SEO 101: A Beginners’ Guide to Understanding SEO
Everyone who runs a website has one goal in common – drive traffic! In simple terms, getting visitors/customers based on the website you are running. If you’re a beginner, your obvious question would be, ‘how do I drive traffic to my website?’ The answer is simple – by investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
But what exactly is SEO?
This SEO starter guide is the answer to your questions covering what SEO is, the working of SEO, and tips to attract new visitors to your website.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization, commonly known as SEO, is one of the most effective ways to drive meaningful traffic to your website organically through a search engine. The main aim of SEO is to drive quality traffic but also improve the quantity of said traffic.
Confusing? Let’s break it down further:
Quality traffic: Search engines can send you all types of traffic. For example, you run a travel website. However, people who are interested in buying insurance are being directed to your website because the search engine displayed your website in their search results. In this scenario, the users interested in insurance do not add any value to your website and are most likely to bounce. SEO helps you get quality traffic so that they are more likely to convert.
Quantity of traffic: The higher the number of people directed to your website through SERP, (Search Engine Results Page) the better! SEO helps your website get noticed in the search engines.
Organic traffic: Ever noticed an Ad pop in just about everywhere when you search for a product? Yes, it can be on social media and even search engines. Website traffic driven through Ads, (user clicking on the Ad) is known as paid traffic. On the other hand, organic traffic is the one where you do not have to pay for your website to be noticed by users on the SERP.
To break it down further, SEO can be said to be a two-way street. Your potential visitors are out there searching for ‘what your website offers’ and you are the website that is offering it. SEO is the bridge between the two and helps narrow down the needs and wants of both the parties effectively. Your visitors find what they are looking for and you, in turn, find them.
So how does this interconnection work?
Working of the Search Engine – Basics
We’ve understood the basics of SEO, let us now understand how the visitor-website interconnection works.
At the start, it is crucial to understand the three key-terms that are central to the working of a search engine and in turn, SEO:
- Indexing &
For simplicity, let us explore each term in detail.
- Crawling: As per Google, the first step is to find out ‘what content exists on the web.’ Crawling is the activity responsible for finding out what content is there on the internet.
Basically, search engines send crawlers or spiders (before you spook out, this is the term given to robots or bots) to find new content that is added and add it to its database of known pages. This content can be found with the help of links.Note: The content can be anything from a website, image, text, document, video, etc.
- Indexing The next step is understanding the information that the crawlers find. This is known as indexing. The search engine (for our reference: Google) tries to analyse the content of the pages it found and understands them before appropriately storing them. In short, the data is stored in an index, which is actually a large database, and hence the name.The way your page is indexed (stored) in Google is directly proportional to it being found by visitors. Here are some tips by Google to help you index your page properly:
- Short but meaningful page titles
- Use relevant page headings
- Use text content over media (images/audio/video)
- Ranking The final piece of the puzzle is ranking. When a user enters a query in the search engine, the results are displayed depending on what the search engine deems as the most relevant. This information is picked up from the index. If you notice, the results are arranged in the order of ‘most relevant’ to ‘least relevant’.To improve your search engine rankings, so that the user can find your webpage easily, you need to make sure that your data is indexed properly, it is up-to-date, your website is fast, secure, mobile-friendly, and optimized. To optimise, use keywords (most relevant words that users search wrt your webpage content) in your content.
Lastly, depending on the search engine you are targeting make sure that you read their SEO guidelines and tips for better results.
The Last Quadrant
We began with the aim of generating quality website traffic, to achieve that we concluded SEO was the key, next we moved onto understanding the workings of SEO, and at last, we have reached to the final step – how to realistically attract visitors to your website.
Here are 4 tips you need to keep in mind when aiming to drive website to your traffic:
Tip 1: Choosing the right keywords:
As mentioned above, relevant keywords can help optimize your website content that in turn, helps drive traffic to your website. The best way to find the right keywords is by researching.
The internet is full of tools and keyword research tools come in handy.
Tip 2: Location of the keyword
Keyword placement matters a lot when it comes to optimizing the webpage. Here are three places where you shouldn’t miss adding keywords.
- Copy: Place your keyword in the opening, body, and conclusion of your content copy. We recommend you do not spam your copy with all the relevant keywords but use them with caution. The idea is to drive quality traffic and so your website should have quality content.
- SEO Title Tag: The title tag of your webpage shows up on the search engine results page, along with your browser tab. For a search engine to rank you better, you should add a keyword to your Page Title. Take, for instance, our article title: ‘SEO 101: A Beginners’ Guide to Understanding SEO’ When we did our keyword research, we found that ‘beginners guide’ is a keyword. As you can notice, we’ve fit it in our title and it doesn’t sound like it’s been force-fit. Remember, that your keyword should blend-in easily, otherwise, it may sound off to the visitor. Note: Do not exceed the 65 character limit for the title tag.
- Meta Description: The description you see displayed below your SEO Title Tag in the search engine results is known as the ‘meta description’. Make sure to include a relevant keyword in that description too.
Note: Do not exceed the 165 character limit for the meta description.
Tip 3: Start a Blog
If you already run a blog, then this tip isn’t for you. However, if you are running an e-commerce store, a photography website, a podcast website or any other website and you don’t have a blog you should consider having one.
A blog is a good place to start building content that can help address potential queries of your clients.
For example, you run a travel website and you take care of customer bookings, packages, tours, etc. As a customer, I may have several queries and may not always want to call or reach out to support. A blog at a time like this can prove to be helpful.
Some articles your blog can cover are:
- 5 Visa-free countries…
- How to travel light…
- 5 Things to take care of when travelling to…
Essentially, you are just providing your visitor with the solution to their queries and this further aids you in helping them convert.
Tip 4: Building Links by Backlinking
As seen above, crawling is the first step to optimizing your SEO activity and this is done by joining links. Backlinking in this respect is the best way to build links.
Backlinking in simple words is adding your link to relevant websites/pages so that if a user visits them and clicks on your link they are redirected to your website. Some of the ways to backlink your website are guest blogging, publishing data on listing websites or informative websites, conducting outreach activities, and more.
READY TO START?
A good and effective SEO strategy takes time and patience but it is worth the effort. We hope that this Search Engine Optimization starter guide helps you understand the basics of SEO and helps you chalk out your first SEO plan with ease.
What are you waiting for? Take advantage of the power of SEO and seize the day! Check out more articles that can help you navigate the digital world as a Beginner!