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The Beginner’s Guide To Search Optimization

Before we dive deep into Search Optimization, let’s clear some concepts regarding search processes and search engines. Mark it as the foundation of your learning journey. Remember learning the basics of search optimization is just the first step to becoming a world-recognized SEO expert.

What is a Search Engine and how does it work?

If you want to create a successful marketing strategy, it is important to know the basics, so let’s first start with the definition of what is a search engine.

Search engine is a program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to keywords or characters specified by the user, used especially for finding particular sites on the World Wide Web.

Definition from Oxford Languages

Search engines are using complex mathematical calculations to determine which websites have high authority for rankings and which don’t.

To discover new websites, search engines are using bots also known as crawlers that follow external links to get new or updated content in order to copy, cache it on a server. This process is also known as crawling and indexing. You can get a cache version of any website simply by typing cache:{domain}.com in the browser URL.

For more information on this topic, I highly recommend you to read How search works. It showcases best practices and guidelines and helps anyone with search optimization which eventually will result in high rankings.

The common thing between different search engines is they update their algorithms constantly.

A single update can result in better rankings or organic traffic drop. That is one of the reasons sticking to the actual search engine guidelines is important.

By now you should be familiar with Google, but do you actually know that they are search engines like Bing, Yahoo, QQ, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, CC Search, Search BT, SwissCows, StartPage, SearchEncrypt, Gibiru, GMX, Wiki, Seznam, BoardReader, Qihoo 360, Baidu, Sogou, Qwant, Ekoru, and Ecosia.

Perhaps you never hear of the above-mentioned search engines.

It is good to know most of the search engines as you cannot target Chinese speaking person with Google. When you have time make your own research and have a look at them.

It is essential to understand the actual market and your target audience. Which digital channels they use and where you can find them.

I think this basic SEO guide is important if you want to be a Search Expert! They are many important Ranking Factors and I will be covering them in a different dedicated lesson. So lets continue.

Google Versus The Rest Of The Search Engines

Before underlining why Google is the best search engine, let’s read more about Google history.

Google History

In the early 90s students from Standard University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin had prototyped a search engine called BackRub.

The name “BackRub,” was based on the analysis of the web’s “backlinks.”  The goal was to efficiently produce much more satisfying search results than existing systems back then. Their research paper is available here. You can take a look at it.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin at their Garage

The prototype was created as a large-scale search engine that makes heavy use of the structure present in hypertext. It was further design to crawl and index the Web.

After Backrub began indexing the World Wide Web in March 1996, the actual index grew very quickly. By August 1996 just a few months later, more than 75 million pages had been indexed which occupied a total of 207 GB server hosting space.

Nearly two years after that, on September 4, 1998, they rebrand the search engine from Backrub to Google and finally launched it.

https://design.google/library/evolving-google-identity/

Google Goes Public

On April 29, 2004, Google goes public files IPO Indicial Public Offering. The brand is not just a search engine as we know it a day. It is the first publicly owned search engine and it was the first company to explore and analyze the backlink potentials. This makes Google great!

Google Market Share Statistics  

Google became the world popular search engine around 2004. It’s now the search engine leader with a massive figure of more than 4.45 billion indexed websites. Furthermore, Google has introduced several ranking algorithm changes since its introduction. However, none of it has been made public.

Google also has launched different specialized search engines like Youtube for videos and Google Scholar for academic publications.

According to Statscount Google has more than 90% market share when search engine usage.

Bing

Microsoft launched Bing in 2009. It was known as MSN search and later live search. According to Statista, Bing has 923 million users, and it shares 2% of the market share with other search engines.

Yahoo

Yahoo was introduced in 1994. It enjoyed one million hits in 1995. Yahoo was a giant of the market until Google came into the scene. Furthermore, it rejected a huge acquisition offer of $44.6 billion by Microsoft in 2012. It now has almost 25 million users and shares a market share of 1.5+.

What Is Search Optimization?

Search optimization or Search Engine Optimization widely known as SEO is the process of improving a website. The SEO processes are used to earn organic traffic with high search rankings on selected keywords and long-tail search terms. Moreover the process of organically ranking in search engines through quality content resulting in increased “organic” website visits.

Essentially, it’s not so much a question of what is SEO, but rather a question of what is SEO marketing and how can we get that sweet 1st position on Google?

If I have to answer this, I will simply say “there are no shortcuts if you want a long-term ranking strategy

Search Optimization Processes

Search optimization leads to “free” organic traffic and eventually more customers. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s a complex process that involves a lot of hard work. Let’s list some of the most important SEO processes below:

  • Keyword Search
  • Keyword Difficulty
  • Search Intent
  • Content Marketing
  • Content Quality
  • Content Relevancy
  • Link Building

Search Optimization processes

Search engine optimization leads to free organic visitors. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s a complex process involving a lot of factors.

We have made it easy for you. 

Let’s understand the basic concepts of search engine optimization first.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is a method to optimize your webpages adhering to google guidelines to get better rankings on search engines.

In this technique, internet users and programmers use tested techniques on websites so these websites can rank in search engines including Bing, Google, and Yahoo!.

It involves practising all the proven SEO techniques to optimize our content. On-page SEO includes:

  • Niche research.
  • Keyword research.
  • The structure of content.
  • Placement of the keywords in the content.
  • Image optimization.
  • Video optimization in the content.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO involves practising SEO techniques related to the website. It involves sitemaps, robot files, site speed, site security, and UI/UX.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO includes everything we do on other websites for the marketing of our website. It involves social media sharing, guest posting, and building different types of backlinks.

Let’s begin the search optimization processes.

Niche research

Niche research is one of the basic principles to get notices online. It involves searching for a profitable specific niche. A good niche has good volume but low difficulty so that it gets ranked easily. 

For example, if you want to start an SEO tips blog, your niche will be Search Optimization or Search Engine Optimization.

You can find 100+ profitable niches here.

Keyword research

Once we have completed the niche keyword research, we need to find the keywords related to that niche. Following are the basics of keyword research:

Understand the search intention

Search intention relates to the intention of the user while using the search engine. For example, if a user wants to buy a book, he will mostly use the keyword ‘buy’ in this search term.

“Buy best practices in SEO book.”

 If the intention is to download the book the search term will be something like this;

“Download best practices in SEO book.”

If the user intends to read reviews of this specific book, the search term will look like this:

“Best practices in SEO book Reviews.”

A website ranking with keywords of proper intention generally gets good conversion rates. Furthermore, the user returns to the website because it is answering the question he is looking for.

Check keyword difficulty

Keyword difficulty tells us whether it is easy or difficult to rank the given keyword. Comparatively, short-tail keywords are difficult to rank, while long-tail keywords are easier to rank. Every keyword research tool has a different mechanism to show the keyword difficulty level. However, we can get an idea by analyzing the top 10 search results.

Short-tail keyword: Best shoes

Long-tail keyword: Best shoes for running

See Keyword volume

It shows the number of monthly visitors for a given keyword. If a website ranks on a high volume keyword, it will get more visitors as compared to the one ranking a low volume keyword.

Find related keywords

It’s essential to find and add related keywords in the content to avoid overstuffing. It also gives us an advantage in the search engine rankings. If it doesn’t get ranked for the main keyword, we can get ranked for the related keyword.

For example

Main keyword: Best shoes for running

Related keywords: Best boots for running, the best-closed shoe for running

Content

Search engine bot has become clever. They can now even read the content and decide whether it should be ranked or not. 

Following are some qualities of good content:

  1. Unique:

Nobody likes the plagiarised content. So do the search engines. Your content should be unique enough to stand out from the crowd. Mostly, spun content doesn’t make sense, so avoid it as much as you can.

  1. Well-researched

Good content is always supported by facts and figures. If there is a strong base supported by credible links, it will result in higher rankings.

  1. Keywords optimization

The main keyword and related keywords in the content play an essential part in the rankings. This optimization helps the search engines decide the topic and category of the content. Furthermore, it results in those visitors who are actually interested in your content, service, or product.

  1. Content relevancy

This is one of the essential and most ignored aspects of content optimization. While there is no denying the importance of keywords and links, content is the king at the end. So always put the content related to the topic support by the keywords. You can use the Natural Language Processing tool (NLP) offered by Google to check whether the content is related to the topic or not.

  1. Image and video SEO

Images and videos can bring you a lot of visitors. That’s why it’s important to add alt tags to images and label the videos. It helps the search engines to identify the objects and hence more chances of rankings. Google lens can also now identify the objects and can show similar objects in the results. If an image has an alt tag, it can appear in Google lens search results.

Increase website security

Once we have completed the on-page, it’s time to go for technical SEO. Website security is one of the most important factors. It helps the search engines decide whether the website is safe for visitors or not. You need to install an SSL certificate and make sure no one steals the info you collect from the visitors.

Submit sitemap

A sitemap helps the search engines explore your website. For Search engine optimization, we need to create and submit a sitemap to the search engine console. Once you submit the sitemap, you can also access the analytics of your website.

Add robots. txt file

We need to create a robots.txt file to guide the search engine robots. It includes the URLs of the pages we want to be ranked or ignored during the crawling process.

Make your website mobile-friendly

The world has gone mobile. There are more than 3.8 billion mobile phone users in the world. People love to scroll the internet on the go. Google announced that they now prioritize mobile indexing. So, you need to make sure your website is accessible from a mobile, and the layout is mobile friendly.

Improve user experience

The user experience (UI/UX) plays a vital role in determining the bounce rate. We need to make sure our website is structured correctly, images are correctly labelled, and user attention is not diverted during the scrolling process. It will increase user retention, decrease the bounce rate, and hence higher rankings.

Furthermore, Google has officially announced that user experience will be a part of the rankings in 2021.

Optimize for voice search

Voice searches are increasing day by day. More than 20% of searches on Google are now done through the voice. So, it’s crucial to optimize your website for voice search.

Add schemas

Schemas can help you win rich snippet results. There are different types of a schema like an item list, review schema, Product schema, and FAQ schema. These schemas help the robots identify the context easily and hence better search optimization.

Do social sharing

Social sharing helps us get visitors from social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Social signals can also move the ranking needles for you. Furthermore, social sharing also helps you in the branding of your website.

Source: ShaneBarker.com

Maximize outreach

Search engines favour high-quality links. Outreaching not only helps us in content marketing but can also do wonders for us. However, we should only focus on good authority and niche relevant websites.

Avoid blackhat SEO

There was a time when blackhat techniques like PBNs, comment backlinks, and web 2.0 were good for SEO. However, gone are the days now. With every new update released, the black hat websites get thrashed. So, it’s better to avoid blackhat techniques.

Audit your website

A website audit can help you check the on-page SEO, backlinks record, and ranking position. It can also help you with potential weaknesses like broken links, missing alt tags, and check for toxic links. You can use Google Search Console to audit your website. However, it’s not easy to do so by using the search console. You can use tools like Moz, Semrush, and Ahrefs.

Update the disavow file regularly

Spammers always try to harm someone. Sometimes, spammy links are created automatically while sometimes your competitors do so. You can use Google disavow to get rid of these files regularly.

Conclusion

I explained the overall process of search optimization in this guide. Remember that, SEO takes time. It can take 2-4 months to get your website ranked. Be patient and don’t ignore any SEO factor.

Happy rankings!


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