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Search Engine Optimization (SEO)


Learn all about SEO. Before I teach you how it works and how to do it, let’s first go over the definition of SEO and then we’ll dive into how SEO works.

What is SEO / Search Engine Optimization ?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a website from search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com and Baidu. SEO targets unpaid traffic (known as “natural” or “organic” results) instead of direct or paid traffic. Unpaid traffic can come from various types of searches, including image search, video search, academic search, news search, and industry vertical search engines.

As an internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, computer-programmed algorithms that dictate search engine behavior, what people are looking for, real search terms, or keywords typed into search engines, and which search engines are preferred by their target audience. SEO is performed because a website will get more visitors from a search engine when the websites rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP). These visitors can then be turned into clients.

How does SEO work ?

Search engines such as Google and Bing use bots to crawl pages on the web, going from site to site, collecting information about those pages and putting them in an index. Think of the index like a giant library where a librarian can pull up a book (or a web page) to help you find exactly what you’re looking for at the time.

Next, algorithms analyze pages in the index, taking into account hundreds of ranking factors or signals, to determine the order pages should appear in the search results for a given query. In our library analogy, the librarian has read every single book in the library and can tell you exactly which one will have the answers to your questions.

Our SEO success factors can be considered proxies for aspects of the user experience. It’s how search bots estimate exactly how well a  website or web page can give the searcher what they’re searching for. 

Unlike paid search ads, you can’t pay search engines to get higher organic search rankings, which means SEO experts have to put in the work. That’s where we come in.

Our Periodic Table of SEO Factors organizes the factors into six main categories and weights each based on its overall importance to SEO. For example, content quality and keyword research are key factors of content optimization, and crawlability and speed are important site architecture factors.

The newly updated SEO Periodic Table also includes a list of Toxins that detract from SEO best practices. These are shortcuts or tricks that may have been sufficient to guarantee a high ranking back in the day when the engines’ methods were much less sophisticated. And, they might even work for a short time now — at least until you’re caught.

We’ve also got a brand new Niches section that deep-dives into the SEO success factors behind three key niches: Local SEO, News/Publishing, and Ecommerce SEO. While our overall SEO Periodic Table will help you with the best practices, knowing the nuances of SEO for each of these Niches can help you succeed in search results for your small business, recipe blog, and/or online store.

The search algorithms are designed to surface relevant, authoritative pages and provide users with an efficient search experience. Optimizing your site and content with these factors in mind can help your pages rank higher in the search results.

Why is SEO important ?

SEO is an essential part of digital marketing because people do a lot of research every year, often for commercial purpose to find information about products and services. Search is often the main source of digital traffic for brands and complements other marketing channels. Higher visibility and higher rankings in search results than your competition can have a material impact on your final result.

However, search results have evolved in recent years to give users more direct answers and information that is more likely to keep users on the results page rather than redirecting them to other pages. of the Internet.

Also note that features like rich results and knowledge panels in search results can increase visibility and provide users with more information about your company directly in the results.

In short, SEO is the foundation of a holistic marketing ecosystem. Once you understand what your website users want, then you can apply that knowledge to all of your campaigns (paid and organic), all of your website, all of your social media properties, and more.

To understand the value of SEO, let’s break our definition into three parts:

  • Organic search results: the unpaid listings on a search engine results page (SERP) that the search engine has determined are most relevant to the user’s query. Ads (in this context, PPC or pay-per-click ads) make up a significant portion of many SERPs. Organic search results are distinct from these ads in that they are positioned based on the search engine’s organic ranking algorithms rather than advertiser bids. You can’t pay for your page to rank higher in organic search results.
  • Quality of organic traffic: how relevant the user and their search query are to the content that exists on your website. You can attract all the visitors in the world, but if they’re coming to your site because Google tells them you’re a resource for Apple computers when really you’re a farmer selling apples, those visitors are likely to leave your site without completing any conversions. High-quality traffic includes only visitors who are genuinely interested in the products, information, or other resources your site offers. High-quality SEO capitalizes on the search engine’s effort to match a user’s search intent to the web pages listed in the SERP.
  • Quantity of organic traffic: the number of users who reach your site via organic search results. Users are far more likely to click on search results that appear near the top of the SERP, which is why it’s important to use your SEO strategy to rank relevant pages as highly as you can. The more high-quality visitors you attract to your site, the more likely you are to see an increase in valuable conversions.

Search engine optimization techniques

Understanding how search engines work is only the first step of the process in improving a site’s search rankings. Actually improving a site’s rank involves leveraging various SEO techniques to optimize the site for search:

  • Keyword research – Keyword research is often the starting point for SEO and involves looking at what keywords a site is already ranking for, what keywords competitors rank for, and what other keywords potential customers are searching for. Identifying the terms that searchers use in Google search and other search engines provide direction on what existing content can be optimized and what new content can be created.
  • Content marketing – Once potential keywords are identified, content marketing comes into play. This can be updating existing content or creating brand new pieces of content. Because Google and other search engines place a premium on high-quality content, it’s important to research what content is already out there and create a compelling piece of content that provides a positive user experience and has a chance of ranking higher in the search engine results. Good content also has a greater chance of being shared on social media and attracting links.
  • Link building – Because links from external websites (called “backlinks” in SEO parlance) are one of the core ranking factors in Google and other major search engines, obtaining high-quality backlinks is one of the main levers that SEO has. This can involve promoting good content, reaching out to other websites and building relationships with webmasters, submitting websites to relevant web directories, and getting press to attract links from other websites.
  • On-page optimization – In addition to off-page factors such as links, improving the actual structure of the page can have
  • tremendous benefits for SEO, and is a factor that is entirely in the control of the webmaster. Common on-page optimization techniques include optimizing the URL of the page to incorporate keywords, updating the title tag of the page to use relevant search terms, and using the alt attribute to describe images. Updating a page’s meta tags (such as the meta description tag) can also be beneficial– these tags don’t have a direct impact on search rankings, but can increase click-through rate from the SERPs.
  • Site architecture optimization – External links are not the only thing that matters for SEO, internal links (the links within one’s own website) play a large role in SEO as well. Thus a search engine optimizer can improve a site’s SEO by making sure key pages are being linked to and that relevant anchor text is being used in those links to help improve a page’s relevance for specific terms. Creating an XML sitemap can also be a good way for larger pages to help search engines discover and crawl all of the site’s pages.
  • Semantic markup – Another SEO strategy that SEO experts utilize is optimizing a website’s semantic markup. Semantic markup (such as Schema.org) is used to describe the meaning behind the content on a page, such as helping to identify who the author of a piece of content is or the topic and type of content on a page. Using semantic markup can help with getting rich snippets displayed in the search results page, such as extra text, review stars and even images. Rich snippets in the SERPs doesn’t have an impact on search rankings, but can improve CTR from search, resulting in an increase in organic traffic.

Top SEO tools

some commonly used free and paid tools:

  • Google Search Console – Google Search Console (formerly known as “Google Webmaster Tools”) is a free tool provided by Google, and is a standard tool in the SEO’s toolkit. GSC provides rankings and traffic reports for top keywords and pages, and can help identify and fix on-site technical issues.
  • Google Ads Keyword Planner – Keyword Planner is another free tool provided by Google, as part of their Google Ads product. Even though it is designed for paid search, it can be a great tool to use for SEO since it provides keyword suggestions and keyword search volume, which can be helpful when doing keyword research.
  • Backlink analysis tools – There are a number of link analysis tools out there, the two primary ones being AHREFs and Majestic. Backlink analysis tools allow users to analyze which websites are linking to their own website, or the websites of competitors, and can be used to find new links during link building.
  • SEO platforms – There are many different SEO platforms that bring together many of the tools that SEO needs to optimize sites. Some of the most popular include Moz, BrightEdge, Searchmetrics and Linkdex. These platforms track keyword rankings, help with keyword research, identify on-page and off-page SEO opportunities, and many other tasks related to SEO.
  • Social media – Most social media sites don’t have a direct impact on SEO, but they can be a good tool for networking with other webmasters and building relationships that can lead to link building and guest posting opportunities.

Optimizing search traffic: from clicks to conversions

Search engine optimization done properly can have the potential to dramatically increase the amount of traffic that a website receives, but all of that search traffic won’t help grow a business unless it converts into paying customers.

Conversion rate optimization involves using methods such as A/B testing to make changes to websites and measure the impact they have on a site’s conversion rate. Successful search marketers know that just getting traffic to a site is not enough, what the traffic does once it arrives on the site is just as important. Running tests to improve conversions on your site is as easy as inserting a single line of Javascript.

Search Engine Optimization Writing

SEO writing is the implementation of keywords and key phrases within web content. The SEO content writer and marketers use SEO to increase their site’s organic visibility and SERP rankings. The best way to write for SEO is to pair high-quality copy with targeted search terms.

With traditional copywriting, the content writer is focused on other goals and not necessarily on having the product come up first as a search engine answer. These types of copy may reach the consumer in the form of a TV commercial or product label — but an SEO copywriter meets readers on a web page. With professional content writing, the goal may be broad enough to encompass both SEO results and traditional marketing outcomes.

Types of SEO

TypeShort Description
On-Page SEOAll the measures you take to make your web page rank higher on search engine results pages (SERP) falls under On-Page SEO.
Off-Page SEOThis refers to everything you do outside of your site to fare better and feature higher up in Google’s SERPs.
Technical SEOIt is largely to help Google bots successfully crawl, interpret and index all the pages of your site for future use.
White Hat SEORefers to all the optimization techniques which abides by Google’s Search Engine Guidelines.
Black Hat SEOThis is the exact opposite of white-hat SEO in that it finds and takes advantage of any loopholes or weaknesses in Google’s search algorithm to rank better on its SERPs.
Grey Hat SEOIt is often used by SEO agencies due to pressure to see quick results from a client and fall in between white and black hat SEO in terms of approach.
Negative SEOThis is done with the intention of making your competitor’s search rankings suffer so that you yourself can take their place or benefit from it.

SEO Ranking

Rankings refer to the place where a website or website ranks positively in a SERP. Effective SEO is important for rankings because website traffic is generated from the pages listed on the first page of the SERP, and almost all traffic is obtained from the first search result (excluding paid traffic).

SEO happens on two levels; for human searchers and for search engine robots. In order to better optimize websites for robots, you need to consider technical SEO and keyword placement. For any particular search, Google ranking results may include features such as image results, videos, smart snippets (a portion of the page that appears directly in the SERPs), and response boxes (where multi-page information joins automatically together to create a quick and easy resource for searchers). It becomes more and more necessary to think like a bot because any of the items listed above can make up a high or low ranking.

Page rankings are updated in real time. In order for a website to maintain a certain ranking, or improve in rankings, the website must be an ongoing work in progress that has been adapted to new search queries in order to appear significantly higher in SERP. What ranks well today can rank terribly tomorrow if you do not invest in good SEO.


To get the best search engine visibility, web designers should follow the Five Basic Rules of Web Design, which state that a web site should be:

  • Easy to read
  • Easy to navigate
  • Easy to find
  • Consistent in layout and design
  • Quick to download

By following these rules, you are building your web site to satisfy your target audience. The added benefit of following these rules is that both directory editors and search engines are looking for these same characteristics.

The following design components help form the foundation of an effective search engine marketing program:

  • Text component
  • Link component
  • Popularity component

Web pages that contain the words that your target audience is typing into search queries generally have greater search engine visibility than pages that contain little or no keywords.

The way your web pages are linked to each other also affects your site’s search engine visibility. If search engine spiders can find your pages quickly and easily, your site has a much better chance of appearing at the top of search results.

If two web sites have the same text component and link component “weights,” the site that end users click the most will usually rank higher. Sometimes, a popular web site will consistently rank higher than sites that use plenty of keywords. Therefore, building a site that appeals to both directory editors and your target audience is very important for maximum search engine visibility.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website.

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