
“These ranking systems are made up of not one, but a whole series of algorithms. To give you the most useful information, Search algorithms look at many factors, including the words of your query, relevance, and usability of pages, expertise of sources, and your location and settings. The weight applied to each factor varies depending on the nature of your query—for example, the freshness of the content plays a bigger role in answering queries about current news topics than it does about dictionary definitions. “
Now let’s talk about some of the things that affect rankings of a website and how you should build a google SEO friendly website
Some SEO factors for building SEO friendly website –
Mobile-friendliness, Social metrics (quality and quantity of posts on your social media handle eg facebook, Instagram, Twitter), Pagespeed (page speed is how fast your page loads. It’s a ranking factor on desktop and mobile.), Authority, Content quality, Backlinks.
Types of SEO
There are 3 main types of SEO, all aimed at helping you earn greater visibility in search results:
White Hat SEO
White hat SEO utilizes techniques and methods to improve the search engine rankings of a website which while adhering to that search engine’s policies.
White Hat techniques follow the guidelines published by the search engine.
White Hat SEO is more frequently used by those who intend to make a long-term investment on their website. It is also called Ethical SEO.
Some examples of White Hat SEO techniques include using keywords, back-linking, link building, and writing content that focuses on relevancy, organic ranking, audience engagement, high-quality content development, website HTML optimization, and restructuring.
Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO employs practices that does’nt adhere to search engine guidelines and therefore carries the risk that your website and/or content will be demoted or banned from search results.
Black Hat SEO exploits weaknesses in the search engine algorithms to obtain high rankings for a website.
Black Hat techniques range from keyword stuffing, plagiarism, paid backlinks, using unrelated keywords in page content, and invisible text to doorway pages, page swapping, redirects and content automation, link spam. Black Hat practices are effective, but are risky and can cause your site to be reported.
Grey hat SEO
Gray hat SEO is a set of techniques and strategies that don’t generally adhere to Google’s guidelines but can still be considered acceptable. It is the middle ground between White Hat and Black Hat SEO. It is technically legal, but risky
Gray Hat SEO could work for you if done the right way
It’s Black masquerading as White.
Examples include clickbait (content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page and not deliver value), spun (slightly altered) content, prolific link exchanges, and paying for reviews. Domain Grabbing(the process of buying expired domains and linking it to your website)
Methods to approach SEO
While on-page SEO refers to the factors you can control on your website.
This type of SEO focuses on all of the content that exists “on the page” when looking at a your website optimization tactics like using keywords in your copy and optimizing the meta tags, Meta description, building a customized URL structure, inserting the alt attributes, taking care of the image SEO , Html code ,title tag , Internal Linking .
“Off-Page SEO” refers to all of the activities that you and others do away from your website to raise the ranking of a page with search engines.
This type of SEO focuses on all of the activity that takes place “off the page” when looking to optimize your website, like inbound links, also known as backlinks, Social Promotion, Domain Authority, off-page promotion (guest post )
On-page search engine optimization happens within the site, while off-page SEO happens outside the site.