You might have wondered “What is SEO and why should I care? SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the process of improving the visibility of your website or web page in search engine results pages (SERPs). By ranking higher in the SERPs, you can attract more visitors to your website, generate more leads and sales, and improve brand awareness.
SEO is important for businesses of all sizes. Even if you’re a small business with a local audience, SEO can help you attract more customers from your community. And if you’re a large enterprise with a global audience, SEO can help you reach new customers all over the world.
In this article, we’ll explain what SEO is, why it’s important and other things you should know.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic from search engines.
SEO is different from SEM and PPC, which are paid methods of promoting websites on search engines.
SEO can be divided into three main types: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.
SEO works by following the search engine algorithms and guidelines that determine how websites are ranked on the SERPs. These algorithms consider two main factors: relevance and authority.
SEO is a dynamic and evolving field that requires continuous learning and updating. There are many ways to learn SEO such as reading, taking courses, watching videos, practicing, and joining communities.
Difference between SEO, SEM, PPC and CPM
SEO, SEM and PPC are three common terms in the field of digital marketing. They are related to each other, but they have different meanings and purposes. Let’s look at each term and how they differ from one another.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic from organic (unpaid) search results. SEO involves optimizing your website content, structure, and technical aspects to match the search engine algorithms and user intent.
The goal of SEO is to rank your website higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords and phrases, thus increasing your visibility and attracting more visitors. SEO can help you achieve various benefits such as:
- Increasing your brand awareness, credibility, and authority in your niche.
- Generating more traffic, leads, conversions, and sales.
- Gaining a competitive edge over your rivals.
- Saving money and resources.
SEM stands for search engine marketing, which is the process of using paid methods to promote your website on search engines. SEM involves bidding on keywords and displaying ads on the SERPs or other websites that are part of the search network.
The goal of SEM is to drive targeted traffic and visibility to your website from both organic and paid search results. SEM can help you achieve various benefits such as:
- Reaching more potential customers who are searching for what you offer.
- Getting instant results and feedback.
- Controlling your budget and campaign performance.
- Testing and optimizing your ads and landing pages.
SEM can be divided into two main types: PPC (pay-per-click) and CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions). PPC is where you pay a fee every time someone clicks on your ad. CPM is where you pay a fee for every thousand impressions (views) of your ad.
Why Is SEO Important?
SEO is important for several reasons:
- SEO helps websites reach potential customers who are searching for products, services, or information related to their niche. By ranking higher on the SERPs, websites can increase their brand awareness, credibility, and authority in their industry. According to SEO statistics for 2021, 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine. This means that most people use search engines to find what they need online, and SEO can help websites capture their attention and interest.
- SEO helps websites generate more traffic, leads, conversions, and sales. By attracting more qualified and targeted visitors, websites can improve their performance metrics such as bounce rate, dwell time, click-through rate, and conversion rate. SEO statistics for 2021 show that SEO drives 1,000%+ more traffic than organic social media. This means that SEO is more effective than social media in bringing visitors to websites. Moreover, SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, which is much higher than the 1.7% close rate of outbound leads. This means that SEO can help websites convert more visitors into customers.
- SEO helps websites gain a competitive edge over their rivals. By optimizing their websites for the most relevant and profitable keywords, websites can outrank their competitors and gain more market share. SEO statistics for 2021 show that the #1 result in Google gets approximately 32% of all clicks, while the #10 result gets only 2%. This means that ranking higher on the SERPs can make a huge difference in terms of traffic and visibility. Furthermore, 49% of marketers report that organic search has the best ROI of any marketing channel. This means that SEO can help websites achieve their goals with less cost and effort than other marketing methods.
What Are The Types Of SEO?
There are three main types of SEO:
This is about optimizing your website content and HTML elements. You need to make your website relevant and useful for search engines and users. Some of the on-page SEO factors are:
- Keyword research: This is the process of finding and analyzing the words and phrases that users type into search engines to find what they are looking for. You need to use keyword research tools such as Ahrefs Keywords Explorer or Google Keyword Planner to discover the best keywords for your website, based on their search volume, difficulty, competition, intent, etc.
- Content creation: This is the process of producing high-quality, original, and engaging content for your website, based on your keyword research. You need to create content that matches the user’s intent and provides value, information, or solutions to their problems. You also need to use various content formats such as text, images, videos, infographics, etc., to make your content more appealing and diverse.
- Content optimization: This is the process of improving your content for both search engines and users, by using various techniques. You need to use your target keywords in strategic places such as title tags, meta descriptions, headings, body text, images, etc. You also need to write clear and catchy titles and meta descriptions that entice users to click on your website from the SERPs. Moreover, you need to use headings and subheadings to organize your content and make it easier to read and scan. Furthermore, you need to add internal links to connect your pages and provide more information or context to your users. Additionally, you need to add external links to reputable and authoritative sources that support your claims or arguments. Finally, you need to add images, videos, or other media that enhance your content and make it more attractive and interactive. You also need to optimize your images for size, quality, alt text, etc., to improve your page speed and accessibility.
This is about building your website’s reputation and authority. You need to make your website popular and trustworthy for search engines and users. Some of the off-page SEO factors are:
- Backlinks: These are links from other websites that point to your website. They are like votes of confidence that indicate the quality and relevance of your website. You need to get backlinks from high-quality, relevant, and authoritative websites that have a good reputation and traffic in your niche. You can use various methods to get backlinks such as guest posting, outreach, broken link building, skyscraper technique, etc. You also need to use tools such as Ahrefs Backlink Checker or Moz’s Link Explorer to monitor and analyze your backlink profile.
- Social media: These are platforms where you can share your content and interact with your audience. They can help you increase your brand awareness, engagement, traffic, and loyalty. You need to use social media platforms that are suitable for your niche and audience, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. You also need to create and share valuable and engaging content that resonates with your followers and encourages them to like, comment, share, or visit your website.
- Reviews: These are feedback or opinions from your customers or users about your products, services, or website. They can help you improve your reputation, trustworthiness, and credibility in your niche. You need to encourage your customers or users to leave positive and honest reviews on platforms such as Google My Business, Yelp, Trustpilot, etc. You also need to respond to reviews, especially negative ones, in a polite and professional manner, and try to resolve any issues or complaints.
- Citations: These are mentions of your business name, address, phone number, and website on other websites or directories. They can help you improve your local SEO and visibility, especially for location-based searches. You need to create and maintain consistent and accurate citations on platforms such as Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc. You also need to check and fix any errors or inconsistencies in your citations.
This is about optimizing your website speed, security, accessibility, and other technical aspects. You need to make your website fast, safe, and easy to access for search engines and users. Some of the technical SEO factors are:
- Security: Security is the level of protection of your website from hackers, malware, spam, etc. It affects your user’s trust, reputation, and ranking. You can secure your website by using various techniques. For instance, you can install an SSL certificate to encrypt the data between your website and the user’s browser. This will prevent any unauthorized access or interception of your information. You can also update your software and plugins regularly to fix any bugs or vulnerabilities that may compromise your website. Additionally, you can use strong passwords and two-factor authentication to protect your accounts and data from hackers. Moreover, you can scan your website for malware or vulnerabilities to detect and remove any threats or infections.
- Crawlability: Crawlability is the ability of search engines to access and index your website pages. It affects your visibility and ranking. You can improve your crawlability by using various techniques. For example, you can create and submit a sitemap to search engines to inform them about the structure and content of your website. You can also use the robots.txt file to instruct search engines on what pages to crawl or not crawl on your website. This will help you control the access and indexation of your pages. Additionally, you can fix any broken links or redirects on your website that may prevent search engines from crawling or indexing your pages. Furthermore, you can use canonical tags to avoid duplicate content issues that may confuse or penalize search engines.
- Mobile-friendliness: Mobile-friendliness is the degree of compatibility of your website with mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. It affects your user experience, traffic, and ranking. You can make your website mobile-friendly by using various techniques. For instance, you can use a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes and orientations. This will ensure that your website looks good and functions well on any device. You can also use a mobile-friendly font size and layout that are easy to read and navigate on smaller screens. Moreover, you can avoid pop-ups or interstitials that block the content or annoy the user on mobile devices. These may increase your bounce rate or lower your ranking. Finally, you can test your website on various mobile devices and browsers to check its performance and usability.
How Does SEO Work?
SEO works by following the search engine algorithms and guidelines that determine how websites are ranked on the SERPs. These algorithms are complex and constantly changing, but they generally consider two main factors: relevance and authority.
- Relevance: Relevance refers to how well a website matches the user’s search query and intent. Search engines use various signals such as keywords, content quality, user behaviour, etc., to measure the relevance of a website. Websites that are more relevant to the user’s query tend to rank higher on the SERPs.
- Authority: Authority refers to how trustworthy and reliable a website is in its niche. Search engines use various signals such as backlinks, domain age, social media presence, etc., to measure the authority of a website. Websites that have more authority in their niche tend to rank higher on the SERPs.
To understand how SEO works, let’s look at an example of a search query and how search engines rank the results.
Suppose a user types in “how to make pizza” in Google. Google will try to find the most relevant and authoritative websites that can answer this query. Google will use its algorithms to analyze various factors such as:
- The keywords used in the query and how they match the keywords used on the website pages.
- The quality and freshness of the content on the website pages provide information or instructions on how to make pizza.
- The user behaviour and feedback on the website pages such as click-through rate, bounce rate, dwell time, etc.
- The number and quality of backlinks from other websites that link to the website pages that provide information or instructions on how to make pizza.
- The domain age and popularity of the website provide information or instructions on how to make pizza.
- The technical aspects of the website such as speed, security, crawlability, mobile-friendliness, etc.
Based on these factors, Google will rank the results from the most relevant and authoritative to the least relevant and authoritative. The user will see the results on the SERPs and can choose which one to click on.
The goal of SEO is to optimize your website for these factors so that it can rank higher on the SERPs for your target keywords and queries. By doing so, you can increase your visibility and traffic from search engines and users.
How Can You Learn SEO?
SEO is a dynamic and evolving field that requires continuous learning and updating. There are many ways to learn SEO such as:
- Reading: Reading is one of the best ways to learn SEO, as it can provide you with the latest information, trends, tips, guides, case studies, etc., on various aspects of SEO. You can read blogs, books, articles, newsletters, etc., that cover SEO topics such as Search Engine Journal, Moz, Ahrefs, Backlinko, etc. These are some of the leading online publications and resources that offer valuable and actionable insights on SEO.
- Taking Courses or Certifications: Taking courses or certifications is another way to learn SEO, as it can teach you the fundamentals and best practices of SEO in a structured and interactive way. You can take online courses or certifications that are offered by reputable platforms or organizations such as Google Digital Garage, SEMrush Academy, Yoast Academy, Udemy, etc. These are some of the popular and trusted platforms or organizations that provide comprehensive and quality courses or certifications on SEO.
- Watching Videos or Podcasts: Watching videos or podcasts is another way to learn SEO, as it can explain or demonstrate various SEO techniques or strategies in a visual and auditory way. You can watch videos or podcasts that are created by experts or influencers in the SEO field such as Google Webmasters, Neil Patel, Brian Dean, SEMrush Webinars, etc. These are some of the influential and knowledgeable experts or influencers who share their experience and expertise on SEO through videos or podcasts.
- Practising: Practising is another way to learn SEO, as it can help you apply what you have learned and test different methods or tools on your own or your client’s websites. You can practice SEO by creating and optimizing your own website or blog, or by offering your services to other website owners who need SEO help. You can also use various tools or software that can help you with different aspects of SEO such as Ahrefs Site Explorer, Moz Pro, SEMrush, Google Search Console, etc. These are some of the powerful and useful tools or software that can help you with keyword research, content creation, technical optimization, link building, analytics, etc.
- Joining Communities or Forums: Joining communities or forums is another way to learn SEO, as it can help you ask questions or share your knowledge or experience with other SEO enthusiasts or experts. You can join online communities or forums that are dedicated to SEO topics such as Reddit, Quora, Facebook Groups, etc. These are some of the active and engaging communities or forums where you can interact with other SEO lovers or experts and learn from each other.
Q: What is SEO?
A: SEO is search engine optimization. It is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic from search engines.
Q: What is a search console?
A: Search console is a free tool provided by Google that helps website owners monitor, analyze, and optimize their websites for search engines. It provides various reports and features such as performance, coverage, sitemaps, mobile usability, speed, etc.
Q: What is ahrefs keyword generator?
A: Ahrefs keyword generator is a free tool provided by Ahrefs that helps website owners find relevant keywords for their websites. It provides various metrics such as keyword difficulty, search volume, clicks, click-through rate, etc.
Q: What is a domain authority checker?
A: Domain authority checker is a tool that helps website owners measure the authority and trustworthiness of their domains. It provides a score from 0 to 100 based on various factors such as backlinks, age, popularity, etc. One of the most popular domain authority checkers is Moz’s Domain Authority.