What is SEO?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. It is a marketing discipline that involves technical aspects and focuses on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search results for your targeted keywords thus drive desired traffic to your website through organic search.
It is a modern-day technique to make a website more authentic, relevant, and easy to understand for both users and search engines through quality and original content. Uniqueness is a key factor in present-day SEO practices.
From the words, it appears to be related to search engine only but in reality, it is far more than that, It’s about making your site better not only for search engines but for people too. The recent changes in search engine algorithms have shifted the SEO approach from search engine centered to user-centric.
Search engines now focus on quality, they love through content that can fulfill user’s intent for the related search query and that they love to read, watch, listen to, and share. They try to show the most relevant results to the users that can answer their questions. With quality content and providing users with what they are searching for, you will always rank at the top position. If your content generates benefits at the user end i.e. serve the purpose of the search, you will automatically get desired traffic to your end.
SEO is all about an understanding of the search queries and user intents for the related search terms and how search engines work to answer those queries in terms of a list of links in SERP.
Whenever a search takes place there is a need for an answer to a question that the user has. You just need to provide useful, relevant, accurate and updated information relevant to search queries and targeted terms i.e. providing users and search engines with what they need at the exact time they are looking for it. Successful SEO makes a site attractive to users as well as for the search engines.
As long as people have queries, those that provide the best, quickest and deep answers to those queries will prosper. It is about bringing those eyeballs to your website and retains them with the strength of your content. Those who keep their eye on the fundamental, enduring the ethics and guidelines will achieve the best results. People still need answers, after all.
In brief, we can define SEO as “the process of optimizing a website as well as the content on that website according to the search engines guidelines for getting a prominent position in the organic results of search engines for your targeted keywords. It is the process of making your site meaningful in the eyes of both users and search engines.”
How does search engine work?
You might sometime think that how can a website you use to type (or speak) a question into a box magically replies with a long list of links to web-pages that could potentially answer your question. What are the factors behind the arrangement of links in the search results and how are they fetched? What’s behind those magical lists of links?
Let’s have a brief look into this.
Search engines have a crawler that goes out visit each and every page of all the websites it found on the internet and gathers information about all the content they can fetch from those pages. The crawlers bring all this information back to the search engine database to build an index. That index is then filtered through an algorithm that tries to match all that data with your query. The pages that best match with your queries is shown and arranged according to the relevancy found for that search term as per the algorithm used by the search engine.
Today Google shares 70% of the search share and is growing at a fast pace. It has lots of algorithmic updates that focus on getting the deep insight of the real meaning of search terms and user intent for that search thus delivering the most relevant results to the user that can potentially answer the user queries and note down the response of user for those results for further searches.
Some of the major Google algorithms are
Launched: Feb 24, 2011
Goal: De-rank sites with low-quality content
Launched: April 24, 2012
Goal: De-rank sites with spammy, manipulative link profiles
Launched: Aug 2012
Goal: De-rank sites with copyright infringement reports
Launched: August 22, 2013
Goal: Produce more relevant search results by better understanding the meaning behind queries
Launched: July 24, 2014 (US)
Goal: It works for the local searches and provides high quality, relevant local search results
Mobile-Friendly Update – “Mobilegeddon”
Launched: April 21, 2015
Goal: Give mobile-friendly pages a ranking boost in mobile SERPs, and de-rank pages that aren’t optimized for mobile
Launched: October 26, 2015 (possibly earlier)
Goal: It delivers more relevant search results by having a deep insight to search terms & machine learning
Launched: September 1, 2016
Goal: It aims at delivering better, more diverse search results based on the user’s location and the business’s address.
Launched: March 8, 2017
Goal: The purpose of this update is to filter out low-quality search results whose aim is to generate ads and affiliate revenue.
Why Search and SEO Are Important?
Search engines are the primary source for the users to get the answers to their queries and thus share the major source of the traffic to any website. Although social media and other referral traffic can generate visits to your website but still search engines are the primary modes of navigation for most Internet users. This is true for all kinds of websites whether they provide service or information.
If search engines are not able to detect your site or index your content to their databases, you have missed a good opportunity to drive traffic to your site. Thus making your site search engine friendly is a must in the modern-day scenario.
But getting noticed by the search engine is not sufficient for enjoying the full benefits of these search mediums but to rank high for your targeted terms in search results is a major task to do.
Today ranking of a website in SERPs is based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users according to the search terms they used.
Popular search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube, and Yandi now days have developed algorithms to get the most insight and better understanding of the user search queries and rank sites in their SERPs according to the relevancy they found for that search term.
Thus it became necessary for the websites to be optimized according to these algorithms for being at the top position in the result page for their targeted keywords.
For a business to increase online presence and get noticed by the audience it is must for them to appear first whenever there is a search for the related services they provide. We all know the probability of getting clicked is high for the sites on the first page of SERPs and tends to decrease as we move to further pages.
To get audience attention and making more money from people who are visiting your website via these search media it becomes necessary to be on the first page of SERPs and get noticed. Here the importance of SEO techniques takes its existence.
A good SEO can boost rankings so that content will be placed where searchers will more readily find it. The Internet is becoming increasingly competitive, and those companies who perform SEO will have a decided advantage in the number of visitors and customers.
It is a combination of technical and marketing techniques to increase the online presence of a business and thus helps in generating revenue and building partnerships for businesses online. SEO techniques focus on developing valuable content that returns meaningful partnerships. If you combine SEO techniques with building relationships online, you get a very strong competitive advantage.
SEO helps you in getting the right targeted audience via organic search and thus helps you in getting the traffic that ends up in generating values for your business.
How long does SEO take?
It is always frustrating to wait for results as SEO is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. It is an ongoing process that takes time to show results. It is impossible to predict precisely when top rank can be achieved for a particular keyword or topic. However, you can only make guess based on certain variables or ranking factors.
It also depends on what your competitors are doing for the same and how your optimization strategies stand in comparison to your competitors. The truth is that how long it takes to rank depends on analyzing several variables for your own website compared to the same variables for your competitors’ websites.
For low competition keywords or topics, you can see improvements in organic ranking and an increase in traffic in just a few weeks. But for moderately competitive topics it might take months, while highly competitive phrases despite skills, manpower, resources, and consistent work could even take one year or more to get ranked.
People want quick results and often get frustrated when they don’t see results quickly and thus use tactics that violate Google’s guidelines in an attempt to gain early results. While this may work in the short term, you will eventually get hurt by a penalty from the search engine algorithms and end up further behind where you started.
Several criterions work behind the ranking of a site in SERPs in which content uniqueness, linking websites and competitor’s analysis shares the major portion.
To be specific SEO is a time consuming and ongoing process but can generate values for years if done properly. Even websites that have reached high rankings still have to continue to work at it as your competitors are working hard to achieve the same.
Also read Classification of SEO, Types of SEO, Googles Ranking Factors.