Note: This article is intended for novices and enthusiasts interested to learn about basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
As the name probably suggests, SEO is a process of fine-tuning your website or brand in the online space so that it would encourage search engines to show your website for relevant search results.
The most popular search engines today are Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex. Although, Google is by far the numero-uno and is a de-facto meaning when we talk about search engine.
For example, if your website sells T-shirts and when users type “t shirts online” or “buy t shirts online” or something to that effect on a search engine and your website appears in the first page (preferably in the first positions) of search engine results, your website is considered optimized for those keywords.
Now the question is, what are the key factors that play a role in search engine results. Although, never confirmed explicitly by Google or any search engine, SEO experts have identified around 200 odd factors that play a role in search engine rankings.
Broadly, these can be identified as 3 Parts.
Stuff to do on your website (On-Page Factors)
Things to do outside of your website (Off Page)
Fine tuning stuff on your server (Server Side)
With a lot of information and opinions floating around, there is some half baked information on how to achieve a great SEO strategy. We tried to bust some commonly held myths in the digital marketing space.
Common Myths Surrounding On Page Factors
The more the keywords the better = wrong. “Half knowledge is more dangerous than Ignorance”
The title and meta description of the website (small description of what the website is all about that is written by owners) is shown on Google search results.
Some “smart” SEO enthusiasts fill the title and meta description space with words people type in Google (read keywords) in order to garner more traffic to their own website.
However, Google identifies this fallacy and penalizes such websites. It is always advisable to avoid keyword stuffing.
Get Backlinks (Links to your website from other websites) from anywhere & everywhere
Once you read more articles over the internet, you will find that Directory Submission (Submitting your website to directory websites) and Social Bookmarking are popular methods for Off Page Optimization as getting a link from a website adds value to your own brand (passes juice to your website).
Exercise this step with caution as this may be an easy way to generate a ton of backlinks, if a majority of them are from junk sources, it may affect your website’s rank negatively.
Google has placed more importance on Quality of the backlinks rather than the quantity of the links.
The natural assumption by Google is that if your brand is popular, a lot of people would talk about your brand or website and that would be natural build links from other websites.
Use this four-point basic checklist to generate quality backlinks for your website.
A. Reach out and Ask, Don’t be shy. Write quality and highly researched content and ask influencers, bloggers (in your domain) to republish the content. (Trust me, the most under-rated but most effective strategy)
B. Give value to customers. (For example, if you are a blogger, offering free tips on earning money etc. in exchange for feedback on your website works!)
C. Be active on Social Media. Constantly engaging with customers boosts your chances of people writing, sharing and mentioning your brand.
D. Guest Post on Popular Blogs – This will not directly fetch backlinks but would add reputation that could easily be converted to leads.
If you are interested to read more about how various affect SEO, do give us a shout out, we will send you a link with more info.
How to write a great Title for a website?
Titles are truncated by Google if they are longer than the prescribed length. The commonly misunderstood concept here is about the number of characters decide the truncation of a title.
For example, see that the title of first website is fully seen where as second example has it’s title truncated.
The number of characters is not what decides the truncation, but rather pixels. This free resource should help you visualize your website’s title and description.
Is there a Set SEO Formula that works all the time for everyone?
Unfortunately, the answer is No. Every website, industry and service is different and various factors play a role in deciding the rank of a website.
My advice would be to get things right with your users rather than trying to impress the search engine.
Make your users love your website. Let the site load fast, interface be intuitive, content rich and engaging.
These steps should help your website move up in rankings fairly quickly.
Why is SEO so sought after?
From the time you started reading this article, Google processed about 10+ million searches.
Ranking high on Google for important keywords is a must have gateway for discovering new customers and brand building in the internet era.
Also, Google’s own survey has time and again reiterated that more than 85% users discover and click on websites on page one of search results.
If you are engaged in a business where users could discover your website or store through an online search (ex: Visiting cards printing online, Italian restaurant in MG Road etc.), you should consider setting aside a portion of your marketing budget for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services for the results are a great return on investment in the short as well as long term.