What Is SEO? SEO Explanation
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, but it is best to understand it as an optimization for any software that searches for information on the Internet. In short, we can say that SEO is any activity that aims to get more quality visitors to the online website free without paying for ads.
The major search engine candidate we try to appeal to is Google. However, there are tens of thousands of search engines, for example, YouTube , Bing, social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, catalog sites, and last but not least, a search box on virtually any website that has any content whatsoever. You may find this search box as well on this very website at the top right of the page.
So we should see SEO as a searchability or Internet visibility, with search engines being just one subset of how we can be seen on the Internet. It is worth mentioning that SEO deals with the unpaid part of the Internet, so it is not about paid advertising, although it can also help SEO as a result.
SEO is not limited by one activity, and it is about a set of different actions and techniques. In the article, we will focus more on Google as it is the most prominent search engine in the world by a huge margin. We will also look at the most important parameters of a website and why they are important for our raing and visibility on Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
This is an example of Google SERP when searching for the Key Word “iPhone XS”
See how the SERP and which part is about paid ads and which part is SEO . As you can see, at the top of the page you can see results that companies and brands have paid for. Anytime a visitor clicks on that result, the company (or website owner) has to pay. In addition to these results, we also see a warning that this is advertising. These results may be of great use to visitors, but it can also be low quality content, as there is no motivation to have these websites as refined as possible.
What are under paid results are the so-called organic search results, which are of best quality. SEO deals with this organic search.
Big websites often combine paid advertising and SEO, meaning that any time someone comes from organic search (which is „free“), it is a win. They are however fine with paying some buck to bring in some visitors, which is still profitable in the long run.
Why Is SEO Important
Every site offers something and in order to make money, it should offer something of value. It may be an e-shop with various products; it may be a news site, review site, storage site and so on. Whenever people use Google, they search for information, be it educational or about a product and where to purchase it.
Search engines are trying to find find the information based on the user’s query. And the best websites that can answer that query will rang higher. So search engines in practice visits your site and using various tests, they will evaluate the quality of the site, but also what the site focuses on. Google often visits websites and individual pages and rangs them base on hundreds of signals. The better a site/page does the higher on the SERP it appears and naturally attracts more visitors.
So SEO is important because the more you optimize your website the more visitors will some without you having to pay for the advertising directly.
What Falls Under SEO and What to Focus On
There are a lot of different variables that fall under SEO . We look at the most important aspects that should be as perfect as possible and there are actually thing you can do about. Let’s look at some of them, which are the most important and who will be the daily bread of everyone who deals with site optimization.
Speed a Technical Condition of the Website
Nobody wants to visit a web site that is slowly loading, not working, has scattered images and tables, texts are illegible and in general, everything is confusing. Your site should be in perfect technical condition; it should be on a reliable, affordable and fast webhosting and should always do what the visitor intends to do. Search engines can evaluate in what technical condition the website is. If it evaluates that the web is slowly loading or has technical errors, it certainly won’t help the site rank high.
Fortunately, you can quickly evaluate the technical cindition of a site using a variety of tools such as GTmetrix , Pingdom Tools or PageSpeedInsights by Google. You can find bugs or technical imperfecions o your site and fix them or delegate them to your web developer. This is very important to solve right away, because you really do not want your site’s technical condition to constantly undermine your site, delay you in work a you had to continually solve something that did not work as it should.
It is also important to emphasize that today it is virtually a duty for the site to work perfectly on mobile phones. Surfing the Internet with Cell Phones and Tablets is ever-growing, so if your site isn’t suitable for mobile use, you should get ready for many customers just leaving. Google and other search engines check your site using mobile view, so if your site is broken, you can pretty much forget about ranking high.
When a user enters a query in the search engine, he searches for an answer or a piece of information. Search engines evaluate each individual page, the information on that page, and which queries it might give the best answer to. So if your pages give robust and comprehensive answers to users’ queries, there is a very good chance that the search engine will offer your site higher than the competition sites. Of course, your site needs to answer your question as best as possible. Ideally, there should exist no better page found on the internet that answers that query better. In other words, you should make your website better than each and every single of your competitor.
As for SEO , it is crucial to know what users are looking for on the Internet. Browsers such as Google offer these queries (often called Key Words). For example, you can search for Key Words using GoogleAds (formerly Google AdWords ), which will provide you with invaluable information about what users are searching and which pages make sense for you to create in order to give them the best option. With these tools, you can easily find out exactly what users are searching for on the Internet so you can customize your content accordingly.
When we browse the Internet, we mostly click on links to move to another page. We almost never type in the entire URL and in most cases, we are simply clicking and scrolling. In fact, even Google or another search engines just offers links to sites. We can also understand links as a recommendation. If a page contains a link to another page/site, we recommend that content next. And search engines take these recommendations into account. If there is a link to another site or article somewhere, the destination of that link should be good. Otherwise it would not be referred to.
For SEO , creating a link profile is one of the most important activities. We should link to other important articles on our site (On-Page Linkbuilding) and obtain links from other sites (Off-Page Lingbuilding). By doing that, search engines know better which content is actually meaningful and rank it higher.
What you need to be careful about is getting links from sites using so-called Black Hat Techniques. Your link profile should be created naturally and because other website owners really want to recommend you and offer your content. Spamming sites and comment sections with your links could help your site in the short term, but will certainly hurt your site in the long run. Search engines are way better at recognizing quality links from spam.
Web Authority is in the same thing as the authority in real life. The more capable, educated or skilled the web writer, the higher the authority. The more relevant links from similar sites, the higher the authority. Authority needs to be built and it will come in time, provided you put effort into making high-quality concent. That content needs to be trustworthy, include correct information, and at very specialized topics (medicine, technology, law, economics, investing) are also needed educated authors who really know what they are writing about.
There are many other factors under SEO , but the above are definitely what you need to focus on. The site must be technically in order, content must be good and from trusted authors, and you need to link to relevant articles that users will appreciate if they click through.
Is SEO Free and Should You Always Focus on It?
Although search engines offer the results free, SEO is not free. It is necessary to have a technically very well managed website and have a team to build high-quality content. Though you may not pay directly for the traffic, you will still have to spend time and money in order to bear your competition.
In addition, SEO is rather a long-term philosophy of bringing visitors to the website. Popping in browsers may appear in weeks, months, but u competitive words even several years. In addition, that’s even when you do everything right or at least on par with your competition.
Therefore, it is not a good idea to create a site with nice content and expect crowds of people to visit your site immediately.
Search Engine Optimization should become a very interesting addition to attracting users to your site, but SEO is not the only way.
You can look at SEO as potentially the most valuable source of traffic, but it is also the most unstable one. It it works, awesome. However, it may very well not work at all for a very long time or ever.
You Know the Basics of SEO. What Next?
In the article, we roughly covered the basics of SEO, the most important optimization factors, but all this is just an outline of the whole industry, which is vastly extensive and very dynamically changing virtually every month.
In other articles to come we will look at various tweaks, practices and what we can do to help our site. There are also things to avoid, so we will cover that which you definitely should NOT do to boost your site, as it will certainly hurt it in the short term and the long term.