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What is SEO? How To Optimize Website

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What is SEO? Search Engine Optimization Explained


SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of optimizing a website or webpage to increase the quantity and quality of its traffic from a search engine’s organic results.

 

What is SEO

 

Article Outline:-

✔ Section 1: What is SEO?
✔ Section 2: On-page SEO
✔ Section 3: Off-page SEO
✔ Section 4: How to optimize your website for better search engine ranking
✔ Section 5: What are the types of keywords?
✔ Section 6: Conclusion

How do you optimize your content for SEO, and what “ranking factors” actually matter?

To answer that, we first need to understand how search engines work.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the practice of optimizing a website or webpage to increase the quantity and quality of its traffic from a search engine’s organic results. It involves creating a website or webpage that’s easily discoverable from an internet search engine by adjusting its text, image, and other features according to search engine preferences.


You can learn about how to optimize a website by reading helpful online articles, books, and videos about the subject. At Stackoverflow, we make it easy to find free and useful content about SEO by highlighting the top questions from the site’s answers page and related discussion. Here are the top 10 best resources about SEO you can read in 2018: Rank It! Rank It!(Read more about SEO)


How do search engines work?




Search engines are like libraries for the digital age.

Instead of storing copies of books, they store copies of web pages.

When you type a query into a search engine, it looks through all the pages in its index and tries to return the most relevant results.


To do this, it uses a computer program called an algorithm.

Nobody knows exactly how these algorithms work, but we do have clues, at least from Google.


Here’s what they say on their “How search works” page:

To give you the most useful information, Search algorithms look at many factors, including the words of your query, relevance and usability of pages, the 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.


Speaking of Google, this is the search engine most of us use—at least for web searches. That’s because it has the most reliable algorithm by far.

That said, there are tons of other search engines you can optimize for.


Learn more about this in our guide to how search engines work.

 

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On-page SEO

On-page SEO is how you’re going to help your visitors find what they’re looking for so that they’ll leave and never come back. On-page SEO includes the usual SEO components you’re used to, like keyword research, proper tagging and keyword usage, proper titles and meta descriptions, and avoiding “black hat” tactics. But these techniques are only part of the picture. SEO also involves getting a visitor to click through to your website from a search engine. This is accomplished through carefully crafted content that organizes your text and imagery. Some resources that you should look into for on-page SEO include Moz’s Top 10 On-page SEO Recommendations, Google’s Webmaster Tools, and white papers on related topics.


Off-page SEO

Search engine optimization, also called off-page SEO, is an extremely important element of any good website. Why? The amount of traffic that comes from a search engine’s organic search results is the holy grail of online marketing. Getting your page to show up in that organic search results is the single most effective way to attract website traffic. Now, I’m not going to take the time to go into detail here. You can read a more detailed breakdown on off-page SEO by Google. There’s also a more thorough explanation at SEO Fakes. But to give you a bit of an idea, all these points deal with content, title tags, URL structure, meta descriptions, featured snippets, link building, and social media sharing. SEO strategies that work with popular search engines are fairly easy to implement.


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How to optimize your website for better search engine ranking

Don’t let these common mistakes get you down. This guide will show you what you need to know about SEO. Choosing A Name for Your Website This is one of the most important parts of SEO. A name that’s different from your competitors will help you stand out. You can use a website title tag to boost your SEO. Article Content You’ll be writing more than just text on your website. You’ll be including a ton of images, videos, and interactive content to promote your business. Don’t forget to include some screenshots. Short, sweet keywords How long does a keyword need to be to rank in the organic search results? If a keyword takes longer than 60 characters, it’s overkill and can slow down the performance of your website. Search engines reward shorter, snappier keywords.


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What are the types of keywords?

Most often, when people talk about keywords in SEO, they are talking about words that are used in a page title, in the meta description, in the title tag, or the headline. WordPress Templates: SEO Upgrades Using these words in the title of a page is called “title tag optimization” and that’s actually the most important part of SEO because most of your website’s visitors arrive at your website based on the title tag.


Now, meta tags are not as important. But, they are still important. Remember, Meta tags are about content too and the meta description is where you can talk about the headline of your website. Let’s use the example of the title tag and meta description to talk about the different types of meta tags.


How to optimize for Google?



Google famously uses more than 200 ranking factors.

There was even talk way back in 2010 that there could be up to 10,000.

Nobody knows what all of these ranking factors are, but we do know some of them.

How? Because Google told us, and many people—including us—have studied the correlations between various factors and Google rankings.

We’ll discuss some of those shortly. But first, an important point:

Google ranks web pages, not websites.


Just because your business makes stained glass windows doesn’t mean that every page on your site should rank for the query, “stained glass windows.”

You can rank for different keywords and topics with different pages.

Now let’s talk about some of the things that affect rankings and search engine visibility.


Crawlability

Before Google can even consider ranking your content, it first needs to know that it exists.

Google uses several ways to discover new content on the web, but the primary method is crawling. To put it simply, crawling is where Google follows links on the pages they already know about to those they haven’t seen before.

To do this, they use a computer program called a spider.


Let’s say that your homepage has a backlink from a website that’s already in Google’s index.


Next time they crawl that site, they’ll follow that link to discover your website’s homepage and likely add it to their index.


From there, they’ll crawl the links on your homepage to find other pages on your site.

That said, some things can block Google’s crawlers:

  • Poor internal linking: Google relies on internal links to crawl all the pages on your site. Pages without internal links often won’t get crawled.
  • Nofollowed internal links: Internal links with nofollow tags won’t get crawled by Google.
  • Noindexed pages: You can exclude pages from Google’s index using a noindex meta tag or HTTP header. If other pages on your site only have internal links from Noindexed pages, there’s a chance that Google won’t find them.
  • Blocks in robots.txt: Robots.txt is a text file that tells Google where it can and can’t go on your website. If pages are blocked here, it won’t crawl them.

If you’re concerned about any of these issues on your site, consider running an SEO audit with a tool like Ahrefs Site Audit.



Mobile-friendliness

63% of Google searches come from mobile devices, and that number is growing every year.


Given that statistic, it probably comes as no surprise that in 2016, Google announced a ranking boost for mobile-friendly websites in its mobile search results.


Google also shifted to mobile-first indexing in 2018, meaning that they now use the mobile version of your page for indexing and ranking.


Pagespeed


Pagespeed insight


Pagespeed is how fast your page loads. It’s a ranking factor on desktop and mobile.

Why? Once again, Google wants to keep its users satisfied. If their users are clicking on search results that take too long to load, that leads to dissatisfaction.

To check the speed of your web pages, use Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool.


Alternatively, use Ahrefs Site Audit to check for slow-loading pages across your site.

 

Search intent

Finding a keyword or keywords that you want to rank for is easy. Just paste a topic into a keyword research tool like Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, then look for relevant keyword ideas with search volume.

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That said, what many people fail to consider is whether their page aligns with their chosen keyword’s search intent.


To demonstrate search intent, let’s look at an example.

Here are the current Google search results for the query “slow cooker recipes”:


slow cooker recipes

Despite the similarity between the two keywords, Google shows two completely different sets of search results. For “slow cooker recipes,” they show pages listing lots of recipes. For “slow cooker,” they show product listings and eCommerce category pages.

Google is interpreting the motive behind the query and showing results the user wants to see.

This is search intent in action.

How do you optimize for this?

Look at the top-ranking pages and ask yourself questions to identify the “3 C’s of search intent.”

  • Content-type: Are most of the results blog posts, product pages, category pages, landing pages, or something else?
  • Content format: Is Google mainly ranking how-to guides, list-style articles, tutorials, comparisons, opinion pieces, or something entirely different? (Note. This one applies mainly to informational topics.)
  • Content angle: Is there a common theme or unique selling point across the top-ranking pages? If so, this gives you some insight into what might be important to searchers.

Beyond this, you can also check for the presence (or not) of SERP features to infer intent.

For example, if there’s a featured snippet in the results, then this may indicate that the searcher is looking for information.




Conclusion

If you want to build a business on the internet, it’s important to understand how search engines work and how to properly design your website to be indexed for search engines. Keep on reading to learn everything you need to know about SEO and improve your website’s search ranking.

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