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What is SEO?

SEO is the process of improving the structure, content and organization of your site to the Search engines can index them correctly. It also involves doing promotional activities to boost your search engine rank

 

 

 

Before we look into this any further, let’s first understand –

How Search Engine Works?

Almost every Search engine does the following Spiders or Web Crawling, Indexing & Displaying.

  • Spiders & Crawlers: Spiders crawl over the web in search of content (Hence the name Spider). Once they finish scanning and identifying the relevant content, they copy the searched content and store it in a search engines database. While they are scanning one web page, they make note of links to other web pages from this page and later scan the linked web pages as well & this process keeps going on for all webpages. ( For example : Page A links to Page B which in turn links to Page C. Here, Page A,B,C will be stored as well as any page which is linked from Page C ) .

    Web Crawler will collect the following (not limited to) information from a web page –

  • Indexing: Now that website information is stored in Search Engines Database, how will it know which page to put on top of search results and which on last ? Enter Indexing.

    Ranking is done based on keywords.

    As the engines crawl and index the contents of pages around the web, they keep track of those pages in keyword based indices. The search engines have millions and millions of smaller databases, each centred on particular keyword term or phrase.

    Next question, how does the search engine know which keyword to rank a page for? To determine so the search engine looks into the content of the page, Page Title , Page URL and other factors

    Next question, suppose there 20000 Webpages each catering to the same keyword say football. How does the Search Engine determine which Page to display as # 1 , # 2 and so on… Enter Search Engine Ranking Factors which considers Domain Age , Domain Trust , Topicality , Number and relevance of external pointing links to the page , social signals and many more. This will be covered in detailed later in the tutorial

  • Displaying: The last step in search engine activity is retrieving the best matched results for search queries, which is displaying the search result in browser.

Role of Keywords in SEO

Keyword is actually the key to SEO. Keyword is what a person or user enters into a search engine to find specific information.

Keywords form part of a web page’s metadata and help search engines to match page with an appropriate search query.

  • Keyword Density

Often it is misunderstood that by including more keywords which describe your website can eventually help search engine to bring your website on top. Infact, more keywords sometimes get you penalized for “spamming “or keyword stuffing. So, using keyword wisely from SEO point of view becomes mandatory. So what is the ideal frequency of Keyword? It is believed that for best result, keyword density should be 3-7% for the major and 1-2 % for minor key words.

  • Keywords in Special places, Page titles & Headings

It is imperative where your keyword exactly appears on your web page. It counts more if you have keywords in the “page title, the headings, the paragraphs” especially in URL. For instance, if your competitor’s web page has same number of keyword as your webpage but if you have included the keywords in your URL then your webpage have more chances to stand out than your competitor.

Placing the keywords in the “Title of the page” or “Heading tags” is considered the best place to put your keywords. The reason behind is that the search engine looks first for the keywords in your “Title tag” and then in “Heading tag”. The standard title tag keyword is around 70 characters max.

In order for a title tag to be most effective, it needs to be supported in other areas of each web page like the “headline”. Your headline should be the largest headline on the page rich with primary keywords, you can also include secondary keywords in your headline. There is no limitation for headline length, but still preferred around 7- 8 words length. For keywords there are some set criteria for best result as shown in table below.

Keywords Criteria for best SEO result
  • Keywords in URL
  • First word is best position for keyword in URL
  • Keywords in Title tag
  • Keywords should be in beginning of title tags, 10- 60 characters , no special characters
  • Keywords in description meta tag
  • Show theme less than 200 characters
  • Keywords in Keyword meta-tag
  • Show theme less than 10 words
  • Keyword density in body text
  • 5- 20 % of the content
  • Keywords in Headlines
  • Use Hx font style tags appropriately

Word Stemming

Search engine like Google, uses word stemming for search query. Word stemming allows all forms of the word- singular, plural, verb form as well as similar words for a given search query. For example if someone search for “Mountain track” it will retain search result with all variation of that phrase like “Mountain tracking“, “Mountain trackers” and so on.

Ranking and Ranking factors

Meta-tags: one of the earliest method to optimize the website high in result was to offer Meta data to the search engines. Meta data is nothing but the data about the data found on that page.

There are two important meta-tags or meta-data

  • Meta description
  • Meta Keyword

Both Meta keyword and Meta description can contribute to your search engine ranking. The meta description tag is intended to be a brief and concise summary of your page’s content. The limitation for meta-description is about 170- 200 characters, writing a unique description for each page of your site. Meta description format would look something like this

<meta name=”description”content= “Brief description of the contents of your page.”>

Example: 
Meta-description for website "guru99"

<meta name=”description” content=”Discover free online tutorials on Guru99.com to get ahead in your career.  Start taking advantage of online learning today itself” />

While meta keywords format would look something like this
<meta name="keywords" content="keywords, keyword, keyword phrase,etc.">
						

Example:

Meta-keywords for website “guru99”

<meta name=”keywords” content = “free online education,SAP testing, etc.”>

Link Building

On Page & Off page Optimization

SEO optimization is primarily classified into two sections on page optimization and off page optimization.

Positive Off Page Optimization

Off page SEO is the process of boosting your search engine rankings by getting external links pointing back to it. The more and better links you can get to your webpage, better it will rank in search result

A quality backlink is considered good from the search engines point, and has the maximum effect on your off page SEO. A quality backlink has properties like

  1. Incoming links from high page rank web page
  2. Use different anchor texts
  3. Dofollow or Nofollow links
  4. Getting backlink from similar niche blog or website
  5. Avoid black hat SEO
  6. Good Domain Authority
  7. High Trust
  8. High Relevance in the subject matter of the linking and destination domains
  9. Site Age- Shows site stability

What you should NOT do for Negative off page

  • Link Buying : If you get caught penalty is huge
  • Cloaking: Try prevent cloaking (representing different page to search engine than your original web page)
  • Domain Hi-jacking: It is when someone takes your domain away or misuses your domain without your knowledge by changing the registration of the domain name. Never do this , it’s a criminal offence.
  • Other Black Hat Techniques

Positive On Page Optimization

On page optimization directly deals with the content and structure of the website. On page optimization focuses on

  1. Unique title tags and Headlines
  2. Keyword frequency in the
  • URL
  • Body Texts
  • Headings
  1. Synonyms
  2. Copywriting
  3. Adding description to images
  4. Good Internal Navigation

What you should not do for Negative On Page

  • Avoid negative over optimization penalty (OOP) by not repeating keywords very very frequently
  • Link to a bad neighbourhood : Do not link to link Farms or any other site with bad page rank
  • Avoid Poison words: The word “link” is considered poison words or stop words in a title tag. There are many other poison words that you should avoid
  • Avoid stealing text or images from other domains
  • Avoid Excessive cross linking
  • Avoid re-directing users to another page through refresh meta-tags, don’t immediately send your visitor to another page unless he/she clicked on

For best SEO result for your site always regularly maintain it, as you won’t rank as high in search engines, if your site is slow or has broken links.

Google Panda

Google panda is a Google’s search results ranking algorithm, it aims to lower the rank of “low quality sites” or “thin sites” and return higher quality sites near the top of the search result. In other words it does the verification of “content” of the websites

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How to escape the Panda’s Claw

  1. Try to avoid link building with those sites which is already ranked as low quality website
  2. Watch out for sites that are peppered with Google adsense
  3. Avoid sites with little or no moderation, especially those sites which accepts your comments or blog quickly for their websites

Google Penguin

Another algorithm update from Google is “Google Penguin” which penalizes those sites that breach Google’s webmaster guidelines set by the search engines. This programme is specifically designed to target those sites that practice black-hat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing, duplicate content and bulk link building to name a few. Penguin does not damage the site unless spammed for too much keyword.

How to get away from Penguin’s Pecking

  1. Remove all links from guest blogging network
  2. Remove links from spam sites
  3. Remove all exact match anchor links
  4. Remove all optimized anchor links
  5. Nofollow Guest Post links

SEO Audit and Link Removal

SEO Audit and link removal is very important for running your website successfully, as search engine modifies their algorithm from time to time. For success of your website, it is necessary to keep pace with their current guidelines and requirements of search engine. To ignore link audit may put your website at high risk.

For link audits and link removal many online tools are available likeGoogle webmaster tools, MOZ , Open Site Explorer , Majestic SEO etc. It will scrutinize ‘backlinks’ and provides some helpful metrics like

  • Specific URLs that link to your site
  • The pages on your site that each of these URLs link to
  • Anchor text used by each incoming link
  • Whether each incoming link is follow or no-follow

While removing low quality links, you have to be careful as some of them may be highly relevant to your website and come from websites on the upswing. In future they might become an important source of traffic.

What are the characteristics of a ‘bad links’

  • Links with the same anchor text coming from multiple sites
  • Links from sites that are unrelated to your niche
  • Links from low traffic and low PR ( Page Rank)
  • Links from articles directories or sites that look like link farms
  • Links from link exchanges
  • Paid links
  • Links from sites that are not in the Google Index
  • Spammy links in blog comments

In case the site owner does not remove bad links from your website, then you can use Google’s disavow tool. This disavow tool will remove bad links.

This disavow tools are applicable in condition like

  • When you get a manual action
  • Webmaster won’t remove the bad links to your site or charge you to remove them
  • When you see links pointing to your site you do not want to be associated with
  • When you are worried about negative SEO
  • You see links pointing to your site you do not want to be associated with
  • You saw a link bomb attack and are afraid it might hurt your site
  • You are afraid someone will submit a spam report for you
  • You see your ranking dropped and you think it has to do with an algorithm Google ran, example: Penguin algorithm

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