What is SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of increasing traffic to a website through organic search results. Keyword research, content production, link building, and technical audits are some parts of this process. The benefits of SEO involve the followings: free and organic traffic to your website each month or so. So, how can you write and optimize your content for SEO and know which factors really matters for ranking on search engines? Let us get started by learning how search engines work.
How Search Engines Work?
Search engines are the digital equivalent of nowadays libraries. Instead of copies of books, they keep copies of online sites. When you enter a search query into a search engine, it searches through all of the pages in its index to deliver you the most relevant results. It accomplishes this through the use of a computer program known as searching algorithm.
Nobody understands exactly how these algorithms work, but we have some hints, thanks to Google. As a summary from a page "How search engines work?", search engine algorithms include the words of your query, relevance and usability of pages, expertise of sources and your location and settings.
How SEO Works?
Simply said, SEO works by showing search engines that your material is the best result for the topic at hand. This is because all search engines have the same goal: to provide their customers with the best, most relevant results. The exact method you use depends on the search engine which you're optimizing for.
If you want to increase organic traffic coming to your website, you must first understand and adhere to Google's algorithm. If you want more video views, it all comes down to YouTube's algorithm. Because each search engine has a unique ranking mechanism, covering them all in this article would be difficult. So, going ahead, we'll concentrate on how to rank in the world's most popular search engine: Google.
How to Optimize Your Website for Google
There are over 200 ranking variables that Google uses. Nobody knows the full list of ranking parameters, but we do know a few of them. But how? Because Google informed us, and many individuals, including us, have investigated the relationships between various parameters and Google ranks.
We'll go through some of them shortly. But first, a critical point: Google ranks web pages rather than websites. With various pages, you may rank for different keywords and topics.
Now, let's look at some of the factors that influence rankings and search engine exposure.
Before Google can even consider ranking your content, it must first be aware of its existence (or a.k.a. indexed). Crawling is the primary method used by Google to discover new information on the web. To put it simply, crawling is the process by which Google follows connections from pages it already knows about to pages it hasn't seen before.
They utilize a computer software known as a spider to do this. Assume your homepage contains a backlink from a website that is already indexed by Google. When they crawl that site again, they'll follow that link to find your website's homepage and most likely add it to their index. They'll then crawl your homepage's links to locate additional pages on your site.
However, some parameters can prevent Google to crawl a website page:
Poor internal linking: Google relies on internal links to crawl all of your site's pages. Pages that lack of internal links are less likely to be indexed.
Internal links with nofollow tags: Google will not crawl internal links with nofollow tags.
Noindex pages: Using a noindex meta tag or HTTP header, you may omit sites from Google's index. If other pages on your site simply have internal connections to noindexed sites, Google may not locate them.
Robots.txt blocks: A robots.txt file instructs Google where it can and cannot go on your website. It will not crawl pages that are prohibited here.
Mobile devices account for 63% of Google searches, a figure that is increasing year after year.
Given that figure, it's not surprising that Google revealed a ranking increase for mobile-friendly websites in its mobile search results in 2016. In 2018, Google also implemented mobile-first indexing, which means that the mobile version of your website is now indexed and ranked.
In other words, when a desktop version of a site loads on mobile, most consumers will likely press the return button. This is significant because Google wants to keep its users happy. Pages that aren't mobile-friendly cause unhappiness. Even if you do rank and earn the click, the majority of people will not stay to read your content.
You may use Google's mobile-friendly testing tool to see if your web pages are mobile-friendly.
Pagespeed refers to how quickly your page loads. It is a desktop and mobile ranking factor. Why? Google wants to keep its users happy once more. If their users click on search results that take too long to load, they will be dissatisfied. Use Google's Pagespeed Insights tool to test the speed of your web pages.
Finding a keyword or keywords for which you want to rank is simple. Simply enter a topic into a keyword research tool, such as Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, and search for related keyword ideas with high search traffic.
However, many individuals overlook if their website corresponds with the search purpose of their chosen term. Google interprets the query's intent and displays the results that the user wants. This is an example of search intent in action.
How do you optimize for this?
Are the majority of the content blog articles, product pages, category pages, landing sites, or something else?
Is Google primarily ranking how-to guides, list-style articles, tutorials, comparisons, opinion pieces, or something else entirely? (Note. This one is mostly applicable to informative themes.)
Is there a common theme or unique selling feature among the top-ranking pages? If this is the case, you now have some ideas of what searchers are looking for.
In addition, you may check for the presence (or absence) of SERP elements to infer intent.
For example, if a highlighted snippet appears in the results, it might imply that the searcher is seeking for information.
PageRank is the foundation of Google's ranking system. Backlinks are seen as votes in this case. Pages with more votes tend to rank better in general.
How do we know this? We evaluated over one billion web pages last year and discovered a striking association between referring domains (links from distinct websites) and organic search traffic.
Understanding how search engine's function and the characteristics they look for when ranking material is critical when attempting to develop content that ranks.
However, search engine algorithms are always changing, and there is no assurance that what is significant today will be important next year.
Don't be alarmed by this. In general, the vital things remain consistent over time.
Backlinks, "authority," and matching search intent have all been key considerations for many years, and there's no indication that this will change very soon.