What is SEO and How it works?
In simple words, SEO is the process of optimizing your website and its content to rank it among the top results when someone searches for niche-related keywords on search engines like Google, Bing, etc.
More than 90% of the online experiences begin with a search engine, around 90% of which involves Google. Only 0.7% of the Google Searchers click on results from the 2nd page. It is even said that ‘The Best Place to Hide a Dead Body is Page 2 of Google Search Results’.
By this, you might guess how important SEO is. It is one of the best digital marketing strategies as it helps to continuously generate high-quality traffic on your website for the long-term without spending a dime on paid advertising.
On-Page and Off-Page SEO
You can optimize your site for higher rankings on search engines with On-Page and Off-Page SEO. As suggested by the names, On-Page SEO includes all those factors that can be optimized on your website and Off-Page SEO includes all the other factors that require you to take action outside your website.
There are more than 200 factors in Google’s Ranking Algorithm but not all of them are equally important. Some of the most important ones are listed below:
On-Page Factors affecting SEO
1.) Keywords in URL, headings, tags, and content:
Keywords refer to the words and phrases that users search for. Including them in your URL, headings, tags, and content allow your site to rank for those specific keywords.
2.) Length, Uniqueness and Freshness of the Content
When it comes to SEO, the length, and uniqueness of the content matter. Search Engines usually give preference to longer and more unique content. Updating old content or publishing new content regularly also boosts your site’s ranking.
3.) Image Optimization
Images of your website also play an important role in getting it ranked. Give them a proper name and title to tell the Search Engines what are they depicting. Using Alt Text also helps.
4.) Inbound and Outbound Links
Including links to other pages on your website and to pages on other high-authority websites also helps you in boosting your SEO ranking.
5.) Page-Load Speed
The faster your pages load, the better chance they have of ranking above the competitors. Google recommends a page-load speed of fewer than 3 seconds. You can check your website’s loading speed here: Google PageSpeed Insights
6.) Mobile Friendliness
A lot of websites out there work well on the desktop but not on the mobile. This leads to a drop in their SEO ranking as it is one of the major ranking factors. Check here if your website is mobile-friendly or not.
7.) Site Security and Crawlability
Having an SSL certificate and other security measures on your website plus making sure that it is easily crawlable by the Search Engines can also help you improve your ranking. Add structured data with the help of Schema Markup and Breadcrumbs.
8.) User Experience and Behavior
No Search Engine wants to lose its users and as a result, wants to satisfy them with search results that would provide them the best possible solutions. This is the reason they focus a lot on the User experience and behavior on your website. Are they staying for long-enough, Are they engaging, Are they sharing, etc. are some of the answers they look for.
9.) Domain Age
The older your domain, the higher its authority and the better your site’s ranking.
Your website must be well-coded and the code must be optimized for Search Engine Rankings if you want higher rankings.
Off-Page Factors affecting SEO
1.) Quality and Quantity of Backlinks
A backlink refers to another website linking to your website. Backlinks are considered the most important factor in SEO by a lot of experts. The number, quality, relevance, and domain authority are some factors that matter in backlinks.
2.) Social Media Presence
Having a strong presence on Social Media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. also boosts SEO rankings.
3.) Google My Business Listing
If you are a business, you must list yourself on Google My Business. Apart from SEO, it offers a few other benefits as well.
White-Hat vs Black-Hat SEO
There are loopholes in almost every system and similar is the case with the Ranking Algorithm of Search Engines. Using and not using those loopholes creates the difference between White-hat and Black-hat SEO.
White-hat SEO includes working ethically according to the terms of the Search Engines to improve ranking on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) whereas Black-hat SEO involves the violation of the guidelines of the Search Engines and using the loopholes in them to achieve the same.
Some Black-Hat SEO Tactics
1.) Keyword Stuffing
As the name suggests, Keyword stuffing is the practice of over-using keywords in your content to increase the chance of ranking on SERP.
2.) Irrelevant Backlinks
Buying backlinks or using other methods like Link Farming, Blog Comment Spam, or PBN to create backlinks that are not relevant is another common Black-hat SEO tactic.
3.) Content Cloaking and Sneaky Redirects
This refers to showing different content to the users than what is shown to the search engines either by cloaking content or sneaky redirects. Redirecting is used as a Black-Hat tactic in other ways as well.
4.) Duplicate or Poor Quality Content
Plagiarising content from other websites or publishing content that is not creating any value for the reader also falls under Black-Hat SEO.
Is Black-Hat SEO Beneficial?
Even though you might see wonderful results with Black-Hat SEO tactics, this success is short-lived. The Algorithms of Search Engines especially that of Google are much smarter than they used to be. In most cases, they are able to identify these unethical practices and punishes the websites in the form of lower rankings and sometimes even completely removing them.
Also, the Search Engines keep improving their Algorithms, so no matter if you find a new loophole or tactic, it would ultimately be taken out of the equation. As a result, Black-Hat SEO is not at all an intelligent practice if you are trying to build something for the long-term.
Benefits of SEO
If done correctly and using only the White-Hat techniques, SEO can get businesses some serious benefits. A few of them are listed below:
1.) Higher Conversion Rate
As discussed in the previous blog, there’s a difference between Inbound and Outbound marketing. In most cases, Inbound marketing will have a higher conversion rate as the people are looking for a solution that you provide. On the other hand, in the case of Outbound marketing, you are looking for people that might need the solution that you provide.
Since SEO is an Inbound strategy, it will have a higher conversion rate.
2.) No Need to Pay for Ad Space
There is not much difference in the placement of Google Search Ads and the top-ranked websites. So you don’t have to pay for ad space if your website’s ranking is good. Another benefit is that SEO ranking stays for the long-term whereas you get the benefits of Ads only till the time you keep paying for them.
3.) Edge over Competitors
Having better SEO than your competitors gives you an edge over them not only in terms of Search Traffic but also generates more trust and reliablility.
4.) Business Branding
A stronger online brand is also important along with more traffic. A higher Search Engine ranking helps you achieve this. You are in front of your target customers’ eyes every time they search for anything related to your niche. This builds trust.
SEO is one of the best strategies to promote your business online. Every business whose products or services have been validated in the market should work to improve their Ranking on Search Engine Results Page for keywords related to their niche. It sure does takes time but is undoubtedly worth it.
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