Understanding SEO (Part I): What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and why you should know it?
A beginner’s guide introducing search engine optimization and its importance for your web presence
Search Engine Optimization, a term which came across me so many times in a couple of years when I started my journey of being a web developer. But I never paid much importance to know it deeply because of the thought that search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the marketing tools and I have nothing to do with it. But when I started knowing about it, I found that, it is a myth!
With SEO, you can easily make your websites search engine friendly, increasing the probability of many users visiting your website. This is why every front-end developer should know at least the basics of SEO techniques.
Wait! Every website tells the same story about SEO, but the important question is, how the probability of users visiting your website increases because of SEO? Why knowing SEO is important for a web developer? What exactly is done for SEO??
These are all those questions with which I started learning and in this series of exploring SEO, I will surely try to answer all of them.
So let’s start understanding search engine optimization.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is a process of optimizing your website so that, your website can be easily tracked by search engines and displayed in their top search results. When you do SEO of your website, it becomes easier for search engines to index it and understand its content clearly. This makes your website rank higher by Google or other search engines and makes it appear at the top search results.
And who don’t know perks of getting appeared at top searches on Google? Better traffic and more users!
This is simple! If you want more traffic on your website, take the advantages of SEO. With good SEO practices you can not only get ranked on the first page of Google but also you can appear in one of the top five searches Google shows.
Study shows, websites appearing on the first page of Google gets 73% clicks and those who appear in the top five search results get 67% of clicks.
But how Google decides which websites to show and in which order to show them?
Note: This can be a tricky thing to understand, but I am including this just for the knowledge of how Google or other search engines work. You can skip this part if it doesn’t make much sense to you.
Google and other search engines are constantly monitoring the web for new content and for changes to existing content. They have software and algorithms designed and dedicated for this purpose only.
Let’s understand this process.
Google initially creates indexes of all the websites that are available on the internet. When I say index, it means something similar to a catalog or a list, where information of websites is stored in the Google.
For every website, Google saves its URL, title, type of content, number of pages, images and many more such details. Programs which are used for gathering this information are called spiders or crawlers.
When you start searching for something, Google tries to understand what you are searching for, to display the content you need or similar to your need. For that, Google’s search algorithm gathers all the data from an index and starts ranking websites based on that data. Websites that match the content you searched for are ranked on the top and you see your search results.
Google’s search algorithm is made up of hundreds of rules and nobody knows what are these rules. It is believed that Google considers more than 255 factors before ranking any website. Though these rules are never openly shared by Google, there are some known factors such as page speed, SSL, mobile friendliness, page titles which make much difference in website ranking. Also, Google is constantly making changes to their ranking algorithm and every time they change it, ranking of websites is going to change.
So the major goal of doing SEO is to keep your website updated considering these factors, to appear in top searches.
How to do SEO? What is done or added to the website for doing its search engine optimization??
So, till now, we very well understood what SEO is and why it is important for your website. But the major question arises is how to implement it? How to do it on your website? What to add or remove for your site?? And this whole series of articles revolve around these questions.
There are two techniques of implementing SEO — On-page SEO and Off-page SEO. Let’s know them in brief.
What is On-page SEO?
On-page SEO is a technique used to make your website pages easy to understand by ranking algorithms. By adding certain information in a certain format, it becomes easy for Google to understand the context and content of your website. Because of this, proper indexing is done and you can see your website in top search results.
Some tags, titles, descriptions are added to the website during on-page SEO. This technique revolves around keywords and their good use in website content. Hence, if best practices are followed, on-page SEO is easy to implement and can be a major concern in making your website hit the top ranking.
On-page SEO brings organic traffic (traffic directly coming from Google search) to your website. This is why this SEO technique creates the base for your web traffic.
What is Off-page SEO?
This SEO technique mostly focuses on website promotion. It goes beyond website content and design. This part of the SEO process grabs the user attention from different parts of the web and increase the traffic of your website. This technique is important to increase the inorganic traffic( Indirect traffic, which is not coming from Google but from another medium like social media).
Though this is one of the important process of SEO, the best way to do it is after the on-page SEO.
As a web-developer, why it is important for me to understand implementation of SEO?
When we write markup for a website, there are some tags and some attributes which can make the on-page SEO much more efficient. But, because we don’t know their use with respect to SEO, we may not use them properly. When we will get to know the correct use of those tags in optimizing our search results, we will be able to make our website SEO friendly from the very beginning. That’s the reason, every front-end web developer should know these techniques.
In this article, we learned what is SEO, how Google performs its searches, why it is important to do SEO of your website and which are the techniques of doing SEO. This article series will focus only on on-page SEO techniques. In the next article, we will start exploring on-page SEO in more detail and will understand the ways of doing it.