In very simple language, search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the process of increasing your website’s organic traffic and ranking on search engines like Google and Bing. The higher your website ranks, the more likely people are to find it when they’re searching for information online. When you hear the term “SEO”, it can feel overwhelming. There’s a lot to consider when forming an SEO strategy to optimize your website for search engines. However, there are some basic principles that you can follow to get started. And, if you’re consistent with your SEO efforts, you’ll see results over time.

While there’s no guarantee that you can get your website to the top of the search results, there are things you can do to improve your chances. And, by following some basic principles of SEO, you can make your website more visible and attractive to search engines.

Why is SEO important for your business?

Search engine optimization is important because it can help you attract more visitors to your website. And, if you’re able to get more people to visit your site, you’re more likely to generate leads and sales.

In addition, SEO can also help you build brand awareness for your business. When people see your website ranking high in the search results, they’ll be more likely to click on it and visit your site. And, if you’re able to create a strong SEO campaign, you’ll be able to improve your visibility and attract more visitors over time.

Here are a few reasons SEO is crucial for businesses:

  • It can help you attract more visitors to your website.: If you’re able to rank high in the search results, you’re more likely to get more clicks and traffic.
  • It can help you generate leads and sales: SEO can help you attract more visitors to your website, which can lead to more leads and sales.
  • It can help you build brand awareness: When people see your website ranking high in the search results, they’ll be more likely to remember your brand.
  • It can improve your visibility over time: The higher you rank in the search results, the more visible you’ll be to potential customers. It can help you reach a wider audience.

SEO is an important part of any marketing strategy and it should be included in your overall game plan. If you’re not sure how to get started, there are plenty of resources available to help you learn more about SEO and how to create an effective campaign.

How does SEO work?

Essentially, search engines like Google use relatively complex processes and algorithms to organize, segregate, classify, and rank content.

An important term here is Mozlow’s Hierarchy of SEO needs. It can explain the importance and relevance of various factors in ranking SEO. This can be explained further by the figure above. How these algorithms work is a mystery to many, but there are certain elements that we do know affect your ranking.

Some of the most important factors that go into determining your ranking are: 

  • The quality of your content
  • The relevance of your keywords
  • The number and quality of backlinks to your website
  • Other factors, including parameters like site speed, PageRank, click-through rate, and dwell time.

How does Google do its ranking?

Statistics say that Google uses over 200 different factors to determine the ranking of a website. As of June 2021, 92% of internet searches happen on Google and 60% of people research a brand online before making a purchase. Keywords are still one of the most important ranking factors, but they’re not the only factor that Google looks at. Google also looks at things like backlinks, site structure, and mobile-friendliness to determine where your website should rank.

Google works in the following ways to rank content:

  • Crawling: Google uses bots, called “crawlers,” to explore the web and discover new or updated web pages.
  • Indexing: Once Google crawls your content, it’s then indexed and stored in the search engine’s database.
  • Ranking: When someone searches for a keyword or phrase, Google looks through all the indexed pages in its database and ranks them based
  • Serving: Once Google has assessed the URLs, it serves up the most relevant, highest quality results to the searcher. Google sifts through its index and ranks webpages based on over 200 different “signals” or “ranking factors.” Ranking signals can be divided into two categories:
  • On-page signals: These are signals that are directly related to the content of your webpage. Examples include the quality of your content, the use of keywords, and the structure of your website.
  • Off-page signals: These are signals that are not related to the content of your webpage, but rather to the overall authority of your website. Examples include the number and quality of links pointing to your site, as well as your general online reputation.
What should all of this have to do with SEO?

Simply put, SEO is the process of optimizing your website for Google’s ranking signals. By doing so, you can improve your chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), and thus increase your visibility and organic traffic.

In essence, there are two terms that stand out in the way that Google ranks its content:

  • Relevance: How well does the content on your site match up with the user’s search query?
  • Authority: How trustworthy and credible is your website?

These two factors play a major role in determining whether or not your website will rank for a given search query. And while there are other ranking signals that Google takes into account (like freshness and social signals), these two are the most important.

When determining relevance and authority, a key term here is the EAT framework. It stands for:

  • Expertise: Does your website have the manpower and credentials to be talking about this topic?
  • Authoritativeness: Are you seen as an authority on this topic by Google?
  • Trustworthiness: Is your website trustworthy enough to warrant a high ranking?

The EAT framework is important because it’s how Google determines whether or not your website is a high-quality resource worthy of a high ranking.

SEO is all about optimizing your content—be it your website pages, blog posts, or even individual images—to make it more relevant and authoritative in the eyes of Google. And by doing so, Google’s primary goal is to provide its users with the best possible results for their search queries

How do you check your search engine rankings?

One of the simplest (and most effective) ways to do this is to use Google’s own search engine results pages (SERPs). Just type in a few relevant keywords for your business and see where you land in the SERPs.

You can also use tools like Moz’s Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs’ Site Explorer to get a sense of your website’s link profile and authority. The higher your domain authority, the more likely you are to rank well in search engine results. Another option is to use an online toolkit like SEMrush, which provides a comprehensive overview of your website’s search engine performance.

SEO Strategy

The process of optimizing a website for Google search with the goal of earning higher web traffic levels and improving the visibility of the site. There are three components of any strong SEO strategy:

Content

There is no other reason people use search engines than for acquiring information. Therefore, any content on Google has to provide relevant information. This is the first criteria. There are other factors as well. Basically, the content can be divided into:

Keyword research

Researching and finding the right keywords to target is a vital part of any SEO strategy. The process involves understanding how users search for information online and Identifying the terms they use in search engines.

There are a variety of tools available like SEMrush that can help you with keyword research. Once you’ve identified the right keywords, you need to:

  • Include them in the title of your piece
  • Use them throughout the body of your content
  • Use them in the Meta description and tags
  • Use synonyms and related keywords
Quality

Make sure your content is relevant and informative. This means your content should be original and valuable. It should be interesting and engaging, and appeal to your target audience. Your content should also be well-researched and free of errors. This will help ensure that users find it useful and trustworthy.

On-page optimization

After your website is technically sound, you’ll need to focus on on-page optimization. This is the process of optimizing individual web pages to rank higher in search engine results. On-page optimization includes elements like title tags, meta descriptions, and content. The purpose of on-page optimization is to give your website the best chance to rank for relevant keywords.

Keyword optimization

One of the most important aspects of on-page optimization is keyword research. By targeting relevant keywords and including them in the following, you can improve your chances of ranking higher in search engine results:

  • Title
  • URL
  • H1 tag
  • First 100 words
  • Images and ALT Tags

Non-keyword-based factors:

  • External links: Links from other websites to your website can help improve your website’s search engine ranking.
  • Internal links: Links from one page on your website to another can help search engines understand the structure of your website and improve the ranking of your individual pages.
  • Length of content: A recent study found that longer content tends to rank higher in search engine results.

User-based factors: 

  • Content engagement: How users interact with your website’s content can influence your website’s ranking.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of users who leave your website after only viewing one page can influence your website’s ranking.
  • Time on site: The amount of time users spend on your website can also influence your website’s ranking.

Technical SEO:

Technical SEO is the practice of optimizing a website for search engine crawlers. It’s a subset of on-page SEO that focuses on improving the architecture and structure of a website to make it easier for search engines to crawl and index pages.

Some of these factors are listed below:

  • Page loading speed: If your website takes too long to load, users are likely to leave before they even get a chance to see your content.
  • Mobile-friendliness: With the increasing number of mobile users, it’s important to make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices.
  • Internal linking: Internal links help search engines understand the structure of your website and find new pages.
  • User experience: If your website is difficult to use, users are less likely to stay on your site for long.
  • Site architecture: A well-organized website is easier for search engines to crawl and index.
  • Robots: txt file: This file tells search engines which pages on your website they should and shouldn’t crawl.
  • Sitemap: A sitemap is a tool that helps search engines understand the structure of your website and find new pages.
  • Schema markup: Schema markup is a code that helps search engines understand the content on your website.

Common technical SEO issues include:

  • Broken links: A broken link is a link on your website that doesn’t lead to the intended destination.
  • Duplicate content: Duplicate content is content that appears on more than one page on your website.
  • Poor site architecture: Poor site architecture is a website structure that makes it difficult for search engines to crawl and index your website.
  • Missing or incorrect meta tags: Meta tags are tags that help describe the content on your website.
  • Pages that are not mobile-friendly: Mobile-friendly pages are pages that can be easily viewed and used on a mobile device.
  • Slow page loading speeds: Slow page loading speeds can make it difficult for search engines to crawl and index your website.
Off-page optimization:

Off-page optimization is the process of optimizing your website’s off-site factors. This includes things like link building and social media engagement. The purpose of off-page optimization is to improve your website’s visibility and authority.

Off-page SEO techniques include:

Link building:

Link building is the process of creating backlinks to your website. Backlinks are links from other websites that link to your website. The main purpose of links is to establish credibility and increase popularity. Google mainly uses the quality of backlinks as an indicator of authority.

There are three factors that determine the quality of your backlinks:

  • Popularity of a linking site: A link from a popular website is worth more than a link from an unknown website.
  • Topic relevance: A link from a website that is related to your website’s topic is worth more than a link from a website with unrelated content.
  • Trust: A link from a website that is trusted by Google is worth more than a link from a website that is not.

There are a couple of types of backlinks, namely, dofollow and nofollow. Dofollow links are the links that pass along “link juice” to your website, while nofollow links do not. Nofollow links are still important because they signal to Google that other websites are talking about you, even if they’re not passing along link juice.

Social media engagement:

Google looks at how often people are talking about you on social media, and whether those interactions are positive or negative. This is one of the signals that Google uses to determine whether or not a website is worth showing in its search results.

If you want your website to rank higher in Google’s search results, you need to make sure that people are talking about your website on social media. You can do this by posting engaging content on your social media accounts, and by engaging with other people’s content.

Brand mentions

Google also looks at how often your website is mentioned in the online world, regardless of whether or not there is a link to your website.

If your website is mentioned often, it shows that people are talking about you online, and this can help improve your ranking in Google’s search results.

Penalties

A penalty is a negative action taken by a search engine against a website that violates the engine’s guidelines. Penalties can be applied manually or automatically, and they can range from mild to severe. The most common type of penalty is a manual action, which is applied when a search engine finds evidence of black-hat SEO on a website.

How do you track and monitor SEO results

There are a number of ways to track and monitor your SEO results. The most used way is to just use Google Analytics. This free tool can help you track your website traffic, backlinks, and more.

Key factors here are:

  • Organic traffic growth
  • Conversions from organic traffic
  • Keyword rankings
  • Average time spent on site and bounce rate
  • Top landing pages attracting traffic
  • Links growth
Local and Black Hat SEO
Local SEO

This is the process of optimizing your website for local searches. This can be done by ensuring that your website is listed in directories and that your business information is accurate.

  • 46% of local searches are for local businesses.
  • 72% of searchers visit a local store or company premises within 24 hours of the search.

Local search results have the following characteristics:

  • The searcher is looking for a business that is local to them.
  • They contain results specific to a given location
  • They concentrate on delivering specific information to users that they don’t need to go anywhere else to find.

Local searches don’t have much content. They mainly display:

  • Business name
  • Location
  • Image
  • Description
  • Opening hours
  • Reviews

Ranking factors for local searches:

  • Proximity to the searcher
  • Relevance to the searcher’s query
  • Business’s prominence, as determined by factors like reviews, number of backlinks, and social signals

To show up in local search results, you need to make sure your business is listed in relevant directories, like Yelp and Google My Business. You should also be active on social media, and create local content that’s optimized for SEO.

This is why optimizing your website for local search is so important. It allows you to take advantage of the fact that people are searching for businesses like yours, and puts your business in front of them at the exact moment they’re looking for what you offer.

For example, if you’re a plumber in Los Angeles, you want to show up in the search results when someone types “plumber Los Angeles” into Google. If you’re not optimized for local search, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to attract new customers.

Black hat SEO 

This is the practice of using unethical methods to improve your ranking in search results. This includes practices such as keyword stuffing, link buying, and doorway pages.

Black hat practices at manipulating the search algorithms can result in your site being banned from the search results altogether.

  • Keyword stuffing: This is the practice of filling your content with so many keywords that it becomes difficult to read. This used to be a common practice in the early days of SEO, but is now considered an outdated and ineffective technique.
  • Link buying: This is the practice of paying for links in order to improve your search engine ranking. This is also considered an outdated and ineffective technique.
  • Doorway pages: A doorway page is a low-quality page that is created for the sole purpose of ranking in the search results. These pages are usually filled with keywords and have very little original content.
  • Cloaking: This is the practice of showing different content to users and search engines. This is often done in an attempt to improve search engine ranking by tricking the algorithms.

Benefits of outsourcing SEO:

There are many benefits to outsourcing SEO, including:

  • You can focus on other aspects of your business: If you’re not an expert in SEO, it can be time-consuming to try to keep up with the latest changes and trends. By outsourcing SEO, you can free up your time to focus on other aspects of your business.
  • You’ll get expert help: When you outsource SEO, you’ll have access to experts who can help you achieve your desired results.
  • You’ll save money: Outsourcing SEO can save you money in the long run, as it can be more cost-effective than hiring an in-house SEO team.

Drawbacks of outsourcing SEO

There are also some potential drawbacks to outsourcing SEO, including:

  • You could lose control of your SEO: If you outsource SEO, you could lose some control over the direction of your SEO strategy.
  • You might not get the results you want: There’s always a risk that you won’t get the results you want when you outsource SEO.
  • You might have to manage multiple vendors: If you outsource SEO, you might have to manage multiple vendors, which can be time-consuming.

Overall, outsourcing SEO can be a good option for businesses that want to improve their search engine optimization but don’t have the time or resources to do it themselves. Just be sure to do your research and choose a reputable company.

SEO Trends in 2022 

Core Web vitals

In May 2021, Google announced that it will be using “page experience” signals as ranking factors in Google Search. These page experience signals include things like loading speed, interactivity, and stability.

Google will also be introducing a new metric called the Core Web Vitals. These are a set of metrics that measure the performance of a website. Google has said that the Core Web Vitals will be used as ranking factors in 2022.

Mobile-first indexing

In November 2020, Google announced that it would be moving to a “mobile-first” indexing method. This means that Google will primarily use the mobile version of a website to determine its rankings.

Google passage ranking

In May 2020, Google announced a new feature called “passage ranking”. This feature will help Google to better understand the content of an article and rank it accordingly.

Optimized for featured snippets:

Google has said that it is now possible to optimize your content for featured snippets. This means that your content could be appearing in the “answer box” at the top of the search results.

Visual search: 

Visual SEO search involves using images instead of keywords to search for something. Google has been working on this for a while and it is now possible to do a reverse image search on Google. The evidence of this is:

  • Google Lens has already been used 1 billion times
  • Pinterest gets 600 million visual searches per month

Conclusion

Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing a website for Google search with the goal of earning higher web traffic levels and improving the visibility of the site. In order to succeed at SEO, you need to understand how Google works and what people are actually searching for. Google uses a number of factors to determine the ranking of websites on their search engine results pages (SERPs). These include things like the quality of the website’s content, the website’s loading speed, and the amount of time visitors spend on the site.

At Pixel street, we are an SEO agency that can help you improve your website’s ranking on SERPs. We will work with you to create high-quality content, optimize your website for speed, and help you build links to other websites. Don’t wait any longer, contact us today and let’s get started on improving your website’s SEO!

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Khurshid Alam
Founder

Khurshid Alam is the founder of Pixel Street, a web design company. He aspires to solve business problems by communicating effectively digitally. In his leisure, he reads, writes, and occasionally plays a game of table tennis.