Whether you are a small business owner, marketer, freelancer, entrepreneur or just an employee thinking to start your own company, you’ve certainly come across the term “SEO”.
SEO, an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization”, is one of the most important aspects in digital marketing and online promotion. Without SEO, you can hardly think to grow your business and to expand it. However, with SEO, a whole new world of options opens up in front of you.
In this article, we want to take an in-depth look at What Is SEO, what it represents and how it can help your business grow and expand in 2020 and beyond. Let’s begin with the basics and look at What Is SEO.
What is SEO?
You’ve probably heard a lot of SEO experts talk about Search Engine Optimization and you’ve read a few SEO articles in the past. However, you might not be fully aware of what actually is SEO. We’ll try to make it simple for you to understand this concept and apply it to your business venture.
So what is SEO? According to Wikipedia, SEO is the complex process that affects the visibility of a web page or website in SERPs (Search engine result pages). To put it better, SEO is the art of ranking your website in SERPs and overtake your competitors.
Business owners who are curious about what is SEO and why it is important have to know that this process takes time. Ranking high in Google, Bing and Yahoo takes months and requires multiple optimizations and improvements, both on your site and off-site. (Especially when your domain and website is new)
With SEO, you can start ranking organically for high-value keywords. For instance, if you’re selling smartphones online, you’ll be able to rank for keywords that have millions of searches worldwide, such as “smartphones”, “buy smartphones” or “purchase Samsung smartphone”. You’ll also rank for other keywords with a good buy intent rate, such as “best smartphone UK”, “what smartphone to buy” or “top smartphones 2020”
Depending on your niche, you can rank for specific or broad keywords. The number of times you show up for a keyword in search engines is called impressions. The number of people who click on your listing is clicks, and the number of people who make a purchase or subscription on your site, or perform a specific action that meets your goal after finding you on Google, Bing or Yahoo is conversions.
SEO can be done in various ways associated with the ethics or legitimacy – white-hat, grey-hate or even black-hat.
All you need to know about this topic is that it is strongly recommended you only use white-hat SEO tactics. Grey-hat and black-hat methods might get you some results for a while. However, in long term view, It sure get you penalized and the worst is Google might end up banning your website and pages from their SERPs.
Why should you Care?
If you want to grow your business and to tap into the power of digital marketing, you certainly want to leverage the full potential of SEO. Organic traffic that comes from search engines is not just free traffic, but also extremely high-intent. This means that organic traffic converts much better than paid traffic or any other type of traffic.
People are searching on Google to obtain specific responses or to find a certain type of information they need. These are not just opportunities to connect with them, but also powerful ways to attract them to your business and sell them your products and services.
To better understand what SEO is and how it works, let’s take a closer look at the main SEO categories.
The 3 Types of SEO – On Page SEO, Off Page SEO, Technical SEO
In the sense of how to optimize SEO, it can be broken down into the 3 main categories, as in On-Page, Off Page SEO, and Technical SEO.
What Is On-Page SEO:
This main SEO category includes all the factors and traits of each page’s content of a website. A well-optimized page helps Google better understand what’s the topic about, and what the content is saying.
With the attempt of Google that always seeks to offer a better search engine experience for their users, Google always favors to rank higher those sites whose content is well-optimized and easy to crawl.
On Page SEO Includes:
- Keyword Research: To find the keywords that best represents the topic of your content. Plus, figuring out the keyword search volume and SEO difficulty to compete with the keyword competition.
- Content Creation: To publish high quality content that attracts search traffic from search engines based on the targeted keywords. Google always loves fresh content and websites regularly publishing.
- Keyword Optimization: To optimize the keyword density. The ideal keyword density is said around 2% of the whole texts.
- Meta Title & Description Optimization: It’s the title and description of what are shown in search engine pages. No brainer to say it should be written attractively to make search users click as well as the keywords optimized.
- Internal & External Link Building: These two are also a factor to improve SEO. Internal Link Building is a process of linking content and pages internally within a website. They can establish a hierarchy on your site, meaning the more linked page internally receives higher like value and higher signal sent to Google to rank higher than other pages in the website.
External Links are links outbound from a page. It helps Google understand what the content is about by looking at the peers linked to the page.
What Is Off Page SEO?
This SEO category revolves around the backlinks and social signal you have built outside of your website. Search engines are crawling links all over the web, associated with a domain and web pages. If your domain is linked from many websites out there, it can give your website a significant ranking impact. In a result, your pages can show up on the first page of search engines.
That being said, not all backlinks you’ve gained are good links. Some might be even rubbish hurting your SEO if your link profile built heedlessly. In fact, there’re good links and bad links that either boost your search ranking, or weaken your SEO. Bad links are even possible to cause you a Google suspension in the worst scenario.
So Let’s see What Is a Good or Bad Link in the quality wise
Good Backlink That Helps Your SEO:
- A backlink that comes from a relevant source and content (contextual)
- A backlink linked from a trusted source or high authority site
- A link that sends actual traffic. (Google takes it artificial if it’s a link with no traffic transmitted)
- A link that is indexed on Google. (Google grants link juice only when the link is indexed in the listing)
- Proper anchor text used in the hyperlink
Bad Backlink That Weakens Your SEO:
- Which comes from unrelated or untrusted sources
- A link from a site with a high spam score
- Which is linked from sources that have been penalized or violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
- Sources with too low Domain Authority or new websites with the domain age less than 6 months old.
- A link from spam, criminal, hate-speech, pornography, or any other inappropriate sources
What Is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO refers to all the technical traits of a website regarding the crawling and indexing phase. This is also one of the main factors that help Google determine your search ranking in the SERPs.
In July 2018, Google announced that they had set new standards for website usability and acceptability with an attempt for a better user experience. One major update out of it is “page speed”. Google said that slow websites could get penalty and slow ones would have a harder time with prominence in search results.
Importantly, page loading speed is one main factor in Technical SEO for example. Also, it has contained of several major factors you shouldn’t overlook for your better SEO.
The Best Practices of Technical SEO:
About Website Usability:
- Check the website’s loading speed and try to make it faster
- Mobile responsive website is necessary these days
- AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) can be an option to take on
(Pros & Cons)
- Choose a lightweight theme on your website
- Increase the image loading speed by optimizing image sizes
- Google favors an independent domain much more than a sub domain (e.g. https://YourURL.blogger.com/ OR https://facebook.com/yourURL etc)
- Check and optimize the URLs of your website
- Enable SSL certificate (http:// into https://)
- Maintain dead links to be live (404 page redirection)
- Make sure to choose a reliable hosting company (This also affects the site loading speed on the hosting server end. Plus, stable server uptime is very important)
- Optimize and submit your Robots.txt to search engines
- Optimize and submit your XML sitemap to search engines
- Create a structured Data Schema Markup
- Add breadcrumb menus to your pages
- Check the duplicate URLs and remove or redirect (canonical URLs)
Main SEO Factors 2020
If you want to capitalize on the huge power of SEO for your brand, you need to know how to build it right. Over the years, Google has released numerous new updates and has dramatically changed the way sites rank.
In 2020, Google put huge importance on original text, conversational language, on-site engagement rate, user experience, quality link profile, and brand signals.
Let’s take a closer look at the main SEO factors this year in order for you to better understand what is SEO and to grasp its main concepts.
The 7 Crucial SEO Factors You Can’t Overlook in 2020
For a few years now, the content has maintained its position as the most important ranking SEO factor. Google wants to provide users with high-quality content and keep them engaged, so they require the same from you. Your site content needs to be optimized for user intent, not for crawlers. Keyword stuffing is totally forbidden while using LSI keywords is highly recommended.
As an example, if you want to rank for the “buy smartphones” term, you might be penalized if you use this keyword too many times. However, if you use variations, such as “purchase a new smartphone”, “buy your smartphone” or “select a favorite smart phone for you”, you’ll rank much higher in Google’s algorithm.
In 2020, the name of the game is diversification and user intent. You want to diversify the words used and create original content that caters to your audience’s needs.
Optimize for Page Speed
In the recent years, speed has become crucial from Google’s point of view. Over time, Google has made a strong point by improving the loading speeds of sites. They have even created AMP pages on mobile, which load under 3 seconds. They’ve done all of this for the sake of end-users, who prize loading speed above all else.
In order to improve your page speed, you need to look into tools like Google Page Speed Insights of Gtmetrix. Basically, you need to optimize images, clean up your code, fix the server response time, defer image loading time, use minification and enable a short or long cache policy. Ultimately, use a lightweight theme and plugins that load extremely fast and offer good caching features.
Focus on Domain Strength
Domain strength has long been the most crucial factor to rank a page. To calculate domain strength, Google crawls the whole group of backlinks a domain has earned from other websites, and tries to figure out how influential the domain is on the web.
A domain with lots of backlinks earned from other relevant and trusted websites is granted some authority by Google. The authority has a core thing to beat up the keyword competition and overtake your competitors whom you’re fighting in the battle ground of the search engines.
User Behavior is Key
The latest Google update, BERT, analyzes the actual user behavior and their searching patterns in order to determine how to rank sites. If the engine notices that users who enter your site go to no other page or leave shortly, you will be demoted. (Due to a high bounce rate and low page views in the ratio with unique visits)
That’s why it is crucial to have a site that loads extremely fast, has a clean architecture and provides useful information to the end-user.
In 2008, Google’s CEO was saying that brands represented the solution to any problem digital marketers have. Since then, Google has invested massively in its ranking algorithm, making brands a top priority.
Have you noticed that brands like CNN, BBC, Wikipedia or Quora rank consistently on the first pages of Google? When it comes to news, no one can beat CNN or BBC. That’s because strong brands have an upper hand from Google’s perspective.
Google considers factors such as the search volume of a brand name, direct traffic, social media influence, the mentions from the major consumer advocacy websites (BBB and Consumer Reports etc), press coverage, and whole the word of mouth throughout the web. Those are huge factors and great brand equity that Google sees to determine how powerful a brand is.
Not to mention, one of the most important factors is on-page SEO. This includes a multitude of factors that go hand in hand with high-quality, original content. Here, it is crucial to focus on keyword optimization, alt tag attributes, meta tags, H1/H2 tags, and keyword density.
What we recommend you is to use a single main keyword per page and then couple it with a lot of variations. For instance, you could use “best smartphones 2020” on your main page, in your headers, first sentence, last sentence and as dense as around 2% keyword density. Additionally, you can use several similar keywords, such as “top smartphone UK”, “best mobile phone deals”, “best budget smartphone 2020” and “best mobile phones 2020” preferably with a few of longtail keywords.
Keyword Anchor Text
Last but not least, keyword anchor text is one that brings out a huge impact on search ranking boost. Anchor text simply means the clickable text in a hyperlink used to link one web page to another.
Anchor texts made of a particular keyword, that are built through the web are the strong signal sent to tell the search engines that the keyword in the hyperlink has high relevance to the content a specific page has.
It gives Google a clear navigation for indexability and a reason to rank the page when the specific keyword is searched through the search engine.
However, keyword anchor text scheme must be carried out carefully. It surely needs some strategical plans unless you want to get your domain marked as spam.
Work with Relief SEO!
Now that you know what is SEO and how it works, it is imperative to hire a top SEO agency to guide you in 2020 and beyond. Doing SEO on your own can be a touch job, and it is a very time-consuming task. Let the professionals help you succeed. Contact us to learn how we can help you leverage the true potential of SEO for your firm.