SEO Basics: Complete Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the hottest topic these days among the webmasters. The reason is obvious, everyone wants more and more organic traffic (natural traffic) to their website. Here in this article, I am going to talk about “SEO Basics – Complete Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization“. Someone very correctly said that “To master anything, you need to have the understanding of the basics”.

SEO Basics For Beginners

In this SEO Basics Guide, I will cover the following topics.

1. What is SEO?
2. How does search engines works?
3. Why is SEO important for your website?
4. Can you do SEO for your website yourself?
5. What are On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO?
6. What is Black HAT SEO and why is it bad?
7. Core ingredients of Search Engine Optimization.
8. Understanding SEO in layman’s language with a real-life example.

By the time you complete the article and reach the end of this SEO basics guide, you’ll have a good understanding of how search engines work, what search engine optimization is, why it’s important for your business. So, Let’s get started!

1. What is SEO?

SEO is a digital marketing technique, focused on improving the visibility of your website or web pages in organic (non-paid) search engine results. It is a process to optimize web pages so that it ranks well in search engine result pages. SEO encompasses everything from your website design to the content of the pages to website speed and many other things.

SEO Basics - SERP's

SEO is not a xx-step work or one month work, It’s an ongoing process. It’s not just creating an SEO friendly website, but you also need to update your website, add new content, get backlinks from the authoritative sites to optimize your website. Read more on Wikipedia.

Important Note: While optimizing the website for search engines, Do not neglect the user experience. Ultimately people are going to use your website and not the search engines. Thus it’s important to create a website in a way that will please both your website visitors/customers, as well as search engines like Google, Bing etc.

2. How does search engines works?

Before optimizing a website or web page for search engines, It’s important to understand the basics of how does search engines works? There are many search engines today, but the basic process is same for every search engines. In general, there are basically three stages in search engine working: Crawling, Indexing and Retrieval.

Crawling:

Crawling is the first stage, where search engines gather the data of a website, It includes Text, Images, Headings, Links and many other things. Nowadays, modern crawlers can even cache the whole copy of a web page, including the design elements.

Search engines have automated bot (spider), Bots visits each page of a site, just like we do and gathers the data from the webpage. Crawlers stores all the data and links found on a web page and re-crawls the pages every sometime to see if anything is updated on the page.

Indexing:

Indexing is the process of storing all the data collected during web crawl. All these data are stored at search engine’s vast data centers. Remember! every day new web pages are created and so, search engines keep upgrading the storage. As per the online data, Google has indexed 100 millions of web pages, that’s huge.

Retrieval:

This is the last step in the whole process when we search something on the web using search engines. The search engine attempts to display the most relevant web pages it finds that match your query. This is the most complicated and important process as search engines need to process the millions of web pages to find out the most relevant pages as per the query.

Search engines have their own ranking algorithm (they keep it very secret). The ranking algorithm checks your search query against billions of pages to determine how relevant each one is and display the most relevant pages as per the order.

3. Why is SEO important for your website?

Today its internet era, more than 3.8 billion people around the world use the internet today. Internet users are growing at an exponential rate.

SEO basics - Internet Users 2017

Every day millions of new web pages are being added. People are using search engines to find the products or services they want to buy and if you don’t rank well in search engine result pages, you will certainly lose a chunk of business to your competitors who rank at the top.

If your web page ranks at the top in the SERP’s for the relevant keywords, your web page will get more traffic and eventually more leads and business. Even if people don’t buy online they can view your products and services, compare online and can take the offline buying decision.

Search engine optimization is important as it helps in improving the organic ranking of your website or web pages for the relevant keywords in SERP’s.

4. Can you do SEO for your website yourself?

Yes, Why Not! If you have the SEO knowledge, and you have the understanding of how search engines work, You can definitely do the SEO for your website.

I agree that SEO is not that easy today, But if you know the SEO basics and you have the time to learn new things and practice what you have learned, you can definitely master the SEO. If I will tell you clearly, nobody is perfect in SEO, It’s just they are better than the other. You can find many online guides to learn SEO, but it’s more about implementing the techniques.

In case if you are not that good in SEO or if you don’t have time to learn things in SEO, It won’t be a bad idea to hire an SEO expert or SEO company.

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5. What are On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO?

SEO as a whole process includes many activities. Majorly we can group these SEO activities in two parts, On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO is the activity done within the individual web pages in order to rank higher in search engines and earn more relevant traffic. It refers to both the content and HTML source code optimization for a web page.

Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO is the activity done outside the website to improve the ranking/position of a website or web page. Sometimes it is also known as “Link Building”, but it’s more than that. It counts other promotional activities too, for example, social signals and many other things.

Both On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO is important to achieve top ranking for a specific search query. Both of these techniques are complementary. On-Page SEO without Off-Page SEO or vice-versa cannot get you the desired result, A balance of both will do the best.

6. What is Black HAT SEO and why is it bad?

Black HAT SEO simply means violating the search engines’ terms of service. In Search engine optimization, Black HAT SEO refers to over-optimizing a web page or use of aggressive SEO techniques in optimizing a web page or website and creating a web page that only focuses on search engines and not on the audiences or website visitors.

Black HAT SEO techniques include keyword stuffing (very high keyword density), invisible text (text only for search engines), doorway pages (re-directing pages), adding unrelated keywords to the page content or page swapping (replacing a web page once it is ranked).

Black HAT SEO is Good or Bad? It depends. Black HAT SEO is generally used by the people who want to get quick benefit from the website for a very short term. As, if you use Black HAT SEO in your website or web page, possibly your website may get banned by search engines. I personally don’t recommend Black HAT SEO technique if you are investing in your website for a long time but if you want a quick benefit for a very short term it can be useful to you. Also, remember! Your website may become useless once search engines catch it.

7. Core ingredients of Search Engine Optimization.

As we discussed above SEO activities can be grouped in two parts, On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO. You need to implement both of these techniques together to get your website or web pages at the top in SERP’s. A balance of these required.

If I tell you the core in SEO Basics, It is the content. Your content should be unique and original and it should be relevant to your website users/readers. Once you have written a good content, just optimize it as per the search engine webmaster tools guidelines. Remember do not over optimize a web page, it won’t do any good and all of your efforts may go waste.

Also if your content is good, you will automatically get backlinks from related websites. You won’t need to ask for backlinks if the content is good. You will see that people already linking to that web pages. Also, do not forget to share your web page to different social media platforms. Social signal is also considered as the ranking factor these days.

8. Understanding SEO in layman’s language with a real-life example.

We understood the SEO Basics above, That’s more of a technology part. Now let’s break this into simple language. As I believe, search engines consider only three things while ranking a website or a web page. And believe me, these are the only things considered in the past and it will be the only things considered in the future.

1. Content:

We all know “content is the king”, that’s true. Search engines give priority to a website which has got good content. Did I mention on-page SEO here? Ohh yes content should be great for readers and also it should be understood by search engine crawlers. Thus you need on-page SEO of course, As search engines understand in a different way.

2. Backlinks:

Backlinks are the recommendations, more backlink from authority websites shows how good the content is on your site. Remember! Not every backlink count the same. Also, you have to be very careful in building backlinks, more SPAM links from unrelated sites can only help you in a negative way. If your content is good, you are going to get backlinks automatically, thus focus on the content part first, backlinks will follow.

3. Age of the website:

Age of the website also matters here, As a website grow old, it’s page authority as well as domain authority improves. We all know if you have just created a new website, whatever you do, it can not rank well in the first few month. Of course, there could be some exceptions.

Let’s take a real-life example, Say you are a “Doctor”, How do people decide that you are a good doctor. There could be three things they may consider. 1. Your degree and knowledge in your field, this we can relate to the content, right? 2. Recommendations from the people, that we can relate to the backlinks. 3. The experience you have in your field, That we can relate to the Age of the domain or Website.

This is how the search engine ranks each web pages and that’s how we get the most relevant web pages to our searched queries. If you understand these SEO Basics, I am sure you can improve your website ranking in SERP’s. Do let me know if you have any queries in the comment section below. Also, do share this article with your friends!

SEO Basics: Complete Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
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